Neck Pain Causes
In order to effectively treat neck pain, it’s important to know the underlying medical condition causing it. This page focuses on various neck pain causes and risk factors, and the way the causes of acute (short-term) pain and chronic (long-term) pain tend to vary .
Common Acute Neck Pain Causes
The most common causes of neck pain—muscle/tendon strains and ligament sprains—heal within a couple of days or weeks. Many cases of strains and sprains result from overuse or overextension, like from:
Poor posture. Long periods of your time spent slouching or hunched over a display screen can cause forward head posture, which places extra stress on the neck. Repeatedly looking straight down at a phone or tablet can also cause pain, sometimes called text neck.
Sleeping in a clumsy position. If the top is held at a nasty angle or twists wrong during the night, a stiff neck could be present within the morning.
Repetitive motions. Turning the top during a repetitive manner, like side to side while dancing or swimming, may cause overuse of the neck’s muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
Trauma. Examples include any sort of fall or impact, like a sports collision or whiplash from an auto accident.
Sometimes a muscle strain or spasm isn’t just a soft tissue injury. In some cases, a drag within the cervical spine might be causing a neck muscle to spasm in response.
Common Chronic Neck Pain Causes
When neck pain lasts or keeps returning over a period of several months, it’s typically thanks to spinal degeneration from wear-and-tear over time (also called cervical spondylosis).
Cervical degenerative disc disease. All discs gradually lose hydration and therefore the ability to cushion the spine’s vertebrae over time. If a disc degenerates enough, for a few people it can cause pain in various ways, like a ruptured intervertebral disc , pinched nerve, or changes within the facet joints which will cause osteoarthritis.
Cervical osteoarthritis. When the cartilage during a cervical facet joint wears down enough, it can cause cervical osteoarthritis. Cervical osteoarthritis is one among the foremost common causes of chronic neck pain.
Cervical ruptured intervertebral disc . When an intervertebral disc’s protective outer layer (annulus fibrosus) partially or completely tears, a number of the jelly-like inner layer (nucleus pulposus) may leak and cause inflammation and pain.
As spinal degeneration progresses, there’s an increased risk for a narrowing of the foramen (cervical foraminal stenosis) and/or the vertebral canal (cervical central stenosis). If the nerve root and/or medulla spinalis becomes impinged, pain, tingling, numbness, and/or weakness may radiate into the arms or legs.
Other Neck Pain Causes
Other causes of neck pain could include:
Emotional stress. Stress, anxiety, and low social support have all been linked as potential causes or contributors to neck pain. Neck pain Surgeries.
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Infection. If a part of the cervical spine becomes infected, inflammation could cause neck pain. One example is meningitis.
Myofascial pain syndrome. This chronic condition has trigger points, which result from achy muscles and surrounding connective tissues, typically within the upper back or neck. Trigger points are often chronically painful or acutely tender to the touch. The pain might stay in one spot or it are often pain that spreads to/from another area within the body.
Fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is tough to diagnose, but it typically involves pain within the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in several areas of the body, including within the neck.
Spinal tumor. A tumor, like from cancer, could develop within the cervical spine and damage tissues or press against a nerve.
Spondylolisthesis. This condition occurs when one vertebra slips over the one below it. It are often thanks to a small fracture within the vertebra, ligament laxity, or possibly from advanced disc degeneration.
Risk Factors for Developing Neck Pain
Many different risk factors for neck pain are suggested within the medical literature, such as3,
- Reduced neck strength
- Previous neck problems
- Poor posture
- Labor-intensive occupation
- Female sex
Feelings of low support from work, family, or friendsThere is some controversy regarding neck pain risk factors as some studies have reached conflicting conclusions.5 More research is required to verify which factors truly present the very best risk for developing neck pain.