Neck pain is a common complaint. Most causes of neck pain aren’t serious. Neck muscles can be strained from poor posture – whether it’s leaning into your computer at work or hunching over your workbench doing hobbies at home. Wear-and-tear arthritis also is a common cause of neck pain. But sometimes neck pain can signify something more serious.Seek immediate medical care if you experience:
* Shooting pain into your shoulder or down your arm
* Numbness or loss of strength in your arms or hands
* Change in bladder or bowel habits
* Inability to touch your chin to your chest.
Causes of Neck Pain
Neck pain can result from a variety of causes, ranging from overuse injuries and whiplash to diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and meningitis.
Overuse, such as too many hours hunched over a steering wheel, often triggers muscle strains. Neck muscles, particularly those in the back of your neck, become fatigued and eventually strained. When you overuse your neck muscles repeatedly, chronic pain can develop. Even such minor things as reading in bed or gritting your teeth can strain neck muscles.
Just like all the other joints in your body, your neck joints tend to experience wear and tear with age, which can cause osteoarthritis in your neck.
A variety of problems in your neck’s vertebrae can reduce the amount of space available for nerves to branch out from the spinal cord. Examples include stiffened disks, herniated disks, and bone spurs.
Rear-end collisions often result in whiplash injuries, which occur when the head is jerked forward and then backward, stretching the soft tissues of the neck beyond their limits.
Neck pain can sometimes be caused by diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, meningitis, and cancer.