Chronic Neck Pain Is Worse For Your Health Than You Think

That glorious feeling of waking up refreshed after an excellent night's sleep can easily be thwarted by the feeling of a crick in your neck. It may be the result of the position you slept in or due to improper form when exercising, according to Healthline. While this type of crick, or stiffness, is typically benign and heals within a few days, those who have felt this before know that it really is a pain in the neck.

Chronic neck pain differs from the occasional stiff neck and can sometimes signify more of a serious medical issue. According to the Premier Spine Institute, minor neck strains can be treated and resolved with some lifestyle changes, including improving posture and stretching. However, chronic neck pain should not be ignored. The most common types of ongoing neck pain are due to muscle strain, a crick on one side of the neck, nerve compression, and pinched nerves. Although it can be difficult to determine which injury you have, you should not leave it unaddressed. 

When left untreated, a pinched nerve might lead to serious damage

A compressed nerve in the neck can eventually lead to pain, tingling, numbness, or pins and needles in the surrounding area, as well as in the shoulder and down the arm. The Premier Spine Institute reports that this can be painful and damaging, as a pinched nerve can affect the strength of the muscles. When left untreated, the damage may become irreversible. The Cleveland Clinic reports that, although pinched nerves are common and typically heal in 4-6 weeks, there are occasions in which they can cause chronic pain and even lead to permanent nerve damage. Treatments may include over-the-counter pain relievers, heat therapy, physical therapy, or in severe cases, surgery.

New Mexico Orthopaedics states that if your neck pain has been persistent for more than six weeks or has not improved and gotten worse, you should see a doctor. A healthcare professional can suggest the proper testing to provide the care you need for your chronic neck pain.