What is causing your neck to hurt all the time? It could be something as simple as a lifestyle issue you need to fix or as obscure as a relatively rare disease causing pain radiating from the cervical spine.
At Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine in Ramsey, New Jersey, we can help you figure out what is causing your neck pain and develop a treatment plan to give you the relief you crave.
Anatomy of your neck
Your neck is the part of the cervical spine that runs from the base of your skull to the knob at the center of your back near the top of your shoulder blades. There are several vertebrae in the cervical spine, separated by discs.
Neck pain can be triggered by whiplash, a herniated disc, arthritis, sleeping with your neck in a funny position, or even just carrying a heavy backpack to work or school every day. However, if your neck pain is persistent, you may need to make some changes to how you do things and seek help from a specialist to ensure there isn’t a serious underlying issue.
Causes of chronic neck pain
In addition to the causes of acute neck pain above,many underlying issues can cause chronic neck pain.
Your head may weigh a set amount, but depending on the angle you tilt it, your neck could be supporting anywhere from 27-60 pounds. Using a laptop sitting in your lap or a low coffee table, or reading from a handheld mobile device can cause chronic neck pain because of spinal deterioration and pinched nerves. This has become so common in the digital age that doctors even refer to neck pain from these causes as text neck or tech neck.
TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder)
Unexplained neck pain that is accompanied by jaw stiffness, numbness in the side of the face, and/or ongoing headaches could be caused by a TMJ disorder. Issues with the temporomandibular joint, which is the hinge your jaw opens and closes on, commonly cause referred pain into the neck.
Most people are familiar with meningitis as an acute bacterial infection that can cause serious injury or death if not quickly treated. It’s more common in young children and teens and is characterized by intense headache and so much stiffness and pain in the neck that turning your head seems impossible.
However, there are other causes of meningitis that aren’t as life-threatening but which can cause the same terrible neck pain and stiffness to slowly appear and last for months or even years. Causes of chronic meningitis include:
- Lyme disease
- Fungal exposure
- Parasitic infection
Of these, Lyme disease has become more common in recent years, with chronic neck pain being added to the list of symptoms to look for.
A visit to a spine specialist can help you find out exactly what’s causing your neck pain, so you can begin building a treatment plan that fits your needs. To contact the team at Progressive Spine and Sports Medicine, call 201-273-9702, or request your appointment online.