neck

Arthritis

A common cause of neck pain, arthritis of the joints in the vertebrae (facet joints) usually develops as we age. The vertebral bones slowly degenerate over time and can pinch nerves or other supportive tissue to cause inflammation. Depending on the amount of degeneration and the location of arthritis, you may experience pain in your neck, upper back, shoulders, as well as radicular symptoms in the arms.

Disc Disease

The cartilaginous discs between our vertebral bones degenerate as we age, resulting in a loss of disc space between the vertebrae. Spinal stability may decrease and the vertebrae react by increasing bone growth (called bone spurs). These growths may put pressure on the spinal roots causing inflammation, or the spinal cord to cause pain. Several treatments are available, depending on the location and amount of degeneration.

Fibromyalgia

Common syndrome where the person has whole body pain with “tender points” of pain in the joints, muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues. The cause of Fibromyalgia is unknown, but often mimics other chronic pain problems. Triggers for Fibromyalgia may include emotional or physical trauma, infections, activity, weather, anxiety, or stress.

Vertebral Fractures

Stress fractures as a result of trauma or osteoarthritis of the vertebrae may lead to vertebral fractures. Symptoms of fractures vary greatly on the severity and location of the fracture but may include: achy and dull sensation, muscle weakness or spasms, numbness/tingling, or paralysis in severe cases.

Whiplash

Rapid back and forth motion of the head (often occurs in car accidents) may cause neck pain radiating to nearby tissues. The hyperextension strains ligaments and muscles and may affect the vertebral discs as well. Symptoms usually improve with conservative treatment.