Neck pain (or cervicalgia) is a common problem, with two-thirds of the population having neck pain at some point in their lives. Neck pain, although felt in the neck, can be caused by numerous other spinal problems. Neck pain may arise due to muscular tightness in both the neck and upper back, or pinching of the nerves emanating from the cervical vertebrae. Joint disruption in the neck creates pain, as does joint disruption in the upper back.
The head is supported by the lower neck and upper back, and it is these areas that commonly cause neck pain. The top three joints in the neck allow for most movement of your neck and head. The lower joints in the neck and those of the upper back create a supportive structure for your head to sit on. If this support system is affected adversely, then the muscles in the area will tighten, leading to neck pain.
Neck pain may also arise from many other physical and emotional health problems.
Differential Diagnosis For Neck Pain
Neck pain may come from any of the structures in the neck including: spinal nerves, neck musculature, spinal vertebrae or may be referred from other areas of the body.
The more common and lesser neck pain causes include:
• Stress – physical and emotional stresses • Prolonged postures – many people fall asleep on sofas and chairs and wake with sore necks • Minor injuries and falls – car accidents, sports injuries and day to day minor injuries • Referred pain – mostly from upper back problems • Over-use – muscular strain is one of the most common causes • Whiplash • Herniated disc • Pinched nerve
Neck Pain Treatment
Treatment of neck pain depends on the cause. For the vast majority of people, neck pain can be treated conservatively. Recommendations which can help resolve neck pain include common treatments such as spinal rehabilitation/strengthening (MedX), spinal decompression (VAX-D), chiropractic treatment and physical therapy.