Neck Pain

Neck pain is common and affects 2 in 3 people at some time in their life.

Movement of the neck may be compromised, and any attempts at movement may make the pain worse. Neck pain may also spread to the shoulder and sometimes down one arm, occasionally as far as the fingers. 'Pins and needles' may develop in part of the arm or hand. Neck pain can also travel up to the skull and often cause headaches.

Triggers of neck pain include:

  1. bending for prolonged periods
  2. twisting
  3. unsuitable posture while working e.g. turning to one side to use a computer
  4. sitting in one position for prolonged periods
  5. traumatic accidents e.g. whiplash
  6. sports injuries

Causes of neck pain include:

Strains and Sprains

Strains and sprains are the most common forms of neck pain. Minor strains and sprains to muscles or ligaments in the neck can cause what is known as 'mechanical' neck pain. The origin and cause of 'mechanical' neck pain is often unknown, but this may be partly due to poor posture, for example bending the neck to look down at a desk or computer screen for much of the day.

Whiplash to the neck

Whiplash is commonly associated with car crashes, but may also happen on fiarground rides or if someone is unexpectedly pushed. It causes a sudden abnormal movement through the neck which can tear or strain the tissues and misalign the vertebrae.

Degeneration (wear and tear)

Degeneration affecting the vertebrae and/or discs in the neck is sometimes called cervical spondylosis, and can be a cause of chronic neck pain. However, most people over the age of 50 have some degree of degeneration (spondylosis) without experiencing neck pain.

Facet joint syndrome

The Facet joints connect the vertebrae and allow movement between each one so that the head can turn. Facet joint syndrome causes pain and stiffness in one side of the neck, making it difficult to turn to either side or look up. There may also be muscle spasms, shoulder pain or headaches. Facet Joint Syndrome may result from an injury, such as whiplash or high impact sports.

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