The cervical spine refers to seven vertebrae found at the back of your neck, and these vertebrae are each named from C-1 to C-7 (“C” for “cervical”). This section at the top of the spine provides both structural support and mobility of the head and neck – and since the head weighs approximately 10 pounds, there is a lot of pressure placed on these vertebrae.
Neck pain is a signal that may signify an underlying problem which needs medical attention. Fortunately, many causes of cervical spine pain can be stopped or alleviated via home remedies, and severe neck pain can be successfully treated by your orthopedist via noninvasive or minimally invasive therapies.
Causes of Neck Pain
Let’s take a look at several of the most common causes of cervical spine pain and what can be done to help alleviate the pain:
The most common cause of chronic neck pain is improper posture. While the bones and muscles of the neck can easily adapt to different positions, including slouching, their ability to withstand constantly awkward positioning is limited. This can lead to mild neck pain.
Poor posture has become more common as the number of office jobs increases. Frequent use of computers, mice, and smartphones tends to encourage excessive bowing of the head. Because these motions put extra stress on the cervical spine, it’s essential to sit up straight when working at your desk and to take frequent breaks to avoid developing neck pain.
Improper Neck Support
Another common culprit of cervical spine pain is awkward body positioning while you sleep. If you use pillows that are too firm or too soft, your neck might remain in a crooked position as you’re sleeping. Inadequate head and neck support forces your neck muscles to work overtime, leading to discomfort.
Damaged Cartilage Between Vertebrae
The protective spinal discs are made of tough cartilage, and they act as cushions between adjacent vertebrae. The normal aging process, repetitive motions, and physical trauma can all cause these discs to bulge or rupture, which causes pain. Surgical intervention may be required to remove or repair the damaged discs.
Degenerative diseases such as osteoarthritis, which is often called simply “arthritis,” can accelerate the wear-and-tear in the cervical vertebrae. When this occurs, affected vertebrae can lose some of their function and cause significant discomfort.
Spinal Cord Compression
Any condition that results in compression of (or pressure against) the spinal nerves in the neck area can lead to cervical spine pain. Causes of spinal cord compression include arthritis, scoliosis, and infection.
Treatment for Cervical Spine Pain
Neck pain can result from a variety of causes. Here at The Centers for Advanced Orthopaedics Spine Care, our medical team is here to diagnose your back pain or neck pain and get you on a treatment that works for you.
Our treatment center will help you both manage the symptoms and resolve the underlying condition. We provide comprehensive medical care for many spinal conditions, including those that can cause neck pain.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, contact our friendly team today by calling us at (410) 644-1880 or (855) 4MD-BONE (463-2663), or request an appointment through our online form. We look forward to seeing you here!