What to do if the neck hurts, the treatment of severe pain( front, side)

Despite its fragility and vulnerability, the neck performs very important functions and contains vital structures. The cervical spine consists of 7 vertebrae, which have the highest mobility. This, as well as the great pressure of the heavy head on fragile vertebrae, creates the prerequisites for the development of various diseases of the spine and the occurrence of pain in the neck and back.

Among the main anatomical cervical structures, which can cause damage, cervical vertebrae, their joints, ligaments and muscles of the spine, nerve fibers and blood vessels, thyroid gland, lymph nodes, salivary glands, larynx, esophagus, trachea.

In this article we will consider what to do if the neck hurts, and with what it may be related.

Structure of the neck
The defeat of any of these organs can cause neck pain

Types of pain

Pain in the neck can be divided into 2 large groups:

  1. Cervicalgia is a constant pain of varying intensity that does not extend beyond the neck. As a rule, it appears gradually, has a monotonous, aching or pulling character. Most often associated with the development of pathological painful spasms of the muscles of the cervical region. If such pain arises in the neck and shoulder, then it is called cervicobrahialgia( occurs with cervical osteochondrosis), and if it spreads to the head, then cervicocranium, for example, with neuralgia of the occipital nerve.
  2. Cervical , or cervical lumbago, is a severe pain that occurs suddenly, lasts for several minutes. It can provoke sharp or awkward movements of the head, a prolonged stay in one position. During an attack a person can not even move due to intense painful sensations. To give pain can in a head, in arms or hand, in a thoracal department of a backbone. This pain is associated with a pinched or irritated nerve root of the spinal cord.

Causes of neck pain

Neck pain is one of the most frequent complaints about which people seek medical help. It can be acute and chronic. It is important to note that chronic pain syndrome in the neck is a serious medical and social problem, since mostly young and middle-aged people suffer, which leads to their frequent disability and a decrease in the quality of life.

For the treatment to be correct and effective, it is important to recognize the cause of the pathological symptoms.

Nonspecific causes of

Most often you have to deal with nonspecific pain. It arises in response to the overstrain of the neck muscles and is considered a normal physiological reaction of the body. For example, often the neck hurts after a long stay in one position, frequent stereotyped movements, physical overwork.

Muscle tissue develops a painful muscle spasm as a reaction to fatigue( myospastic syndrome), a situation that occurs with both static and dynamic loads. To eliminate it, the body needs rest. Such pain, as a rule, passes independently, it is not necessary to treat it. It is not intensive, it lasts several hours or days.

It's important to know! In the case of regular overloads, physiological pain can become chronic because of the development of the degenerative-dystrophic process in the spine. Therefore, all negative factors should be eliminated immediately after their detection, rather than waiting for the disease to develop.

Another example of nonspecific neck pain can be considered pain after sleep, which are associated with a static load( sleep in the wrong position, improper pillow).Probably every person has felt such pain for once in his life.

Vertebrogenic causes of

This is a group of causes that are associated with the damage of the vertebrae itself, intervertebral discs, facet joints, intervertebral ligaments and muscles. It takes second place in prevalence. Most often, if the neck hurts, then degenerative-dystrophic diseases of the spine are diagnosed. The cervical segment is very prone to damage due to its anatomical and physiological structure:

  • the neck joints are the most mobile;
  • vertebrae have a delicate structure, small in size;
  • they can withstand a great load every second - they support the head;
  • inside the vertebrae passes an important neuromuscular bundle.
Damage to cervical vertebrae
In degenerative-dystrophic lesions of the cervical region, not only disks and vertebrae suffer, but also vessels with nerve fibers

. Degenerative and dystrophic diseases of the cervical spine:

  • osteochondrosis;
  • deforming spondylarthrosis;
  • spondylolisthesis;
  • spinal stenosis;
  • prolapse or intervertebral hernia.

Such diseases bring a lot of suffering to a person, in addition, they can be complicated by vertebral artery syndrome, development of torticollis, hernial protrusion of the disc, compression of the spinal cord, development of cervical radiculopathy, deformation of the cervical spine, constant headache, dizziness, noise in the head.

Damage to the internal organs of the neck

Pain in the neck in the front can be associated with the pathology of the thyroid gland. As a rule, pain occurs when it is inflamed, thyroiditis. Symptoms that indicate this disease:

  • fever;
  • general weakness and malaise;
  • swelling and / or redness on the front surface of the neck;
  • difficulty in swallowing;
  • signs of hypothyroidism or thyrotoxicosis.

Pain with thyroiditis is constant, has a pulsating character, increases with swallowing, turning of the head, palpation of the inflamed thyroid gland. A special anti-inflammatory therapy will help to remove this pain. The duration of thyroiditis can reach 2 years.

The doctor examines the thyroid gland
In cases of thyroid gland diseases, the pain is felt on the front surface of the neck

A sharp pain from the side of the neck often indicates inflammation of the lymph nodes. The reasons for this phenomenon can be several:

  • ENT diseases( angina, pharyngitis, laryngitis, sinusitis);
  • carious teeth;
  • gum disease;
  • occlusal abscesses;
  • common infectious diseases( mononucleosis, rubella, influenza, SARS, tuberculosis);
  • hematologic diseases( lymphogranulomatosis, lymphomas).

The neck thus not only hurts, but also swells up, loses clarity of the contours. The temperature rises, there are signs of a major infection. Most often, lymphadenitis can be observed in a child.

Another disease that manifests similar symptoms with cervical lymphadenitis is parotitis( inflammation of the bovine salivary gland).This infection, which usually affects children, is accompanied by the development of complications such as orchitis, pancreatitis, thyroiditis and other lesions of the parenchymal organs.

In the case of lesions of the esophagus, larynx and trachea, in addition to neck pain, there are specific symptoms: swallowing, heartburn, coughing, hemoptysis, etc.

We advise you to read: Hernia in the cervical spine Intervertebral hernia in the cervical part

Tumor lesions

Painful sensations can cause bothoncological diseases of the spinal tissues, and the internal organs of the neck, nerves, blood vessels.

Swollen spine can be both primary( osteoma, osteosarcoma, hemangioma, chondrosarcoma) and metastatic( lymphomas, lymphogranulomotosis, myeloma, metastases of thyroid cancer, larynx, esophagus and other organs).Also, pain can occur with neoplasms of the spinal cord and neural fibers.


The cervical spine is highly prone to various kinds of injuries:

  • fractures of the vertebral bodies and processes;
  • sprains and subluxations of vertebrae;
  • sprain and rupture of the intervertebral ligaments and neck muscles;
  • traumatic rupture of the intervertebral disc with the formation of an acute hernia;
  • hematoma;
  • compression of the spinal cord and its roots.
Whiplash injury
Mechanism of whiplash injury of the cervical spine

Traumatic injuries of the cervical spine are very dangerous, because the spinal cord at this level contains important vital centers( breathing, palpitation).If it is damaged, instant death may occur( level 1-2 cervical vertebra).If the lower segments of the spinal cord are damaged, there may be a complete loss of sensitivity and motor activity below the neck( tetraparesis).When injuring the lower segments( 7-8) only the lower extremities are affected.

Inflammatory diseases

The cervical spine may be affected by inflammation. Most often these are autoimmune processes( systemic connective tissue diseases):

  • ankylosing spondylitis;
  • rheumatoid arthritis;
  • systemic lupus erythematosus;
  • dermatomyositis;
  • scleroderma;
  • Sharp Syndrome;
  • systemic vasculitis.

Most often the neck is affected by Bekhterev's disease, but last but not least. Joints of the spine become inflamed in the ascending direction. At the last stage of the pathology, in addition to pain, severe deformations and complete immobility in the cervical segment develop. The spine becomes flat, like a bamboo stick, or the cervical lordosis is significantly strengthened and the "suppleness pose" is formed.

"Pose of the petitioner" in case of Bechterew's disease

Why does the neck hurt in the child

If in adults the first place among the causes of neck pain is the damage to the tissues of the spine and muscles, then the children have other factors:

  • lymphadenitis of various etiologies;
  • tuberculosis;
  • mumps;
  • thyroiditis;
  • hematologic diseases;
  • intralesional abscesses;
  • torticollis;
  • juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.

If the child complains of pain in the neck, then in no case can these complaints be ignored. It is mandatory to visit a pediatrician, because the cause of such a symptom can be very serious.

Cervical lymphadenitis
Cervical lymphadenitis in a child

Treatment of neck pain

You can get rid of neck pain by knowing its true cause. As a rule, most often you have to face vertebrogenic diseases. Consider the basic principles of treating pain in the neck.

Relief relief

In order to quickly and effectively relieve a person of neck pain, they use medicines. Do not think that the treatment with injections, pills and ointments is the main one. It does not affect the course of the pathology, but only eliminates the symptoms, allowing the patient to proceed to the basic methods of conservative treatment, for example, to exercise therapy.

For the relief of pain, drugs from the following groups can be used:

  • analgesics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs( dexalgin, analgin, baralgin, ketorol, diclofenac, xephoxam, ibuprocent, celecocosib, meloxicam, aceclofenac, etc.);
  • muscle relaxants( drugs that eliminate the pathological muscle spasm): Sirdalud, Midokalm, Tizalud;
  • glucocorticoid hormones and anesthetics( Diprospan, Kenalog, lidocaine, novocain) are used to block the cervical spine, when the administration of pain medication does not give the desired result;
  • chondroprotectors( Dona, Structum, Teraflex) are used as an additional therapy for prolonged courses in order to renew cartilaginous tissue and stop the progression of its destruction;
  • preparations for improving microcirculation, decongestants, anticonvulsants and antidepressants with the central mechanism of chronic pain, vitamins of group B.
Blockade of the cervical department of the spine
Blockade of the cervical spine quickly and effectively removes pain

All other methods of conservative therapy( massage, gymnastics, physiotherapy) are contraindicated in an acute period,when there is intense pain.

Treatment in the period of remission

After the pain was removed, the main stage of treatment comes, which is also preventive. Unfortunately, most patients after the elimination of pain, neglect this therapy. As a result, after a few weeks, they again develop an exacerbation, since there is no influence on the course of the disease.

Basic methods of non-drug treatment of neck pain:

  • special therapeutic gymnastic exercises;
  • point Chinese massage

  • massage and self-massage;
  • other manual procedures, for example, post-isometric relaxation;
  • acupuncture;
  • physiotherapy procedures;
  • spinal traction;
  • wearing orthopedic supporting structures;
  • folk recipes;
  • sanatorium treatment.

Special attention should be paid to the latest physiotherapy techniques, which allow to obtain the result without the use of strong medicines and operations:

  • Khivamat,
  • HILT therapy,
  • Laser therapy mls,
  • Ionoson electrophoresis.

Complex therapy allows to strengthen the neck muscles, to eliminate their spasm, to make them more elastic, to improve the blood supply of the spinal tissues, to adjust the mobility of the cervical vertebrae, to prevent the progression of the disease and the aggravation of pain.

When operation

is required Operative treatment of neck pain is performed according to strict indications:

  • presence of complications of spine diseases( stenosis of the canal, hernia, which compresses the spinal cord or nerve endings, spine instability, spondylolisthesis);
  • chronic severe pain, which can not be eliminated by all conservative methods for 6 months.

In any case, surgery on the cervical spine is a huge risk. Therefore, first you need to try all the conservative methods to fight the disease, and not look for an easy way.

Pain in the neck of a girl
  • Types of pain
  • Causes of neck pain
  • Why does the neck hurt in a child
  • Treatment of neck pain