Because the neck is a particularly vulnerable part of the body, it can be susceptible to injuries and medical conditions. After all, the neck must hold up the head (which weighs approximately 10 pounds) and enable it to rotate and move, and the neck also houses the top of the spine and spinal cord – which, if damaged in this part of the spine, can cause full paralysis.
The uppermost section of your spine in your neck is called the cervical spine. The spinal column is composed of a series of bones called vertebrae, which run all the way down your spine and provide overall stability. The neck also comprises muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nerves, which help to support the neck and give it flexibility.
The neck’s important role in the body demands that neck pain not be ignored. Depending on the cause, neck pain can develop suddenly or slowly.
What Causes Neck Pain?
Neck pain can be caused by everything from overexertion and poor posture to physical stress and injuries. Car accidents, sports injuries, falls, or a direct blow to the head can all result in neck pain. Let’s unpack some of the most common causes of neck pain:
There are many different injuries that can affect the neck, ranging from a mild strain and whiplash to a serious fracture or spinal cord damage. Certain sports can cause damage to the neck muscles and ligaments, and repeated damage to the area – without sufficient rest – can increase your chance of a more severe neck injury.
Poor posture, sleeping in an awkward position, sitting hunched at a computer for too long, and staring at your cellphone for hours on end can strain the muscles and tendons in the neck. These practices can cause neck pain, stiffness, and headaches.
Nerve Compression/Pinched Nerve
The spinal cord or spinal nerves cause neck pain when they are compressed, pinched, or irritated in the cervical spine. This can occur from structural changes in the spine, such as a herniated disc or bone spur. Bone spurs can also contribute to a condition known as spinal stenosis, where the spinal canal becomes narrowed, thereby compressing the nerve.
A herniated disc occurs when the outer layer of a spinal disc ruptures, or herniates – thereby causing some of the inner jelly-like contents of the disc to protrude outward. This can cause pressure on the nerve tissue, creating swelling and pain.
Changes in the intervertebral discs can also lead to neck pain. As we age, our discs can lose water content and become less flexible, which is a condition called degenerative disc disease. If one or more discs are damaged in the cervical spine, they can deteriorate.
Osteoporosis is a bone condition that can cause the cervical vertebrae to weaken and become fragile, making them susceptible to fractures. Osteoporosis can cause the cervical spine to curve, resulting in neck pain and a hunched posture.
Kamerlink Pain Institute in Boca Raton
If neck pain is having an impact on your daily life and preventing you from doing the things you enjoy, seek expert help from our pain management doctor at Kamerlink Pain Institute. Dr. Jonathan Kamerlink has many years of experience in helping his patients finally find relief from pain, and he knows how to diagnose and treat your pain efficiently and effectively.
We specialize in interventional pain management, including non-opioid medications, pain-relief injections, and other minimally invasive procedures. If you would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Kamerlink, call us today at (561) 404-7667. We look forward to helping you achieve a pain-free life!