Neck and Back Pain

Spine Regions - Spinal Anatomy
Spine Regions

Pain in the back and neck simultaneously, are types of pain which can occur for many reasons, and may be a case of pain in one area causing referred pain in the other. Ensuring healthy, strong neck and back muscles may minimize the risks of acute pain and trauma if involved in accidents, but there are also many degenerative conditions that can lead to chronic neck and back pain.

Acute Trauma

Accidents, such as falls, car collisions, and contact sports injuries can lead to neck and back pain through damage, fractures and inflammatory responses. Ensuring proper safety equipment is used, along with adequate rest between activities, and good nutrition can all keep risks to a minimum.

Spinal Conditions

Conditions such as spinal stenosis, ankylosing spondylitis, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis can cause both neck and back pain. Compression of the spine may lead to restricted space through which nerves can travel, with repercussions such as nerve root damage or even severing of the nerves on acute trauma in a stenotic condition. Ischaemia can also occur which interrupts the necessary blood supply (carrying nutrients and oxygen) to the cells. This can cause the cells to function sub-optimally, with abnormal signalling and pain generation, or even the atrophy and die.

Excess Weight

Carrying extra body weight also makes neck and back pain more likely, especially as adipose tissue (fat) increases the amount of pro-inflammatory substances produced in the body. The extra strain on the muscles and joints also causes further degeneration, making it essential to achieve and maintain a healthy weight throughout life.

Poor Posture and Malnutrition

Basic daily activities such as checking email, reading online news and standing in the kitchen whilst cooking can lead to back and neck pain if poor posture is adopted. Having the keyboard and screen at the correct height, and having work surfaces and cupboards at a comfortable level make a big difference as these simple everyday tasks are repeated so frequently that any discomfort is amplified over time.

Ensuring adequate vitamin and mineral intake is also essential to maintaining optimum muscular, nervous, joint, and circulatory function. Without essential minerals in the body, such as calcium, magnesium, and manganese, the muscles are unable to contract and relax as appropriate, with muscle weakness, cramps, and risk of injury increased.

Treatments for Neck and Back Pain

With so many potential causes of neck and back pain there are numerous corresponding treatments. Manual therapies such as massage, chiropractic treatment, and osteopathy provide possible solutions for realignment. Anti-inflammatory medications, analgesics and surgery may comprise conventional treatments for neck and back pain. Alternative remedies, such as herbal anti-inflammatory supplements may provide a solution without the side-effects of such drugs as NSAIDs.




Last Updated: 9/10/2010