Neck Aches

Common Causes for Neck Aches

Sometimes described as a “crick” in the neck, aches that affect that slender column that bridges the torso and the head can be, well, a pain in the neck.  That sharp, jabbing pain can affect how we carry ourselves throughout the day and can impair our ability to obtain restful sleep at night.

The neck

Composed of seven bony parts, the neck’s purpose is to support the weight of the head and allow it to rotate.  Within this short appendage, the top of the spinal column meets the base of the skull, with a myriad of nerves, muscles and blood vessels clustered as well. 

While it may seem to be merely a pedestal upon which the face and head are displayed, the neck is actually a hard working instrument of the human body with many responsibilities.   As such, it is subject to a number of injuries and painful conditions from a variety of causes.   While the majority of complaints are not of a serious nature, there are certain situations in which a pain in the neck can signify that medical attention is necessary.

Non-threatening conditions

There are a number of things that we do in our normal daily routine that can create neck aches.  They include:

Medical causes of neck pain

While these are the most common reasons that neck pain occurs, there are other causes for the discomfort, as well.  When stiffness and pain occur suddenly with no apparent reason, it is important to seek immediate medical attention to rule out disease.

The type of treatment used for a painful neck will depend on its cause.  Most pain can be successfully treated at home simply by resting the muscles and avoiding the activities that caused it.  Stress induced pain responds well to relaxation techniques and soothing massage.  Exercises that gently stretch the muscles such as yoga can restore muscle function and ease pain.  In cases of extreme or chronic pain, your doctor may prescribe pain medications.

Neck aches have many causes; many of which are preventable.  Taking care to properly maintain your posture during all activities will help to avoid a condition that can literally be a pain in the neck.