As people get older, back and neck pain becomes extremely common. The condition affects not only the physical health of these individuals but also their social and economic well-being. Back and neck pain can disrupt work, routine and other daily activities you engage in. In fact, the condition is one of the leading causes of doctor’s visits and one of the most common reasons why people miss work.
However, while back and neck pain can make your life awfully difficult, majority of cases are treatable without resorting to surgery. There are also certain management steps you can take in order to handle the issues that may arise as a result of back and neck pain. These measures will not only help relieve the pain but also help you reduce the likelihood of recurrences of this condition.
In most instances, back and neck pain is caused by strains or other injuries to the muscles and ligaments surrounding the spinal column. These, in turn, may be caused by sports injuries or a sudden increase in physical activity to which the individual is not accustomed.
Viral infections may also cause flu like symptoms that are often accompanied by muscular pain affecting the neck and the back. The condition is known in medical circles as myalgia.
Another possible cause of your back and neck pain is the degenerative change that your spine undergoes. A person’s spinal column is made up of individual bones (vertebrae) that are joined together by the intervertebral discs, joints and ligaments. All these combined form the strong but flexible structure of your spine.
As a person ages (middle age and beyond), back and neck pain occurs as a result of the wear and tear of your intervetebral discs and other associated components of your spine. The number one cause of these degenerative changes is movement. Motion causes the neck (cervical) and the lower parts (lumbar) of the spine to gradually break down.
Being biological structures, your ligaments and joints will try to heal and repair themselves but as a result, your spine also becomes deformed with several bulging discs, buckling ligaments, and bone spurs. These changes could also affect the canals through which the nerves pass through, pinching them as a result.
Although there is no definitive cure, back and neck pain is a highly treatable condition. The most common therapy used to treat back and neck pain is medications with pain-killing or anti-inflammatory properties.
Passive physical therapy used in conjunction with exercise (active physical therapy) is also another option. Hot or cold compresses are applied to the area affected in order to alleviate the pain. Other modalities may also be used, including the application of electric impulses in order to override the muscular spasms that so often characterize back and neck pain.