It seems that back pain has become a persistent and common problem that everyone has had to deal at some point in their life. Part of the reason for it being so widespread could be attributed to the variety of illnesses and disorders that can be considered as potential contributing factors. This ailment could also range from a dismissible mild discomfort, that does not interfere with your daily life, to severe or chronic pain that would be disruptive to your work as well as life. Please note that persistent or chronic pain is usually the symptom of a serious condition, and should be addressed by medical professionals. Moreover, one of the most vulnerable spots along the line of the spinal cord is the cervical vertebrae located in the neck. This vulnerability is due to the range of motions and the location of the neck that is oftentimes easily injured through simply having an improper posture.
The nature of the pain experienced in these locations can be sharp and intolerable occurring at unexpected intervals, or it could be chronic i.e. long-lasting. Chronic pain is characterized by its continuous nature lasting for a period of time that is at least six months. Below you will find the main causes of back and pain neck, the associated symptoms, its diagnostic methods and tools, and the available treatments.
The Main Causes of Neck and Back Pain
Due to the large amount of diversity in the factors involved in developing neck and back pain, even today, it is difficult to determine the exact root of the problem. In some cases, the cause of the pain could remain undetermined. Furthermore, what makes matters more complicated is that neck and back pain usually have multiple causes.
Injuries and Strains
Spasms, strains, injury, and tension in the surrounding joints and muscles along the line of the spinal cord are some of the most common causes of neck and back pain.
- Any kind of trauma, fracture or injury to ligaments, joints, muscles, and bones
- Tears in the muscles or ligament
- Abdominal conditions
- Sprains and spasms
Improper Posture and Activities
Holding an improper posture for a long period of time due to habit or working conditions, and lifting heavy objects could result in neck and back pain and in severe cases cause curvatures.
- Postures such as slouching that lead to muscle tension, spasm, injuries
- Lifting objects improperly
- Lifting heavy object
- Abrupt movements
- Heavy exercise, done without warmup
Disorders Related to Physical Structure
- Hypotonia (muscle tone weakness)
- Curvatures and hereditary abnormalities in the bone and muscle structure
- Bone and muscle degeneration
- Diseases and infections
- Cancer (mostly spinal), and bone spurs
- Being overweight
- Autoimmune disorders
- Disk and nerve damage or displacement
Pain experienced in the neck and back area are likely to spread and cause pain in other parts of your body as well. Depending on the cause of the pain in these regions some of the commonly affected areas are the shoulders, thigh, calf, numbness and a tingling sensation in the arms, and stiffness of the whole body resulting in temporary immobility. Please note that acute and chronic pain in these regions could also be a symptom of illnesses such as cancer and heart conditions.
Diagnostic Methods and Tools
Neck and back pain is usually diagnosed using X-ray, MRI, and blood tests. You would need to contact your personal health care provider to receive an exam and if necessary get further test to determine the exact nature and root of your problem. In case of experiencing chronic and sharp pain it is best to go to a medical professional as this might point to a serious health issue.
In case the experienced pain does not alleviate with simply resting, there are some over-the-counter pain relief option available such as ibuprofen. It is important, however, not to subject yourself to further physical pressure through activities such as heavy lifting and sudden movements as you might worsen your condition.
In case of severe or chronic pain, before considering surgical options, it is advisable to make an attempt to treat your condition through trying the following remedies that can help your case.
- Light exercises (such as aerobics and yoga)
- Medication (involves a wide range of inflammatory, pain relief, and muscle relaxant medication)
- Back braces and corrective orthopedic products
- Spa treatments (massage, acupuncture, etc.)