Acıbadem Comprehensive Spine Center

Neck pain

Neck is vulnerable to traumas because of being a very movable region that holds 7 vertebras and the head. The spinal cord that passes through the channel inside the spine and the nerves that extend on both sides establish the neural link among the brain, arms and the rest of the body.

Characteristics of neck pain:

The pains in the neck are generally in the form of blunt ache rather than stinging pain. Neck pain is generally accompanied by feelings like numbness, tingling, electric shock. In some cases neck movements get worse with pain. Dizziness may come along with neck pain.

Causes of neck pain:

Pain may develop in the neck because of deformities in the bone, disk, muscle and ligament structures. Cervical disc hernia, arthritis and degenerative disk disease, cervical narrow channel and traumas are frequent causes of neck pain. Rarely tumours may appear as cause of pain in the neck area. Extended sore throat may also cause neck pain along with swollen lymph nodes.

Some conditions such as heart and lung diseases may lead to pains in the neck and neck pains may also spread to head, face, back, breast and shoulders.

Neck traumas:

In cases of sports injuries, motor vehicle accidents, falls, etc. the bones and soft tissues in the neck may get hurt. Crushes and stresses are relatively slight traumas. They are generally healed by medical treatment. Half dislocations, unmoved fractures, nerve contussions are medium level traumas which can be treated using conservative methods and neck braces. Rarely they require surgical treatment. Fractures, dislocations and spinal cord traumas are severe traumas that generally need surgical methods.

Cervical narrow channel:

This means reduced space for the nerves that pass through neck vertebras. Cervical channels may be relatively narrow because of some innate features of an individual’s bone structure. This narrowness is aggravated by disk herniation and expansions due to arthritis.

Symptoms such as myelopathy and radiculopathy may occur depending on the region where the channel gets narrower. Cervical myelopathy is a condition that develops when spinal cord is compressed in the neck, effects both arms and legs and is accompanied by disability to do detailed work and by loss of balance. Cervical radiculopathy is dysfunction of a certain part of the arm caused by irritation or compression of spinal nerve root in the neck.

Cervical disk hernia:

There are disks between neck bones which perform the duties of cushioning and shock absorption. Cervical disk hernia is the clinical condition characterised by the jelly fluid flowing out and compressing the spinal cord and nerves as a result of stresses, accidents and age-associated disk deformations. Cervical disk hernia is treated using medicine, exercise, injections or surgery depending on the examination findings, the existence of compression on nerves and the findings obtained from imaging.

Neck arthritis:

This term covers all changes that start with laceration and abrasion of disks in the neck and gradually cause formation of spurs in the bones and structural joint deformations. Arthritis is witnessed more or less in about 90% of the people above the age of 65. It is also called cervical arthritis or spondylosis. The symptoms may be stiffness and immobility in the neck, pain and numbness that extend to the head and arms.

Avoiding neck pain:

- Postural defects are one of the most important causes of neck pain. Doing posture adjustments for proper sitting, lying and walking is one of the most important rules for avoiding neck pains.

- Pillow height also effects the neck muscles. Use a pillow of proper height.

- It is important to have the screen at head level when using equipment such as television, computer, tablet. This avoids excessive tilting of the head.  

- Regular exercise is important. Muscles getting stronger reduces the severity and frequency of pains that develop because of muscle fatigue.

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