The neck, the cervical spine, joins the shoulders and chest to the head, is one of the most complex and intricate structures in our body. There are many causes of neck pain, we only focus on posture related neck pain here.
Pain in the back or neck is much like gray hair and forgetting where you put the keys—it seems to happen as we grow older.
As we’re taking more time sitting at desk for working, or using phones, tablets or watching TV, this all can result in neck and shoulder pain, stiffness, and soreness because of stressing of muscles, so more and more people are getting neck pain, and can start from very young age. This neck problem can also be called as “Tech Neck”.
Anatomy of Neck
It can make us easier to understand the neck pain by knowing the anatomy of the neck and how each structure works.
The structures related to the neck pain are, Spinal Cord, Nerves, Cervical Bones (Vertebrae), Muscles.
The cervical column is comprised of 7 bones (C1 to C7) uniquely shaped to protect the spinal cord that descend from the base of your skull and the spinal nerves or root that exit the spine between each set of bones.
Upper Cervical Spine Enables Wide Ranges of Neck Movement, C3-C7 Vertebrae, Cervical Discs, Supporting Structures.
The cervical intervertebral discs—between each level starting below C2 (axis). The discs are strong flexible tissues of fibrocartilage. In the middle of each disc is a nucleus pulposus, a gel-like structure surrounded by a tough protective tire-like outer layer called the annulus fibrosus. Each disc functions to hold the upper and lower vertebrae together, absorb shock and allow some movement. The height of the disc creates spaces—nerve passageways called foramen or neuroforamen. Spinal nerve roots branch off the spinal cord, in pairs, and leave the spinal column through the foramen.
Ligaments, tendons and muscles are soft but strong tissues that help support the cervical spine as well as the entire spinal column by limiting excessive movement.
Miner strains and sprains to muscles or ligaments in the neck, can cause Nonspecific neck pain, also called ‘simple’ or ‘mechanical’ neck pain
Wear and tear (degeneration) of the spinal bones (vertebrae) and the discs between the vertebrae is a common cause or recurring or persistent neck pain in older people. This is sometimes called cervical spondylosis.
When the root of a nerve is pressed on or damaged as it comes out from your spinal cord in your neck (cervical) region, the condition is known as Cervical Radiculopathy.
The main function of the Cervical Spine are, Protecting the spinal cord
How to avoid ease neck pain
1. Sit at your desk correctly
If you’re not sure about how to sit properly at desk, check this instruction from NHS website about Sit at your desk correctly
Use a low, firm pillow, the pillow should support the the hollow of your neck, height should keep same level as the rest body
3. Neck pain exercises
Exercise your neck, can find instruction from Internet, here is an example of Exercises for neck problems
3. Equipment/Devices for neck pain Relief
Electric Neck Massager & Far Infrared Heating Pain Relief Tool, can massage the muscles around the neck, also have far infrared heating, so can relive the tension of the muscle and reduce neck pain.
Neck traction can help with relief of pain, decrease pressure on nerves and ease muscle spasms. The newest neck stretcher devices can help increase blood circulation to the structures of the cervical spine, helping to oxygenate muscles, nerves, tendons as well as ligaments and this can increase energy, decrease pain while promoting relaxing via relief of constricting nerve and blood vessels, thus reducing pressure and tension. Increased muscle tension relates to constriction of blood vessels and nerves causing a release of inflammatory chemicals which create further irritation, tension and pain. Relieving this pressure may assist in alleviation of herniated/bulging discs and painful degenerative conditions like cervical osteoarthritis and/or facet syndrome of the joints.