Your cervical spine connects your brain stem to your spinal cord. It is an area rich in blood vessels and other soft tissue, such as ligament and tendons. Neck pain is slightly less common than back pain but no less important or treatable.
Neck pain can occur anywhere in your neck, from the bottom of your head to the top of your shoulders. It can spread into your upper back or arms, and may limit how much you can move your head and neck. Most neck pain is caused by activities that strain the neck. Poor postures such as slouching or sitting at a computer, activities that have you extend your neck like painting a ceiling, or sleeping with your head in improper positions, are a few things that can cause neck pain. These postures or activities can lead to neck strain, muscle spasm and swelling of the neck joints. Neck pain can also be caused by an injury such as A fall, or whiplash from a car accident. Other more serious conditions can also cause neck pain, degenerative arthritis, stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal), herniated discs, or infection, can also cause neck pain.
Symptoms generally start as a feeling of knotted or stiff achy muscles, that may limit neck motion, however, sometimes you may also have severe neck pain. The pain may extend into your shoulders, upper back, between your shoulder blades, or into your arms. The muscle tightness may also cause headaches. If there is pressure on a spinal nerve root, you might have pain that shoots down your arm. You may also have numbness, tingling, or weakness in your arm.
Most minor ligament or tendon injuries in the neck will subside with proper care, including rest, ice or heat application, If your symptoms do not resolve within a few days it is advisable to visit your chiropractor to have it evaluated and treated. Early treatment can keep your acute neck pain from becoming chronic and long-lasting.
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