What is Neck Pain?
Pain in the neck can be due to injury, a mechanical or muscular problem, a trapped nerve caused by a bulge in one of the discs between the vertebrae, or from arthritis of the neck. It can range from very mild discomfort to severe, burning pain.
If the pain is ‘acute’ – sudden and intense – it is called a crick in the neck or muscular rheumatism. If the pain has lasted more than three months, it is termed ‘chronic’ neck pain. Neck pain is a very common condition and is more frequently seen in women than men. Most people will experience pain in the neck at some point in their life.
What causes Neck Pain?
Many things can trigger neck pain. These include:
Trauma or injury
Worry and stress
Falling asleep in an awkward position
Prolonged use of a computer keyboard.
For most people, no specific reason for the pain can be found. However, in some cases it is possible to make a precise diagnosis. The underlying problem could be Slipped disc, brittle bones (Osteoporosis), Cervical Spondylosis, deformed natural curvature of the spine (Scoliosis) and, very rarely, structural damage due to Tumours or Infection. Finally, road traffic accidents involving whiplash injury may result in acute or chronic neck pain that takes several months to improve.
What does Neck pain feel like?
General pain located in the neck area as well as stiffness in the neck muscles.
The pain may radiate down to the shoulder or between the shoulder blades.
It may also radiate out into the arm, the hand, or up into the head, causing a one-sided or double-sided headache.
The muscles in the neck are tense, sore and feel hard to the touch.
Acute pain can give rise to abnormal neck posture in which the head is forced to turn to one side.
The pain at the base of the skull may be accompanied by a feeling of weakness in the shoulders and arms.
There may be a prickly or tingling sensation in the arms and fingers.
How does the Doctor make a Diagnosis?
In most cases, a neck pain problem can be diagnosed by carrying out a thorough examination that may include all or some of the following:
- Testing the movement of the neck.
- Testing for trapped nerves.
- Examination of the muscles.
- Examination of the movement of the joints of the spine, neck and hands.
Ayurvedic Treatment for Neck-Pain
Ayurveda suggests the following choice of treatment for neck pain:
Intensive Muscle Training, Yoga, Pranayama & other Stress Releaving Exercises
Ayurveda & Keraliya Panchakarma Therapies for a period of 7/14/21/28 days according to the severity of the disease which includes Shiro dhara(pouring continuous stream of medicated oil, buttermilk etc on the fore head and doing a gentle & soothing head massage), Shiro vasti(A special technique of bathing the head in medicated oils using a special cap like apparatus), Abhyangam( A whole body massage with specific herbal oils, achieves deepest healing effects by naturally harmonizing Body, Mind, Soul and the Senses), Nadi Swedam(medicated steam bath), Nasyam(administration of medicated oil through the nose, cleanses accumulated Kapha toxins from the head and neck region), Elakizhi (herbal leaf bundle massage), Shastika Sali Pinda Swedam/ Navarakizhi (A highly effective rejuvenation technique using a special type of rice that is cooked, tied into boluses and dipped into an herbal decoction and warm milk, then skillfully massaged all over the body), Pizhichil (medicated oil bath), Greeva vasthi(a treatment done on to the neck to decrease cervical spinal compression) etc.
What Medication is given?
Medicines used in this treatment includes Thailams, Churnams, Asavams, Aristams, Ghrithams, Lehyams etc prepared from ayurvedic herbs like Rasna, Nirgundi, Dasamoola, Aswagandha etc based on severity, stage of the disease, age, prakruthi of the patient. Vata hara, Brumhana Oushada Ahara Vihara are also advised to these patients.
People with weak neck muscles are more prone to neck problems and in such cases, an exercise programme to strengthen the neck is a good idea. Pranayama and other neck exercises releaves the stress in the neck.