Neck Injuries and Disorders

Any part of your neck – muscles, bones, joints, tendons, ligaments, or nerves – can cause neck problems. Neck pain is very common. Pain may also come from your shoulder, jaw, head, or upper arms.

Muscle strain or tension often causes neck pain. The problem is usually overuse, such as from sitting at a computer for too long. Sometimes you can strain your neck muscles from sleeping in an awkward position or overdoing it during exercise. Falls or accidents, including car accidents, are another common cause of neck pain. Whiplash, a soft tissue injury to the neck, is also called neck sprain or strain.

Treatment depends on the cause, but may include applying ice, taking pain relievers, getting physical therapy or wearing a cervical collar. You rarely need surgery.

Neuropathic Pain

Neuropathic pain is believed to be caused by changes in the nervous system that sustain pain even after an injury heals. In most cases, the injury that starts the pain involves the peripheral nerves or the central nervous system itself. It can be associated with trauma or with many different types of diseases, such as diabetes. There are many neuropathic pain syndromes, such as diabetic neuropathy, trigeminal neuralgia, postherpetic neuralgia (“shingles”), post-stroke pain, and complex regional pain syndromes (also called reflex sympathetic dystrophy or “RSD” and causalgia). Some patients who get neuropathic pain describe it as bizarre, unfamiliar pain, which may be burning or like electricity. The pain may be associated with sensitivity of the skin.

Nociceptive Pain

Nociceptive pain is believed to be caused by the ongoing activation of pain receptors in either the surface or deep tissues of the body. There are two types: “somatic” pain and ” visceral” pain.

“Somatic” pain is caused by injury to skin, muscles, bone, joint, and connective tissues. Deep somatic pain is usually described as dull or aching, and localized in one area. Somatic pain from injury to the skin or the tissues just below it often is sharper and may have a burning or pricking quality.

Somatic pain often involves inflammation of injured tissue. Although inflammation is a normal response of the body to injury, and is essential for healing, inflammation that does not disappear with time can result in a chronically painful disease. The joint pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis may be considered an example of this type of somatic nociceptive pain.

“Visceral” pain refers to pain that originates from ongoing injury to the internal organs or the tissues that support them. When the injured tissue is a hollow structure, like the intestine or the gall bladder, the pain often is poorly localized and cramping. When the injured structure is not a hollow organ, the pain may be pressure-like, deep, and stabbing.

Nociceptive pain is the type of pain you feel when you burn yourself, twist your ankle, or stub your toe. It is a dull or sharp aching pain, and it can be mild to severe. This type of pain can usually be controlled.

Nose Injuries and Disorders

Your nose is important to your health. It filters the air you breathe, removing dust, germs, and irritants. It warms and moistens the air to keep your lungs and tubes that lead to them from drying out. Your nose also contains the nerve cells that help your sense of smell. When there is a problem with your nose, your whole body can suffer. For example, the stuffy nose of the common cold can make it hard for you to breathe, sleep, or get comfortable.

Many problems besides the common cold can affect the nose. They includeIllustration of nasal anatomy

  • Deviated septum – a shifting of the wall that divides the nasal cavity into halves
  • Nasal polyps – soft growths that develop on the lining of your nose or sinuses
  • Nosebleeds
  • Rhinitis – inflammation of the nose and sinuses sometimes caused by allergies. The main symptom is a runny nose.
  • Nasal fractures, also known as a broken nose