Serious Health Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Joke With That Neck Pain

Dr. Olumuyiwa Odusote, a consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at Alimosho General Hospital, Lagos, has said that neck pain can be a sign of serious health issue, especially when it affects the spinal cord. 

Speaking in an interview with PUNCH HealthWise, Odusote noted that neck pain is a common health issue and should not be life-threatening if properly diagnosed and treated.

The PUNCH had reported that the wife of the President, Aisha Buhari, has been flown to Dubai, the United Arab Emirates for the treatment of severe neck pain.

The neck pain was said to have started shortly after she returned to Abuja from a trip to Lagos in July where she had visited Mrs. Florence Ajimobi, widow of former Oyo State governor, Abiola Ajimobi, who died of COVID-19 complications on June 25, 2020.

According to Odusote, neck pain can be from any cause from the muscle, bone, the nerve or strain from poor posture. The consultant said:

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“The causes vary but perhaps the most common cause of persistent chronic neck pain is cervical spondylosis. Neck pain is common especially when you go beyond 40 years of age.” 

The orthopaedic surgeon said neck pain is not life-threatening “but as I said, there are different causes of neck pain. Sometimes, tumours in the spinal cord can cause it, if the tumour is around the cervical spine of the cord. He stated further:

“It can be a sign of something serious if it is a tumour but most of the time it is a benign chronic condition, not necessarily life-threatening but occasionally the disc risk can be so much that it presses on the spinal cord, then it becomes life-threatening but that is very rare.”

The orthopaedic surgeon explained that when one has neck pain, he/she experiences pain in the neck, shoulder and bone in the upper arm. He added:

“Some may even extend to the forearm and even the arm and there may be difficulty in turning or bending the neck, which can also worsen the pain.

“Sometimes, the pain may arise as a result of a slipped disc. When we say there is a slipped disc, it’s when the outer layer tears and the soft centre of a spinal disc protrude out from the outer layer and when it protrudes out, it presses on nearby nerves and causing the symptoms of pain, restriction.”

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He explained that the mode of treatment depends on the cause of the pain “as it could be a pointer to a sinister event going on but it’s not that common.

“You need to look for the cause of the pain first. Sometimes, you need to carry out an x-ray to know if the person is having arthritis spurred by wear and tear to the spine; or if the bone is broken or normal.

“We can also do more test if we don’t have a satisfactory answer.”

Odusote advised that anyone experiencing pain should seek medical attention when he or she can no longer tolerate the pain. He said:

“You should see a doctor when you can no longer tolerate the pain, or if the pain impairs your regular activities.

“A lot of people have pain that will last for five days and it goes when they use some local analgesics ointment or painkiller but when you can no longer tolerate it, you should see a doctor.”

The expert, however, said the condition can be treated in Nigeria.

“Neck pain can be treated in Nigeria regularly. It is quite common, so it is treated in Nigeria regularly,” he added.

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