It is estimated that about 80 percent of people will experience neck pain at some point in their lives, but why is this percentage so high? The main answer is that the neck is under a tremendous amount of stress at all times. Not only does it support the head, but it also facilitates all of your head movements and helps to protect the spinal cord.
Causes of Neck Pain
The most common causes of neck pain are muscle strains and ligament sprains, which involve the tearing or overstretching of fibrous connective tissues due to injury, overexertion, or poor posture. Other causes include arthritis of the spine, facet disease, and degenerative disc disease, all of which involve the gradual breakdown of cartilaginous areas of the spine. The above conditions can give rise to bone spurs, herniated discs, and bulging discs, which are often asymptomatic but in some cases cause painful neural compression.
Why Doesn’t Neck Pain Stay in the Neck?
The neck is referred to as the cervical region of the spine and the spinal nerves that travel through the cervical vertebrae control muscles and reflexes throughout the shoulders, arms, and hands. When one or more of these nerves is compressed, neck pain can either be localized (around the site of compression), radicular (traveling along the course of the nerve), or distal (in a place far from the site of compression).
Nerves at various cervical © levels of the neck produce different symptoms when compressed:
- C1 and C2 – called the atlas and the axis vertebrae. The atlas supports the head and connects to the axis, which is how the skull and the spine are joined together.
- C3 –contains spinal nerves that control the diaphragm.
- C4 –contains spinal nerves that control muscles of the upper body, such as the biceps and the deltoids.
- C5 and C6 – contain the nerves that send signals to and from the wrists.
- C7 – send and receive sensory impulses from the triceps, which are the muscles on the back of the upper arm.
- C8 – contains the spinal nerves that control the hands.
Treatment for Neck Pain
If you suffer from neck pain due to a degenerative condition that has caused neural compression and weeks or months of conservative treatment has failed to produce lasting pain relief, contact the experts at Laser Spine Institute. We specialize in minimally invasive, endoscopic decompression procedures that may be able to help you rediscover your life without back or neck pain.