Neck and back pain affect many of us. At any given time, it is reported, more than ten per cent of Americans are suffering from neck and back pain.
Neck and Back Pain Location
Neck and back pain as a combination is more technically termed cervical back pain.
Your back consists of 30 small bones called vertebrae. These bones are stacked on top of each other, and connected by ligaments, tendons, and muscles. Your stack of connected vertebrae is divided into four regions. From the base of your skull down to your pelvis, these four regions are:
- Cervical vertebrae – the top 7
- Thoracic vertebrae – the next 12
- Lumbar vertebrae – 5 more
- Sacrum and coccyx – 6 fused bones at the spine’s base
Neck and back pain occur in the cervical, or neck region of the back.
Neck and Back Pain Causes
The neck and back pain combination is most likely to be caused by one or more of these:
- abnormal stress
- habitually poor posture
- lack of adequate exercise
- past injuries that haven’t healed well
- Neck and back pain can be caused by abnormal stress. While stress seems to be an emotional matter, many have found that abnormal stress settles in the neck and upper back. Muscles tighten, neck and back pain result.
- Habitually poor posture is another potential cause of neck and back pain. Poor posture puts the nerves of your cervical region under stress. Those nerves send a pain message to the brain, making you keenly aware of neck and back pain.
- Neck and back pain can occur when the back gets too little exercise. Adequate exercise is needed to keep the back strong. As with all of the body’s muscles, your back muscles need to be strong to support your skull and back. Ignoring it can produce neck and back pain.
- The neck and back pain combination is likely to occur if you strain old cervical injuries that have not yet completely healed. Give them time.
Neck and Back Pain Treatment
Be sure your pillow is giving you correct support to avoid neck and back pain. The support in your mattress is also important. A pillow and/or mattress that is too soft or too firm will cause your head to lie in the wrong position. This, in turn, will lead to neck and back pain.
The muscles in the cervical spine area shift in order to support the head properly. When a pillow throws the head out of line with the spine, the muscles must work harder to compensate. Overworked muscles become painful, producing neck and back pain. Correct support will ensure that muscles can relax and rest during the night.
If you have neck and back pain, think consciously about relaxing. Feel your shoulders and back lowering away from your head. Sit in a relaxed position and apply a heating pad to your neck and back pain for 20 minutes. Follow this with an ice pack. Repeat until you begin to get relief.
If your neck and back pain are not readily relieved, see a qualified health care provider for advice.