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What Causes Neck Pain?

Learn what causes neck pain from physical therapist Eric Sampson in this Howcast video.


There are a lot of causes of neck pain. The causes of neck pain are often very similar to the causes of lower back pain.

For instance, you have your traumatic events. Falling or tripping, slipping. And that can lead to a pain, of course. And then there's your more common problem with is your mechanical neck pain.

And this is a situation where you have an imbalance of forces or imbalance of pressure on the soft tissues of your neck.

We have always taught with our sitting habits or sitting possibilities to sit as tall as we can, as straight as we can. But naturally our head tends to come forward quite a bit. Especially with the computer work and the typing that we have to do.

The head weights about ten to 13 pounds. However when we have it one to two to three inches forward past its neutral position the head can start to weigh anywhere from 15 to 20 to 30 pounds.

Just like if you're carrying a box and you're holding a 20 pound box out here versus holding a 20 pound box up in here, it's much lighter and easier to hold when it's closer.

So that's the effect of our forward head. And the tissue that's like to get damaged is unfortunately the soft tissue. The cartilage or the disks. They can start to crack or fissure. Or unfortunately they can start to bulge, degenerate or herniate.

Leading to symptoms that can be anywhere from neck pain to neck pain and scapular pain. Upper extremity problems as well as headaches.

So, it's similar to a lower back condition. You've got a little less weight bearing responsibilities than a lower back. But at the same time it is very susceptible to the forward head posturing that occurs with most people when they're bending and they're sitting too long.

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