What are the common causes of neck pain?
Neck pain is commonly encountered during our lifetime. The intervertebral discs (cushions between the bones or vertebrae) function as cushions or shock absorbers, allowing the spine to handle various forms of loads and stresses during the lifetime of the person. They also allow movement of the neck in various directions. Besides the intervertebral discs, the surrounding muscles, ligaments, shoulders, as well as joints of the spine (facet joints) also play an important role to keep the cervical spine (neck) in the proper alignment.
All these supporting structures have nerves transmitting pain signals, and if there is anything amiss, pain signals will be sent from the nerves to the brain of the person involves, alerting him or her of a potential issue. The earliest structure of the spine to undergo degeneration is the intervertebral disc, and studies have shown that there are increased nerve fibers transmitting pain signals in a degenerate disc, as compared to a healthy normal disc.
Most of the time, the cause of neck pain is due to “wear and tear” or degenerative processes in the spine, and the pain is usually mechanical, i.e. there are aggravating as well as relieving factors in relation to the pain. Less often, neck pain may signal something more serious happening in the spine e.g. spine tumors or infections. In such instances, the pain is usually not related to activities, and the patient may complain of night or pain at rest.
Good Posture to Prevent Neck Pain
Neck pain is also often associated with our everyday movement and posture. Posture is the position in which you hold your body while standing, sitting or lying down. Good posture involves training your body to stand, walk, sit and lie in positions where there is less stress exerted on supporting muscles and ligaments, reducing neck pain. Learn more about what is good posture.
In addition to neck pain, symptoms such as numbness in your arms and legs and weakness in your arms may also be a result of spine problems. Learn more about the Causes of Neck Pain, Non-surgical Treatment and Surgical Treatment for Neck Pain.