The Top 7 Causes of Neck Pain: From Stress & Strains to Illness
The causes of neck pain vary greatly–from muscle strains and injuries to disease and disc problems, even posture and diet can lead to a stiff neck. Some of the more common neck pain causes include sleeping in the wrong position or with the wrong type of pillow, repetitive motion, typing at a computer and even dehydration.
If you experience neck pain you are not alone, it affects a large percentage of individuals in the United States. Studies show that anywhere from 10 to 20% of Americans suffer from some sort of neck pain and that figure spikes to as much as 75% in other countries where most of the workforce performs repetitive tasks.
Severe neck pain can be debilitating and last for days at a time if untreated. Luckily there are many types of neck pain treatments available. The best treatment depends on the type of neck pain you are experiencing and its severity.
The Top 7 Causes of Neck Pain
1. Sleeping in the Wrong Position
Sleeping wrong can cause neck pain. It places strain on the neck muscles which leads to injury and strain. If you wake up with a stiff neck, try using the proper pillow with the right type of support for your sleeping position. This will help prevent that painful stiff neck from sleeping wrong.
2. Repetitive Motion and Strain
Repetitive motion and neck strains are very common. Any type of motion that involves the neck and upper back muscles can lead to neck pain. The repetition cause muscle strain and this leads to pain. Treatment for this type of neck pain is typically rest and stretching exercises. Limiting repetitive motions and using the proper positioning when performing them will help reduce instances of this type of neck pain.
3. Ergonomics (Desk and Office Work)
Sitting at a desk and using your laptop or computer can cause neck pain. Remaining in this position for long periods of time leads to something called “nerd neck” and the “S” shaped spine. This is when the spine slopes as it does when arching to read off of a computer screen. Additionally, cradling your phone in your shoulder can cause neck pain because your neck is forced into an awkward position for a long period of time.
4. Injuries, Fractures and Sprains
Neck muscles, cartilage, tendons and the vertebrae can be damaged by injuries including forceful blows, violent whiplash, falls, and even blows to the head or body where the neck whips or is forced violently in one or more directions. These types of injuries can take much longer to heal and often result in sharp or throbbing neck pain sensations.
5. Degenerative Disc Disease
This condition, when affecting the upper vertebrae, causes neck pain. Degenerative disc disease is when the fibrous discs in the neck are impacted by wear and tear. This wear and tear causes swelling, inflammation and pain. Typically, it consists of hot shooting pains or sensations in the neck area around the spine.
6. Herniated Discs
A herniated disc is a protruding disc in the neck usually caused by injury, shock, or sprain. A twisted neck, whiplash, or a sudden trauma on the neck can cause a disc to push out of its space in the vertebrae. This can be treated by surgery, physical therapy or pain management.
7. Illness, Disease and Spinal Conditions
Certain infections like meningitis can affect the neck area, as can illnesses that impact the lymph nodes and cause swelling. Other conditions like fibromyalgia can cause neck pain. Rare diseases can impact neck muscles, and in some cases cancer of the neck or lungs can spread and cause pain in the neck. Treating these illness-related causes of neck pain is more serious. Pain can be relieved by a range of pain treatment methods including natural remedies like TENS units.
There are many treatment options for all of these different causes of neck pain. Whether it is a regimen of pain relievers, more exercise, lifestyle changes, or alternative non-narcotic pain relievers like TENS units, neck pain should not be holding you back anymore.
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