What is Chronic Neck & Back Pain?
Neck pain, also known as cervicalgia, occurs anywhere from the base of the skull to the top of the shoulders, while back pain can take place in the upper, middle, and lower sections of the back. Neck and back pain can vary in severity and duration and can be classified into acute or chronic. Some common actions or events that result in chronic neck or back pain include but are not limited to:
- Lifting of heavy objects
- Trauma or injuries
- Poor posture
- Sleeping arrangements
- Sitting for long periods
Causes of Neck & Back Pain
Acute pain in the neck and back region usually occurs due to a muscle strain or a sprained ligament resulting from overuse and misuse. This type of pain is temporary and tends to recede within a matter of days. In some cases, treating the source can help prevent acute pain from evolving to chronic. Neck and back pain is that which is persistent and can last from months to even years. This type of pain is less common and usually results from untreated acute pain or the following conditions.
A herniated disc occurs when the disc’s soft interior, called the nucleus, leaks out of the annulus – the disc’s tough exterior – causing the nearby nerves to become irritated and result in pain.
A chronic, inflammatory condition that occurs in the joints of the entire body. The immune system attacks the lining and tissue of the joints, causing swelling and pain.
A neurologic condition that affects muscles and soft tissue, causing widespread pain sensitivity to the touch. These sensations are intermittent and can happen anywhere in the body. In some cases, it can also cause fatigue and sleeping problems.
A disease in which bones become weaker when the body fails to compensate for the loss of old bone. The lack of bone production makes bones brittle and prone to rupture from common falls or, depending on the severity, minor bumps.
A pinched nerve occurs when pressure is applied on a nerve, usually by the compression of tissues such as ligaments, tendons, and bones. Repetitive motions or holding the body in the same position for extended periods can cause pinched nerves.
Acute vs. Chronic Pain
Neck and back pain can range from mild and temporary to debilitating and persistent. It can cause aching, tightness, and soreness, among other symptoms. Depending on the severity, it can even restrict mobility and prevent you from completing basic daily tasks. Based on the cause and persistence, the pain is categorized as acute or chronic.