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Neck Pain

The neck is made up of 7 bony vertebrae stacked one on top of the other. The neck begins at the base of the skull and ends in the upper torso.  The bony vertebrae are surrounded by strong muscles and ligaments that move and support the neck.  Between most of the vertebrae in the neck is a disc next to which lie nerves that pass into the shoulders or arms.

The most common cause of a neck injury is “mechanical”. In other words it is the result of minor but regular injuries or sprains to the muscles, ligaments or joints in the neck during regular daily activities.  Poor posture puts strain on the neck and eventually leads to injury, pain and stiffness.

A sudden neck movement, sports injury or car-crash (e.g. “whiplash”) may also be the cause of neck pain.  If the neck trauma is severe there may be signs of a “slipped disc”.  This is when part of the disc bulges and puts pressure on an adjacent nerve.  Since the nerves of the neck enter the arm, pain often radiates into the arm occasionally creating more discomfort than the neck; in fact sometimes no neck pain is felt at all.

One should always pay attention to one’s work environment so that the least amount of strain is put on the neck as possible.  This can be achieved by having the computer screen at eye level whilst also sitting directly opposite the work station.  Any twisting or craning of the neck for long periods of time could lead to problems eventually.

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