Stiff Neck – Cause And Relief

Have you ever woke up to a stiff neck before? That uncomfortable and tight feeling that makes movement almost impossible and causing you a lot of discomfort throughout the entire day. Stiff neck are frequently experienced by many and it will usually go away by itself after a few days. You may rest assure that stiff neck is not an indication of any serious problems with your neck.

A stiff neck is typically characterized by difficulty moving the neck, especially when trying to turn the head to the side. It may also be accompanied by a headache, neck pain, shoulder pain or arm pain. In order to look sideways an individual may need to turn the entire body instead of the stiff neck. Most people are familiar with the pain of a stiff neck. In most cases, pain and stiffness go away naturally within a week.

If a stiff neck has not improved after a week, it should be checked by a doctor. Also, regardless of how long it has lasted, a stiff neck accompanied by fever, headache, nausea or unexplained sleepiness should be treated by a medical professional immediately.

Causes of Stiff Neck

Injury

Injuries are one of the most common reasons that one will experience stiff neck. A sudden jerking movement at the neck region can injure the muscles and ligaments, causing injury and subsequent pain and stiffness. Injuries can be caused by sports, accidental falls or even a car accident.

Stress

Our body response to stress is the natural tensing of our muscles. If you did not suffer any injuries recently and is experiencing stiff neck, it could be an indication that you are under tremendous stress. It’s time to take things easy and relax.

Muscle spasm

Muscle spasm are due to the signalling of certain messages from our nerves to the muscles which will result in them involuntary contracting, causing stiff neck.

Improper sleeping posture

Improper sleeping posture is probably the most common reason for stiff neck. Our body is in a relaxed state when we are asleep and an improper sleeping posture can cause the pulling of the neck muscles without us being aware of it. Only when we finally wake up do we realise it and it is often too late.

Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that targets the joints, especially those in the neck. It will result in neck pain and stiffness.

Meningitis

Meningitis is a very serious inflection of the fluid that surrounds our brain and spinal cord and if you suffer from neck pain and stiffness and they are not caused by the factors listed above, you should consult a doctor immediately as a stiff neck is a common symptom of meningitis.

 

Diagnosis of Stiff Neck

Your doctor will take a medical history and do an exam. He or she will check for tenderness, numbness and muscle weakness, as well as see how far you can move your head forward, backward and side to side.

Imaging tests

Your doctor might order imaging tests to get a better picture of the cause of your stiff neck. Examples include:

  • X-rays can reveal areas in your neck where your nerves or spinal cord might be pinched by bone spurs or other degenerative changes.
  • CT scans combine X-ray images taken from many different directions to produce detailed cross-sectional views of the internal structures of your neck.
  • MRI uses radio waves and a strong magnetic field to create detailed images of bones and soft tissues, including the spinal cord and the nerves coming from the spinal cord.

It’s possible to have X-ray or MRI evidence of structural problems in your neck without having symptoms. Imaging studies are best used as an adjunct to a careful history and physical exam to determine the cause of your pain.

 

Treatment Regime for Stiff Neck

An individual can do several things to begin treating a stiff neck. Some common self-care strategies include:

  • Rest. Taking it easy for one or two days gives injured tissues a chance to begin to heal, which in turn will help relieve stiffness and possible muscle spasm. For example, someone who swims may want to avoid certain swim strokes that involve lots of head twisting for a few days. However, it is recommended to limit rest to one or two days, as too much inactivity can lead to a weakening of the muscles, and weak muscles have to struggle to adequately support the neck and head.
  • Cold and/or heat therapy. Cold therapy/ice packs help relieve most types of neck stiffness by reducing local inflammation. Applying ice during the first 24 to 48 hours of a painful flare-up usually has the most benefit in terms of reducing inflammation. Applying heat to the neck can spur blood flow, which fosters a better healing environment. Some patients prefer ice, whereas others prefer heat. Both may be used alternately.
  • Over-the-counter medications. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which work by reducing inflammation, are typically a first line of treatment for neck stiffness and soreness. Even non prescription medications have risks, possible side effects, and drug interactions, so be sure to discuss any medications with a doctor.
  • Gentle stretching. Stretching, as soon as tolerated, helps ease the stiffness and restore the neck to a more natural range of motion. For many, it is a good idea to learn appropriate stretches with the help of a physical therapist.
  • Low-impact aerobic exercise. Stretching or any form of low-impact aerobic exercise, such as walking, is often helpful in relieving any type of stiffness. Even if walking does not directly involve the neck, it helps circulate oxygen to the soft tissues throughout the spine, which in turn promotes healing.

 

Stiff Neck Treatment in Singapore

You can contact us for counselling regarding stiff neck treatment. We are closely working with more than 35 Insurance companies for cashless payments. We are an Accredited Specialist Clinic. E-filing facility is also available at our clinic.

Questions To Ask Before Orthopaedic Surgery

Orthopaedic surgeries are major surgeries and are extremely stressful. There will be a lot of doubts going through your head and can trigger an anxiety breakdown. However, this can be controlled by asking questions prior to your surgery. Being knowledgeable about what you are about to go through will allow you to appreciate the entire surgical process, prepare yourself for it and set in mind a proper recovery plan post surgery. So what are some questions that you should be asking your surgeon before surgery?

Why am I doing this surgery?

It is easy to Google online for information regarding the particular surgery you are about to undergo. However, there is no clear answer to why you are doing the surgery. You should be asking your surgeon why he recommended this particular surgery for you and are there any other alternative treatment methods that are available as well as a comparison between the possible alternatives. This will allow you to have a high confidence level prior to surgery.

What are the risks?

Risks are inevitable in any surgery and some carry a higher risk level than others. It would be good to clarify on this issue as well as question about some surgical procedures which have lesser risk level such as the use of a local anaesthesia as compared to a general anaesthesia as studies have shown that patients who received general anaesthesia have a higher risk of post surgery bleeding.

What are the available pain relief methods?

Pain and discomfort is also unavoidable post surgery and some people have a lower pain threshold than others. Therefore, it is crucial to understand about the available pain relief methods which will help you get through this tough period. You should also know what medications you are allergic to so that proper medication can be administered to you.

What are the success rates?

Bluntly speaking, you undergo surgery with the hope that it is a success. However, as you have already known, some surgeries carry a higher risk factor than others and therefore the success rates will fluctuate. Knowing what the success rates are will allow you to make better plans for your future.

No matter what orthopaedic surgery you are about to undergo, you should always ask questions prior to it to clarify your doubts and set your mind at ease. Here’s wishing you to a successful surgery and quick post-surgery recovery.

Difference Between Chiropractor and Orthopaedic Doctors

An unfortunate accident occurred one day while you were playing contact sports and that left you with a knee injury. You know that you need to consult a medical professional for this injury and you start to evaluate the options available. Should you go to an Orthopaedic doctor or should you go to a Chiropractor? Each has its own advantages. For some cases, chiropractic sports are great to treat certain injuries while some injuries fall outside the jurisdiction of chiropractic and only orthopaedic surgery can treat them.

Who are Chiropractors and how do they treat an injury? First of all, Chiropractors are not medical doctors and they do not prescribe medications. Chiropractors believe in hands on and alternative treatment instead of surgery. They believe that the body is able to heal on its own. For example, if mobility to a certain part of the body is observed, they will manipulate that particular part to regain mobility. A visit to a Chiropractor usually cost a lot lesser than a visit to an Orthopaedic doctor. Some chiropractors even make the first consultation complimentary. Not only that, you are also able to fix an appointment at an earlier date as compared to an appointment with an Orthopaedic doctor. However, multiple visits to Chiropractors are required to be able to see results and in the long term, it may cost more than a visit to the latter.

Orthopaedic doctors on the other hand are medical doctors. They specialise in the diagnosis and treatment of our musculoskeletal system. Many people have the idea that orthopaedic doctors are doctors who will recommend surgery for everything, from a torn meniscus to a dislocated bone. This is not true. Orthopaedic doctors will often only recommend surgery when all other available options are exhausted. If the injury can be treated with physical therapy, they will recommend that unless patients insist on surgery in the first place. Orthopaedic doctors will make use of medical technologies such as X-Rays and MRI scans to tell the patient what exactly is wrong with their body. They are also able to prescribe pain relief medications be it orally or via injections, something that Chiropractors are not able to.

Deciding on a visit either to a Chiropractor or an Orthopaedic doctor is purely the decision of the patient. As a patient, you need to know what type of injury you have suffered and make your decision based on that. Different people prefer different things and be sure to know what results you really want.

Pregnancy – Nutrition and Exercises For Healthy Bone Structure

Pregnancy is the time that many things will happen to a woman internally. Most women only think about what are the best food they should consume so that the child can gain all the necessary nutrients to grow properly. What many women do not think of is the condition and health status of their bone. During pregnancy, the baby in the womb relies on the mum’s daily calcium intake to build the skeleton. If the supply of calcium is insufficient, it will automatically source for calcium from the mother’s bones, causing the mum to lose bone density and mass. However, this can easily be prevented through proper diet and exercises.

Calcium

Calcium is the building block for bones and the baby needs a constant supply of calcium to build their skeleton. As such, the continuous intake of calcium rich food is a necessity. Some of the common foods that are rich in calcium are milk, cheese, soy bean products, broccoli, kale, tofu and cereals. It is necessary to consume at least 3 servings of foods that are rich in calcium and even when you snack in between meals, try to choose snacks that are rich in calcium such as calcium rich biscuits. The calcium intake should spread throughout the day and not only to a particular time of the day. Always try to visit your doctor as he can determine if the amount of calcium you are taking is sufficient. If there is still a deficit, he will prescribe calcium supplements for you.

Protein

Pregnant women needs a minimum of 75g of protein intake daily and the intake of protein is extremely important as they provide a source of iron which plays an important role in transporting oxygen supply to the baby to ensure optimal growth in the womb. It is recommended to consume 3 servings of protein rich food daily. Foods that are rich in protein includes beef, chicken, fish, nuts and beans. A normal serving of chicken provides around 25g of protein while a normal serving of salmon provides around 22g of protein.

Vitamin D

Most people associate Vitamin D with the sun. They are not wrong there! We obtain most of our Vitamin D requirements from the sun and a negligible amount from the food we consume daily. Vitamin D is an important vitamin as it helps to maintain our muscle and bone density and strength. It also helps in efficient absorption of calcium from food which is important in keeping bones strong and healthy. Vitamin D helps to build up the baby’s bones and a deficiency of Vitamin D could possibly lead to rickets, a form of bone deformity in the baby. You should always visit the doctor to perform a blood test to determine your Vitamin D levels in the body and if you are lacking in it, the doctor will prescribe Vitamin D supplements for you.

Foods that are rich in protein, vitamin D and calcium helps to build strong bones which are not only important in pregnant mums but also in normal people. Most of the foods are actually tasty and are what we consume on a daily basis. For lactose intolerant people, you can always obtain your daily calcium intake from soy products. Always aim to take more calcium and reduce the risk of osteoporosis when you grow older.

When to seek an Orthopaedic?

People often associate karang-guni men with old, dirty, unwanted stuffs. Same goes for orthopaedic surgeons, people associate them with fractures and ligaments. It is not just about fractures and ligaments. They do more than that and they are the experts when it comes to our musculoskeletal system which consists of all the bones and muscles in our body. As long as you suffer from any injury to your bones and muscles, you need to seek help from an orthopaedic doctor.

Orthopaedic surgeons are specialists and they do not attend to common illnesses such as your common cold or fever although they are trained to. When you suffer from a musculoskeletal injury, you may or may not have the chance to see an orthopaedic doctor depending on the injury suffered. Your friendly General Practitioner is trained and equipped to handle ankle sprains. However, if you are suffering from a suspected torn ligament, broken arm or arthritis, you need an orthopaedic immediately. Below are some common instances when you will make a good friend in an orthopaedic doctor.

Sports injuries

If you are an active sportsman and you participate in high impact contact sports, you have a high chance to make a new friend. High impact contact sports increases the chances of one suffering from a torn ligament, torn meniscus, dislocated arm, muscle strains and pulls as well as common knee and elbow injuries.

Bone tumors

Orthopaedic specialists only deal with bone tumors and not tumors that grow elsewhere. Bone tumors will need to be removed surgically and since orthopaedic doctors are best in matters regarding the bone, they make the ideal and only choice. While the main motive is to remove the tumor on the bone, mobility cannot be affected as a result of that.

Arthritis

Arthritis sufferers are gradually increasing and arthritis cases will need to be attended to by orthopaedic doctors. If it is not treated or treated incorrectly, it can lead to pain and inflammation to the joints, causing immobility issues. Simple daily activities such as walking and even brushing of teeth and washing of face can be an issue.

Orthopaedic doctors are specialists in their own field and patients will need to see them for most musculoskeletal injuries. Minor ones such as a sprained ankle can be treated by a General Practitioner but if it develops into more serious complications, it is advisable to seek an orthopaedic doctor immediately. No matter how big or small an injury may seem, you should not self medicate and self treat as musculoskeletal injuries are often more serious than it looks.

Physiotherapy VS Orthopaedic Surgery

Whenever someone suffers an injury to his musculoskeletal system such as muscle strains, sprains, ligament tears, broken bones or dislocations, he will have to make some difficult decisions on whether to go for physiotherapy or undergo orthopaedic surgery. For example in the case of an Anterior Cruciate tear, the patient will need to ask himself whether he still intends to continue with the sports in future or he will stop playing it forever. Often if he decides not to continue with the sports in future, he will not need to undergo surgery and physiotherapy is sufficient. If he still wishes to get back to his sporting lifestyle, an orthopaedic surgery is definitely required. Most surgeon will recommend patients to go for the fastest option available – surgery. They believe that a quick response will prevent any possible long term complications such as osteoarthritis or damages to the meniscus. Some however will recommend physiotherapy to allow patients to be able to stand on their own and strengthen the surrounding muscles.

Physiotherapy

Physiotherapy aims to help free patients from any pain that he is currently experiencing and prevents them from coming back again, allowing patients to lead a better quality lifestyle. Through physiotherapy, patients are able to build up their muscle strength and endurance, restore their range of motion and improve their hand and feet coordination, decrease any pain and reduce the swelling and inflammation of joints. Physiotherapy is effective in helping heal any injured joints and muscles. However, they must be conducted under the guide of a professional therapist.

Orthopaedic Surgery

However, when tissues and muscles are injured to an extent where physiotherapy is no longer effective and the injured areas must be stitched back together, orthopaedic surgery is required. In the case of a serious fracture, surgery is also required to allow proper healing. Physiotherapy can help to strengthen the muscles, tendons and tissues surrounding the injury so that they can support and help compensate for the injured part. The chances of someone suffering the same injury is higher if surgery is not performed. As such, most surgeon will tell patients to undergo surgery if they really wish to participate in the sports in future.

Depending on the extent of the injury, certain treatment is more effective as each has its own pros and cons. For example, physiotherapy can help in muscle strains and sprains. Orthopaedic surgery is required for a complete ACL or meniscus tear. Surgery is often the last thing on a doctor’s mind and he will recommend for physiotherapy to see if it helps.

Could Knee Injury Cause Knee Arthritis?

Question

I twisted and sprained my knee badly back in high school. I read once that having a bad knee injury can cause knee arthritis later in life. If so, I’m wondering if there is anything I can do now so I don’t end up with knee arthritis.

Answer

People who have had a significant injury of the knee joint may have a greater risk for knee arthritis in later years. Prevention includes safe exercises that focus on improving and maintaining joint movement and muscle strength.

Stay active in a low-impact conditioning program, such as walking. To help reduce shock with day-to-day activities, wear supportive shoes, and consider the addition of an insole to help absorb shock. Walk on soft surfaces when possible, and avoid standing and walking for long periods on hard surfaces, such as cement. You might also consider choosing sport and recreational activities that don’t require cutting, jumping, and quick starts and stops. The time and effort you invest now to improve the health of your knee and avoid future problems are worth it.

Am I Able to Gain my Balance Back, after a Ligament surgery?

Question:

I tore my anterior cruciate ligament(ACL) playing basketball, and I’m having surgery to reconstruct the ligament. Can I expect to get my balance back?

Answer:

The outlook is good. Researchers recently observed patients who had ACL surgery followed by five weeks of wearing either a cast or a brace. Patients also had six to eight months of therapy to get their agility and strength back. Three years after surgery, these patients did as well on tests of balance as people who didn’t have ACL problems. Patients who had ACL surgery had slightly slower reaction times, but in general their balance was just as good.

Ask your doctor or physical therapist about ways to manage your knee after surgery to ensure a full recovery.

How successful is surgery for shin splints?

Question: 

How successful is surgery for shin splints?

Answer:

There is no clear-cut answer to this question. Although some people are helped by surgery for shin splints, surgery is not always successful. Pain is often relieved without surgery.

Other treatment options can be tried before surgery. These include the use of orthotic inserts. Orthotics help stabilize the ankle joint and keep the foot from rolling inward. They can also be designed to help absorb shock. Training for strength, agility, and flexibility before and during the sports season also reduces shin splints among athletes.

Will I develop arthritis if i had a fall during my secondary school days?

Question:

I fell and hurt my knee pretty bad back in high school. Will I be more likely to develop arthritis in my knee as I get older?

Answer:

Just because you injured your knee does not mean you’ll have problems as you age. However, significant injuries to the knee and hip have been found to increase the risk of osteoarthritis in these joints. Researchers tracked 1,337 medical students over a period of nearly twenty years to see whether people with knee or hip injuries would eventually have problems with osteoarthritis. They found that a higher percentage of people with injuries of the hip or knee in the younger years ended up having arthritis in the joint they had injured. People who are at risk because of an earlier injury should consider seeking advice on ways to improve the health of their joint and to prevent problems in the future.