Neck pain in Northern Virginia can either be acute or chronic, depending on their causes and how long they take to resolve. For your doctor to treat neck pain effectively, the healthcare professional must understand your pain’s underlying causes. Your neck’s position can potentially put it at risk and anything ranging from bad posture to sleeping wrong can result in pain.
What are the common causes of acute pain?
Most acute neck pain results from straining a muscle or tendon or spraining a ligament. However, such pain resolves independently after just a few days. You are likely to sprain or strain your ligaments and muscles when you overstretch or overuse them. Common causes include:
· Improper sleeping positions
You will most likely wake up with a stiff neck when you place your head at an incorrect angle or twist your neck at night.
· Poor posture
Spending extended hours hunching or slouching (as when looking at a computer screen) may force you to have a forward head posture, thus stressing your neck.
· Repetitive motions
Turning your head continuously in a repetitive way overuses your neck’s tendons, ligaments, and muscles.
Impacts such as whiplash from a motor accident or sports collision are likely to cause neck pain.
However, not all sprains and strains result from soft tissue injury. Sometimes an issue in your cervical spine may be responsible for the spasm.
What conditions lead to chronic neck pain?
Once your doctor prescribes medications or therapies for your neck, chances are high you might not feel the pain again. However, when the pain keeps reoccurring or fails to respond to treatments, it might be a sign of spinal degeneration that results from wear and tear. You are likely to experience chronic pain because of:
· Cervical degenerative disc disease
Your spinal discs lose hydration gradually as you age, lessening their ability to cushion your spinal vertebrae. As a result, your disc may regenerate and cause you pain.
· Cervical osteoarthritis
The condition happens when the cartilage in your cervical facet joint wears off, forcing you to experience severe neck pain.
· Herniated disc
A hernia occurs when your intervertebral disc’s outer layer wears down, forcing the disc’s contents to leak, resulting in pain and inflammation.
As degeneration continues, your foramen and the spinal canal narrows, exerting pressure on your nerves. When your spinal cord or nerves get impinged, you may experience pain, weakness, and numbness, which may radiate into your arms or legs.
Other neck pain causes may include:
· Spinal tumors
· Myofascial pain syndrome
How do you prevent getting neck pain?
· Sit or stand in a position likely to fix your pain, mostly with your head straight and shoulders in alignment with your hips.
· Adjust your sitting position when working so that your screen or monitor is at eye level.
· Avoid lifting heavy loads with shoulder straps.
· Change pillows if you experience a stiff neck when you wake up
Neck pain can be frustrating, especially when you do not know its cause. However, identifying the source of your pain may help your doctor recommend the proper treatment. Schedule a consultation with your physician to learn more about neck pain causes and available treatments.