Over the course of your lifetime, your neck is subjected to repeated stress and minor injury. These injuries may not cause pain at the time of injury. However, repeated injuries add up, and can eventually result in degeneration of the cervical spine causing neck pain. Most neck pain is due to degenerative changes that occur in the neck. The overall condition of the cervical spine usually determines how fast you recover from an injury, and whether your neck pain will become a chronic problem.
For chronic neck pain, there may not be a quick fix or a complete cure. You will need to work with your health care team to try to improve the problem causing the pain and to slow down the degenerative process. Your doctor’s role in the treatment of neck pain is to find the main causes that need treatment right away. He or she will also try to keep your neck pain from becoming a chronic condition by teaching you how to slow down the degenerative process and prevent further injury.
Causes of Neck Pain
Neck pain can occur when the intervertebral disc goes through the normal wear and tear of aging. However, many of the problems that cause neck pain are from abnormal wear and tear. This abnormal wear and tear often results from small injuries that may not cause pain at the time the injuries actually occur. Over time, these injuries add up and the abnormal wear and tear can weekend the connective tissue that makes up the disc. Once the connective tissue is weak, sudden stress, such as a whiplash type movement, may injure the disc more easily.
Click on a link to learn more about the possible causes of neck pain.
Symptoms of Neck Pain
The most common symptoms of neck pain include:
- Pain in your neck
- Pain in your shoulder, arm, or hand
- Reduced range of motion in your neck
- Numbness, weakness, and slower reflexes in your arms, hands, legs, or feet
- Problems walking, including a “spastic gait”
- Muscle weakness in your legs