The word neck pain It is the medical term that refers to neck pain. The cervical area is the one found in the back of the neck, which includes from the skull to the thoracic vertebrae.
This is a very common situation that approximately It affects nearly 70% of people at some point in their lives. In fact, it is estimated that around 14% of sick leave is caused by neck pain.
In reality, neck pain encompasses more than neck pain, since, on many occasions, this pain extends to the head or arms. It also tends to restrict the movement of all these parts.
neck pain it can be due to numerous causes. It’s usually not serious, but because of its effects on sufferers’ lives, in this article we explain everything you need to know about it.
What is neck pain?
The cervical spine is a part of the spine that extends from the base of the skull to the thoracic area. It comprises 7 vertebrae and is characterized by being one of the most flexible parts of the spine. Neck pain refers to pain in this area.
However, It can be a painful sensation that spreads to the arms, head or back. On some occasions it may be accompanied by other symptoms, such as tingling in the fingers or dizziness and nausea.
This neck pain is due to numerous causes. It can be due to changes in the muscles or ligaments, injury to the vertebrae or joints, and even nerve pathology. Alike, neck pain is often due to poor posture. For our body position to be correct, our head must be positioned correctly on the neck.
However, many people have their heads far forward, which makes the back muscles of the neck suffer due to too much stress. Likewise, this position tends to compress the rest of the cervical structures, also causing neck pain.
What are the causes of neck pain?
It is true that Most cases are the result of an overuse of the neck muscles. However, we can summarize the causes of neck pain in the following.
Muscular causes of neck pain
Muscle causes are the most common and affect the muscles in the back of the neck. They include overloading of these muscles, contractures, strains etc.
Injuries that affect the neck also tend to affect muscles. The most common injury is whiplash. It is an injury that occurs when the neck is suddenly and excessively extended or flexed.
Neck pain can also be due to nerve injury, which itself can be caused by many reasons. Mostly, they occur due to a herniated disc. It is a situation where the disc that sits between the vertebrae is displaced from its usual position. Then, it puts pressure on the nerves, causing pain and other neurological symptoms.
Moreover, neck pain can be referred to as pain. This means that it is actually pain originating in another part of the body. For example, an injury to the shoulder or even the esophagus can cause this symptom.
Other diseases of the cervical spine
As we have already mentioned, there are numerous pathologies that can cause neck pain. As for those directly affecting the cervical spine, the main ones are cervical stenosis and osteoarthritis:
- Cervical stenosis is a pathology in which a narrowing of the canal in the spine occurs. This narrowing can end up injuring the spinal cord. It usually appears due to aging, since it affects both the intervertebral discs and the vertebrae and ligaments. This disease also causes loss of strength and sensation in the hands, among other symptoms.
- Osteoarthritis is a very frequent joint pathology which consists of wear and tear of the articular cartilage. Neck pain in this disease is usually worst in the morning and gets better throughout the day.
In conclusion, cervicalgia is the term used to refer to pain in the cervical area. Although its causes are numerous and usually not serious, it is important to consult a doctor make the diagnosis and choose the appropriate treatment.
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