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.

4 Symptoms You Might Be Suffering From a Fracture

Fractures or broken bones results when the impact force is too high for the bone to withstand, causing it to crack. Fractures are straight forward injuries and it is a serious one. Our bones are structurally rigid and it is reinforced by connective tissues and calcium. Bone fractures come in different forms and severity that is dependent on the direction of the force and the extent of it as well as the patient’s age and health. There are some parts of the body that are prone to fractures and they are the areas that are frequently used and commonly occur as sports injuries. Some examples are the wrists, ankles and hip. Fractures can be either open or closed, with an open fracture being the bone being exposed through the skin while for the closed fracture, the skin is intact.

Bone fracture symptoms vary according to the area of injury as well as the severity. Some of them include:

Pain and Swelling

Pain and swelling occurs due to edema of the underlying soft tissues which are caused by the bleeding of periosteal blood vessels, causing immense pressure on the tissues. Although there are no nerves in the bones, the impact force and sometimes fragments can cause the immune system to act to destroy these “foreign materials”, causing swelling and inflammation to occur.

Bruising

Bruising occurs when injuries to the blood vessels occur, damaging or even breaking them due to impact forces. The tiny bump commonly seen due to bruising are due to a combination of blood leaking out from these injured blood vessels as well as the immune system’s response to the injury.

Deformity

Deformity of the injured region may occur after fracture. For example, if the shoulder is fractured, the broken bone may move out of position, making the shoulder joint look like a deformed part of the body. Very often, bone fragments can be seen sticking out and this can often be either an open or closed fracture.

Unable to use the limb.

The limb that is fractured will lose most of its capability to do even simple things like lifting up or moving around. This is due to the bones that are not connected together anymore, causing the joint to malfunction completely.
Fractures are serious medical conditions and at all times you should try to apply a cold pack to the injured region and try not to move the patient around. Immediately seek medical help and when possible, remove all clothing from the injured area.

Things to Know About Meniscus Repair

The function of the meniscus is to provide stability and act as a cushion for our knee joint. It helps to ensure that weight distribution is spread out evenly throughout the knee joint and prevent any joint problems like arthritis. However, injury to the meniscus is extremely common among people below the age of 25 years who are active in sports. Once a diagnosis of a torn meniscus is made, a decision needs to be made fast regarding the treatment. Usually, the doctor will suggest the treatment he thinks is most suited for you depending on your age, level of activeness and extent of injury.

How is the surgery performed?

One of the first few questions will be how is the surgery conducted. With advances in medical technology, meniscus repair can and will be done through a minimal invasion technique called arthroscopy. More common, suturing will be done to rejoin the torn parts of the meniscus with each other in order to regain function.

What is the success rate?

Success rate of meniscus repair is not 100%. It is mostly dependent on the exact location of the meniscus tear as well as post-surgery therapy. Firstly, if the meniscus is torn at the centre part of the cartilage, surgery will not be able to help at all in healing the meniscus. However, it may help to prevent arthritis in the later part of your life. Secondly, even if the surgery is a success, the post-surgery therapy plays an important role too. A proper structured and disciplined post-surgery therapy must be carried out in order to strengthen and regain the full function of the meniscus.

How is the post-surgery recovery like?

After operation, using of crutches can be from 3 to 14 days depending on the comfort of the patients, and some may prefer not to use crutches at all. Physiotherapy after the surgery will be helpful as well, in accordance to the progress. Any exercises that places tremendous stress onto your meniscus will be strictly disallowed. Examples of these exercises include running, jogging, skipping and squatting. A proper recovery plan will be planned by your physical therapist and you will need to adhere to it strictly as any deviation from it will disrupt the proper recovery procedure and may even require a second surgery.

What are the risks from meniscus repair surgery?

Meniscus repair is a low risk surgery but some there are still some risk associated with it. Infection may occur due to complications during the surgery or from existing personal problems such as diabetes. Since meniscus repair is done through arthroscopy, there is a risk of damage to the surrounding nerves and tissues. As much, you should always look for a reliable and skilled surgeon.

The role of the meniscus is important for our body and it is recommended to undergo meniscus repair surgery if you tear your meniscus. However, if you are not looking to lead an active lifestyle anymore, you may go for physical therapy to strengthen your muscles to compensate for the meniscus tear.

Introduction to Various Shoulder Injuries

Our shoulder is a very delicate and complex component of our body that is kept together by bones, tendons and muscles. A shoulder injury is very painful and can cause a lot of discomfort and inconvenience to us. There are many different kinds of shoulder injuries and they are caused by different reasons such as strain, cyclic motion and injuries.

Rotator cuff strain

Rotator cuff strain is a common injury which is due to an inflammation of a tendon located in the shoulder. 4 muscles make up the rotator cuff namely the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor and subscapularis. The most common reason for a rotator cuff strain is because of insufficient warm up prior to the start of an activity or overload of the muscles. Poor posture and accidentally falls causing you to land on your shoulders can also cause rotator cuff strain. A strain can slowly evolve into a tear if it is left untreated. For immediate treatment, RICE is sufficient. If symptoms get worse, consult a doctor immediately.

Dislocation

Our shoulder joint is an unstable joint due to the functions of it. The shoulder joint can be described as a ball and socket joint and the ball is the arm bone and the socket is the shoulder blade. It is the part of our body which has the most motion compared to all other joints. It is because of this fact that causes instability to the area. Instability can get worse when the ligaments are overstretched and are unable to hold the ball and socket firmly in place. Dislocation of the shoulder joint can occur due to injuries or trauma, causing the ball to go out of the socket.

Impingement

Impingement of the shoulder joint occurs when the supraspinatus, bicep tendons, bursa and subacromial are compressed over time, causing inflammation. It is due to repeated overhead usage of the shoulder joints. Activities which causes these include swimming and overhead press. To prevent impingement, you should allow adequate rest period between activities and strengthening of the rotator cuff muscles to allow it to take more load.

Tendonitis

Our muscles are connected to the bones through connective tissues called tendons and tendonitis is an inflammation of these tendons. The tendons that are most susceptible are the biceps tendons as well as the rotator cuff muscles. Tendonitis are usually caused by overuse, pulling or over-compression of the tendons, causing pain, tenderness and discomfort. To prevent tendonitis, ensure that proper warm up of the whole body is done and add on weights gradually to allow the body to adapt to it.

Above are 4 shoulder injuries that are frequently experienced by people. Our shoulder is an integral part of our daily life and any injuries to it will cause great discomfort and inconvenience our lives. They can be easily reduced by doing proper stretching, gradually load up and sufficient rest periods between activities.

Possible Sports Injuries From Full Contact Martial Arts

Many people around the world participate in martial arts. There are 3 types of martial arts namely the light, medium and full contact martial arts and as the names suggest, each differs in the amount of body contact involved. Martial arts have many benefits to it, most prominently are the health benefits as well as the coordination between various parts of the body, body balance and flexibility. However, as with all kinds of full contact sports, there are injuries that are associated with it.

Facial Laceration

Facial lacerations are the most common injuries sustained from full contact martial arts. They account for nearly 50% of all injuries in martial arts. Martial arts is all about predicting what your opponent will do next and if you fail to react accordingly, it can cause trauma to parts of your body, commonly the face. The result of a full blown kick to the face can cause facial laceration.

Knee Tendinitis

During martial arts, tremendous stress is placed upon both of the knees and kicking is required throughout the whole session. As such, it can cause hypertension of the knee joint which will result to tendinitis. It can create strain to the back of the knees, patellar tendons and patella, causing pain and discomfort in players.

Ankle Sprains

Ankle sprains are also a common injury in martial arts due to the nature of uneven surfaces that the event take place. Most venues will place gym mattresses or other soft cushioning materials to absorb the impact of players. However, these soft and uneven surfaces can lead to improper weight distribution when kicking, causing sprains in the ankles.

Kneecap Dislocation

Kneecap dislocation is a serious injury that happens when the patella is shifted out of alignment with the knee. It is often caused by improper leg alignment or sudden kneeling motion, causing a sudden trauma to the knee.

Plantar Fasciitis

Whenever our feet is in use, the connective tissue or plantar fascia which supports the arch of our foot will tighten and stretch. However, it is prone to overuse if the incorrect footwear is worn. It is especially common in people with flat feet and who do not use the correct footwear with the correct support.

Martial arts have a low risk of injury as compared to other full contact sports such as rugby. Most of the injuries that are suffered are often minor such as bruises. However, more serious injuries can happen either due to trauma or due to improper usage of protective equipment or total lack of them. Upon injury, for personal well-being, it is highly recommended to pursue professional diagnosis for the injury. It should be regardless of perceived severity as most injuries do not reveal the actual impact until years later or when there is severe pain. If the martial artist is serious about his practice, then all injuries should be treated at earliest time possible.

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.

Top 4 signs that you need orthopaedic treatment for your injury

Many of us experience pain daily in our lives such as pain in our joints and back. We often simply accept it as part of aging and simply take painkillers or stop doing activities which we love. While it is a fact, we should not accept it without any professional medical help. Orthopaedic surgeons treat conditions relating to our musculoskeletal system which covers the bones, joints, ligaments, tendons and nerves. Depending on the severity of the injury, either surgical or non surgical means can be administered. Many people do not realise that they require the expertise of an orthopaedic surgeon and they are often referred to one by their general practitioner.

There are many reasons and causes for a patient to consult an orthopaedic doctor. Common reasons include:

  1. 1.     Arthritis
  2. 2.     Tumours
  3. 3.     Broken bones
  4. 4.     Joint replacement
  5. 5.     Sports injuries
  6. 6.     Spine injuries

Pain

Pain is the start of all problems and the same goes for orthopaedic problems. Patients often experience discomfort at different parts of their body such as their joints, rotator cuff, wrist or elbow. Even the slightest discomfort may indicate serious injuries. A locked finger could be due to trigger finger and pain after trauma could be due to torn ligaments or broken bones. Back pain could be due to herniated disc or a fractured vertebrae or even spine problems.

Swelling

Swelling indicates an increase in body fluid or blood in that particular area and must not be taken lightly as it could be a sign of serious medical condition requiring surgery.  When a patient experiences swelling in his joint, it could possibly indicate osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis is the most common joint disorder due to wear and tear on a joint over a prolonged period experienced by elderly patients and signs are swelling of the bones or joints.

Redness

Redness is caused by infection or injury and is often experienced with pain and swelling. Conditions such as tendonitis are often accompanied by redness. If a patient experiences pain and swelling with redness, it could mean a serious complication and an orthopaedic doctor is needed immediately. A decrease in range of motion for joints normally indicates musculoskeletal problems such as a torn ligament.

Visible injuries

Injuries such as sprain and dislocation are visible and they are musculoskeletal injuries which needs orthopaedic treatment. Deformity of the skeletal systems such as hammer toes and club foot will also require orthopaedic surgery to correct them.