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As you might’ve guessed, the neck is made up of many sensitive and delicate components that work together to support your head and give it mobility and function. Your neck is exposed to stresses all day long and sometimes even during the night when you’re sleeping. If you experience neck pain, you’ll want to find out what’s causing it and remedy the problem so you can be comfortable and able to perform your normal activities.

Why is my neck hurting?
A number of conditions can leave you with a painful neck. The most common culprits are strains and strains, most of which heal in a few days or weeks. This pain is a result of a muscle, tendon, or ligament becoming irritated from overuse or overextension. These types of injuries often are caused by sleeping on your neck in the wrong position, poor posture, sports injury, whiplash, repetitive movements that cause overuse, or holding the head in an abnormal position for an extended time. Even carrying a heavy backpack can negatively impact your neck.

In addition to strains and strains, other causes of neck pain can include degenerative disc disease, herniated disc, pinched nerve, infection, cervical spondylosis, meningitis, rheumatoid arthritis, spinal stenosis, TMJ disorders, fibromyalgia, or osteoarthritis.

How can neck pain be treated?
If neck pain creeps up on you, many times it will dissipate in a short time. However, pain that persists for weeks or months can indicate a more serious medical condition that should be treated by a doctor like Dr. Fischer at NYU Langone Spine Center in NYC.

Try some self-care treatment methods at home if your neck pain is new, but not debilitating or resulting from a traumatic injury. Rest your neck by avoiding strenuous activities and taking it easy for a few days. Apply ice to reduce pain and swelling, and then you can alternate ice and heat after a couple of days of using ice only. Getting a massage can help soothe muscle spasms and reduce pain. Focus on implementing better posture, including holding your neck in a more natural position during daily activities or sleeping on your back or changing to a more ergonomically-friendly pillow. Treat your pain with over-the-counter pain relievers or anti-inflammatory medications, following the usage directions on the label.

In some cases, early intervention for neck pain can be very important. Don’t ignore the signs your body may be giving you that you need to see a professional such as Dr. Fischer. If your pain persists after self-care methods, schedule an appointment for evaluation. Medical treatments may include prescription medication, physical therapy, local injections, or even surgical procedures.

How can I stop the pain from returning?
First, avoid neck injuries if possible. If you play contact sports or perform a high-risk job, make sure to wear the appropriate protective equipment. Strengthen your neck muscles as much as possible by doing neck exercises designed to improve the health and stability of your neck.

Things you can do in your daily living to decrease your risk for neck pain include learning good posture habits, practicing proper lifting techniques, finding better ways to use your phone or computer, and avoiding repetitive motions. Regular exercise is recommended to keep your neck and back in good condition, as well as proper diet and nutrition to enhance your health. Because stress is often carried in your shoulders, upper back, and neck, learning to manage your stress is helpful. Be sure and ask Dr. Fischer for even more suggestions on how to eliminate return visits for neck pain.

Contact Dr. Fischer to schedule an appointment if you are going to be in the NYC or Whiteplains area.