The Different Types of Neck Pain and the Causes
Have you been struggling with neck pain for a while now? If yes, you are not alone. Neck pain affects 75% of the worldwide population and is among the top five disorders in the U.S. However, despite the prevalence, neck pain is not the same. Understanding your type of pain as well as the common causes is the first step towards alleviating it completely.
Types of Neck Pain
Some common types of neck pain include;
1. Muscle Spasm Neck Pain
Ever woken up with so much stiffness in your neck, it becomes impossible for you even to turn your head? If yes, then the kind of neck pain you were experiencing was caused by the sudden tightening of the neck muscles and is referred to as a muscle spasm. In most cases, this type of neck pain is often caused by muscle injury. If this is the case in your situation, it will ease as time goes by. However, note, an ongoing muscle spasm might be an indicator of underlying nerve or spinal disc problems, hence it’s wise to get checked by a professional from a reputable facility.
2. Muscle Pain
If you are dealing with an aching neck or have areas on the neck that are tender to touch, then the pain is probably as a result of muscle pain. This type of neck pain is in large part due to prolonged emotional or physical stress.
3. Referred Neck Pain
Sometimes, you may experience neck pain due to a problem that exists in a separate part of your body. If you tend to feel the pain only when you are doing a particular action, or when you exert pressure on a particular part of your body, this is referred pain, and you need to get checked by an expert as it may be a sign of a serious health problem.
Sometimes a headache can also cause neck pain. Usually, a headache related neck pain is felt between the back of your head and the upper part of your neck. It’s usually more of a dull ache and may be accompanied by either tenderness or stiffness.
Causes of Neck Pain
Before we get to the causes, neck pain can be either acute (that is pain that lasts less than six weeks) subacute, (referring to pain that lasts about 12 weeks), or chronic, (meaning the pain can go on for a long time). Whichever category you may be in currently, here are some of the culprits;
Whiplash occurs when your head moves in one direction and then back suddenly. For instance, if you’re driving your car and someone hits you from behind, the sudden movement causes may cause this.
Another instance is if your car is stationary, and someone hits you from behind, the impact will jerk your body forward, and your head will be thrown backward. When your body stops, your head will again move forward. All this happens so suddenly and in split seconds, straining your neck, and in the process, even causing some ligaments to tear. The result is a sharp pain that worsens with movement. Note, whiplash doesn’t always start immediately. It may even take a week before you start feeling it. If not addressed, whiplash has side effects such as nerve pain and headaches.
Other Common Causes of Neck Pain
- Degenerative disc disease
- Muscle tension or strain
- Nerve compression
- Herniated disc
- Cervical facet syndrome
- Cervical radiculopathy
The anatomy of the neck is pretty complex. Other than supporting the head and its movement, it also has muscles and essential nerves that facilitate communication between the brain and the body. Therefore, whatever the cause of your neck pain might be, it is advisable you seek professional help from a well-established facility like Maryland Pain and Wellness Center.