About 16 million Americans battle chronic neck and back pain. The causes of Humble back and neck pain can range from a simple sprain to a more serious condition, such as cervical disc herniation or C3-C6 disc herniation. If the pain is chronic or severe, it may be a sign of nerve root impingement.
Below are some common causes of neck pain:
Muscle strain or pull
Muscle strains occur when a muscle pulls on the bone. The back of the neck is a common site for this type of injury because the muscles that support it are located in the upper back and neck. Muscle strains often cause pain, tenderness, and swelling in the area where they occurred.
Disc herniations occur when one or more discs in your spine start to bulge out from their normal location within your spine (vertebrae). This bulging can cause inflammation and pressure that cause pain throughout your neck and upper back sometimes radiating down into your shoulders or arms as well as causing numbness, weakness, and loss of muscle tone.
A nerve injury is a key cause of chronic neck pain. It can occur if you bang your head against an object, or fall down stairs. A nerve injury will often cause numbness and tingling along with the pain that travels from the back of one shoulder down into the neck and upper back region of the body.
Sciatica is a condition in which pain travels down the back of one or both legs, which may or may not be accompanied by numbness or tingling. It’s caused by irritation of a nerve that runs from the lower back to the buttocks and down the leg. Sciatica can occur following injury to the sciatic nerve, which passes through the buttocks and connects to muscles (the piriformis) on each side of your pelvis.
Having learned the common causes of neck pain, it helps to look at the available alternatives to liberate you from pain.
Therapy using light, heat, or cold to relieve pain and stiffness of muscles, tendons, and ligaments that have been injured. Physical therapists work with you to design an individualized plan of care to help restore your range of motion and mobility in your neck and back.
An ancient healing art based on the belief that energy moves through channels in the body called meridians (similar to meridians in traditional Chinese medicine). Acupuncture involves the insertion of fine needles into specific points on the body, usually near joints or along major nerve pathways. The needles are left in place for a short period of time, generally from 10 minutes to 30 minutes. Acupuncture can be used as a stand-alone treatment or as an adjunct therapy before other treatments.
A gentle form of bodywork involving stroking or kneading muscles with pressure or by friction. Massage may help release tension from tight muscles.
If you are experiencing back and neck pain, the first step is to see your primary care doctor. Your doctor from Interventional Sports and Pain Management Associates can tell you how to best treat your pain and any other symptoms that may be present.