Neck Joint Pain is a common side effect of whiplash injury, cervical arthritis, cervical disc degeneration.
No surprise there. But you can also get cervical joint pain from shoulder injuries, shoulder tendonitis, and even just poor posture.
No, 'aging' doesn't cause joint pain in the neck, and don't let any doctor tell you it does.
Neck and shoulder pain can include the joints themselves, or the pain dynamic can just make it FEEL like it's joint pain.
Neck pain can come from a variety of directions. Many of those directions can lead to neck joint pain.
There are layers: Skin, then muscle and connective tissue, then bone (joint).
Muscles and connective tissue can hurt. Joints can also hurt.
What causes neck joint pain?
Bone spurs develop when there is excess stress/strain/pressure/pull on a bone.
This new bone growth is not ideal, and depending on where the spur grows, can cause a lot of pain and problem.
For instance, if the spur grows towards/into a neighboring cervical vertebrae and starts pressing into/onto the other bone, that's a big problem.
If the spur is on or in a joint, that that will cause a lot of pain and problem.
See: Bone Spur
Pulled Neck Muscle
Neck muscle in jury sets up a dynamic where surrounding muscle and connective tissue gets tight to guard and protect'.
Those tight muscles then compress neck joints.
To much constant pressure on neck joints will cause irritation, inflammation, and pain. Plus the injury itself causes the release of chemical that enhances one's sensitivity to pain.
See: Pulled Neck Muscle
Boxing, falls, crashes, any impact to the body/head can result in impact bruising of the neck joints.
If joints are already compressed by tight muscles, and then there's a sudden impact or over-compression, that can bruise the tender joint lining.
Joint bruises HURT, and can cause all sorts of (bad) pain.
See: Bone Bruise
Neck joint pain isn't a commonly diagnosed issue after a car crash or other whiplash injury inducing event.
But just imagine...if a head can whip back and forth so hard that it tears ligament and tendon...it can also tear or otherwise damage joint tissue.
And that joint damage causes surrounding muscle to clamp down to guard and protect....which then compresses the joint down on injury.
Tendonitis is a dynamic. Multiple factors cause the pain and problem.
Neck tendonitis and shoulder tendonitis both pull on cervical vertebrae and other cervical structures. And this can pull cervical vertebrae out of alignment (can irritate cervical joints).
And the tightness (one factor of the tendonitis dynamic) compresses cervical structures, and that compression can cause neck joint pain.
See: Pain Causing Dynamic
Joint pain in neck causes problems elsewhere.
Pain is a DYNAMIC, not an isolated event.
Shoulder problems can cause neck pain and neck joint pain.
Neck pain can cause shoulder problems.
All the structures are connected.
That's why you can have pain in neck shoulder and back. It's all connected.
This is important to understand when treating chronic neck pain, whether a cervical joint is involved or not.
Whether it's dull or sharp neck pain, or whether the pain is behind the neck, side, front, the whole thing, and whether it includes shoulder or back pain, the variation doesn't so much matter.
What matters is the CAUSE of the pain. And the cause is always specific multiple factors that can have pain show up anywhere.
If a facet joint in the neck is irritated or damaged, there are also other factors to consider, like what shoulder muscles/connective tissue are doing in response to that, in maintenance of that, and even in cause of that.
Pain in neck joints is indeed painful and problematic, but regardless of where you feel the pain, the pain is not the problem. The neck joint isn't even the problem.
The problem is whatever is CAUSING the neck joint pain/problem, and whatever is causing the pain elsewhere.
It's all connected. And it's never just one thing...there's a whole multi-factored dynamic that you need to be aware if if you are treating chronic neck pain ESPECIALLY when it's joint related.
Arthritis can show up in any joint.
Neck arthritis is a common location (hands, fingers, knees, back, neck)
Technically, 'arthritis' is 'inflammed joint'.
Realistically, if you have an inflamed joint, there's a lot of other factors at play.
If it's cervical osteoarthritis, then you also have factors of tendonitis of the neck.
If it's rheumatoid arthritis causing pain in neck joints, then you have a much more systemic issue that is resulting in inflamed cerfical joints AND causing factors of cervical tendonitis....that then causes osteoarthritis....and cervical facet joint arthropathy.
It is very important to know the CAUSE when you're treating chronic neck pain.
If you don't successfully target the CAUSE of the neck joint pain, then you'll never be able to fix it, and may not be able to get rid of the pain.
As I mentioned above, if you want to get rid of pain in neck joints, you have to successfully, effectively, deal with the causes of the pain.
Cortcosteroid injections won't fix the problem.
Ultimatley, the joint pain is caused by:
All of the above work together to cause and maintain pain and problem.
There are other possible factors as well involved with the above factors:
Your doctor will tell you that the pain in your neck joint is due to 'aging', or 'injury', or 'joint degenerating'.
But unfortunately, your doctor will not ask you WHY any of that is happening/causing pain. Which is why you probably haven't gotten much relief from following your doctors' suggestions.
New sharp neck pain or chronic neck joint pain is there for reasons. Want to get rid of it? Deal effectively with each and every of those reasons.
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