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.

Scapula (Shoulder Blade) Fractures: Treatment & Management

It is very uncommon to suffer from scapula fractures but it does happen. This can be due to a major trauma or other events but usually results in shoulder pain and treatment being needed. They typically occur in less than 1% of the population but do still happen from time to time. The most common age group that suffers from shoulder blade fractures are young men between the ages of 25 and 45. This is basically because of the types of activities and events that age group participates in.

Causes

A shoulder blade fracture can be caused by different traumatic events. An automobile accident is one such event that can cause your shoulder pain and to fracture the scapula. Another common cause of this injury is a fall that pertains to direct impact on the shoulder. This could be an example of falling off a ladder and onto your shoulder, or falling from a height that ends in landing on your shoulder itself. This could also result in direct injuries from a baseball bat or even an impact from a hammer.

Symptoms

Symptoms of a scapula fracture can include one holding their arm close to the body to reduce the pain, swelling and inflammation, and the inability to use the arm. If moving the arm increases the pain, this may mean that you have a shoulder fracture.

Treatment Options

Most of the time shoulder blade fractures do not require surgery for treatment. In some severe cases, surgery will be required but this is not the norm. Typically ice and anti-inflammatory medications are used to help reduce swelling and the shoulder pain that is associated with this injury. Your shoulder may also be immobilized in a sling for up to four weeks or more depending on the severity of the injury. This keeps you from moving the shoulder and potentially reinjuring it before it is properly healed. Physical therapy may also be needed to help in rebuilding the mobility after the injury has taken place.

While most times shoulder blade fractures are easily treated, they need to be seen by a medical doctor before letting them go. This is because most often a shoulder fracture has been caused by a very traumatic injury. This could also be a sign that other injuries have taken place in the body that you may not be aware of. Always have a medical examination after a fall or injury such as a car accident to rule out any life-threatening injury.

Biceps Tendinitis: Cause, Symptom & Treatment

When it comes to lifting, moving, writing, and doing everyday chores, your biceps go through a lot of movement. If you’re doing too much you can begin to notice biceps pain start to creep in and you may think it’s just overuse of your muscles. However, it is important to know that your biceps can be injured through lifting heavier than normal objects, overusing the muscle or other ways. One of the injuries you can develop is called biceps tendinitis. Discover below what biceps tendinitis treatment is available and how you can tell if that is what you have going on.

Causes

The main cause of tendinitis is due to overuse of the bicep muscle. This could be because you’re a baseball player, you lift heavy objects on a daily basis or you love to swim. You can have this show up in your bicep, elbow or shoulder. It is generally caused by the repetitive motions being done over and over by your arm. So if you have a job that is a repetitive movement, or if your favorite sport does the same, you can have a cause of tendonitis start to show up.

Symptoms

You may have biceps pain start in one or both of your arms depending on which arm is affected. Pain is generally located in the shoulder or elbow and not in both places at the same time. You may notice a sharp pain if you have a tear in the tendon or even bruising and swelling. You may also notice pain during movement that has caused the problem in the first place. If you have torn the tendon, then you may require surgery to fix the problem.

Treatment Options

There are a few different options for biceps tendinitis treatment. You can start with ice packs on the affected area. This can help to reduce any inflammation in the joint or bicep area that is causing the pain. You can also take an over the counter anti-inflammatory to help make sure it reduces inflammation and the pain. Resting the arm that is hurting is also highly advised. Try to take some time off of the activity that caused the pain so that your arm can rest and heal.

Biceps pain can be quite difficult to deal with, especially when it starts to affect your daily life. Be sure to take preventative measures if you have a repetitive job or task done each day. Change up your routine and get plenty of rest to make sure you don’t injure your arm further.

3 Common Injuries From Weight Lifting

Everyone wants to be healthier and stronger. One way to do that is with a healthy diet plan and exercise, combining both cardio and strength training. While strength training is a great method of toning and getting stronger, there are some very common weight lifting injuries that you should be aware of before getting started. They range from shoulder injuries to knee and back injuries. Learning what they are and how to avoid them to be safe when lifting is key in making the type of progress you wish to make.

Shoulder Injuries

When you are performing such tasks as overhead lifting like bench presses or shoulder press, you can run into an injury called shoulder impingement. This injury is when you have inflammation and swelling in the rotator cuff area. At first you may only notice pain in the shoulder when you’re lifting your arms, but eventually the pain can be felt no matter what you’re doing as it progresses. If you’re not cautious, then this shoulder impingement injury can also lead to a tear in the rotator cuff itself.

Back Injuries

Lifting heavy weights with your back instead of your legs can result in serious back strains or sprains. If you’re lifting with your back, you may also experience a herniated disc which is quite painful. Sprains are typically caused by acute injuries or trauma to the back making the ligaments stretch to far or even tear. Strains typically affect the muscles instead of the ligaments in the back. Most of these weight lifting injuries can be treated with medication and relaxation. The herniated disc however may require physical therapy or even surgery to correct the problem.

Knee Injuries

Remember to also protect your knees as you’re lifting weights. The knee joint or patellar tendon can be injured by repetitive squatting motions, deep knee bends, and extension of the knee.  As you are bending and squatting during your weight lifting, the tendon can start to get tiny tears in it. Then you may start to feel pain below the kneecap. It is important that you keep an eye on this and get treatment as soon as you can. Some cases are helped with patellar tendon strap or physical therapy. In extreme cases, surgery may be needed to repair the knee.

Lifting weights is a great way to get your body into shape and to help you feel and be stronger. While you’re lifting, it’s very important that you take the necessary safety steps and precautions to prevent yourself from having any weight lifting injuries.

Top 4 Baseball Injuries: Prevention

Baseball is an all-time favorite pastime not only in America, but around the world. From the backyard family games to the pitcher’s mound in the big stadiums, baseball is a game everyone can enjoy watching or playing. While this game is fun and exciting, it can also be dangerous to the players if the proper caution and preventative measures are not taken. From elbow injuries to hurting the pitcher’s shoulder, there are several different injuries that can occur when one plays on a regular basis. Here are the top four common baseball injuries and what you can do to prevent them from happening to you or your children.

Top Four Injuries

When it comes to the sport, there are several injuries that are commonly seen. One of the most common is muscle strains or soft tissue type injuries. This can occur when you pull a muscle during pitching, catching, or running bases. Two more types of injuries that are commonly seen include cuts and bruises. This happens due to running into another player, sliding into the bases, or even getting hit with the ball during a play.

One other type of typical baseball injury is a ligament injury. This includes spraining the ligament which happens a lot when pitching, catching or running the bases. All of these can be minor injuries but others can be quite detrimental to the player. It can cause you to miss a full season if the injury is severe enough.

How do you stop these injuries from happening? What can you do to avoid elbow injuries such as overuse or avoid injuring your pitcher’s shoulder? Here are a few tips to help you prevent these most common injuries from happening.

Tips to Prevent Injuries

Always make sure to warm up gradually and properly each time you go to play. Do not skip the warm up as this can help you get your muscles and body prepared for what you are about to do.  Start with easy slow pitches, running at a slow pace around the bases, and getting your body prepared for the game.

Rotate the pitchers to other positions. Make sure that you do not overuse your pitcher or overuse your arm as the pitcher. Also as the coach of a baseball team, follow the guidelines on age appropriate pitching. For example, teens and adults can typically pitch two games a week while the younger crowd should max out around 75-100 pitches a week. This will help to prevent them from injuring their shoulder.

Always wear your protective equipment such as helmets, shin guards and catcher’s mitt if you’re playing baseball. This can help you to prevent any major injuries and keep you playing your favorite sport.

What Is Swimmer’s Shoulder? Prevention & Treatment

Swimmer’s shoulder is an inflammatory condition that got its name from the common occurrence of shoulder pain that swimmers get from overuse during training. Patients experience a musculoskeletal pain that can extend from the shoulder joint to the neck and arms.

Cause

Patients get swimmer’s shoulder from recurring traumatic impact on the shoulder over a period of time of overtraining or impaired posture from poor swimming/paddling techniques. The muscles and ligaments in the shoulder are overworked and if the condition is ignored and untreated, it may lead to more serious injuries like rotator cuff tears or cartilage damage. The rotator cuff is the main group of muscles that controls the shoulder movements and keeps the shoulder centred on the joint. If the shoulder ball goes out of place, the shoulder would be dislocated.

Prevention

Since swimmer’s shoulder occurs gradually with repetitive movements, it is more effective to prevent the injury by correcting the stroke techniques than treating it when after it occurs.

To prevent the injury, swimmers have to use proper strokes with the hand facing flat and fingertips first entering the water. The shoulders are pulled back and chest thrust forward. However, take note that the body is still relaxed and not tensed up. Make sure that the arms are not fully straightened or dropped. This wrong method produces a push down force and puts stress on the shoulder muscles. Raise the elbows a little and keep it slightly bent to effectively press back against the water.

The proper technique should utilise the chest muscles and not just the shoulders. You would also find yourself swimming more efficiently with the generated force fully pushed backwards, propelling you forward faster.

Be careful of wearing out the shoulder muscles when there are changes in training techniques or an increase in training frequency. Ease in the changes gradually to let your muscles strengthen up and get used to the training.

You can also prevent it by stretching your shoulder, chest and neck muscles regularly. It helps to warm up the muscles and keep them flexible.

Treatment

You can apply the basic treatment method of RICE – Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation – if the condition is recognised early on. Just icing can also help reduce the pain and swelling.

If your condition does not improve with the basic methods of treatment or the pain keeps recurring, you may have to see a physiotherapist to manage the injury. Regular physiotherapy sessions would help strengthen the muscles and correct your posture. Your physiotherapist would advise you to rest your arm as much as possible and even wear a sling to keep the weight off your shoulders. You may have to sleep upright or with a pillow support.

A doctor may prescribe you anti-inflammatory and pain medicine to reduce the pain and swelling faster. But just the medicine will not treat the root of the problem. The healing process only begins with proper exercises done in physiotherapy and utilizing preventive methods to avoid further aggravating the injury.

Shoulder Joint Tear (Glenoid Labrum Tear): Symptoms & Prevention

The shoulder joint is composed of three different types of bones: the shoulder blade, upper arm bone and collarbone. This type of joint is a ball and socket joint, allowing for extreme flexibility and wide range of motion. The upper arm bone acts like a ball and is securely inside the shoulder blade socket. For stabilization purposes, the upper arm bone is slightly larger than the socket, ensuring that the fit is tight. To further enhance the stability, there is a layer of soft tissue called the labrum. Injuries to the labrum is the cause of a shoulder joint tear. In this article, we will look at some of the symptoms and preventive measures.

Symptoms of Glenoid Labrum tears are difficult to be diagnosed. The pain is unable to be localized to the exact location and pain is severely increased when actions involving the injured shoulder is attempted. Such actions can include stretching the arm or raising a hand. As time passes, the shoulder will be weaker and instability will start to set in.

Shoulder joint tears are often caused by a sudden trauma to the shoulder blade. These can include falling on an outstretched arm or a direct blow to the shoulder. In order to prevent this, protective measures should be taken:

Warm-ups and stretching

Have you ever taken a rubber band and pulled it suddenly? The rubber band will end up breaking immediately. This is the same for our muscles and it is the reason why warm ups and stretching are extremely important. Warming up will loosen the muscles and enable the tendons and ligaments to stretch. This will allow them to function properly and hold the shoulder joint together.

Protective gears

Shoulder joint tears are also much more common in players engaging in high impact sports such as rugby and baseball. Players often wear protective paddings designed for the shoulder. These cushioning pads are able to cushion and absorb shocks to a certain extent. Some are even able to prevent fractures and dislocations.

Build strong muscles

Building up strength in the shoulders will increase the ability of tendons, ligaments and muscles to withstand the impact experienced by the shoulder. Strong muscles will hold the shoulder together and prevent any muscular tears during an impact.

Shoulder joint tears are extremely painful and affects our daily lifestyle. Players who participate in high impact or repetitive sports shoulder consider investing in good protective gears and ensure that proper warm ups are performed prior to the start of their activity.

Impingement Syndrome: Symptoms & Treatments

Impingement of the shoulder is an extremely common problem associated with shoulder pain. It occurs due to the impingement of tendons in the shoulder. Repeated usage of the shoulder joint will increase the chances of one suffering from shoulder impingement. This is especially so for athletes involved in sports such as tennis, swimming and badminton. Unlike other injuries, pain is extremely persistent in shoulder impingement and will affect all of the daily activities.

The structure giving our body its shape are the bones and surrounding it are the muscles. When an injury is suffered, blood will rush to the site in order to combat against infection. When this happens, the area will swell up and lead to a chain event. The swelling up of muscles will create tremendous pressure and impinge onto soft tissues such as the ligaments and tendons.

The usual symptoms associated with shoulder impingement include tenderness and soreness. There will be persistent pain throughout that does not go away with treatments such as using hot pack or massages. Over time, the shoulder muscles will weaken and it is nearly impossible to place the arm over your head. Prolonged impingement will lead to the tearing of the shoulder muscles, leading to a rotator cuff injury.

Symptoms of a shoulder impingement is classified into 3 different stages from 1 to 3. Stage 1 involves young patients who are below 25 years. In this stage, the only type of symptom observed is swelling and imflammation. This is due to the ability of the body to repair itself. In stage 2 which involves people from 25 years to 40 years, there will be a significant loss of ability to use the shoulder joint due to it weakening. In stage 3 which happens to people above 40 years old, the symptoms will be much more serious as it often involves the tendons, muscles and bones.

The initial stages of treatment is non-surgical. Oral medications such as aspirin and ibuprofen will be prescribed in an attempt to reduce inflammation. Physical therapy will also be conducted to strengthen the shoulder muscles and improve the range of motion and rotation. If these do not seem to have an effect, a cortisone injection will be injected directly to combat infection. If no improvement is seen after 2 months, the patient will have to undergo a MRI scan and a surgery will need to be performed if it is diagnosed to be a rotator cuff tear.

SLAP Tears: Cause & Symptoms

A slap tear is an injury to the shoulder. SLAP stands for “superior labrum, anterior to posterior”.  This means that the top portion of the labrum is injured from the front to the back. The labrum is a ring of tissue located around the shoulder socket and it is there to stabilize the shoulder due to the extensive amount of movement associated with it. So what exactly causes a SLAP tear and what are the symptoms? This article will help to answer some of these questions.

Our shoulder is made of a ball and socket joint consisting of three different bones. The bones are the upper arm bone, the shoulder blade and the collarbone. The head of the upper arm bone is designed to fit nicely into the socket in the shoulder blade. Each person’s ball and socket joint is unique to him only. The labrum is a thick and strong fibrous tissue that helps to deepen the socket and promote stability to the shoulder joint. It also helps to attach the ligaments and tendons in the area.

A SLAP tear will occur from the area just in front or behind the biceps tendon. SLAP injuries were first observed in baseball players due to the nature of the game. SLAP tears are often due to repeated usage of the shoulder joint. It can also be due to sudden trauma to the shoulder such as a traction force or a pull on the arm. An attempt to break a fall using the shoulder can also be responsible.

The most accurate symptom of a SLAP tear is pain. However, almost everything can cause pain! Almost every movement associated with the shoulder joint will result in pain for the patient. There will also be a decrease in shoulder strength and a feeling of instability. The range of motion will also be significantly decreased. Baseball players may also observe a decrease in the velocity of their throw after pitching.

A trained medical specialist should only diagnose SLAP tears. There are several tests such as the O’Brien’s test, Apprehension Sign and Jobe Relocation Test that are highly reliable when used together as a whole package. This can be aided by a MRI scan which will help to identify the presence of a SLAP tear and the exact location.

A SLAP tear is a challenging medical injury and the treatment must be done in a timely manner due to the many ptifalls in the diagnosis and management of such injury.

Rehabilitation Exercises for Shoulder Injury

Shoulder rehabilitation exercises are extremely important for the post-recovery following a shoulder injury or surgery. Although it may look simple and easy to do, it should only be performed under the supervision of a physical therapist or a doctor to ensure that you are working the right muscles. This is especially so for surgery patients as you do not want to further aggravate the wound. In this article, we will look at some useful rehabilitation exercises for shoulder injuries.

Shoulder rehab exercises are classified into 3 main categories: early stage, mid stage and final stage. In the early stage, the main purpose is to allow the injured tissues, tendons and muscles to heal, prevent scarring and regain your full range of motion. In the mid stage, the regaining of strength is the main purpose to help better support the injured shoulder. Lastly in the final stage, the full strength you had before the injury should be achieved.

Rotator cuff stretching

The rotator is a group of muscles and tendons that act together to stabilise the shoulder joint. Due to the amount of work and repeated stresses they go through, they are the most common cause of shoulder pain and injury. There are many good exercises that aims to strengthen only the rotator cuff but these require extreme care when performing it.

Side external rotation

The side external rotation is a simple exercise that you can perform in the comfort of your own home. Lie on your side with a pillow supporting your head. Place one arm on your stomach with a dumbbell and the other under the pillow. Slowly lift up the dumbbell to chest level and return. Repeat this exercise for 15 times for a total of 3 sets.

Horizontal abduction

In this exercise, lie on your stomach on an elevated platform such as a bed or a table. Leave one arm hanging over the side holding the dumbbell. Slowly lift up the arm until it is parallel with the table and return. Repeat this exercise for 15 times for a total of 3 sets.

Row with external rotation

Begin in the same position as the side external rotation. Instead of lifting your arm parallel to the table, lift it forward this time. You should perform a rowing motion until the elbow is parallel with your shoulder. Slowly rotate your forearm back to the initial position. Repeat this exercise for 15 times for a total of 3 sets.