Neck Pain Causes, Symptoms, and Prevention

Neck pain causes

Your neck is made up of vertebrae. Muscles, ligaments, and other soft tissues support the neck and allow for motion. Many people get neck pain due to muscle strain, poor posture, overuse, or sleeping in an awkward position. Contact sports injuries, whiplash, and falls can also cause neck pain. In general, neck pain is a common complaint – whatever may be the cause.

Neck Pain Causes

Osteoarthritis – The cartilage between the bones (vertebrae) of the spine deteriorates. This mostly happens with age. As you age your cartilage and bones tend to become weak and are subject to everyday wear and tear. Osteoarthritis is one such factor that causes the destruction of the cushions (cartilage) between your vertebrae. This may partly happen with your age, lifestyle, and overuse.

Nerve Compression

Spinal nerves that branch out from the spinal cord can get compressed due to the formation of bone spurs or herniated disks. This can happen in the neck region and cause neck pain.

Strained Muscles

Neck muscles may become stiff and undergo tremendous pressure if you use them excessively. Excess hours spend on smartphones and computer desks often trigger muscle strains. Abnormal posture without any consideration to work desk ergonomics can also strain your neck muscles causing severe neck pain.

Neck Pain Causes – Collision and Injuries

An injury to the neck (the cervical vertebrae) resulting from rapid acceleration or deceleration (as in an automobile accident) can cause severe neck pain. When a rear-end collision occurs in an automobile in which you are sitting, your head is jerked backward and then forward. This type of impact strains the soft muscles of the neck causing severe neck pain.

How to Prevent Neck Pain?

If you have nagging neck pain, then ensure that your posture is proper while you carry out any task related to the neck – for instance, reading, writing, or doing work on your desk. Proper ergonomics play an important role in preventing neck pain.

In a majority of the cases, neck pain is associated with undue straining of neck muscles with improper posture and age-related wear and tear. Remember this general rule of thumb to prevent your neck pain:

Always keep your head centered over your spine.

Avoid Tucking the Phone

Don’t use your phone if you cannot hold it with your hands – for instance, while you are driving. If you get frequent calls, then use a speaker phone or headset or hand-free modes – whichever is feasible.

Avoid hunching over your work desk while using a computer screen and keyboard for work. Set proper work-desk ergonomics.

Avoid Carrying Heavy Loads

Don’t carry a heavy load on your back with bands getting the support from your shoulder. This will strain your neck muscles and cause neck pain.

If you carry heavy bags with shoulder straps then avoid using them.

Ensure proper sleeping position if you are prone to neck pain. While sleeping on the side ensure that a pillow is there under your neck with proper head and neck alignment.

Body ergonomics

Ensure that you always maintain proper posture – while sitting on the computer desk, while sitting anywhere, and standing.

Computer Desk Adjustments

Make adjustments to your computer desk, computer, and chair – Use a chair with an armrest, Adjust the computer monitor to eye level; Use the armrest of the chair to adjust your spine position. Keep your knees position slightly lower than your hips.

Bottom Line

Neck Pain Causes: Most neck pain improves gradually with home treatment. If not, see your doctor.

Less severe – Mild to moderate neck pain can improve on its own with proper home care and doctor’s treatment. However, if neck pain doesn’t improve with home care measures, then seek specialist medical care. In rare cases, neck pain can also be due to a very serious health issue – especially if it is associated with other health issues. Contact your Orthopedic doctor immediately if you start experiencing neck pain after a motor vehicle accident, injury or fall.

Contact your orthopedic doctor if your neck pain is severe. If your neck pain doesn’t improve even after several days and it is accompanied by numbness, headache, tingling sensation, and weakness in the arms and spreads down to the legs, consult your orthopedic doctor immediately.