Neck pain is usually caused by muscle strain or soft tissue sprain (ligaments, tendons); however, it can also be caused by a sudden force (whiplash). These types of neck pain often improve with time and non-surgical care like medication and chiropractic manipulation. However, if the pain persists or worsens, it is likely to be a specific condition that requires treatment. This can include cervical degenerative disc disease, cervical herniated disc, cervical stenosis, or cervical arthritis.

What Causes Neck Pain?

Your neck is a flexible structure that supports the weight of your head, so it can be vulnerable to injuries and conditions that cause pain and restrict motion.

 

These injuries include:

  • Muscle strains can be caused by spending too many hours hunched over the computer or smartphone. Even minor habits like reading in bed or gritting your teeth can cause strained neck muscles.

  • Injuries can cause strain to the neck. Most commonly, whiplash injuries, which are commonly sustained during rear-end auto collisions occur when the head is jerked backwards and then forwards, straining the soft tissues of the neck.

  • Diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, meningitis, or cancer can cause neck pain.

  • Worn joints is a natural occurrence with age bodies. Osteoarthritis causes the cushions (cartilage) between your bones (vertebrae) to deteriorate. Your body then forms bone spurs that affect joint motion and cause pain.

  • Nerve compression occurs when herniated disks or bone spurs in the vertebrae of your neck press on the nerves branching out from the spinal cord.

The Symptoms Of Neck Pain

Signs and symptoms include:

  • Pain that intensifies when the head is held in place over long periods of time, such as when driving or working at a computer.

  • Muscle tightness and spasms.

  • Decreased ability to move the head.

  • Headache.

How Do You Prevent Neck Pain?

Most neck pain is associated with poor posture combined with age-related wear and tear. To prevent neck pain, keep your head centred over your spine. Some simple changes in your daily routine may help.

 

Consider trying:

  • Improving your posture. When standing and sitting, ensure that your shoulders are in a straight line over your hips and that your ears are directly over your shoulders.

  • Take frequent breaks. If you travel long distances or work long hours at the computer, make it a habit to get up, move around, and stretch your neck and shoulders.

  • Adjust your desk, chair, and computer so that the monitor is at eye level. Your knees should be positioned slightly lower than the hips. Invest in a chair with armrests.

  • Avoid tucking the phone between your ear and shoulder when you talk. Use a headset or converse over speakerphone instead.

  • Avoid carrying heavy bags with straps over your shoulder. The weight can strain your neck.

  • Sleep in a proper position. Your head and neck should be aligned with your body. Use a small pillow under your neck. Try sleeping on your back with your thighs elevated on pillows, which will flatten out your spinal muscles.