neck pain causes

Top 3 Causes of Neck Pain

Neck Pain

Neck pain often occurs in adults, however, there is now a growing neck pain trend in young people as well.

In my own clinical practice, I have seen an increasing number of younger individuals experiencing neck pain; the youngest being only 7 years old!

Neck pain can range from being just uncomfortable, to completely debilitating.

So, with neck pain on the rise, I feel it is important to educate people about the most common causes for neck pain.

About the Neck

The neck consists of 7 cervical vertebrae, which support the head. These vertebrae are then connected to the thoracic spine (upper back).

The neck is an intricate and complex structure; delicate yet reasonably strong and sturdy.  It can withstand stresses and forces from trauma and even normal daily activities.

To help you practice better neck health, here is the 3 most common causes of neck pain to look out for:

1.  Poor Posture

The neck is NOT straight at all anatomically. It is in fact curved slightly forward with the apex around the 3rd and 4th cervical vertebrae.

Often, neck pain can be traced back to the workplace. Siting at a desk or computer with poor posture, or a bad ergonomic set up, can cause the head and shoulders to curve too far forward.

The weight of the head pulls the neck further forward and puts undue stress and pressure on the vertebrae of the lower part of the neck.This overworks the muscles in that region, leading to fatigue and soreness.

Prolonged forward head posture can cause, or aggravate, degenerative changes in the neck region. This type of poor posture also occurs when people are constantly using their smartphone and electronic devices. In fact, this type of neck pain has becomeso common, it has its own name: Smartphone Syndrome.

Smartphone syndrome occurs when the neck bends further and further over a personal electronic device, causing a parallel increase in the weight the neck structures must take on.

In one study in America, it was found that there was an equivalent of about 30kg of load on the neck if the neck was bent to about 60 degrees.

The neck isn’t designed to support this type of weight for prolonged periods.

2.  Wry Neck

Wry Neck is a condition that results in pain when turning the neck and sometimes when looking up.  A poor sleeping posture, or a badly chosen pillow, can easily cause a wry neck.

Other common causes are sudden or jerky movements often as a result of playing sports.

Sometimes, a viral infection can cause stiffness and painful neck movement as well.

3.  Whiplash

Whiplash is an injury to the muscles, ligaments, soft tissue, and sometimes nerve tissues, in the neck region.It is caused by sudden and vigorous movement of the neck in a forward and backward direction.  It is commonly caused by motor vehicle accidents, contact sport injuries, and a fall or slip when the head is jarred or jolted.

No matter what cause, neck pain can be an unpleasant, painful experience and often people will have varying symptom presentations.

So, if you start to experience neck pain, it is always a good idea to seek professional advice.

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