What Causes Neck Pain?

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What Causes Neck Pain?

Pain in the neck is a familiar idiom that means a major nuisance or annoyance. If you have ever experienced neck pain from sickness or injury, you can surely relate to this saying. Since the neck is so flexible and supports your entire head, however, it is one of the more vulnerable parts of the body as well. Neck pain is a common medical condition, but did you know that there are a variety of neck pain causes that can become chronic, from bad posture to infections? What causes neck pain? It can actually come down to a few contributing conditions and even more of your daily habits you’re doing unconsciously.

Contributing conditions

Neck pain is so common in fact that it has been estimated that 85% of the U.S. population has suffered from back and neck pain at least once in their life.

Still not convinced? Neck pain affects 45% of today’s workers, making it one of the most economically damaging pain conditions today. It is also one the most common reasons people visit their physicians, but most people still don’t understand how they develop neck pain. There are lots of habits that cause neck pain, so knowing these causes is the first step to alleviating the pain.

A multitude of disorders and diseases can produce chronic neck pain as a symptom. Many involve the tissues throughout the neck. Some disorders include meningitis, arthritisdegenerative disc disease, and cancer. Injuries such as muscle strain, whiplash, or a herniated disc can also causes long-term issues.

The major symptoms of neck pain include:

  • Muscle pain
  • Stiff neck
  • Increased pain from staying in a static position (using a computer or driving)
  • Throat pain
  • Tenderness
  • Headaches

In many cases, self-care for two to three weeks can resolve neck pain for mild to moderate cases. This can include neck stretches, heat pads, and neck pillows. But, as always, you should talk to a medical professional if you believe you have any of these conditions. You should contact a doctor immediately if your pain is severe or persists unabated for several days or if you experience a tingling, weak, or numb sensation in your arms or legs.

1. Muscle sprain or strain

This is one of the most common neck pain causes, as it is an injury to the neck muscles and tissues. Specifically, it is often an injury in the levator scapula, which is the muscle group in the back and side of the neck that connects it to the shoulders. This injury can happen in a variety of different ways, many of which occur while performing everyday activities.

Poor posture is a major culprit of this cause of neck pain. Poor posture includes slouching while sitting in chair or using a computer. Constantly looking downward at a smart device can also be an issue, so much so that they have a name for it: text neck.

Sleeping with the neck at an awkward position can also cause a lot of pain. This is similar to holding your neck in an unnatural position for a long period of time while awake such as when you are on the phone and cradling it between your neck and shoulders.

Sports injuries that include a forceful impact or a jarring of the head to one side can also cause injuries. This can include other active exercises, such as repeatedly moving your neck back and forth when swimming laps.

2. Whiplash

Another common cause of neck pain occurs when a person’s neck and head are rapidly snapped forward and backwards with great force. This is known as whiplash. The most typical cause of whiplash is from motor vehicle accidents,