You’re not so much turning your head as you are your entire body, just to look at something behind you. Or, you wake up some mornings and struggle to lift your head off the pillow thanks to a painful neck. These are some of the more common complaints that people have when they develop neck problems — and plenty do. About 80% of people experience neck pain at some point in their lives.
And, you’re tired of dealing with a literal pain in your neck, and you want answers.
To help, the team of musculoskeletal experts here at Valiant Life Medical takes a closer look at four of the more common culprits behind neck pain.
A quick neck anatomy review
Your neck may not be very large, but it’s quite complex. At the heart of your neck is your cervical spine, which contains seven small vertebrae that attach your head to your torso. In between these vertebrae are six intervertebral discs that act as spacers and provide shock absorption and mobility in your cervical spine.
Surrounding your cervical spine is a host of supportive tissues, including ligaments, muscles, and tendons.
Most neck pain stems from one of the components we outline above. Let’s take a look.
1. Degenerative disc disease
The discs in your cervical spine can lose their strength, volume, and suppleness over time thanks to wear and tear. Called degenerative disc disease, this condition leaves your discs brittle and flatter, which can lead to pain from a cervical herniated disc.
With a herniated or ruptured disc, some of the disc matter escapes its space and irritates or compresses a nearby nerve root, causing pain and other symptoms that can affect your neck and radiate down into your arm.
2. Tension and strain
Look around and you’ll likely see people hunched over their phones, tablets, or computers. This constant screen staring is wreaking havoc on the connective tissues in your neck, which aren’t used to holding your head at an awkward angle for hours on end.
Whether tech neck is responsible for the strain and tension in your neck or it’s due to poor posture, neck pain is often the result of bad positioning habits.
3. Cervical spinal stenosis
Another common problem that’s often associated with aging is cervical spinal stenosis. With this condition, your spinal cord narrows because of degenerative changes in the structures. This narrowing compresses nerves, which can lead to local and radiating pain.
Your neck is vulnerable to injuries, such as whiplash and sprains, which occur when your head is rocked, forcing your muscles and ligaments to stretch beyond their limits. As well, you can incur vertebral fractures if there’s sudden and strong compression in your cervical spine.
Finding relief for your neck pain
As musculoskeletal experts who emphasize an integrative approach to your health, we may recommend a combination of treatments for your neck pain. Depending on the underlying cause, we might suggest:
- Physical therapy
- Chiropractic care
- Regenerative medicine
- Interventional therapies, such as injections
- MLS laser therapy
- Extracorporeal shockwave therapy
To figure out which treatments can bring much-needed relief from your neck pain, please contact our office in Fort Worth, Texas, to set up an appointment.