The Borneo Post - Sunday, 23 June 2002
In fact, the only time you do pay attention is when you experience one of those nagging, everyday pains in the neck - like when you have a sore throat or choke yourself when drinking or eating. Here, experts advise some simple remedies to take care of those little pains, as well as some of the more serious ones.
Pain in the Neck #1
STIFFNESS - Can't turn your head when you wake up in the morning? You could have one of these:
A strain. These are usually caused by sleeping in an awkward position, which puts tension on your occipitonuchal muscle (the ones along the back of your neck). To loosen them and reduce the pain, stand under a hot shower for five minutes with the water hitting the nape of your neck. Then press your chin to your chest and hold for half a minute. Extend your head back (eyes to the shower head), hold, then flex forward again. Now roll your neck from side to side a few times. Doing this every morning should help heal mild strains.Whiplash. Technically, whiplash is a severe strain that occurs when your neck flexes forward and is quickly jerked backwards. If you suffer this kind of injury however minor - in a rear-end car accident, head for a h o s p i t a I immediately. Have a checkup by a medical doctor could save you months of recurring neck and back pain, as well as headaches.
SORE THROAT - A
sore throat is usually caused by an infection in the lymphoid tissue on
the sides of your throat. But if you regularly wake up with a painful and
dry throat, something sneakier is probably happening - you could be
sleeping with your mouth open. When you breathe through your mouth, you
inhale dry, throat-irritating air.
LARYNGITIS - Severe
hoarseness is usually brought on by an infection, swollen or dry vocal
cords or even coughing too hard. (Coughing can
Pain in the Neck #4
SWOLLEN GLANDS - The soft, pea-size glands under your jawbone are lymph nodes. If they swell to the size of a golf ball and feel sore, you may have virus or a tooth infection (or you could have swallowed a golf ball). They swell because they fill themselves up with infection - fighting cells called lymphocytes that keep the infection from spreading to the rest of your body.
If you have an infection, do these three things: throw away your toothbrush (viruses will linger there and delay your recovery); suck on hard lollies to stimulate saliva, which soothes sore throats; and eat spicy food - chilli contains capsaicin, which helps you secrete more liquid to expel the virus. If your nodes are larger than a marble or they don't go back to their normal size within a month, go for a check-up.
NOW THAT'S A SERIOUS PAIN IN THE NECK
CLOGGED CAROTIDS - The four carotid arteries are responsible for carrying oxygen-rich blood from your heart to your brain. You won't feel any symptoms with mild clogs, but the more blocked your arteries get, the greater the chance you could experience a Transient ischaemic attack (TIA) - a kind of mini stroke - in which you lose vision, get weak or become dizzy for five to 15 minutes - and a warning to see a doctor about lowering your cholesterol levels or unclogging your carotids through angioplasty or surgery.THYROID CANCER - Thyroid gland regulates your body temperature and metabolism. To check for thyroid problems, look in a mirror, swallow and watch for a lump. The lump will probably feel like a cherry. That's a thyroid nodule - benign in 95 percent of cases, but it should be checked to rule out thyroid cancer.