Neck pain is another common cause of chronic spinal pain and its prevalence is increasing significantly. Cervical spondylosis is one such cause but cervical spondylosis contributes the neck pain in older age group. But, surprisingly, in recent times, younger age group population is getting affected with this neck pain which was uncommon few years ago.
Neck pain can manifest in three forms: i) Only pain around necks, or upper shoulder, ii) Neck pain which radiates to one or both sides of the forearm/hand and iii) Upper neck pain associated with headache. Each type of manifestation has different aetiology and with proper attention, quite a lot of them can be prevented or even taken care of with complete resolution of symptoms.
Common Causes of Neck Pain
- Cervical Spondylosis- Cervical spondylosis is an age-related degenerative or wear and tear of cervical spine where the discs between spine bones bulge or dehydrate, ligaments calcify, or the small joints in the back of the spine (facet joints) develop arthritis. These typically manifest in 50’s or beyond but can still happen in younger age group.
- Cervical disc bulge or herniation- Cervical disc bulges can compress upon the spinal cord or the nerve roots that come out of the spinal cord at each level. This cervical disc bulge can manifest in a similar way like the lumbar slipped disc or sciatica pain. Here pain starts from neck and goes all the way to forearm or hand/fingers depending the level and nerve root getting compressed. This is a very common cause of neck pain across all age groups. This is commonly seen in people who are prone for injury to neck.
For More information about slipped disc or sciatica pain click to read
- Text Neck Syndrome- This terminology has been described in very recent times and it happens because of prolonged mobile phone use. Whenever, we use our mobile phone for texting a message, watch video or use it for other activities, our neck automatically goes into flexion or bending position. Whenever we bend our neck, our neck muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints and spinal vertebrae has to bear unnecessary load. Prolonged loading and bending over years lead to significant compression, changes around our spine bone, muscles and cause neck pain. When we bend to around 60 degrees, it is equivalent to 27 kg force being applied to our neck. One can imagine how we’re damaging our cervical spine and musculature over the years.
- Myofascial Pain Syndrome- Another important cause of chronic neck pain is the “muscles” around our neck. Because of our nature of work, muscles develop “trigger points” or “taut bands” leading to localised neck pain, especially over shoulder blades or around the scapular bones.
- Repeated Injury- People doing manual labour work carrying heavy objects over heads, others who are prone or have experienced repetitive injury to neck can develop chronic neck pain.
- Bad posture- Persons with sedentary lifestyle who work long hours with bad posture, no physical activity, obesity etc are prone for neck pain and early development of cervical spondylosis.
- Cervical Facet Syndrome- Human spine has small joints on its back side known as facet joints which help in forward-backward bending and side-wise movements. The cervical facet joints are more prone of injury following motor vehicle accident and repetitive trauma. These facet joints are a common source of pain in many people, more so in older age groups.
- Tumor- Rarely cervical spine tumor can cause neck pain
- Inflammatory arthritis, Vasculitis like Rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and similar conditions can cause neck pain.
How Can we Prevent Neck Pain ? What are Home Remedies
A. Posture is very important- People with desk job should maintain a proper posture with steady neck, appropriate distance from the computer screen. Similarly, while using cell phones, we should keep our head and neck steady. Cell phones can be kept at a distance from our eye level and steady posture should be maintained.
B .Regular exercise and keeping healthy weight will help maintain a healthy spine
C. Avoidance of repetitive injury
D. Exercise to strengthen the neck muscles
E. Application of hot fomentation to the neck muscles in case of neck muscle spasm
When to seek specialist doctor help?
- Persistent neck pain
- Severe intensity neck pain affecting quality of life, sleep and daily activities.
- Neck pain with feeling with weakness in the hands and/or unable to hold objects
- New onset Neck pain in age < 20 years or > 60-65 years
- Neck pain with associated weight loss, decreased appetite, fever, or night sweat
Do not hesitate to consult our specialist doctor at Neuron pain & Spine Clinic if you experience any of the above; get personalized attention, accurate diagnosis and latest non-surgical treatment.
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