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Shooting Pain in Neck

Shooting Pain in Neck

Frequent shooting pain in the neck can a symptom of a serious medical condition like bursitis, cervical spondylosis, etc. Here is detailed information on the causes and remedies for sharp and sudden neck pain.
HealthHearty Staff
Improper posture while sitting or sleeping is one of the most common cause of neck pain in people. Similarly, straining and twisting the neck can also cause pain. Excruciating pain in the neck is a symptom of a serious underlying condition.
Causes
One should remember that shooting and sharp pain in neck, which may or may not be accompanied with other symptoms, is a serious condition.
Bursitis
Bursitis is the inflammation of the bursa (tiny fluid filled sacs) present in the shoulder. It can be caused due to injury or infection. Rheumatoid arthritis is also one of the most significant cause of bursitis. Swelling of the bursa, accompanied with pain in neck and shoulders are the symptoms of bursitis.
Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease that occurs due to wear and tear of the joints. The symptoms include inflammation of the joints, swelling, pain, stiffness. Osteoarthritis in the shoulder or the neck joint can cause sharp pain in the neck. Secondly, ruptured or herniated disc in the neck is also a significant cause of excruciating pain in neck.
Rotator Cuff Injury
The rotator cuff is a group of tendons and muscles present in the shoulder that enable the arm to move. An injury to these muscles can be caused due to sports activity or repetitive use of it. Sudden shooting pain in neck and shoulders, that passes through the arm, is a significant symptom of rotator cuff injury.
Cervical Spondylosis
Wear and tear or degeneration of the discs present in the neck causes cervical spondylosis. This condition is commonly found in older people (above 55 years of age). Stiffness in neck, shoulders, arm; severe pain, tingling and numbness in arms are the symptoms of this condition. Cervical spondylosis is usually succeeded by cervical osteoarthritis.
Injury
Injury or trauma is the most common, but, prominent cause of shooting pain in neck. Whiplash injury, improper strenuous exercise and sports injury can lead to sharp pain in neck. On the other hand, trauma caused due to accident, fracture, etc., is also one of the major reasons for sharp and sudden neck pain.
Treatment
If you experience sharp neck pain, you should consult the doctor immediately. X-ray, MRI, CT scan, discogram, etc., are the commonly used techniques to diagnose the underlying cause. Disorders in the bone, soft tissue, disc, etc., can be observed using either of these techniques.
Rest and massage can help get rid of the pain in case of minor injury. In severe cases, hospitalization, use of traction, or surgery, may be required. Bursitis can be treated through several methods like medications, aspiration of the bursa fluid or even surgical removal of the fluid. Treatment for rotator cuff injury includes using anti-inflammatory medications and surgery.
On the other hand, although there is no permanent cure to osteoarthritis, certain medications and therapies help in alleviating the symptoms and pain. Cervical spondylosis can also be treated using painkillers, traction, surgery, etc. If looking for home remedies, note that using ice pack, gentle massage, etc., can help relieve pain to certain extent.Physical therapy (or physiotherapy) and exercises are also advised for retaining normal functioning of the neck muscles.
Prevention
  • You should follow proper exercise techniques and have a good posture while sitting, sleeping, etc.
  • At workplace, you should make sure that your chair and desk is at a comfortable position.
  • You should follow proper techniques while lifting heavy things.
  • You should avoid arching your neck frequently (while talking on the phone, or while watching TV)
  • Also remember that proper relaxation techniques should be followed to avoid stress-related pain.
It is advised to take medication and drugs only on consulting the doctor. Sharp pain in neck should not be ignored as there can be severe underlying causes for it. With proper and timely treatment, it is possible to get rid of the neck pain and prevent it from being chronic. Take care!
Disclaimer: Note that this article is meant for informational purposes and is not to be used as an alternative for proper medical advice.