Pain has been the biggest enemy of humanity from time immemorial. Coincidentally, it is also the best marker indicating something abnormal. It helps one to be cautious and take up appropriate measures to prevent further deterioration or damage.

Neck pain though not as common and chronic as back pain or knee pain often suffered by individuals, but causes substantial distress and disability. It is reported that at any given time, 10% to 20% of the population reports neck problems, with 54% of individuals having experienced neck pain within the last 6 months.

Though not all neck pain arise due the same cause but we find several preventive and curative measures for neck pain mentioned in Ayurveda as per the cause.

Types of neck pain

 In common mans words any condition presenting with ache, pain or discomfort in the neck is considered to be neck pain. In simple medical terms neck pain is defined as pain located in the anatomical region of the neck with or without radiation to the head, trunk, and upper limbs. However many a patients present with ill-defined discomforts in the neck which are to be considered as some form of neck pain. Based on this neck pain is classified as

Postural neck pain – Very common and generally arises due to improper posture. Common causes are postural defects related to sleep, wrong postures while watching gadgets, adopting a posture for too long a duration.

Whiplash-associated neck pain  –  Neck pain arising due to sudden jerky movement of the neck while driving. Whiplash injuries follow sudden acceleration-deceleration of the neck, such as in road traffic or sporting accidents.

Traumatic –  Due to direct injuries such as road traffic accident or worksite injury.

Occupational neck pain – Developed as a result of the occupation. Those working in software and allied activities where they have to stare at the screen for long periods of time or hold the neck in a specific position for long periods of time.

Sports-related neck pain – developed while in the act of sport

 Nonspecific neck pain – cannot be attributed to one specific cause. Non-specific neck pain has a postural or mechanical basis and affects about two-thirds of people at some stage, especially in middle age. Acute neck pain resolves within days or weeks but may become chronic in about 10% of people.

Neck pains are graded depending upon the involvement of structures and severity of pain.

Causes of neck pain

What are the symptoms of neck pain?

When should you consult your Doctor for the neck pain?

What are the complications of untreated neck pain?

Ayurveda in the prevention of the neck pain

There are some preventive advises which are generalized and some exclusive to Ayurveda. Let me list out the general advice first which has been mentioned in different contexts in Ayurveda and then the specific remedies.

Food and Drinks – these are best customized according to the cause of the condition. Below is some general advice that helps manage neck pain.

Domestic external remedies recommended in Ayurveda for neck pain

Treatments done in a hospital set up

Internal medication

There are several internal medications that are helpful in the following ways

1) Improves the strength of neck muscles

2) Improves the tone of neck muscles

3) Alleviates pain without adverse effects

4) Stabilizes the neck muscles therefore less prone to injuries.

5) Relieves the spasm in the neck

6) Nourishes the joints and repairs the damaged cartilages

Remember that Ayurveda has its own method of diagnosis and treatment which is holistic, unlike western medicine. Therefore if you suffer from it think about the several options that Ayurveda can offer both external and internal. Earlier the approach, lesser the suffering better the prognosis.

By Dr Sandeep Bekal R , MD (ayu)

Consultant, Dept of  Pnchakarma, Sharada Ayurveda Hospital, Mangalore.

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