By Dr. Mahima Handa (Physiotherapist)
Our neck is the most underrated part of our body. It holds our head. So even if it’s stable, it is continuously working throughout the day. The neck helps to move our head in different directions and ranges. It keeps our head stable. It helps to provide a proper posture in tune with the rest of the body. It protects the nerves that carry information to and from the head and rest of the body. It also protects the blood vessels that provide blood to the major part of our body, that is, our brain.
There may be a lot of reasons for your neck pain. They may be related to stress, strain, trauma, underlying medical condition or many more. It becomes important to find out and understand the cause. This helps to make sure the management done is accurate. Also, having a proper understanding of your pain and cause helps you yourself to take care of it better. Let us go through some of the major causes observed.
Keeping your head in abnormal postures and awkward positions brings strain to the muscles. It may lead to soreness and pain. Sleeping in a way neck stays bent, wrong ergonomics, lying on the sofa and watching television in a bad posture are all very common examples that can be seen in the day to day life.
A good posture makes sure the stretch and contraction forces between the coordinating ligaments or muscles are in balance.
Low amount of rest
Proper rest and sleep is very important for our body. We need to give it enough time to refresh and rejuvenate.
When we don’t give it enough time, the fatigue keeps on adding up. When we sleep, our muscles are able to relax and get rid of that built up fatigue.
It helps to give time to wash out the waste materials and replenish the nutrients.
You may definitely have noticed it sometime when you may have moved a body part in such a way, it turned out to be more forceful than expected. Then for quite some time you feel pain in that part. This is basically a stress induced strain. It may lead to swelling and pain.
It leads to continuous irritation in the body part for days. This may happen in our neck too. So it is important to not to twitch our neck.
Getting hurt in the neck may also be a reason. Our neck should be protected in any situation. It contains major nerves and vessels.
Osteoarthritis leads to wearing and tearing of bones in joint spaces. Usually the joint spaces decrease. The soft pillow-like spinal discs get affected. This leads to the joints getting rubbed and inflamed. This may also lead to the nerves getting compressed. This elevates the pain. This may also lead to radiating pain to the arms and hands.
Radiating pain here means that the nerve getting compressed is in the neck, but the following branches nerves of that compressed nerve also lead to pain in the supplied parts.
Bone spurs may occur in the vertebral bones due to osteoarthritis or tendinitis. These are called Osteophytes. They irritate the surrounding tissues and cause pain.
The vertebrae have spinal discs between them to help provide a cushion between the segments and smooth movements.
Due to different reasons like wear and tear, low nutrition, strain, injury, obesity, etc, these discs may bulge out. This leads to the nerves getting compressed. This causes the joint spaces to decrease.
So, the bone surfaces in the joint may rub against each other or even lead to Osteophytes. This leads to pain and difficulty in movements. This may also lead to radiating pains.
Excess weight on neck
Lifting up very heavy weight on the shoulders also leads to a strain on the neck. This may also lead to pain.
Many infections may also cause neck pain. You may or may not have a fever with it. It is important to take the required medicines in such a case. So do consult a doctor before any treatments.
There may be a number of causes that lead to pain in the neck. But knowing about them makes it very helpful to get the right treatment and timely healing. So make sure to consult a doctor and do not let your pain win!