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Why does my neck hurt in the morning: The request could not be satisfied

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Morning Neck Pain? These Five Reasons Might Be Why.

Nothing puts a damper on the day than waking up with pain. However, a stiff, sore neck doesn’t have to ruin your day. Unfortunately, neck pain is becoming increasingly more common amongst Canadians. According to this study, the majority of Canadians will experience neck pain at some point in their lives.

So what is causing your neck pain? Here are some possible culprits

You Aren’t Sleeping On Your Back

Sleeping on your back is typically the best position for allowing your spine to rest comfortably. Sleeping on your back and wedging a pillow under each arm can reduce the amount of strain on your neck. You may also want to try sleeping on a slight incline. This can be achieved using a foam wedge or switching to an adjustable bed.

You’re Using the Wrong Pillow For You

Not all pillows are created equal. While there is no definitive best style of pillow there are a few things to consider before laying your head down for the night. First, you want to find a pillow that keeps your neck as neutrally aligned as possible. This means that your pillow should support the natural curve of your neck. What that natural curve is depends on the person. Some people find their neck pain decreases when they lie on their back and sleep with a relatively flat pillow or an orthopedic pillow with a deep depression. Side sleepers should find a pillow that isn’t too high, and try and opt for a pillow that is between 4 and 6 inches thick. Try to prevent your head and neck from turning or bending unnaturally to either side.

You Need To Stretch More

Make sure you stretch your neck muscles periodically throughout the day, especially if you spend a lot of time hunched over a desk. One simple exercise is the chin tuck, which is demonstrated in the video below.

Start with a neutral posture then gently move your head back until your ears are over your shoulders. Hold this position for one to two seconds, then release.

It is also important to do neck stabilization and strengthening exercises, such as the one demonstrated in the video below:

Lie on your back with a small, rolled up towel under your neck. Do your best to keep your spine straight, then slowly lift your chin up and hold it for a few seconds. Then, slowly pull your chin down towards your chest and hold it there for a few more seconds.

For other recommended neck exercises talk to your physiotherapist.

You Are Dehydrated

Drinking enough water is important for many reasons, one of which is to keep your discs nourished and hydrated. Discs are small, spongy structures that sit between the vertebrae in your beck. Because they are mostly made up of water staying hydrated keeps them both pliable and strong. Ideally, you should be drinking at least eight large glasses of water per day.

You Have “Text Neck”

According to this CBC article (and this study) excessive texting is causing us to spend more and more time looking down, putting increased strain on our necks. This can result in serious problems, including alignment problems and disk hernias. Looking down for hours at a time is actually changing how our necks curve. While our necks typically curve backward, the authors of the study noted that our necks are now more likely to curve forwards, creating a whole host of posture problems. To avoid “text neck” make sure you regularly take a break from your phone. Read more about text neck.

If nothing seems to be able to soothe your neck pain it could be an indication that something is seriously wrong. If your pain persists you should make an appointment with your physiotherapist as soon as possible. To make an appointment at Beacon Hill Physiotherapy contact us today. We are open six days a week for your convenience, so don’t delay!

Why Does My Neck Hurt Every Morning?

Why Does My Neck Hurt Every Morning?

Waking up with neck pain can be the fastest way to start your day off on the wrong foot. You’re barely out of bed and the pain already threatens to ruin the day. How can you avoid the morning pain in your neck?

 

Evaluate your pillow:

Pillows are designed to support your neck while you’re sleeping. By following the natural curve of your spine, a pillow should gently hold your head while reducing the pressure on your neck. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all pillow, however. You should choose a pillow based on your own body type and sleep style.

If you sleep …

  • On your stomach:
    Consider choosing the slimmest pillow possible, or skip the pillow completely. When you sleep on your stomach, you put more pressure on your cervical spine. This can also cause you to twist your neck to one side, which can create tension in your neck muscles. If you are already experiencing neck pain, try sleeping in a different position to give your neck some relief.
  • On your side:
    The ideal scenario to avoid neck pain is to keep your neck and head aligned in the center of your shoulders. If you sleep on your side, you’ll need a thick pillow to keep your head elevated properly. Depending on your shoulder width and height, you may need an extra-large pillow if you’re broad-shouldered or a thinner one if you’re petite.
  • On your back:
    While you’re sleeping on your back, the curve of your neck should be similar to when you’re standing. You can tell if you’re using the correct pillow by having someone take a picture of your neck while you’re lying on your pillow. If there is too much curve, you need a flatter pillow.

 

Want to change your sleep position? Create a barrier around yourself with pillows while you’re sleeping so you don’t move. Try adapting your current sleep position by changing your pillow. It may be a simple adjustment that can end your neck pain.

 

Revamp your bedtime routine

Before climbing into bed at night, do a few stretching exercises to help your muscles relax. These exercises are specifically designed to help ease neck pain and loosen neck muscles.

  • Corner Stretch
    Stand in the corner of your bedroom, facing the wall. Put your forearms on either wall, with your elbows below your shoulders. Begin to lean forward until you can feel the muscles in your chest begin to stretch. Stay in this stretch for up to one minute then return to your starting position.
  • Scapula Stretch
    In your bedroom doorway, raise your arm until your elbow is level with your shoulder. Lightly rest your raised elbow on the doorway. Lower your chin towards your collarbone of the opposite side until you feel the muscles in your neck begin to stretch. Remain in the stretch for up to 30 seconds then repeat on the other side.
  • Lateral Flexion
    In a standing position, look straight ahead. Tilt your head to the side (moving your ear in the direction of your shoulder) until you can feel the muscles in the side of your neck begin to stretch. Slowly return your head to the starting position and repeat on the other side.
  • Flexion Stretch
    You can either sit cross-legged or stand for this exercise. Looking straight ahead, begin to move your chin towards your chest until you feel the muscles in the back of your neck begin to stretch. Hold for approximately 10 seconds and then return to a normal position. Repeat 3 to 5 times.

Make sleep a priority

Wake up and go to bed on a schedule. Setting a sleep pattern will help your body learn to relax and can improve the quality of your sleep.

Avoid alcohol and caffeine in the evening. Skip the after-dinner coffee to ensure you are ready to drift off to dreamland when it’s bedtime.

Exercise regularly

An exercise routine can not only help you become more physically fit, it will help you sleep better. Exercising 3 times a week can give your sleep habits a boost.

Turn off the screen

When you head to bed, put your phone to bed as well. Leave the screen off until you wake up the next morning. Most people crane their necks at awkward angles when looking at their phone or tablet in bed, creating stress in your neck.   Not to mention, studies have shown that looking at screens before going to sleep can decrease your sleep quality.

Are you struggling with neck pain after sleeping? It may be time to seek medical help. Our comprehensive treatment programs can help you recover from neck pain and wake up feeling refreshed and ready for the day. Call today!

8 Adjustments to Help Give You Restful Sleep – Cleveland Clinic

Ahhhh, sleep. It’s the best — unless you know you’re going to wake up in pain. Then sleep becomes something you dread. The more pain you have, the harder it is to sleep. And wouldn’t you know it: Low-quality sleep leads to greater pain.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

Could the cause of your back, neck or all-over morning pain have
a simple explanation?

“When you move, the tissue surrounding your joints secretes a fluid that lubricates your joints, allowing bones to move past one another easily,” says pain medicine specialist George Girgis, DO.

“During the day, you’re moving around, which keeps the fluid flowing. But the lack of movement at night can lead to inflammation, stiffness and pain come morning.”

First, rule out conditions that cause morning stiffness and pain

If you see a doctor for your pain, he or she will likely
want to do some simple screening tests to determine if immobility-induced
inflammation is what’s causing it. Your doctor will want to rule out other
conditions that cause inflammation of joints and tissues, such as:

  • A recent viral infection, like Lyme disease.
  • Thyroid disease.
  • Low levels of vitamin D.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis.

If there isn’t an underlying condition causing your pain, it’s
time to take action.

8 strategies to help you get back to restful sleep

Update your sleep software. Sometimes you can achieve a great night’s sleep with a simple pillow adjustment. The right pillow correctly aligns the part of your spine that’s in your neck so that muscle tightness doesn’t occur when you sleep. Or you may need a new mattress. Consider a mattress an investment in your health. “We recommend a firm (but not TOO firm) mattress for the best-quality sleep,” Dr. Girgis says.

Switch up your diet. Avoid foods that promote inflammation. The Mediterranean diet, which features a lot of veggies, fruits, whole grains and seafood, may increase the antioxidants that help reduce inflammation.

Exercise (but don’t overdo it). Movement lubricates
joints, which keeps pain and stiffness at bay. Be careful though: Exercising
near bedtime or overtraining can lead to insomnia. “Shoot for 30 minutes a day,
five days a week,” Dr. Girgis says.

Take a vitamin D supplement. Your bones and muscles need vitamin D for optimal health. Most people don’t get enough vitamin D through their diet, so talk to your doctor about choosing a supplement or foods with added vitamin D.  

Try a new sleeping position. Sleeping on your stomach could be contributing to your morning pain. Instead, sleep on your back with a pillow under your knees to keep your spine in a neutral position. Alternatively, you can sleep on your side with a pillow between your knees.

Keep your muscles supple. Inflammation can occur when muscle mass breaks down. Find ways to maintain your muscles — gym membership not required.

“Yoga is a great way to maintain muscle mass because you’re using your body weight to keep muscles healthy,” says Dr. Girgis. “Other options may include lifting a heavy cookbook as a weight or performing squats at your desk.”

Relieve stress. Exercise, yoga and massage relieve inflammation by increasing blood flow to your muscles. You can also incorporate mindfulness meditation, which has been clinically shown to change the way your brain processes pain. Over time, pain intensity decreases with meditation. To meditate, concentrate just on breathing. If your attention wanders, return your focus to your breathing or the sounds around you. Start with a minute and build up to more time.

Stub out cigarettes for good. There are so many reasons to quit smoking, but you can add pain relief to the list. “Smoking prevents oxygenated blood from reaching bones and tissues,” says Dr. Girgis. “It also limits the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide in your blood, making the blood quality lower. The result is weakened muscles.”

Waking Up with Back Pain: Causes and Tips for Relief

Lower back pain is the most common type of musculoskeletal pain experienced by adults, with 84% of people experiencing it at least some point in their lives, and 23% experiencing it on a chronic basis.

Some mild back pain in the morning is not unusual. In many cases, you can chalk it up to the normal stiffness you feel after staying in one position for several hours.

But, if you are still feeling pain after you have gotten out of bed and started to move around, there may be something specific causing your back pain. It could be an underlying medical condition, an inadequate mattress, or even your sleep position.

Why Does My Back Hurt When I Wake Up?

There are a number of potential causes for lower back pain in the morning. Here are some of the most common.

Unsupportive Sleep Position

If you feel lower back pain every morning after sleeping, your sleep position could be at fault. Sleeping in an unsupportive position can increase pressure on your spine and lead to back pain.

When you sleep on your stomach, you are more likely to twist your neck out of alignment with the rest of your spine. Depending on the firmness of your mattress, your lower abdomen may also sink more deeply than the rest of your spine, uncomfortably stretching your back out of alignment. Either way, this sleep position could put you at a higher risk of lower back pain upon waking up. To prevent this misalignment, it may help to try sleeping on your stomach without a head pillow, and by placing a thin pillow beneath your lower abdomen.

Back sleeping makes it easier to keep your spine straight, but can still lead to back pain if you do not support your spine’s natural curvature. One study found this sleep position actually doubles your risk of lower back pain. To lower your risk and prevent discomfort, consider placing a pillow beneath your knees.

Side sleeping is considered the best position for avoiding back pain. People who sleep on their side report fewer back pain symptoms, but it is still possible to press your spine out of alignment. You can prevent this by choosing a head pillow with a loft that matches the distance between your neck and your shoulder, and sleeping with a pillow between your knees to even out your hips.

Bad Mattress

Your sleep position can only do so much to relieve lower back pain in the morning if you are sleeping on an old, unsupportive mattress. If you have had your mattress for more than five years, it may be time to consider replacing it.

In one study, participants replaced their old mattresses, which averaged 9. 5 years old, with new ones. Over the following month, their sleep quality measurably improved each week, as did their back pain. Overall, medium firm mattresses reduced back pain symptoms by nearly half.

Even if your mattress is relatively new, it may just not be not a good fit for you or your sleep position. It could be too firm or too soft to provide adequate support. In general, medium firm mattresses tend to reduce lower back pain more effectively than firm mattresses do.

Pregnancy

Back pain is common during pregnancy. While it typically begins between the second and third trimesters, it can start as early as during the first four weeks. For some that are pregnant, their back pain worsens during sleep and can cause them to wake up. However, this type of back pain tends to resolve after birth.

During the pregnancy, placing a warm compress on the back can provide relief for lower back pain, as can regular stretching. When getting into and out of bed, using your leg strength instead of your back muscles to help you stand up can help prevent straining your lower back.

Sleeping on the left side with the knees bent is also recommended during pregnancy, to relieve discomfort and support fetal health. You can support your spine during sleep by placing pillows under your abdomen, between your legs, and against the small of your back.

Degenerative Disc Disease

More than 90% of adults over 60 have a degenerated disc. Degenerative disc disease can develop naturally with age, as the spinal discs between the vertebrae dry out and break down.

For some people, this process happens with minimal pain. For others, the pain can be intense and feel worse in the morning. Being overweight or obese can exacerbate disc degeneration and any associated lower back pain.

Treatment for degenerative disc disease may include pain medications, steroid injections, ice or heat therapy, physical therapy, acupuncture, and wearing a back brace.

Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia affects up to 5% of people, with women being more at risk than men. The condition causes muscle pain, tension, and spasms throughout the body, including the back. Symptoms also include sleep problems, depression, and anxiety.

Although there is no cure for fibromyalgia, doctors may prescribe muscle relaxants and pain relievers to relieve symptoms. Therapies like massage, acupuncture, and physical therapy may also be recommended.

Other Causes of Lower Back Pain in the Morning

A number of other factors may contribute to lower back pain upon waking up. Lower back pain can be caused by other medical conditions and lifestyle factors such as:

  • Arthritis
  • Endometriosis
  • Kidney stones
  • Mental health conditions like anxiety and depression
  • Occupations that require heavy lifting, pushing, or pulling
  • Old age
  • Osteoporosis
  • Physical injury
  • Poor fitness
  • Smoking
  • Spinal cord problems like sciatica, spinal stenosis, or herniated disc
  • Stress
  • Tumors
  • Weight gain

Tips and Treatment for Morning Back Pain Relief

It is possible to sleep better with low back pain. You may want to consider making a few changes to your routine in order to relieve your lower back pain in the morning and start your day off more comfortably.

Change Up Your Sleep Position or Mattress

Switching to a more supportive sleep position can reduce lower back pain. Also consider how you can use pillows — or invest in a new mattress — to support better spinal alignment and relieve lower back pain.

Research suggests medium firm mattresses are the best mattresses for back pain. In one study of people with low back pain, those who slept on medium firm mattresses reported lower pain scores both during sleep and upon getting up in the morning.

Do Morning Stretches in Bed

Simple stretching exercises can relieve back pain, and there are stretches you can do before you get out of bed.

For example, you can lie on your back and do a full-body stretch when you first wake up. For this exercise, stretch your arms and hands above your head as far as you can, with your legs and feet stretching in the opposite direction. Hold for a few seconds before releasing.

It may also help to stretch out your lower back. To do this, you can bring your knees into your chest and hold, wrapping your arms around them. Then gently rock from side to side.

Take It Slow When Getting Up

Taking it slow when you get out of bed can be beneficial. You may want to use your arms to sit up slowly before moving your legs off the side of the bed. Once you plant your feet on the ground, shoulder-width apart, you can stand up slowly, using your leg strength instead of your back to help you up.

After carefully standing, you can further relieve tension by reaching your arms up above your head and stretching slowly from side to side.

Stretch Some More

A few more stretches can further relieve tension in the lower back and help you prepare for the day.

Plank

A plank increases your core strength, creating a protective effect for your spine. With a stronger core, your body can use more of your abdominal muscles instead of your back, leading to less strain and injury throughout the day.

To do a plank, you will need to lie on the floor facedown. You can then push yourself up onto your toes and your forearms. Make sure that your elbows are directly beneath your shoulders and your forearms and elbows are in line with your wrists. Keep your head facing down, with your neck in alignment with the rest of your spine. It is important to keep your spine straight, without letting your abdomen sink too far down or up. You can prevent straining your back by squeezing your abs, your glutes, and your thighs. For best results, hold this pose for 30 to 60 seconds.

Baby Cobra

Research shows that yoga can help manage recurring lower back pain. When you are experiencing lower back pain, a baby cobra pose can help stretch your back and relieve tension.

To try this pose, lie on your stomach on the floor, with your palms facing down underneath your shoulders, and your elbows and forearms close to the body. Slowly push yourself up using your arm strength, with your head facing forward and your neck straight. Hold for 10 to 15 seconds, then lower down.

Chair Pose

Chair pose is another yoga pose that might help. Stand up with your legs shoulder-width apart and your toes facing forward. Then, squat down like you are sitting into a chair. Keep your knees bent at a 90-degree angle, with the goal of keeping them over your heels instead of your toes. Hold for a few seconds, then stand back up.

Exercise Daily

Daily exercise can help keep your body limber. It also improves your sleep quality. A simple form of exercise, like walking, can be beneficial for reducing pain and improving sleep quality.

Stay Active Throughout the Day

If you sit for long periods of time at your work, make sure to stand up, stretch, and walk around every 30 minutes or so. If your desk chair is not supportive, place a pillow or rolled towel behind your back for lumbar support, and let your feet rest on a footstool.

Talk to Your Doctor

If your lower back pain is so severe that it interferes with your daily life, or if you start to notice other symptoms, talk to your doctor. They may recommend nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), acetaminophen, muscle relaxants, or topical creams and gels to relieve your back pain. Always consult your doctor before taking any medications, since they know your medical history and can inform you of any potential side effects.

Lower back pain in the morning is a common experience. Many people find relief with a few lifestyle changes. If your pain persists, your doctor can recommend additional treatment options.

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Neck Problems and Injuries | HealthLink BC

Do you have a neck injury or other neck problem?

Yes

Neck problem or injury

How old are you?

Less than 5 years

Less than 5 years

5 years or older

5 years or older

Are you male or female?

Why do we ask this question?

The medical assessment of symptoms is based on the body parts you have.

  • If you are transgender or non-binary, choose the sex that matches the body parts (such as ovaries, testes, prostate, breasts, penis, or vagina) you now have in the area where you are having symptoms.
  • If your symptoms aren’t related to those organs, you can choose the gender you identify with.
  • If you have some organs of both sexes, you may need to go through this triage tool twice (once as “male” and once as “female”). This will make sure that the tool asks the right questions for you.

Have you had surgery on your neck in the past month?

Yes

Neck surgery in the past month

No

Neck surgery in the past month

Have you had a major trauma in the past 2 to 3 hours?

Yes

Major trauma in past 2 to 3 hours

No

Major trauma in past 2 to 3 hours

Do you have any numbness, tingling, or weakness or any moderate to severe pain that started after the trauma?

Yes

Symptoms after major trauma

No

Symptoms after major trauma

Have you had a neck injury in the past month?

Yes

Neck injury in the past month

No

Neck injury in the past month

Are you having trouble moving your neck or either arm normally?

Yes

Difficulty moving neck or arm

No

Difficulty moving neck or arm

Are you able to move your arm or hand?

Yes

Able to move arm or hand

No

Unable to move arm or hand

Have you had trouble moving your neck or arm for more than 2 days?

Yes

Difficulty moving neck or arm for more than 2 days

No

Difficulty moving neck or arm for more than 2 days

Do you have numbness, tingling, or weakness in your arms or hands?

Weakness is being unable to use the arm or hand normally no matter how hard you try. Pain or swelling may make it hard to move, but this is not the same as weakness.

Yes

Numbness, tingling, or weakness in arms or hands

No

Numbness, tingling, or weakness in arms or hands

Did the numbness and weakness start right after the injury?

Yes

Numbness and weakness began immediately after injury

No

Numbness and weakness began immediately after injury

Have the symptoms lasted for more than an hour?

Yes

Numbness, tingling, or weakness for more than 1 hour

No

Numbness, tingling, or weakness for more than 1 hour

Do you have a deep wound in your head or neck?

This is more than a minor cut. This type of injury usually is caused by an object going through all the layers of skin to the tissue beneath.

Yes

Deep wound to head or neck

No

Deep wound to head or neck

Has sudden, severe weakness or severe numbness affected the whole arm or the whole hand?

Weakness is being unable to use the arm or hand normally, no matter how hard you try. Pain or swelling may make it hard to move, but that is not the same as weakness.

Yes

Severe or sudden numbness or weakness in the whole arm or hand

No

Severe or sudden numbness or weakness in the whole arm or hand

Do you have trouble moving your neck?

Yes

Difficulty moving neck

Is it very hard to move or somewhat hard to move?

“Very hard” means you can’t move it at all in any direction without causing severe pain. “Somewhat hard” means you can move it at least a little, though you may have some pain when you do it.

Very hard

Very hard to move

Somewhat hard

Somewhat hard to move

How long have you had trouble moving your neck?

Less than 2 days

Difficulty moving neck for less than 2 days

2 days to 2 weeks

Difficulty moving neck for 2 days to 2 weeks

More than 2 weeks

Difficulty moving neck for more than 2 week

Has the loss of movement been:

Getting worse?

Difficulty moving is getting worse

Staying about the same (not better or worse)?

Difficulty moving is unchanged

Getting better?

Difficulty moving is improving

Are you having trouble breathing (more than a stuffy nose)?

Yes

Difficulty breathing more than a stuffy nose

No

Difficulty breathing more than a stuffy nose

Is your ability to breathe quickly getting worse?

Yes

Breathing problems are quickly worsening

No

Breathing problems are quickly worsening

Do you have any swelling or a lump in your neck?

Yes

Swelling or lump in neck

No

Swelling or lump in neck

Is it quickly getting worse?

Yes

Lump or swelling in neck is rapidly increasing

No

Lump or swelling in neck is rapidly increasing

Are you hoarse or having trouble swallowing?

Yes

Difficulty swallowing or hoarseness

No

Difficulty swallowing or hoarseness

Has the pain:

Gotten worse?

Pain is increasing

Stayed about the same (not better or worse)?

Pain is unchanged

Gotten better?

Pain is improving

Do you have any neck pain?

How bad is the pain on a scale of 0 to 10, if 0 is no pain and 10 is the worst pain you can imagine?

8 to 10: Severe pain

Severe pain

5 to 7: Moderate pain

Moderate pain

1 to 4: Mild pain

Mild pain

How long has the pain lasted?

Less than 2 full days (48 hours)

Pain less than 2 days

2 days to 2 weeks

Pain 2 days to 2 weeks

More than 2 weeks

Pain more than 2 weeks

Has the pain:

Gotten worse?

Pain is getting worse

Stayed about the same (not better or worse)?

Pain is unchanged

Gotten better?

Pain is getting better

Do you think that the neck problem may have been caused by abuse?

Yes

Neck problem may have been caused by abuse

No

Neck problem may have been caused by abuse

Do you think you may have a fever?

How long have you had neck symptoms?

Less than 1 week

Symptoms for less than 1 week

1 to 2 weeks

Symptoms for 1 to 2 weeks

More than 2 weeks

Symptoms for more than 2 weeks

Many things can affect how your body responds to a symptom and what kind of care you may need. These include:

  • Your age. Babies and older adults tend to get sicker quicker.
  • Your overall health. If you have a condition such as diabetes, HIV, cancer, or heart disease, you may need to pay closer attention to certain symptoms and seek care sooner.
  • Medicines you take. Certain medicines, such as blood thinners (anticoagulants), medicines that suppress the immune system like steroids or chemotherapy, or natural health products can cause symptoms or make them worse.
  • Recent health events, such as surgery or injury. These kinds of events can cause symptoms afterwards or make them more serious.
  • Your health habits and lifestyle, such as eating and exercise habits, smoking, alcohol or drug use, sexual history, and travel.

Try Home Treatment

You have answered all the questions. Based on your answers, you may be able to take care of this problem at home.

  • Try home treatment to relieve the symptoms.
  • Call your doctor if symptoms get worse or you have any concerns (for example, if symptoms are not getting better as you would expect). You may need care sooner.

Pain in children under 3 years

It can be hard to tell how much pain a baby or toddler is in.

  • Severe pain (8 to 10): The pain is so bad that the baby cannot sleep, cannot get comfortable, and cries constantly no matter what you do. The baby may kick, make fists, or grimace.
  • Moderate pain (5 to 7): The baby is very fussy, clings to you a lot, and may have trouble sleeping but responds when you try to comfort him or her.
  • Mild pain (1 to 4): The baby is a little fussy and clings to you a little but responds when you try to comfort him or her.

Pain in children 3 years and older

  • Severe pain (8 to 10): The pain is so bad that the child can’t stand it for more than a few hours, can’t sleep, and can’t do anything else except focus on the pain. No one can tolerate severe pain for more than a few hours.
  • Moderate pain (5 to 7): The pain is bad enough to disrupt the child’s normal activities and sleep, but the child can tolerate it for hours or days.
  • Mild pain (1 to 4): The child notices and may complain of the pain, but it is not bad enough to disrupt his or her sleep or activities.

Symptoms of difficulty breathing can range from mild to severe. For example:

  • You may feel a little out of breath but still be able to talk (mild difficulty breathing), or you may be so out of breath that you cannot talk at all (severe difficulty breathing).
  • It may be getting hard to breathe with activity (mild difficulty breathing), or you may have to work very hard to breathe even when you’re at rest (severe difficulty breathing).

Severe trouble breathing means:

  • You cannot talk at all.
  • You have to work very hard to breathe.
  • You feel like you can’t get enough air.
  • You do not feel alert or cannot think clearly.

Moderate trouble breathing means:

  • It’s hard to talk in full sentences.
  • It’s hard to breathe with activity.

Mild trouble breathing means:

  • You feel a little out of breath but can still talk.
  • It’s becoming hard to breathe with activity.

Severe trouble breathing means:

  • The child cannot eat or talk because he or she is breathing so hard.
  • The child’s nostrils are flaring and the belly is moving in and out with every breath.
  • The child seems to be tiring out.
  • The child seems very sleepy or confused.

Moderate trouble breathing means:

  • The child is breathing a lot faster than usual.
  • The child has to take breaks from eating or talking to breathe.
  • The nostrils flare or the belly moves in and out at times when the child breathes.

Mild trouble breathing means:

  • The child is breathing a little faster than usual.
  • The child seems a little out of breath but can still eat or talk.

Pain in adults and older children

  • Severe pain (8 to 10): The pain is so bad that you can’t stand it for more than a few hours, can’t sleep, and can’t do anything else except focus on the pain.
  • Moderate pain (5 to 7): The pain is bad enough to disrupt your normal activities and your sleep, but you can tolerate it for hours or days. Moderate can also mean pain that comes and goes even if it’s severe when it’s there.
  • Mild pain (1 to 4): You notice the pain, but it is not bad enough to disrupt your sleep or activities.

Major trauma is any event that can cause very serious injury, such as:

  • A fall from more than 3.1 m (10 ft)[more than 1.5 m (5 ft) for children under 2 years and adults over 65].
  • A car crash in which any vehicle involved was going more than 32 km (20 miles) per hour.
  • Any event that causes severe bleeding that you cannot control.
  • Any event forceful enough to badly break a large bone (like an arm bone or leg bone).

Symptoms of serious illness may include:

  • A severe headache.
  • A stiff neck.
  • Mental changes, such as feeling confused or much less alert.
  • Extreme fatigue (to the point where it’s hard for you to function).
  • Shaking chills.

Symptoms of a heart attack may include:

  • Chest pain or pressure, or a strange feeling in the chest.
  • Sweating.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Pain, pressure, or a strange feeling in the back, neck, jaw, or upper belly, or in one or both shoulders or arms.
  • Light-headedness or sudden weakness.
  • A fast or irregular heartbeat.

For men and women, the most common symptom is chest pain or pressure. But women are somewhat more likely than men to have other symptoms, like shortness of breath, nausea, and back or jaw pain.

Call 911 Now

Based on your answers, you need emergency care.

Call 911 or other emergency services now.

Sometimes people don’t want to call 911. They may think that their symptoms aren’t serious or that they can just get someone else to drive them. But based on your answers, the safest and quickest way for you to get the care you need is to call 911 for medical transport to the hospital.

Seek Care Now

Based on your answers, you may need care right away. The problem is likely to get worse without medical care.

  • Call your doctor now to discuss the symptoms and arrange for care.
  • If you cannot reach your doctor or you don’t have one, seek care in the next hour.
  • You do not need to call an ambulance unless:
    • You cannot travel safely either by driving yourself or by having someone else drive you.
    • You are in an area where heavy traffic or other problems may slow you down.

Call 911 Now

Based on your answers, you need emergency care.

Call 911 or other emergency services now.

Do not move the person unless there is an immediate threat to the person’s life, such as a fire. If you have to move the person, keep the head and neck supported and in a straight line at all times. If the person may have a spinal injury from diving into the water and is still in the water, float the person face up in the water.

Sometimes people don’t want to call 911. They may think that their symptoms aren’t serious or that they can just get someone else to drive them. But based on your answers, the safest and quickest way for you to get the care you need is to call 911 for medical transport to the hospital.

Seek Care Today

Based on your answers, you may need care soon. The problem probably will not get better without medical care.

  • Call your doctor today to discuss the symptoms and arrange for care.
  • If you cannot reach your doctor or you don’t have one, seek care today.
  • If it is evening, watch the symptoms and seek care in the morning.
  • If the symptoms get worse, seek care sooner.

Make an Appointment

Based on your answers, the problem may not improve without medical care.

  • Make an appointment to see your doctor in the next 1 to 2 weeks.
  • If appropriate, try home treatment while you are waiting for the appointment.
  • If symptoms get worse or you have any concerns, call your doctor. You may need care sooner.

Call 911 Now

Based on your answers, you need emergency care.

Call 911 or other emergency services now.

After you call 911, the operator may tell you to chew 1 adult-strength (325 mg) or 2 to 4 low-dose (81 mg) aspirin. Wait for an ambulance. Do not try to drive yourself.

Sometimes people don’t want to call 911. They may think that their symptoms aren’t serious or that they can just get someone else to drive them. But based on your answers, the safest and quickest way for you to get the care you need is to call 911 for medical transport to the hospital.

Post-Operative Problems

Help! I Woke Up & Can’t Move My Neck! – Beyond

By Dr Victoria Chambers (Osteopath)

It’s happened again! You’ve woken up and can’t move your neck. Maybe it came on slowly. You noticed your neck getting tighter over the last couple of weeks. You asked your partner for a shoulder rub and it felt better for an hour or so.  Or maybe you were fine, but in the middle of the night you felt something sharp and then the pain gradually got worse. You took some medication and maybe it helped a little, maybe it got you back to sleep or maybe you lay awake, wondering what was going on.

Either way, now it’s morning, you’ve woken up and you cannot look left or right without turning your whole body and you have intense pain in your neck and shoulders.

Maybe you’ve had this before. Maybe it happens a couple of times a year, maybe more. Maybe this is the first time. Regardless, it can be scary and incredibly intense to experience.

In this blog, I’m going to cover some of the reasons this can occur, what could potentially be going on, some strategies to manage it in the moment and also some long term preventative measures. So take a seat, grab a heat pack and let’s talk about acute neck pain.

What’s causing the pain?

It’s important to say up top, that every person is different and while many people present with the symptoms and diagnoses discussed in this blog, it’s always important to seek help from a medical professional for any acute pain. This is particularly important if you have any accompanying symptoms, such as pins & needles, numbness or an intense and specifically located headache.

That being said, in many cases, there are two or three culprits which usually cause this kind of intense pain; facet joints, ribs & muscular spasm. The first two are the more likely suspects, but occasionally an intense muscular spasm can cause a similar sensation. I will discuss the first two in more detail. 

Facet joints

Facet joints are the joints which are responsible for all of the movement in your spine. Each vertebrae in your spine has a top and a bottom bony process called a facet which articulates with the facet of the vertebrae above and below. They slide and glide over one another to create spinal motion. 

These joints can be irritated, over-stretched, or even sprained, just like you can sprain an ankle, a finger or your wrist. The trouble is that your brain tends to react a little more to a sprain in your neck or elsewhere in your spinal column. A sprain in your neck is a sign of danger for your brain and so it often sends the muscles around the affected joint into spasm and sends down intense pain signals into the area. The muscle spasm in conjunction with the pain from the facet joint usually means a dull ache through the whole area at rest, and a sharp pain with most neck and sometimes shoulder movements.

The worst movements for sore facet joints tend to be rotating or side-bending to one side more than the other and extension or looking up towards the ceiling. That being said, when your brain is in protection mode, most movements cause quite a lot of pain.

Ribs

“Ribs! That high!” This is what I most commonly hear from my patients when we’re talking about neck pain, but yes, it’s true – your first rib sits right at the base of your neck and rib dysfunction can affect movements in your neck.

Each rib is attached to its corresponding vertebrae via two joints; the costotransverse and costovertebral joints. In the same way that facet joints can irritated, overstretched or sprained, so too can these spinal-rib articulations.

When a rib is the culprit in your neck pain, you’ll usually feel quite a lot of pain at the deepest point of your inspiratory breath and pain may radiate down the inside of your shoulder blade. You may also have trouble lifting your arms up above your head because of referred pain in your neck and shoulder.

Why is this happening!

There are many varied reasons why these sprains & strains occur. It can be a gradual build up over time; long periods at a desk coupled with a stressful period or sleeping on an unsuitable pillow for an extended period of time could be some of the many reasons for this type of pain.  On the opposite end of the spectrum, facet & rib joint pain also can tend to follow a quick jerking movements such as a quick head turn or a restless night with tossing & turning. This type of pain can also be associated with a history of whiplash or cervical spine trauma. For ribs specifically, in my clinical practice I have found that a period of lifting outside of someone’s normal habits (i.e. moving house), can be a precursor for rib pain. 

If you are someone who experiences this pain repeatedly, talk to your healthcare professional about some of your habits, your work ergonomics, sleeping habits etc, because there may be some easy changes that you can make to help to prevent this pain from occurring again in the future.

What do I do now?

If you have never had this pain before and are unsure, you should of course, seek help from a medical professional. However, as a general rule, this type of pain responds well to gentle, controlled, small, (relatively) pain free movement and heat – meaning heat packs or a warm shower.  

You may find that there are some movements that you cannot do i.e. looking over your left shoulder, but if you can turn your head a little to the right, then gently and slowly move in and out of that range and see if you can gain a little more movement as you continue to do the movement for 4-5 rotations.   You can also test gently dropping your ear to you shoulder and dropping your chin to your chest to see how much movement you have. You may experience some discomfort, but as long as it is easily manageable, it is okay. You should stop if you experience any intense pain. Any quick movements will generally elicit pain, so try to avoid these as much as you can.

Try to avoid lifting anything heavy that may place strain on your neck. You should also resist the urge to hold yourself and your neck rigid. Despite it feeling like the best strategy, if you can try to work on relaxing your shoulders and neck, you will find that it will be better in the long run.

Another great strategy is using a spikey ball through your shoulders and back as per the two below videos. Work through each spot for 1-2 minutes with enough pressure to feel a release, but not so much as to cause major discomfort.

Upper trap release