What causes neck and back pain?

April 7, 2012 | 0 Comments

By Marco Abanico

There are numerous reasons why people get neck and back pain. Outside the expertise of Western medical practitioners, that list is even longer. However, a few examples of the more common causes of neck and back pain will be discussed in this article.

For many patients, pain is both physical and emotional. If you ignore the physical or emotional parts, you are less likely to discover a remedy.

Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind when determining the cause of your neck and back pain is that not all doctors can seem to reach a consensus for the majority of problems related to the spine. If that is the case, do not frown about it because most neck and back problems resolve completely, even if the exact cause has yet to be discovered.

One of the most common causes of neck and back pain includes problems with muscular and ligamentous integrity. Just like other tissues within your body, the muscles and ligaments of your neck and back can also be injured, aggravated, or weakened, which, in turn, promote pain.

Another cause of neck and back pain, which many times is associated with pain running down either or both arms or the back of one or both legs, is a disc problem. There are two common types of disc problems:

  • disc bulge
  • disc herniation

Discs are made up of cartilage and act as cushions, or pillows, between each of the vertebra (bones running along the length of your back). Spine problems occur when part of the disc bulges (pushes out) or herniates (breaks through) out of its normal parking space and results in compression of the nerves that lead down the arms or legs. This pressure or irritation of the nerves is the reason why some spine problems cause pain in the neck that leads down your arms or pain in the back that leads down the back of your legs. Pain can also result even if the disc is not physically touching the nerves but only comes close in proximity. How is this possible? There are chemicals released by the disc that make the nerve sensitive and promote pain.

Perhaps you may have heard of the terms disc protrusion or disc extrusion in lieu of disc bulge or disc herniation. Since medical science is always advancing, new terms are introduced by scientists who conducted research and discovered new findings. If you ever hear of these terms, just know that a disc protrusion is similar to a disc bulge whereas a disc extrusion is similar to a disc herniation.

A third common cause of neck and back pain is stress. In this particular scenario, the onset of neck or back pain is often associated with emotionally stressful experiences. Stress, whether conscious or unconscious, can promote muscle tightness which, in turn, promotes pain. Stress can also magnify the amount of pain coming from other problem along the spine, such as a bulging disc. Therefore, it is very important to be cognizant of both the emotional and physical aspects of back pain.

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