Causes of Neck Pain
There are many causes of neck pain. Neck pain may result from abnormalities in the soft
tissues - the muscles, ligaments, and nerves - as well as in bones and joints of the
spine. The most common causes of neck pain are soft tissue abnormalities due to injury or
prolonged wear and tear. In rare cases, infection or tumors may cause neck pain. In some
people, neck problems may be the source of pain in the upper back, shoulders or arms.
Injuries causing neck pain
- Burner A "burner" is an injury to one or more
nerves between your neck and shoulder. It is also called a "stinger." It usually
happens in sports like football. It's not a serious neck injury.
- Cervical Fracture you have seven bones in your neck.
These are the cervical vertebrae, which support your head and connect it to the shoulders
and body. A fracture, or break, in one of the cervical vertebrae is commonly called a
- Whiplash a soft tissue injury to the neckis also
called neck sprain or neck strain. It is characterized by a collection of symptoms that
occur following damage to the neck, usually because of sudden extension and flexion. The
disorder commonly occurs as the result of an automobile accident and may include injury to
intervertebral joints, discs, and ligaments, cervical muscles, and nerve roots. Symptoms
such as neck pain may be present directly after the injury or may be delayed for several
days. In addition to neck pain, other symptoms may include neck stiffness, injuries to the
muscles and ligaments (myofascial injuries), headache, dizziness, abnormal sensations such
as burning or prickling (paresthesias), or shoulder or back pain. In addition, some people
experience cognitive, somatic, or psychological conditions such as memory loss,
concentration impairment, nervousness/irritability, sleep disturbances, fatigue, or
Degenerative and Inflammatory causes of neck pain
Arthritis Various forms of
arthritis can cause neck pain. Osteoarthritis is the most prevalent form of arthritis. As
we age wear and tear on the joints including the cervical joints can cause inflammation in
the bones of the neck. Rheumatoid Arthritis and other forms of degenerative arthritis can
cause destruction of the joints in the neck.
Cervical disk degeneration refers to a gradual
deterioration of the spongy disks in the top part of the spine.As the disk space narrows,
added stress is applied to the joints of the spine causing further wear and degenerative
disease. The cervical disk may also protrude and cause pressure on the spinal cord or
nerve roots when the rim of the disk weakens.
Cervical spondylosis refers
to common age-related changes in the area of the spine at the back of the neck. With age,
the vertebrae (the component bones of the spine) gradually form bone spurs, and their
shock-absorbing disks slowly shrink.