Chronic neck pain may be caused by several different conditions, including poor posture, neck injury and arthritis. Effectively treating these conditions with lifestyle changes, medication, chiropractic adjustments, physical therapy or surgery will often alleviate painful symptoms. Chronic neck pain may also be a sign of nerve injury, which can trigger pain ranging from the base of the head to the shoulders and through the rest of the body.
Individuals with chronic neck pain have usually suffered symptoms for several months and many suffer symptoms for years before finding relief. Living with such discomfort for a prolonged period of time often leads to other symptoms, such as sleeplessness and depression. Once the source of pain is discovered, however, doctors are able to work with patients in an attempt to reverse symptoms and eliminate or seriously reduce discomfort.
Poor posture causes stress to back and neck muscles, and may cause the blood flow within these muscles to become constricted. Chronic neck pain occurs as the result of inflammation caused by these conditions, as well as by the nerves in this area becoming irritated. Poor posture can also cause headaches, lower back pain and may trigger pain in other parts of the body, such as the arms and legs.
Neck injury from an accident is one of the leading causes of chronic neck pain. More specifically, this type of pain is often caused by whiplash, which causes the head to quickly move in one direction and then suddenly snap or shift to another position. This reaction is commonly caused by a sudden impact, such as a car accident. Whiplash symptoms can range from mild to severe and may last for up to a year, although most people recover from whiplash within a few months.
Arthritis occurs when joint tissue becomes inflamed. When inflammation occurs in the neck, chronic neck pain ensues. Often, this type of pain will also be felt in the fingers, arms and legs, and may be accompanied by feverish skin around the affected area.
Most people try treating chronic neck pain by massage, applying ice to the area or with pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications. While these may offer temporary relief from symptoms, they do not address the root cause of this condition. In order to eliminate and considerably reduce painful symptoms, a medical examination is needed to first identify the pain’s underlying cause. Upon doing so, doctors are better able to prescribe a treatment plan.