What is Neck Pain?

What is Neck Pain?

The neck is such a delicate and fundamental part of the body. Any neck pain can significantly disturb our lifestyle, decrease the range of motion, and make life unpleasant. Pain can be from a strain/sprain, muscle tightness, joint dysfunction, spinal stenosis, or a herniated disc. 

What causes different conditions to result in neck pain. 

These include:

  • Sitting in the same position for long periods
  • Repetitive daily movements
  • Falls
  • Hit to the body or the head
  • Sports Injuries
  • motor vehicle accident 
Specific conditions that affect the Neck

The neck, or cervical spine, is made up of seven spinal vertebrae. It supports the head’s weight and protects the nerves that transmit information from the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body and two arms. The ligaments, muscles, and bones in the neck allow it to be flexible and move in many directions. 

Many conditions affect not only your neck but can cause referred pain. Here are some of the most common conditions that affect the neck.

Arthritis/Arthrosis of the Neck

Arthritis is one of the most common chronic conditions causing stiffness and pain. There are more than 100 types of arthritis. Arthritis causes chronic irritation, degeneration, and inflammation of a joint or multiple joints. There are both inflammatory and degenerative forms of this condition. 

Inflammatory arthritis produces an uncomfortable amount of swelling of the joints. It can lead to severe pain and create erosive changes in the joint if left untreated.

Degenerative arthritis is a wearing down of the cartilage used to protect our joints. While this does not cause an incredible swelling, there can be a pain due to the cartilage breaking down and the diminished joint support. The degenerative changes will cause stiffness in the joint, which is often made worse overnight because of the area’s lack of movement during the night.

Mechanical Neck Pain

Mechanical neck pain results from the degenerative disc disease and arthritis of the cervical spine’s facet joints. Mechanical Neck Pain is a condition that can become chronic due to degenerative disc disease and arthritis in the neck, with the source of pain coming from the spine and its structure. This happens when one of the joints in the spinal area loses its normal resiliency and shock absorption. When a joint becomes dysfunctional, its normal range of movement may be affected and it can be rather painful.

Dysfunctional joints may turn into muscle pain, and even affect the nervous system. This may happen because of the high amount of nerve receptors in the joint. Any muscles related to the joint can become tense and under-active. The muscle imbalance can cause additional stress on the joint, aggravating the joint dysfunction that exists already. Nearly any joint in the spine, from the neck down to the sacroiliac joints, can cause pain. When the joints aren’t being used regularly, degenerative pain occurs.

Neck Pain due to Whiplash or sprain/strain

Whiplash syndrome is a collection of symptoms resulting from a soft-tissue injury of the cervical spine. Whiplash is very common whenever the head is forcefully jerked forward, back, or both. It is a common injury with automobile accidents. Many people have suffered whiplash even in low impact car collisions. It is also common for someone to have a delayed onset of whiplash, where the person does not realize that they have had a whiplash injury. When this occurs, usually at some future point in time, that patient will begin to present some of the classic signs of a whiplash injury.

Cervical Herniated Disc

The bones that run from the neck down the spine are called vertebrae. In between each vertebra is a disc. These discs have three main functions:

  1. Act as a shock absorber between adjacent vertebrae.
  2. Act as joints that allow for mobility in the spine.
  3. Act as ligaments that hold the vertebrae of the spine together.

For a disc to function correctly, it must have high water content because this makes the disc strong yet flexible. As long as the disc is well hydrated and undamaged, it can support heavy loads. 

Injury, poor body mechanics, and poor nutrition can cause the disc to become dehydrated. This causes the disc to lose its ability to support the spinal bones during everyday living. This can result in disc injuries such as a bulge or herniation. When a cervical (neck) disc becomes herniated, it can cause pain in the neck, shoulders, chest, arms, or hands. Arm pain from a cervical herniated disc is among the more common cervical spine conditions in the 30 to 50-year-old age group. Even though a herniated disc may happen due to some form of injury or trauma to the cervical spine, more often than not, the symptoms seem to appear rather spontaneously. Arm pain due to a cervical herniated disc occurs because the disc material presses or pinches on a cervical nerve, causing pain to radiate down the entire arm’s nerve pathways. In addition to pain, a person may experience weakness, numbness, and tingling in the arm.

How we treat Neck Pain

If you have chronic or acute neck pain, make an appointment with one of our Doctors for a proper evaluation that may include x rays, MRI or a conductive nerve study. These exams will be correlated to the orthopedic, chiropractic, and neurologic examinations. At Manhattan Wellness Group, we create a personalized treatment plan that is suited for your condition. This may include an integrative approach with multiple professionals working in synergy to help, or the treatment may only need a more subtle and lighter approach. Call us today and make an appointment! 

Also, check our online shopping webpage for some products to help prevent and treat some of the neck pain symptoms at home.