Chances are that you’ve experienced neck pain at some point in your life or continue to deal with prolonged pain. A survey published by SpineUniverse found that half of its more than 600 respondents have neck pain that has lasted for more than three months, and other research estimates that nearly 75 percent of people worldwide suffer from neck pain.
But what actually causes neck pain, and why is it ranked in the top 5 disorders in the United States? The short answer is that while it can be caused by an underlying disease, condition or injury, neck pain most often results from repetitive everyday habits or activities. In more detail, the most common causes of neck pain include:
- Muscle tension, strains and sprains – Overusing the muscles in your neck or consistently poor alignment in your spine can trigger tension, strains and sprains which result in neck pain. This can be caused by a variety of everyday movements, habits and activities, such as reading, being hunched over a desk, frequently texting or scrolling through a smartphone, poor posture, a bad pillow or mattress, and more. This type of neck pain is one of the more common types, and can persist because contributing factors are not easily fixed or avoided.
- Wear-and-tear – Similarly to other parts of your body, the cervical spine can suffer normal wear-and-tear with age. These changes to bones, discs, and joints is called osteoarthritis, where the mechanics of your spine deteriorate and start to rub or stiffen.
- Nerve compression – Herniated discs or bone spurs in the vertebrae of your neck can press on the nerves branching out from the spinal cord and cause neck and back pain. Pain of this type can worsen over time and cause other damage, so we recommend you speak to your doctor if you suspect a compressed or “pinched” nerve.
- Injuries – Many different types of injuries, from falls to car accidents, can cause neck injuries. Neck pain of this type often stems from a whiplash injury, which is when the head is jerked backward and then forwards, causing the muscle in the neck to become strained.
- Diseases and chronic conditions – There are a variety of diseases and chronic conditions that can cause neck pain, like rheumatoid arthritis (causes joint swelling and pain) and fibromyalgia (chronic muscle pain, especially in neck and shoulders).
No matter the type of neck pain you have, there are lots of ways to relieve your pain that isn’t simply popping back pills every day – which can lead to additional problems like kidney failure and addiction. Non-drug methods like ice and heat therapy, exercising or physical therapy, and massage can all be helpful in relieving chronic neck pain. Stretching can also be helpful in relieving neck pain, and you can find five simple neck exercises that we recommend here. Another drug-free option for pain relief is our Oska Pulse device, which relieves pain using a clinically proven, doctor-approved therapy called Pulsed Electromagnetic Field (PEMF) technology.
While neck pain is common, that doesn’t mean you have to live with the symptoms. We encourage you to find the relief method that’s right for you. For more information about Oska Pulse and how it uses PEMF technology to relieve pain, you can visit www.oskawellness.com.