neck pain

neck pain in a woman

The neck of humans, like other animals, is an incredible part of the body, somewhat fragile but powerful.

The cervical spine, along with all the muscles and ligaments, supports and sets the skull in motion, absorbs shock when walking, protects the brain from concussion, protects the blood vessels that feed it, and also protects the spinal cord.

It could be argued that almost everyone has experienced neck pain throughout their lives. Neck pain can affect men and women at any age.

When the neck hurts, the reasons can be quite different. Some of them can resolve in a few days, and some can lead to chronic illness and pain.

Why does pain occur?

The most common reason your neck hurts is bad posture. With the back bent, the head no longer occupies a position just above the body and moves forward. In this position, the muscles and ligaments of the neck experience increased tension. The development of headache and neck pain is facilitated by prolonged work without changing position, sleeping on a soft bed or a high pillow, prolonged static load.

Other causes of neck pain are injuries caused by a head fall, a traffic accident, or while playing sports. With a sudden acceleration and then braking, the cervical spine makes a whipping motion. As a result, ligaments and muscles can become excessively distended, a displacement or compression fracture in the cervical vertebrae occurs, and intervertebral hernias form.

Neck pain can occur as a secondary manifestation of other illnesses. For example, with a heart attack, when a heart attack causes severe pain, radiating along the nerve plexuses to the upper limbs, chest, and neck. Neck pain with a heart attack is just part of a larger complex of symptoms - shortness of breath, sweating, nausea, vomiting. If your neck, jaw aches and other signs of heart attack are noticed, you should call an ambulance right away.

Neck pain is also used as a diagnostic sign of meningitis. With this disease, the muscles of the neck become hypertonic, that is, rigid. When you try to lean your head towards your chest, the back of your neck hurts a lot.

The spine in the neck region hurts with rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, spondylosis and osteoarthritis, hernia or protrusion, with compression of the nerve roots or spinal cord with infectious edema, abscesses, tumor or benign neoplasms.

special cases

Degenerative diseases

Osteochondrosis, or in other words dystrophic disorders of the intervertebral discs, leads to the fact that a person's neck constantly hurts. It is usually a mild pain, which is usually accompanied by a feeling of numbness and pain in the shoulder girdle and head.

The area of the collar affected by osteochondrosis can cause cerebral artery syndrome to develop. With the reduction of intervertebral distances in this area, there is a compressive lesion of the vertebral arteries in the openings of the transverse processes of the cervical vertebrae. Pressure in the vessel causes a decrease in blood flow to the brain with the onset of dizziness and decreased vision and hearing. On the other hand, mechanical stimulation of the artery with pressure from the vertebrae causes a reflex spasm, which manifests as a burning throbbing pain in the head.


If the neck constantly hurts in the context of osteochondrosis, therapy begins with eliminating the pain syndrome. The second mandatory direction of treatment is to stop the degenerative processes in the cervical vertebrae.

Pain relief can be achieved using the following groups of drugs:

  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs - directly block the cascade of mediators that signal pain;
  • muscle relaxants - eliminate muscle spasm due to severe pain;
  • sedatives - calm and inhibit the nervous system and transmission of pain impulses, including (valerian, antidepressants, sleeping pills);
  • vasodilators - help to eliminate vertebral artery syndrome and the pain associated with it.

To eliminate the cause of neck pain in osteochondrosis, chondroprotective drugs that prevent the destruction of cartilage and vertebrae, as well as multivitamin mineral complexes, are prescribed.

Pain management also consists of physiotherapy, physiotherapy, massage, traction, reflex and bandage therapy. During an exacerbation, to relieve pain, the patient is advised to wear a special collar that protects the neck from excessive mobility.

Muscle pain

neck muscle pain and pain relief massage

Neck pain can occur when the muscles in the neck become inflamed, which is called myositis.

This pain must be distinguished from neuritis (inflammation of the nerve trunks with a sensory disturbance) and pain caused by osteochondrosis.

Myositis occurs suddenly after exposure to predisposing factors - hypothermia, vibration, prolonged overexertion, especially with prolonged repetitive movements of the same type.

Cervical myositis is characterized by acute pain that occurs when the inflamed muscle contracts. The acute severity of pain leads to difficulty in performing certain types of movement.

Usually, the long muscles of the neck on the anterolateral surface or the sternocleidomastoid muscles ache, which, with a bilateral contraction, pull the head back, and with a unilateral contraction turn it.

The deep muscles that surround the spine are also often inflamed and set the entire neck and back in motion.

When probing a muscle, its increased tone and dense, knotty areas are noted. Violation of microcirculation and local trophism leads to the gradual replacement of myocytes by connective tissue. As a result, the neck muscles weaken, their symmetry is broken at the sides of the spine, torticollis may appear, and it is difficult for the patient to keep the head straight.


Treatment begins with reducing neck tension. A course of physical therapy procedures follows - UHF warming, drug electrophoresis, paraffin warming, ozokerite wrapping, diathermy, massage, acupuncture. These procedures restore blood circulation to the neck muscles. Medicines include injections of B vitamins, anti-inflammatories and analgesics, ointments and friction.

The alternative treatment recommends using cabbage or burdock leaves as compresses to relieve pain, making an ointment from crushed willow buds in butter, rubbing a mixture of turpentine with apple cider vinegar and egg yolk. . Also, the neck is rubbed with lava oil and then wrapped. The main guarantee of success for any treatment is to keep the sore throat at ease until your muscles are fully restored. Then you should start putting them "to work" through special gymnastics and massage.

root syndrome

Severe pain in the neck, which spreads to the muscles of the head, shoulder girdle, and upper limbs, can occur when spinal nerve roots are pinched during a prolapse, protrusion, or herniated disc.

With this disease, the inner core of the disc protrudes toward the spinal canal or its lateral horns. The hernia and its symptoms usually appear on one side. When pressure is created in the spinal nerve roots, a sharp, burning pain appears in the innervated muscles (cervical lumbago). The patient feels numbness in the jaw, in the area around the ears, in the back of the head, in the shoulder blades, in the arms. Appears dizziness, sharp pain in the neck when changing position from horizontal to vertical. The gradual protrusion of the disc nucleus leads to trauma to the surrounding tissue, its inflammation and swelling. This creates the prerequisites for inflammation of the nerve endings with the development of radiculitis, the mobility of the neck and upper limbs is gradually limited. Prolonged violation of the spinal nerves leads to paresis or paralysis of the limbs.


What to do if your neck hurts with a hernia? At home, with the pain syndrome, analgesics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, hormonal drugs, muscle relaxants are taken to relieve the spasms.

In hospital, severe neck pain is eliminated with the help of "blocks" - the introduction of anesthetic substances into the sides of the spine.

Swelling and inflammation are treated with steroids that can be injected directly into the hernia. Muscle pain is eliminated by taking muscle relaxants.

Also, to prevent the development of hernia, I use medications that strengthen cartilage tissue - chondroprotectors.

In many cases, therapeutic exercises and cervical spine traction and traction with protrusion or slight protrusion help. Increased intervertebral space helps to "retract" the intervertebral disc and relieve pressure on the nerves.

In a true hernia with rupture of the fibrous ring and prolapse of the nucleus into the spinal canal, surgery is necessary. There are several ways to get rid of neck pain through surgery:

  • anterior cervical discectomy - removal of an extra piece of disc that presses on the spinal nerves;
  • replacement of the damaged disc with an artificial joint, which protects the cervical spine from further destruction;
  • microendoscopic dissesectomy with a posterior approach and removal of small areas of hernia by endoscope;
  • posterior cervical dissesectomy through an incision in the nape of the neck. The operating channel is specially enlarged so that there is no clamping in the future.


neoplasm as a cause of neck pain

If there is constant and pressing pain in the neck, one may suspect that strange education has appeared in this department.

Benign or malignant neck tumors may appear in the vertebral body, blood vessels, epithelium, connective tissue, nervous, adipose or glandular tissue.

Benign tumors (lipoma, fibroma, neuroma, osteoma, hemangioma) are most often correctly and clearly limited, rarely causing pain. The discomfort is mainly associated with the compression of the surrounding tissue by the tumor. Malignant tumors (osteosarcoma, myeloma, cancer of the lymph nodes or the thyroid gland) do not have borders, they often metastasize to neighboring tissues. Its destructive effect on organs causes a painful sensation, a general deterioration of condition. The front of the neck can get sick with cancers of the larynx, throat, oral organs, and thyroid gland. The patient has difficulty swallowing, there is swelling in the neck and face, voice change. If cervical flight hurts with a bone tumor, then this condition also often accompanies damage to the spinal cord and nerve roots on the side of the spine with the development of paralysis.


The treatment of pain in cancer is primarily aimed at eliminating the cause - reducing or removing the swelling. Therefore, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, hardening of the vessels that supply the tumor and surgical removal of the pathological formation are used.

Pain relief depends on the severity of the pain:

  • weak analgesics;
  • moderate severity analgesics;
  • as pain increases, they switch to weak opiates;
  • with severe pain, analgesia is only possible with the help of opiates. To increase analgesia of neck pain with cancer, antipsychotics, anticonvulsants, and corticosteroids are used.

Observation! Neck pain can occur for several reasons. In order not to miss serious illnesses, it is necessary, first, to consult a doctor for a consultation on the occurrence of pain and the exact determination of its origin.