Neck pains are at times caused by inappropriate working postures especially with people who use computers all day. Additionally, pain in the neck could be a result of an injury, a mechanical or muscular problem, a trapped nerve caused by a lump in one of the discs between the vertebrae or from arthritis of the neck. This ranges from mild discomfort to a severe burning pain.
If the pain is acute, sudden and intense it’s called a crick in the neck, facet syndrome or muscular rheumatism but when the pain has lasted more than three months, it’s termed as a ‘chronic’ neck pain.
Neck pains are a common condition and are more frequently seen in women than men. Many things can trigger neck pain such as injury, worry and stress, sleeping in an awkward position and prolonged use of a computer keyboard.
Roger Rukundo, a Gym Instructor and Fitness Trainer at Be Fit 24h fitness center at Amahoro Stadium said that some neck pains can be healed by physical exercise.
“Many times prevention is better than cure for instance; if the neck pains are as a result of an awkward sitting posture then one should revise that. Even if one does the right exercises to get rid of the pains but it does not change or stop what’s causing the pains then the nagging pains will be constant,” Rukundo said.
He advised that stretching the painful muscles while exercising and having a massage will bring relief and reduce tension on the muscles.
In the gym there is a machine known as ‘Fixed lat pull down’ that works on stretching the neck muscles.
Steps taken while using the Fixed-lat-pull-down include:-
1. Sit facing the machine with your knees under the roller pad.
2. Grasp the handles, exhale and pull the handles down to the outside of your shoulders keeping your back straight.
3. Inhale as you stretch upwards to complete the movement.
However, in some cases it’s possible to make a precise diagnosis. The underlying problem could be a slipped disc, brittle bones (osteoporosis), deformed natural curvature of the spine (scoliosis) and, very rarely, structural damage due to tumor or infection. The general pain located in the neck area, as well as stiffness in the neck muscles may radiate down to the shoulder or between the shoulder blades.
The pain may also radiate out into the arm, the hand or up into the head, causing a one-sided or double-sided headache mostly when 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. This condition is known as torticollis. It’s advisable to see a doctor if pain persists.