Top 5 Causes of Neck Pain
Dr Michael Santamaria
We experience neck pain for many reasons. Some are obvious, some are very hard to diagnose. Thankfully, the common ones are common, the rare ones are rare…funny that! Here are the top 5 causes that we come across at Elsternwick Osteopathy.
1. Facet sprain. Each vertebra connects with the vertebra above and below it to create a facet. The body can sense if these joints move slightly and don’t return to their original position and a spasm is the most likely result causing localised pain. Inflammation can also result adding to the overall pain stimulation. Facet sprains can result from repetitive strains, fast and unexpected movements and fatigue due to overuse as might been seen painting a wall that is high up or on an angle.
2. Posture. We still live very sedentary lives. Desks and chairs places our neck and spine in horrible positions and contribute heavily to the stiffness and strains we feel in our neck. Even the best posture will impact your neck to some degree. Standing Desks have made some noticeable differences. If set up correctly, the strain on the neck can be significantly reduced when you stand up.
3. Stress. This can often be overlooked. So many patients will come in and say,” I had this pain before our holiday, then on holiday it was gone, and now it’s back.”. Or they will say, “Oh yeah I’ve been under a lot more stress in the past few weeks.” Stress absolutely manifests itself physically in the body and the shoulders, neck and head are the most common places we see it.
4. Disc bulge. A disc bulge can present itself very differently from person to person. Some will never know they have it, others can completely ruin their lives at the time. The disc that is located in between the vertebra can be damaged either through trauma or overtime through degeneration. The bulge can impact the spinal cord or more commonly the nerve roots that arise from that part of the spinal cord. Localised pain can be coupled with referred pain and even some numbness and weakness into the arms and hands.
5. Thoracic spine referral. Parts of the Autonomic Nervous System (the system that can control the automatic functions in your body such as breathing or heart-beating) can control pain into other parts of the body. Sections of the thoracic spine (the mid-back spine) control pain into the head and neck and can often create headaches. Almost every time you present with neck pain, your Osteopath will check your thoracic spine to see if it is influencing your neck pain.