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Causes of Neck Pain

Causes of Neck Pain

1 in 3 people experience neck pain once in their lifetime. It is seen in both those who work at a desk and those who do compelling physical work. It makes it almost impossible to lie down and rest. We're talking about neck pain. Algology Specialist Prof. Dr. Ateş Önal said, “Neck pain, which often negatively affects daily life, can arise from the bone and joint structures of the spine, as well as from soft tissues such as muscles, ligaments and nerves. The most common cause of neck pain is soft tissue strains.

Muscle and ligament injuries

Muscle and ligament injuries, which are the most common cause of neck pain, are usually caused by excessive stretching of the muscles that support the neck. Lifting heavy, excessive sports, work activity, wrong desk work can cause spasm in the neck muscles. In addition, falling asleep in the wrong position, high pillows and bad travel conditions can also result in stiff neck. Neck pain due to muscle and ligament injuries can often be eliminated with simple treatments.

Neck hernia

There are 7 vertebral bodies in the neck. Neck hernia occurs when the jelly-like cartilage disc tissue, which acts as a cushion between both neck vertebrae, protrudes towards the nerves that go to the spinal cord and arm. Depending on the size and effectiveness of the press, neck and arm pain, loss of strength in the arm muscles, defect in feeling in the hands, numbness and clumsiness can be seen. If there is pressure towards the spinal cord, difficulty in walking, weakness in the legs and urinary complaints can be added to the table.


Traffic accidents are also among the factors that can cause serious injuries to the neck. Especially in cases where the vehicle is hit from behind, the uncontrolled forward and backward swinging of the neck causes serious injuries to the ligaments. For this reason, it is necessary to keep the head restraints behind the vehicle seats open and to wear a seat belt. Since sports such as wrestling and falling from a height can cause similar neck problems, it is necessary to be careful especially when doing sports.


Algology Specialist Prof. Dr. Ateş Önal said, “Calcification in the neck is caused by the wear and tear of the joints. If the damage in the joints and new bone formations on the disc edges prevent the normal movements of the neck, a feeling of stiffness in the neck also arises in addition to the pain. New bone formations growing from the edges of the joints press on the nerve roots during neck movements and cause pain in the shoulders and arms along the nerve spreading area. Nerve damage can also lead to numbness and pins-and-needles and muscle weakness. In very advanced cases, bone protrusions can also compress the spinal cord, causing weakness and loss of sensation in the lower part of the body.

rheumatic diseases

Diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis can cause permanent restriction in neck movements. However, unlike mechanical pain, in these diseases, the pain decreases with movement, while it increases with long-term rest and especially at night.

narrowing of the spinal canal

It occurs with the narrowing of the spinal cord or the channels through which its nerves pass, and the deterioration of spinal cord nutrition. Especially in elderly patients, numbness in the hands, weakness and clumsiness, difficulty in walking and numbness in the hands and feet can be seen.

myofascial pain syndrome

Soft tissue pain, which manifests itself with sensitive points in the neck and back muscles, is called myofascial pain syndrome. In the treatment, primarily drugs called medical treatment; If these are insufficient, painful trigger point injections are applied with local anesthetics (LA), LA plus steroid injections and even with dry needle.

Thoracic outlet syndrome

Compression of the nerves coming out of the neck in the shoulder and armpit area can cause pain and numbness radiating from the neck to the arm. Thoracic outlet syndrome, which is frequently seen among the causes of neck pain, can be treated with surgery.

Tumors and other diseases

Algology Specialist Prof. Dr. Ateş Önal said, “Neck tumors, spinal cord tumors and bone infections such as tuberculosis and brucellosis can also cause neck and arm pain. However, while pain originating from the shoulder joint can imitate neck and arm pain; Pain in the neck region can also be rarely seen in diseases of the esophagus, trachea, thyroid and lung.


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