Neck Pain Causes

Pinched Nerve In Neck


Our neck has 7 vertebrae (bones) that form the structure of our spine. At each individual vertebrae nerves will exit the neck and travel to the skin and muscles of our body so that we can move our muscles and feel different sensations. The nerves are the electrical system of our body.  When these nerves become pinched or compressed upon they can become irritated causing pain in our neck or down our arms. One of the most common neck pain causes is a pinched nerve in the neck. Common symptoms of a pinched nerve include:

a. Pain with turning head to one side
b. Pain, numbness or tingling in the arm
c. Burning in the neck or into upper trap

A pinched nerve can  affect people of all ages. Neck pain from a pinched nerve can occur due to poor posture, loss of mobility in the neck, a bulging disc, or herniated disc. It is important to identify the risk factors that predispose you to having pain from a pinched nerve in the neck. This will help you get pinched nerve relief and return to pain free movement.

What Can Be Done About a Pinched Nerve in the Neck

A pinched nerve can be healed without requiring medications, injections, or surgery. The first step is to identify what positions or postures bring about the neck pain. After you have figured out what positions bring about your pain you can then figure out what is the position of most relief for your pinched nerve pain. A cookie cutter approach to treating a pinched nerve will not work. Specific mobility and strengthening exercises along with changing movements patterns will help alleviate the pain and get you back to enjoying the activities that you love.


Weakness in the Neck Muscles (Headaches)


The muscles in our neck are some of the key supporting structures of our spine.  Neck pain can occur when the muscles have lost their ability to effectively perform their job of helping to keep good posture and move our necks. Every building needs good structural support and so does every neck!  The muscles in our neck become weak typically after a whiplash injury that occurs from a fall, sporting accident, or car accident. Weakness in neck muscle is one of the main neck pain causes. Typical symptoms of a weak neck muscles include:

a. Decreased pain in the neck when the head is support
b. Your neck feels tired and you feel it cannot support your head
c. The sensation of neck tightness or tension in your neck muscles

A little known fact is that headaches can be caused by weakness in the neck muscles. When the muscles in the neck become overworked they will tense up. This tension in the back of our neck at the base of the head can limit mobility in the neck.  If this tension in the back of the head gets worse than it can lead to pain into the side of our head, forehead, sinus, and jaw region.

What Can Be Done About Muscles Weakness in the Neck

The keys to treating weakness of the neck muscles and headaches is to gradually build up the stability and function of these muscles. There is good evidence in the research that improving neck muscle endurance and stability can decrease pain and improve mobility of the neck.  A common mistake that is made is that only “general” strengthening exercises are prescribed and sometimes this can lead to no change in neck pain or it can even make the pain worse! It is important to undergo a thorough assessment to decipher which specific exercises will benefit you so that you can get back to pain free movement and enjoy life without pain limitations.


Herniated Disc in Neck


A herniated disc is another condition that can contribute to neck pain. The disc in the neck provides cushion and movement to the spine. When too much pressure is placed on the disc it can lead to pain in the neck.  Herniated discs primarily occur in the age range 20-50 years old and is one of the more common neck pain causes in this age group. Repetitive neck movements, looking down for prolonged periods of time, and poor posture can lead to a herniated disc in the neck. Some of the common signs of a herniated disc include:

a. Pain increased with looking down or up
b. Pain that increases with sitting for too long
c. Pain, numbness, or tingling into the shoulder or arm.

What Can Be Done About a Herniated Disc in the Neck?

A herniated disc can be treated without needing medications, injections, or surgery. Physical Therapy has been shown to be a safe and effective treatment that can help people that have a herniated disc in the neck return back to pain free living. Healing a herniated disc begins with improved postural awareness and movement patterns.  Aggravating activities must be discontinued to help calm the pain down. Specific exercises that can easily be done throughout the day can help reduce symptoms and get to enjoying the activities you love without dealing with pain!