Don’t Be a Pain in the Neck

When was the last time someone asked you, “Why are you such a pain in the neck?” Hopefully not lately. 

This colloquial expression dates from around 1900 and it originated as the less, uh, rude option compared to being a pain in the a–. But that’s not the point. The point is that people have been experiencing neck pain probably…forever. Enough so that it’s become a common figure of speech. 

Since Dr. Tinley sees patients with neck pain pretty much every day, let’s get into this a little bit. 

Your neck 

So, your neck is made up of vertebrae, seven to be exact, that extend from your dome (skull) down to your upper torso. Cervical discs separate these seven vertebrae to absorb shocks, allow the neck to be tilted, and to keep everything separated. 

Just about everyone has neck pain at some time or another. Often, it’s a result of bad posture or from overuse. Trauma occurs from falls, contact sports, or when riding The Joker at Six Flags! 

Most of the time, neck pain isn’t serious and can be relieved with rest in a few days. But if your neck pain lasts more than a week, is severe, or is accompanied by other symptoms, it’s time to see an expert such as Dr. Tinley at DFW Center for Spinal Disorders. 

The most common causes of neck pain 

  •     Muscle tension and strain — This is the most common cause of neck pain. This comes from issues such as poor posture when working or sitting, working at a desk for too long without changing position, sleeping with your neck in a bad position, or jerking your neck during exercise.
  •     Injury — Our necks are particularly vulnerable to injury when we fall or are in a car wreck. Neck injuries are common in contact sports. If the neck vertebrae are fractured, the spinal cord may also be damaged. When our head gets jerked without expectation, this can cause whiplash.
  •     Heart attack — Neck pain can be a symptom of a heart attack, but this usually shows itself in combination with other symptoms of a heart attack, such as:

o   Shortness of breath

o   Sweating

o   Nausea

o   Vomiting

o   Arm or jaw pain 

  •     Meningitis — This is inflammation of the thin tissue that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. In those with meningitis, a fever and a headache often occur with a stiff neck. Meningitis is a medical emergency. 
  •     Other causes — There are numerous other possible causes of neck pain: rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, spondylosis, herniated cervical discs, and spinal stenosis, among others.

Now you know why you neck hurts so darn much. If it is, it could be time to call Dr. Tinley at DFW Center for Spinal Disorders, (817) 916-4685, to have it checked out.

Posted in: Neck Pain

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