The neck has a significant burden of holding the weight of your head all day. An average sized head weighs around 11 pounds. The neck’s task is to move the head in all directions; that is up, down and sideways. The spinal cord bones help the neck in its work.
It is made up of muscle tissues, and this makes it prone to pain. The pain arises from different diseases or disorders. If the illness is not that serious, it may be relived within a week.
There are several known causes of neck pain which are cervical degenerative disc disease, neck strain and neck injuries just to mention a few. Virus infection and rear illness such as tuberculosis also lead to neck pain. Anything that may directly affect the muscles can cause strain or tension leads to pain.
Symptoms of Neck Pain
- Pain when turning
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Gland swelling
Below are reasons why you experience neck pain and ways you may prevent it:
Causes of Neck Pain
Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease
Cervical degeneration is characterized by severe neck pain. The cervical spine is in the neck. It’s made up of small bones that form the vertebral column and are separated by disc filled with a gel that acts as a cushion. The discs are of tough outer layer called the Annulus fibrosus.
The gel is made up of about 86% water. This percentage reduces to as you age. Due to this loss of hydration, over time, the spaces between the vertebra narrows.
The gel loses its toughness and becomes prone to cracking and it is not able to repair itself. What initial felt like a smooth turning of the neck will now feel painful and sometimes lead to stiffness.
Degenerative disc disease affects the cervical spine as people grow old. Signs and symptoms may start showing at different ages depending on a person.
This disease can be treated through exercise, surgery and stem therapy. Stem therapy involves using a hydrogel system that encourages the functional cartilage to develop itself.
Some of the exercises you can do are
Head rotation: Apply pressure with your hand in the neck and try to move side to side. Do this for some seconds and repeat it.
Shoulder lifts: Lie down on the floor and try to raise your head and shoulder. The hips must be pressed down to the floor.
Corner stretch: Go to the corner of the room. Let both your feet face the wall. Place the shoulder on each side of the wall and stretch towards the wall.
Neck sprain injury
The neck is made up of muscles fibers that are interconnected. Neck sprain is the sudden wrenching of its ligaments or muscles. The intensity of the pain depends on the tear size and the location. Sprain injuries are caused by:
Poor posture: This may be as a result of sitting for long hours or sleeping in a bad position.
Lifting heavy things: This is also one of the major causes of neck pain.
Repetitive motions: The neck muscles cannot handle repetitive movements since they will lead to strain
Fall or collision: Any impact on the head transported to the neck which causes whiplash.
Before starting any treatment have an evaluation by a physician. You may apply ice at the first stages of the injury later you can use heat method which improves blood circulation.
Temporomandibular disorder (TMJ disorder)
The jaw and the base of the head are joined by the TMJ joint. It helps to open and close the mouth. The neck muscles are attached to this jaw. Excessive chewing or any form of injury may damage the joint. Thus; the pain is transmitted to the neck which leads to neck pain.
To treat the disorder one requires massaging the jaw and neck muscles, or using ice pack the area of the joint.
Tip: You can use Bengay or Biofreeze to reduce pain.
Pinched nerve (cervical radiculopathy)
Neck pain may be as a result of pinched nerve which is caused by damage or injury in the nerve. The nerve is a cell that transmits a message throughout the body. Any disruption in this makes the nerve send out a warning to the body in form of pain. The neck feels the pain first then other body parts. Cervical radiculopathy may arise from:
Degenerative change: Because of ageing the disc loses water and height. To cover up for this water loss, the body forms more bones making the back stiffer and narrows the opening where the spinal nerve passes.
Herniated disc: Due loss of water in the disc or injury, the nucleus may squeeze through. It causes the disc to bulge towards the spinal canal. It creates pressure on the nerve roots causing pain.
You can treat it by wearing a soft cervical collar or by hanging upside (inversion therapy). It allows your neck muscles to relax and limit its movement. Specific exercise can help relieve the pain.
A tension headache is a headache that feels like a tight band around your head. A tension headache is said to start from the neck, resulting from muscle tension and trigger points.
Some people develop tension muscles from driving for long hours or staring at the television or computer the whole day. The pressure in this muscle may cause compression of the nerve that exits the skull base, and trigger pain that wraps in the head and above the eyes.
If you are at the computer, keep tilting the head to prevent it. You can also use a Far Infrared Heating Pad to prevent this pain.
There are many causes of neck pain Mostly it is as a result of cervical spine disorders. Neck pain may change your life. Sometimes, it is hard to identify the cause of the pain.
You can reduce this pain by exercising, using posture pumps, or having a massage. If the pain persists, please talk to your doctor.