Neck Pain - When to Seek Immediate Medical Attention
The right neck ache treatment, when offered in a timely manner, can be effective at healing neck pain and preventing future episodes. Neck pain relief exercises, chiropractic care, laser or ultrasound therapy, acupuncture and naturopathic supplements are just a few popular methods that many sufferers find helpful.
However, some kinds of neck discomfort should be cause for alarm and may require immediate medical attention and further treatment. The problem is that it can be difficult to distinguish "everyday" neck ache episodes from those that signal a medical emergency.
Two serious conditions may be indicated when neck ache is present: meningitis and spinal trauma. Both of these conditions can lead to long-term disability and even death if overlooked or not treated quickly enough.
Meningitis: This occurs when the meninges (the protective membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord) become infected and inflamed. The condition can lead to death and so must be diagnosed and treated as quickly as possible.
Meningitis has a number of symptoms, one of which may be neck discomfort. Most often, the pain is severe and sudden. However, its onset is sometimes slow, and so it is mistaken for stress or some other issue.
If you experience neck ache with one or more of the following other symptoms, you should see a doctor immediately:
* Pain in the back/spinal cord.
* Dizziness, nausea, vomiting or exhaustion.
* Stiffness in the neck (inability to bend the neck forward as you normally would).
* Sensitivity to light.
* Sudden onset of neck or back pain not due to trauma.
Many cases of meningitis can be successfully treated if caught quickly.
Trauma: Neck pain that is the result of trauma to the head, neck or back should be treated quickly. It's important to note that head trauma (a blow to the head) does not always result in immediate neck discomfort. In fact, there have been cases of head trauma where a neck ache develops hours and even days after the initial trauma.
If you develop neck discomfort that seems to come from nowhere, think back over the past few days. If you received a blow to the head, you should see a doctor about your neck discomfort. Also, look for symptoms such as:
* Blurred vision.
* Trouble hearing or ringing in the ears.
* Unusual taste sensation or inability to taste.
* Clicking sound or sensation in the cervical spine (neck) area.
* Loss of muscle control.
* Drowsiness or difficulty awaking.
The faster you have your neck pain diagnosed, the more likely you will be to make a full recovery.
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