1. Causes of Neck Pain
In my clinical experience I find people suffer from neck pain and headache because of their posture, lifestyle, not because of the aging process.
A lot of people experience it because of poor posture, prolonged computer use, poor workspace set up and constantly bending their necks to use smart devices.
There are a lot of symptoms that can be traced back to the neck region, like headaches, and that’s because the modern lifestyle does not help our necks at all.
Neck pain and the associated symptoms are quite common no matter what type of profession you are in or what sort of work you do.
Now we all have to use a computer at some point in our day, and more and more people are relying on computers as the core aspect of their job.
If you are not mindful of your posture, the ergonomic set up of your work space, or stretching regularly and managing stress levels, it can contribute to the problem of neck pain.
There have been a lot of studies on the effects smart devices have on our necks.
One study identified that if your neck is bent down to about 60 degrees, it is the equivalent of adding about 30kg of weight to your neck. That’s approximately the weight of an 8-year-old child!
That is a lot of extra work for the neck, and it can be overwhelming. So, no wonder many of us have problems.
Other common posture problems, particularly when using computers, is that people end up poking their chin out and curving their shoulders forward.
This position can put extra strain on our necks.
This kind of bad posture can have a negative effect on the muscles, bones, joints, neural tissues or even the vascular structures in our neck area, which in turn can result in headache and pain.
There are a few different types of headaches, and often you may refer to all of them as migraines.
However, there are two main categories of headaches and understanding them better can help you to get the right treatment.
Cervicogenic headache -
People usually come into my practice after suffering from these types of headaches for a long time and have become chronic.
Sometimes there is a misunderstanding about why they have the headache in the first place.
There is always some restriction of the neck muscles. People experience dizziness or blurred vision alongside with other symptoms.
Usually the problem is coming from the upper part of the cervical spine, where there is a merge of the upper 3 spinal nerves with the 5th cranial nerve (trigeminal nerve) which refer pain in the head and face areas.
This comes from tension, injury or other problems in the musculoskeletal structure around the neck and the pain is usually always on one side.
This headache can last from a few days to weeks, sometimes months.
It can cause nausea and photophobia but usually it is not as intense as a migraine. Pain intensity is around 5-7 out of 10 in pain scale.
Sleep does not usually help to get rid of this type of headache.
This type of headache is usually of shorter duration, between 4-7 hours and is more intense than the Cervicogenic headache.
Often the pain switches to different sides of the head.
The pain is often described as a pounding type pain and is accompanied by other symptoms like nausea and photophobia.
Usually people report 8-10 out of 10 for pain. Often sleep tends to help.
There are also many causes of migraines, but that is beyond my scope here.
Dizziness can occur as well and it can be caused by a mismatch in the information being sent to the brain from the neck region and vestibular systems and contributes to asymmetry of the vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR).
Next time, we will discuss about what can be done about neck pain, headache and dizziness.