Top 5 Causes of Neck Pain:
There are many reasons that we experience neck pain. Some are obvious, some are very hard to diagnose. Luckily, the common ones happen commonly, the rare ones happen rarely…you can quote me on that! Here are the top 5 causes that we come across in the clinic. Talk to one of our Melbourne Osteopaths for any help with this complex issue!
Unfortunately most of us still live very sedentary lives. The angles that a desk and chair places our neck and spine contributes heavily to the stiffness and strains we feel in our neck. Even the best posture will impact your neck to some degree. Standing Desks have made some noticeable differences. If set up correctly, the strain on the neck can be significantly reduced in Stand-Up desks.
This can often be overlooked. Patients will often come in and say,”I’ve done nothing to it, but it’s just really sore these past few weeks”. Then we will inquire about work or home and they will say, “Oh yeah I’ve been under a lot more stress in the past few weeks.” Stress absolutely manifests itself physically in the body and the shoulders, neck and head are the most common places we see it.
- Facet strain
Facets are the joints of the neck. Each vertebra connects with the vertebra above and below it. If these facet joints move out of place slightly and don’t return to their normal position, the body senses that and will react accordingly. The reaction we experience is normally a muscle spasm that creates pain. Inflammation can also result adding to the overall pain stimulation. Facet strains can result from repetitive strains, fast and unexpected movements and fatigue due to overuse as might been seen in going to the gym for the first time in a long time.
- Disc bulge
A disc bulge can be asymptomatic but it can also be very painful. The disc that is located in between the vertebra can be damaged either through trauma or overtime through degeneration. The disc can bulge in various directions, impacting the spinal cord or more commonly the nerve roots that arise from that part of the spinal cord. Localised pain can be coupled with referred pain and even some numbness and weakness into the arms and hands.
- Thoracic spine referral
Pain can refer down or up the spine. Parts of the Autonomic Nervous System (the system that can control the automatic functions in your body such as breathing or heart-beating) can control pain into other parts of the body. Sections of the thoracic spine (the mid-back spine) control pain into the head and neck and can often create headaches. Almost everytime you present with neck pain, your Osteopath will check your thoracic spine to see if it is influencing your neck pain.
Our Osteopaths can help with treatment and advice of all these common causes of neck pain. And there are also plenty of take home exercises that can help prevent these causes as well.