Neck pain, of cervicalgia, is a common complaint that affects about two thirds of all people at some time in their lives. Although the pain manifests itself in the neck, neck pain can arise for a number of reasons, mostly originating from the spinal tissues.
Since the head is supported by the neck and upper back, it is these areas that are most prone to neck pain.
Cervicalgia may arise due to muscular tightness in both the neck and upper back, joint disruption in the neck and the upper back. The top three joints in the neck allow for most movement of the neck and head. The lower joint and those of the upper back create a supportive structure for the head to sit on. If this support is affected adversely, the muscles in the area tighten up leading to a neck pain.
Neck pain can come from any of the structures like vascular, nerve, digestive, airway, and musculature/skeletal, etc. The major causes for neck pain are:
- Carotid Artery Dissection
- Pain from acute coronary syndrome
- Infections like retropharyngeal abscesses, epiglotitis, etc
- Spinal Stenosis
- Spinal disc herniation
The other causes of neck pain may include stress, prolonged postures, overuse of muscles, minor injuries and falls.
Most of these causes are easily rectified by either professional help of using self help advice and techniques.
Generally treatment is cause-related but analgesics are the first choice of treatment. Muscle relaxants are also helpful. Sometimes the problem responds to stretching and strength-building exercises.
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