Common Causes of Neck Pain and How to Treat Them
After lower back pain and headaches, neck pain is the third most common type of pain experienced by adult Americans, according to a survey by the National Institute of Health, cited by the American Academy of Pain Medicine. About 15 percent of participants said they suffer from it.
Harvard Medical School says that, according to doctors, seven out of 10 people will be troubled by stiffness in the neck at some point in their lives, and one in 10 adults is hurting right now. Most will be bothered by the pain again within the next five years.[slideshow:82832]
Neck pain can be a side effect of certain diseases, disorders and traumatic injuries, but people can also innocently cause it, depending on what they are doing every day.
Neck pain is caused by tightness in the muscle that starts at the base of the skull and runs along the sides of the neck all the way to the shoulders. They get too tired because they carry the entire weight of the head in extension for a long time, possibly in the same position.
In 2006, 13.2 million patient visits, or more than 1 percent of all health care visits to hospitals and physician offices, were for neck pain, according to Advanced Pain Management.
So what is making cervicalgia, the medical term for acute or chronic neck pain, such a troubling problem for people who don’t have specific medical conditions that are likely cause the pain? We asked Dr. Alex Zouzias, neurosurgeon at New York Methodist Hospital who specializes in complex and minimally invasive spine surgery.