Each year, thousands of people are diagnosed with chronic neck pain. Around two-thirds of people in the U.S. have neck pain at some time during the lifespan. You need to know the cause of your neck pain in order to have treatment. Chronic neck pain can be mild or severe, burning or aching, intermittent or constant. Because there are many cause of neck pain, there are also a variety of symptoms associated with this discomfort.
Depending on your occupation, many people have neck pain associated with daily life. Chronic neck pain can occur due to poor posture, weak abdominal muscles, staring at the computer, sitting too long at a desk, and persistent stress and emotional tension.
Many age-related disorders can lead to chronic neck pain. When the intervertebral discs between each vertebra lose water content, flexibility, and elasticity, they also lose shock-absorbing ability. This condition is called degenerative disc disease (DDD). Over time, the disc degenerate and cause bulging to occur. If a disc herniates, the inner material can press on nerve roots, which produces significant neck pain as well as radiculopathy (arm tingling, numbness, and weakness). With DDD, the small nerve passages between the vertebrae narrow, and this leads to compression of spinal nerve roots. Called spinal stenosis, this condition also produces radiculopathy symptoms and significant neck pain. Finally, cervical spondylosis is a condition where degenerative changes of the cervical (neck) spine result in osteophyte formation. These bony growths impinge on spinal nerve roots and cause significant pain.
Injuries and Accidents
Whiplash occurs when a sudden force causes the head and neck to move violently forward and then rebound backward. This whipping motion can cause injury to the support tissues and structures of the neck. The muscles contract and get tight, creating muscle fatigue and stiffness. Severe cases of whiplash can result in injury to the spinal joints, ligaments, discs, and nerve roots. In addition, spinal cord trauma can result in permanent chronic neck problems.
Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
Thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) is a condition that causes neck pain, arm pain, exercise-induced arm tingling and numbness, hand cyanosis, and skin color changes of the arm and hand. This syndrome occurs due to compression of the nerves and vessels that supply the arm and hand. TOS is more common in women than men, and enlargement of the seventh cervical vertebra is a predisposing factor for developing this syndrome.
When rheumatoid arthritis affects the cervical joints, complications can occur. The bones and joints of the neck may dislocate and press on spinal nerves or the spinal cord. This pressure can lead to pain, as well as arm weakness, tingling, and numbness.
Fibromyalgia is a common cause of chronic pain at multiple sites of the body. Because certain tender points are located at the top of the trunk, chronic neck pain is a symptom of fibromyalgia.
Occipital neuralgia involves the two pairs of nerves that spur off the second and third cervical vertebrae (occipital nerves). This condition produces pain that originates at the base of the skull near the nape of the neck. The pain often radiates to the head. The symptoms of occipital neuralgia include shocking, shooting, and aching pain, which is often continuous. Neck movements often trigger the pain, and patients report that the scalp is tender to touch.
Colorado Clinic offers the top pain management in Loveland, Greeley, Longmont, Fort Collins, Buena Vista, Boulder and Fort Morgan. Call today for the top neck pain relief, both medication management and interventional procedures are offered!