Neck Pain, Causes & Treatment

Neck pain is a common problem that is usually caused when neck muscles are tense up due to poor posture, especially when a person leans on the computer, mobile, or on the desk. In some rare cases, neck pain can be a sign of a more serious problem, where the symptoms include numbness, loss of strength in the arm or hand, and severe pain in your shoulder or arm. Reduced ability to rotate or move the head is another symptom of neck pain due to muscle stiffness or tightness [1]. 

Causes of Neck Pain 

  1. Poor Posture

Poor posture is the most common cause of neck pain as a bad posture puts more pressure on the cervical spine when the head is pushed in the wrong position. The cervical spine must be able to support more weight as a general principle. For every inch of the head stretched forward in the wrong position, the cervical spine carries an additional 10 pounds of weight, so if the average head weight is between 10 and 12 pounds, just an inch or two of forwarding positioning will double or triple the weight on the cervical spine. Such that if a person bends his neck for 15, it will put pressure of 27 pounds, and at the angle of 60, the pressure on the neck will be 60 pounds. This increased pressure on the neck muscles results in scar tissue formation at the shoulders and back [2]. 

  • Hyperflexion and Hyperextension refer that the lower part of the cervical spine is excessively curved and the spine is tilted too far forward. This is because the brain automatically raises its head so that the eyes can look straight ahead. This change in the curvature of the cervical spine increases the distance between the spinal canals from the base of the skull to the lower part of the neck. This causes the spinal cord and nearby nerve roots to stretch slightly, causing neck pain [3]. 
  • Muscle overload causes neck pain when certain muscles in the neck and upper back are constantly overloaded to bear the forward weight of the head. As a result, the muscles are more susceptible to painful tension, cramps, muscle spasm, or scar tissue formation [2].
  • Hunched upper back. The forward head position is often accompanied by a movement of the shoulders and a rounded upper back. This can cause severe pain in the neck, upper back, and/or shoulders [2].
  1. Whiplash Injury 

Damaged rear-end collisions of the vertebrae often result in whiplash injuries, which occur when the head is thrown back and forth or during sports activities. As a result, the soft tissues of the neck are stretched and strained causing neck pain [4]. 

  1. Herniated Disc 

Neck pain is sometimes caused by the herniated discs or spurs in the cervical spine, that press on the nerves protruding from the spinal cord. The neck pain associated with herniated disc comes from the neck, down the shoulder, and can radiate to the arm. A person may feel pain in the neck when turning the head or bending the neck due to the formation of muscle spasm or uncontrollable muscle contractions [5].

  1. Osteoarthritis 

If osteoarthritis affects the spinal cord, it can cause a spinal cord disorder called cervical spondylotic myelopathy that is a rare cause of neck pain. the symptoms include tingling, numbness, and weakness in any part of the body below the neck. Osteoarthritis causes degeneration of the disc cartilage between the bones, as a result, the body produces bone spurs which hinder joint movement and causes pain in the neck [4].

  1. Cervical Stenosis 

Cervical spine stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal or root canal of the spinal cord. When this narrowing occurs, the spinal cord or nerves can be compressed and cause neck pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness in the neck, shoulders, and arms [4]. 

  1. Facet Joint Syndrome 

Neck joint pain can have different symptoms depending on the area of ​​the spine that is affected. Facet joint syndrome can cause neck and shoulder pain as this limits the range of motion and makes it difficult to comfortably turn head [5].

  1. Muscle Strains 

Muscle tension and overuse, such as bending over a computer or smartphone for too long often cause muscle strains. Even minor things, such as reading in bed or gritting your teeth, can strain your neck muscles [5].

  1. Diseases 

Some medical conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, meningitis, or cancer can cause neck pain but that is very rare [3].

Healing Cycle of Neck Pain 

A normal healing cycle comprises three stages of inflammation, proliferation, and maturation. However, in a chronic healing cycle, the inflammation and proliferation cycle goes on due to continuous inflammation at the injured site, so it is important to reach the maturation to complete the healing process. The treatment intervention of neck pain during these stages of healing is different for each stage [1, 4].

Treatment of Neck Pain during Inflammation 

  • To reduce inflammation in the muscles, joints, and other soft tissues at the neck, rest is the most important aspect that contributes to healing because muscle spasms and tightness due to inappropriate posture can be relieved through stress. 
  • Magna Heal is a wearable magnetic instrument that uses a magnetic field to align the bony structures and soft tissues without any invasive procedure. 
  • An anti-inflammatory diet also contributes to boosting the healing process and reducing inflammation.
  • Restoring certain deficiencies of vitamins, minerals, and salts can also reduce inflammation [6]. 

Treatment of Neck Pain during Proliferation 

As the proliferation stage is comprised of scar tissue, trigger points, and fascia release, therefore, the superficial and external release of these can help to reach the maturation stage in the neck pain. For scar tissue release superficially, the use of A3 is effective whereas, for deep release of scar tissue, A5 is used. Similarly, for superficial fascia release, pressure through A1 is applied, whereas, for deeper layers of fascia including epimysium, perimysium, and endomysium, A5 is used to release fascia at the neck [6]. 

Therefore, to find relief in the neck pain, consider these points and contact us for more details and guidance regarding the neck pain.

 

References

1. Popescu A, Lee H. Neck pain and lower back pain. Medical Clinics. 2020 Mar 1;104(2):279-92.

2. Cohen SP. Epidemiology, diagnosis, and treatment of neck pain. InMayo Clinic Proceedings 2015 Feb 1 (Vol. 90, No. 2, pp. 284-299). Elsevier.

3. Barreto T, Svec JH. Chronic neck pain: nonpharmacologic treatment. American family physician. 2019 Aug 1;100(3):180-2.

4. Cohen SP, Hooten WM. Advances in the diagnosis and management of neck pain. Bmj. 2017 Aug 14;358.

5. Binder A. The diagnosis and treatment of nonspecific neck pain and whiplash. Europa medicophysica. 2007 Mar 1;43(1):79-89.

6. Childress MA, Stuek SJ. Neck Pain: Initial Evaluation and Management. American Family Physician. 2020 Aug 1;102(3):150-6.