NECK PAIN – What a pain in the Neck!
Neck is the most delicate part of the Spinal column. Neck pain, though felt in the neck, can have several causes including those emanating from spine. It can happen due to various reasons like those relate to muscles, pinching nerves, physical and emotional stresses, wrong posture (e.g. while sitting or talking on phone), Joint disruption. Sometimes pain in areas like forehead, back of the ear, top/back of the head, sides of your chin, temple region and region above your eyebrows could also indicate problems with your neck, often known as Trapezius pain referral pattern.
Let us understand things a bit more. Head is supported by the lower neck and upper back, and it is these areas that commonly cause neck pain and headache. Upper three joints in the neck allow most movement of the neck and head whereas lower joints in the neck and those of the upper back create a supportive structure for the head to rest on it. Due to changes/impact in these support system muscles get tighten up thus leading to neck pain. And if things are not addressed for longer period it starts effecting bones as gradual degenerative process sets off.
Common causes of lesser intensity neck pains are:
* Stress – physical and emotional (Yes! you read it right…it could be emotional stress)
* Prolonged wrong postures – many people fall asleep on sofas and chairs and wake up with sore necks
* Minor injuries and falls – car accidents, sporting events and day to day injuries that are really minor
* Referred pain – mostly this has trigger points situated in upper back
* Muscle over use – Muscular strain is one of the most common causes
* Whiplash – Caused by or related to a sudden distortion of the neck
* Herniated disc
* Pinched nerve
Other common causes of severe neck pain include:
* Spinal disc herniation – protruding or bulging discs, or if severe prolapse.
* Spondylitis – degenerative arthritis and osteophytes
* Spinal Stenosis – a narrowing of the spinal canal
Neck Pain – A lifestyle related issue
Our work has increasingly become sedentary and at times monotonous (Physically!), leading to neck and shoulder problems.
Our work is characterized by repetitive tasks (hand/fingers), awkward postures (due to long sitting hours), twisting and bending of the trunk, continuous stress, smoking etc. If proper rest and exercise is not undertaken then we are sure to end up with chronic neck problems. The lack of ability to relax these muscles, even when we are resting can predict trapezius myalgia and may additionally relate to a tension neck syndrome. Thus another very important key is to have bodily awareness at all the time about our muscles, movements and postures; thus whenever you see an issue with the posture correct yourself. Psychological stress may also result in muscle contraction and prolonged condition can lead to stiffness or pain.
Yoga Asanas and Sukshma Vyayam (How to do it? – Refer the next article ’Neck Pain – Help Yourself’) can help you cure and reduce even spondylitis, especially in early stage when things go undetected by X-rays. But before you plan to start your yoga schedule to treat any of these issues take a step back and observe your body posture during the day to find out possible root cause.
Here are some of the areas that could be looked into:
1. How do you sit while driving
2. How do you sit while working on your laptops/desks
3. Do you sleep on your couch quite often
4. Do you read books while lying down
Once you find out the exact reason, consider this as your first victory against the battle to uproot NECK PAIN