Neck Pain Symptoms28 Jun 2014
Pain nerve endings are located in the various ligaments and muscles in the neck, as well as in the facet and unco-vertebral joints and the outer layer of the disc (annulus fibrosis). When these structures are irritated, strained or inflamed, pain can be referred upwards to the base of the occiput or to between the shoulder blades. This is referred pain which needs to be distinguished from radicular pain which goes into the arms.
Strain or sprain: Strain and sprain of the neck muscles are among the most common causes of neck pain. The muscles of the neck may undergo strain due to poor posture, poor sleeping habits or an injury to the muscles. Stress can also increase the muscle tension resulting in neck pain. Symptoms include pain, stiffness and tightness in the neck and sometimes upper back and shoulders. The pain may last for up to 6 weeks and is relieved with muscle relaxants and painkillers.
Important Structures of the Spine
There are a number of important structures of the spine. Knowing about these structures will help you understand how the spine works and what’s happening when a problem develops in the spine. These structures include vertebrae, intervertebral discs, facet joints, neural foraminae, the spinal cord, nerve roots, paraspinal muscles, and spinal segments.
Pain from the Vertebrae
Fractures: Fractures of the vertebrae could occur due to trauma like motor vehicle accidents or falls. They could also be a result of diseases affecting the vertebrae like osteoporosis or thinning of the bone, cancer infiltration of the bone or the use of steroids. Fractures of the vertebrae can cause compression and damage to the spinal cord and require immediate immobilization of the neck.
Doctors sometimes look at a spinal segment to understand and explain how the whole spine works. A spinal segment is made up of two vertebrae attached together by ligaments, with a soft disc separating them. The facet joints fit between the two vertebrae, allowing for movement, and the neural foraminae between the vertebrae allow space for the nerve roots to travel freely from the spinal cord to the body. The spinal segment allows doctors to examine the repeating parts of the spinal column to understand what can go wrong with the various parts of the spine.