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General Practice 2023

Pain in the back of the neck: what it can be (and how to relieve it)

Pain in the back of the neck: what it can be (and how to relieve it)
Pain in the back of the neck: what it can be (and how to relieve it)

Pain in the back of the neck is usually not a sign of a serious problem, being more common in cases of excess tension, caused by situations such as emotional stress, increased blood pressure or anxiety, for example. Usually, in these cases it is also possible to feel a stiffer neck and pain on both sides of the neck.

It is recommended to consult a doctor when the pain in the back of the neck is disabling, takes more than 48 hours to go away, there is chest pain or palpitations or is accompanied by vomiting or fever above 38ÂșC, this because it may be indicative of meningitis or aneurysm, which are more serious situations and should be treated immediately.

In these cases, a general practitioner should be consulted so that he can ask for tests, indicate the possible cause of the pain in the back of the neck and start the appropriate treatment.The doctor may also refer the patient to a cardiologist in case of high blood pressure or an orthopedist when pain is caused by spinal diseases or muscle problems, for example.

1. Bad posture

Poor posture is one of the main causes of neck pain, being more frequent in people who work seated and at the computer, this is because when the person sits incorrectly or when the screen height is not adequate, it is muscle tension and spinal nerves may be pinched, which can result in neck pain.

How to treat: In this case, it is important to pay attention to the posture when sitting, leaning completely on the back of the chair and supporting the feet on the floor, avoiding crossing the legs. In addition, it is recommended that the computer screen is 50 - 60 cm away and at eye level, and a support can be placed to make this possible.Check out more tips to improve your posture.

2. Stress and Anxiety

As well as bad posture, stress and anxiety can also cause muscle tension and result in neck pain, as well as headaches and body aches.

How to treat: To relieve stress and anxiety, it is important to practice activities that promote relaxation, such as meditation, physical activity, watching a movie or resting. In this way, it is possible not only to relieve neck pain but also to promote well-being. See other tips to relieve stress.

3. Contracture or torticollis

Another very common cause of neck pain is the presence of muscle problems such as contractures or torticollis, in the neck or upper back region. This type of pain usually arises after doing intense back or shoulder training, but it can also happen from poor posture during the day or while sleeping, and is usually felt when turning the neck, for example.

How to treat: It is recommended to put warm compresses on the back and neck and rest. If the pain does not improve, a family doctor should be consulted, as it may be necessary to start the use of anti-inflammatory drugs or muscle relaxants, such as cyclobenzaprine hydrochloride. Check out some stretches that help reduce neck pain.

4. Sinusitis

Sinusitis is inflammation of the mucosa of the nasal sinuses characterized by the accumulation of secretions, which leads to increased pressure and pain in the face, especially between the nose and eyes, in addition to a feeling of heaviness in the head and neck pain in some cases. Know how to recognize the symptoms of sinusitis.

How to treat: It is important to consult the general practitioner to identify the cause of sinusitis and initiate the most appropriate treatment, which may include the use of nasal decongestants or the use of antibiotics, in case sinusitis is caused by bacteria, in addition to the use of anti-inflammatories to relieve symptoms.

See the video below for more tips to get rid of sinusitis:

5. High blood pressure

Situations that cause an exaggerated increase in blood pressure, such as stress, are the main causes of pain behind the head, which then radiates to the forehead, associated with a feeling of heaviness in the head and also leading to the emergence of others symptoms, such as blurred or blurry vision. Learn other symptoms of high blood pressure.

How to treat: The best way to relieve this type of pain is to relax to try to lower blood pressure and adopt care in food, avoiding eating foods rich in s alt, and drinking more liquids, such as water. In addition, regular physical activity, accompanied by a he alth professional, is also indicated to improve blood circulation, and consequently help to regulate pressure.

However, if the pressure is out of control or if pain in the back of the neck appears more frequently, it is recommended to go to the cardiologist to evaluate changes in pressure and advise on the medications that can be used.

6. Osteoarthritis

By causing joint degeneration, osteoarthritis can also be one of the causes of neck pain. This happens because, in the neck region, there are several joints between the vertebrae of the spine. Thus, if there is any degeneration in these places, the pain can radiate to the back of the neck. Typically, this type of pain gets worse with neck movement, worsening throughout the day and easing with rest.

How to treat: To relieve pain crises it is necessary to consult an orthopedist to start the use of analgesic, anti-inflammatory or glucosamine and chondroitin supplements. However, to prevent the pain from returning, you should do activities that help relieve the weight on your joints and strengthen your back and neck muscles, such as water aerobics, Pilates or yoga, for example.

7. Meningitis

Meningitis is one of the most serious causes of pain in the back of the neck and, although it is rare, it can appear at any age, especially if there is an outbreak of the disease.In these cases, the pain in the back of the neck or in the entire head is very strong and appears along with other symptoms such as fever, nausea, vomiting and excessive tiredness. The pain in the back of the neck gets worse when the head is lowered, placing the chin on the chest, a maneuver performed by the doctor and which indicates a sign of inflammation of the meninges. Check out the symptoms of meningitis.

How to treat: Meningitis needs to be identified and treated as soon as possible, so whenever there is a suspicion of the disease, it is important to go to the emergency room to make the diagnosis and initiate appropriate treatment, which may include the use of antibiotics.

8. Aneurysm

A cerebral aneurysm is a dilatation of a blood vessel in the brain that can end up rupturing over time and causing a hemorrhagic stroke. Usually, this type of change does not cause any symptoms before it ruptures, but there are few cases in which a constant headache can arise in the back of the neck.When it breaks, the pain is very strong and sudden and can continue to get worse over time.

How to treat: If an aneurysm rupture is suspected, it is very important to immediately go to the hospital or call an ambulance, calling 192. same type of sequelae as a stroke and, therefore, can be life-threatening. See the first symptoms to identify an aneurysm.

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