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.

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.

Importance of Recovery Period In Your Exercise Regime

Rest and recovery is probably the most important part of your exercise regime. Sufficient rest is required to maintain high level performance levels but many people still choose to over train and overuse their muscles. Too much rest will cause you to lose the intensity while too little will cause you to burn out fast. You need to strike a balance between rest and training. Repair and strengthening of the body doesn’t take place during the exercise itself. Instead, they happen when the body is at rest.

Recovery starts the moment you stop exercising. The glycogen in your muscle will be replenished and your body will start to repair muscles that are damaged such as minor muscle tears. It is through this process that your muscles get stronger and firmer. Imagine yourself twisting a paper clip now. The more you twist it, the stronger and more difficult it becomes. Your muscles will be able to withstand stronger loads the next time. However, all these are only possible through rest and recovery.

Sufficient recovery time also helps to burn more fats in your body. You can be doing a lot of cardiovascular training but without sufficient rest, you cannot burn off the fats effectively. Recovery allows the body to have time to fully stretch and contract the muscles and increase the heart rate. This increases metabolism and eat away excess fats.

Many athletes suffer from injuries simply because they over train and overuse their muscles. Without sufficient recovery periods, the muscles are unable to cope with the intense activities going on and pre-existing injuries will be amplified. Insufficient rest will also cause you to lose focus on what you are doing at the moment and this can be very dangerous, especially if you are lifting heavy weights.

Another extremely important reason why recovery is important is to allow sufficient rehydration of the entire body. Intensive training will use up all the fluids in the body and if they are not replenished, it can cause muscle cramps and even cause the body to break down. The muscles need to be constantly fed with electrolytes to keep them in optimum condition.

Rest and recovery are the most important part of a training regime. Although you may be tempted to not rest during exercises hoping to gain more muscles, it can lead to injuries and cause a negative effect for the body. Recovery also helps to repair the body and prevent injuries such as shoulder pain or elbow pain especially if you are playing sports such as tennis.

Unravel the Mystery of Shoulder Pain

The function of the shoulder joint is to provide mobility to the shoulder and it is one of the parts of the body which is heavily used every single day. Many people suffer from shoulder pain. Many different reasons can result in shoulder pain and it is important to know the exact orthopaedic reason and only then can the correct diagnosis and treatment be made. Shoulder pain can suddenly happen and many people are unsure of it. Let’s try to unravel the mystery of shoulder pain today.

Bursitis

Since the shoulder joint is heavily used, there are a lot of rubbing actions throughout the day. There are small fluid filled sacs called bursae to cushion the bones and the soft tissues. These will help to reduce friction and increase gliding motions. However, due to excessive repetitive usage of the shoulder joints, inflammation can happen on the bursae, leading to pain and swelling known as bursitis. This can cause difficulty in performing simple actions such as lifting of the hand or wearing of clothes.

Impingement

Impingement of the shoulder happens when the shoulder blade exerts too much pressure onto the surrounding soft tissues such as the bursa or the tendons, causing bursitis. Over a period of time, shoulder impingement can possible result in a rotator cuff tear.

Shoulder instability

Shoulder instability can be due to overuse of the shoulder joint or due to an injury which causes the arm bone to be loose and slip out of the socket joint. The shoulder joint acts as a ball and socket model where mobility can be easily obtained without much limitation. However when the ball and socket is loose, it can cause subluxation. The surrounding ligaments and tendons are weakened and they are unable to fully support the motions, causing pain and instability.

Tendon tears

Tearing of the tendons could possibly occur due to ageing or injuries, overuse or wear and tear. Depending on the severity of the tear, it can be a partial one or a complete one. A complete tendon tear will result in tremendous pain and loss of stability.

Arthritis

Arthritis is a common cause of shoulder pain and the most common form is osteoarthritis or wear and tear. Arthritis usually occurs during mid-age around 30 years old and over time, it will become worse. Osteoarthritis can also happen at a young age due to injuries or overuse and it will result in rotator cuff tendon tears or inflammation. Arthritis will cause simple daily motions to be almost impossible and you will often experience stiffness of the joints.

There are many reasons that can cause shoulder pain. I hope that the above article had help to unravel some of the mysteries and after you know the exact reason, you will be able to use the correct treatment method.

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.

Symptoms of Rotator Cuff Repair Injury

A rotator cuff tear is a common injury suffered by many and it causes pain and disability among adults. It will not only weaken your shoulder but will also hinder your day to day activities, such as wearing your clothes, brushing your teeth and combing your hair. The rotator cuff is a group of tendons that are joined together, surrounding the front, back and top of your shoulder joint connected to each other. When one or more muscles are torn, the tendons are detached from the humerus and they start to fray. As time passes, the tendon can entirely tear either on its own or during activities that exert huge load on the shoulders.

The most common symptom experienced by many is aching at the top and front of the shoulder. The pain is significantly higher when the arm is lifted overhead. Often, the patient is unable to have a good rest at night as the pain gets worse at night. Some patients may experience weakness in the injured arm and in a worst case scenario; the entire arm cannot be lifted at all.

When patients experience inability to lift their arm above their shoulder, it is normally due to their supraspinatus tendon rubbing against the under portion of their shoulder blade known as the Acromium. It can be acute and it can also be a gradual pain depending on the initial injury. Swelling and inflammation will be observed and the muscles in the rotator cuff will be weakened as a result.

Overuse of the shoulder causes bursitis or tendonitis which is also known as impingement. Impingement will cause the tissues below the acromioclavicular joint to be rubbing against the bone, causing irritation and pain. Normally the doctor will prescribe pain killers or cortisone injections. However if all fails, an arthroscopic acromioplasty or shoulder acromioplasty will be carried out.

As the surface of our acromion can be mis-shaped, bone spurs might develop. By jutting further down when the tendons are, it will cause much pain too the patient in the injured shoulder. The surgeon can reshape the acromion through arthroscopy, a minimal invasive surgery method or through open shoulder surgery.

Gentle exercises to obtain back full range of motion will start the day after the surgery and patients are advised to stop using the arm sling in the shortest possible time. The sutures will be removed a week after surgery and strengthening exercise will be taught to them. It will take approximately 3 months for the shoulder to recover fully.