We often come across people having pain in neck, it is a common symptom observed in regular life. Sleeping in a wrong position or sitting and straining your neck in front of computer are few causes that can lead to pain in neck. Neck pain can be sharp and shooting; while at times it can be dull and achy. It can be an acute pain which comes abruptly from nowhere. In some cases the pain is gradual and chronic. It often persists for number of weeks and months.
Shooting neck pain can remain localized in the neck or it can radiate in the arms, hands and also to the head depending on the underlying cause.Generally with rest, mild physiotherapy exercise the pain invariably resolves. It may take time in chronic neck pain.
What Causes Shooting Pain In The Neck?
Several reasons can attribute pain in neck. It can result from an injury to the neck, wear and tear, poor posture and poor alignment of cervical spine while sleeping or sitting. Stress and strain resulting from bad lifting techniques etc can cause neck pain. Here are some of the factors which are likely to be a cause for neck pain.
Injury: it is a common cause for pain in neck.Injury while playing sports, whiplash injury, faulty way of exercising and weight lifting can cause neck pain. Sudden, sharp and shooting pain can occur as a result of trauma or an accidental injury to neck tissues and cervical spine.
Cervical spondylosis: regular wear and tear in the neck and degeneration of cervical disc can lead to cervical spondylosis. It is usually seen in middle aged and elderly individuals. Pain in neck, stiffness, difficulty in neck movements are some of its symptoms. Often the pain radiates to arm and hand.
Pinched nerve: when the spinal nerve is pinched between the vertebras, it can give rise to sharp shooting pain in neck as well as in arms and to the head.
Rotator cuff injury: there are group of muscles and ligaments present in the shoulder joint which helps in positioning of the arm and its proper movement. A hard impact due to accidental injury or sports injury or repeated strenuous work, can damage the structures giving rise to sudden sharp pain in shoulder and neck.
Herpes zoster in neck region: it is a skin ailment which has fluid filled blisters. The cause is virus infection. The condition is characterized by excruciating pain in neck when present in that area. It lasts for 10 days. Residual pain can persist even longer.
Treatment For Neck And Shoulder Muscle Pain
Pain in neck should not be neglected and prompt medical attention should be sought. The treatment can be either conservative or surgical. Most cases of neck pain resolve with conservative treatment both with medications, and self care approach which include rest, massage, ice and hot compressions and mild stretching of neck.
- Rest: rest from the activities that aggravate the condition should be stressed upon.
- Massage: a gentle massage on the neck region with pain balms help in relaxing the strained muscles of neck.
- Ice and heat fomentation: alternate application effective in reducing inflammation of muscles and ligaments. It also relaxes the muscles.
If these treatments are not effective in reducing pain in one or two days, you should consult your doctor. The physician may prescribe pain killers and muscle relaxants.
To restore the neck movement and prevent further injury to the neck, physiotherapy exercise is helpful. It is intended to strengthen the neck muscles as well as muscles or arm, shoulder, chest and back.
- Ultrasound, short wave diathermy, neck traction are some other physiotherapy variants for improving neck condition.
- Patient should stop smoking in case if he is smoking. This is because smoking delays improvement.
- Surgery is seldom recommended. It is advised only when the problem is serious.