It’s normal to yawn if you’re bored or tired. Some people even yawn when they’re hungry. For most people, a yawn is a simple, painless process. However, you might experience neck pain when yawning. This is a sign of another issue. Find out the reasons your neck hurts when you yawn and what you can do to alleviate the symptoms.
When you think of muscle cramps, you likely think of your legs. However, any muscle in your body can cramp, including the muscles in your neck. If you suffer from neck cramps or a whiplash injury, a simple yawn can be a painful experience. Use a warm compress to help the muscles relax. You can also drink a warm glass of water to alleviate the pain. If you continue to get muscle cramps, do some neck stretches to alleviate the tension in the muscles.
TMJ can also cause neck pain when yawning. This is typically due to referred pain. The pain from the jaw radiates to the neck and might make you think your neck is the source of the pain. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications can help you reduce the swelling, which in turn will alleviate the pain. Apply an ice pack to your face as well and eat soft foods during flare-ups. This should reduce your neck pain when yawning. You should also consider wearing a mouthguard when you sleep. Bruxism (teeth grinding) can cause TMJ, and as long as you keep grinding your teeth, you will continue to have flare-ups.
Cervical disc disease can also be the cause of neck pain when yawning. Your neck has seven vertebrae. Cushioned discs separate the vertebrae. These discs allow you to turn your head and even yawn comfortably. If the discs degenerate, they no longer provide the cushioning the vertebrae need. While a stiff neck is a common symptom, you also might experience neck pain when yawning. The pain can be quite sharp but should dissipate after you stop yawning. Over-the-counter pain relievers are often used to treat cervical spine disorders, but you might require additional treatment, such as physical therapy. If conservative treatments do not work, your doctor might recommend surgery.
Spinal stenosis is diagnosed when the spine narrows. This puts excess pressure on the nerves on the spine and can make everything from walking to yawning quite painful. Your neck injury doctor might recommend steroid injections to manage the symptoms of spinal stenosis. Physical therapy and a decompression procedure also might help. In some cases, surgery is required. Your doctor will help you determine the right course of action for this issue.
Pain is your body’s way of saying that something is wrong and needs your attention. Sometimes, the problem is minor, such as a basic neck cramp. Other times, the problem is more serious, such as spinal stenosis. If you do not know what is causing your neck pain, go to the injury doctor. Your doctor will diagnose the problem and help you get better.
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