What Causes Neck Pain?
The top 7 bones of your spinal column are called the cervical vertebrae, and these bones form your neck. They’re linked together by facet joints, which, together with your neck muscles, support your head and let you turn it in any direction.
The cause of neck pain can be a number of different things.
Between the bones of the cervical vertebrae are discs of cartilage known as cervical discs. As we age, these cartilage discs wear down and degenerate and can be the cause of neck pain.
Neck pain and whiplash go hand in hand. If you have had past injuries such as whiplash, or any kind of trauma to the neck that has put strain on the vertebrae and cervical discs, problems can resurface later on in life and result in pain and a stiff neck. If you suffer from arthritis, this can be a cause of neck pain too.
Neck pain and stiffness is often associated with weakness of the deep holding muscles of the neck, and if it is accompanied by a spasm of the surrounding neck muscles, it is known as “Wry Neck”. Wry Neck can occur very suddenly and seemingly out of nowhere, or it can develop slowly over a period of time.
Sciatica, which can occur when the large sciatic nerve is irritated or compressed in the lumbar spine, most commonly causes lower back pain – but it can contribute to neck pain as well.
What Are The Symptoms Of Neck Pain
Neck pain is not necessarily confined to the neck. The top of the neck shares the same nerve supply as your head, and neck problems can also manifest as headaches or a stiff neck. It is common to find that the cause of headaches is a problem in the upper part of the neck.
Episodes of neck pain can either come on very suddenly and be very acute, or they can build up with a gradual loss of movement in the neck, and a gradual increase in the intensity of the stiffness and pain.
Symptoms can include:
- Headaches with pain sited around the back of the head or around the eye.
- Aching at the bottom of the neck that radiates into the shoulders, causing upper back pain and shoulder pain.
- Stiffness and restriction in movement of the neck and and turning of the head.
- A sore neck when waking in the morning.
- Pain, weakness and/or changes of sensation down the arm.