Common Causes of Back Pain and Neck Pain

Updated at: Dec 15, 2012
Common Causes of Back Pain and Neck Pain

Back and neck problems are usually triggered by physical strain caused by daily activities. Learn all the possible reasons for neck and back pain.

Himanshu Sharma
PainWritten by: Himanshu SharmaPublished at: Dec 15, 2012

People complain of minor neck or back problem/s at one time or another in their life. Some of these problems are a result of incorrect body posture/movement while others could be a result of everyday wear and tear, overuse or injury.


[Read: Understanding Chronic and Acute Pain]

Common Causes of Neck Pain

Neck pain feels like stiffness or severe pain at the base of the skull which may spread further to the shoulders, upper back or arms. Neck pain is usually limited i.e. usually experienced more on one side than the other. The activities that may lead to neck pain are:

  • holding the head in an inappropriate position for a prolonged period
  • sleeping on a pillow placed too high or too flat
  • sleeping face down with the neck bent
  • resting your forehead on your upright fist or arm for a long durationengaging in an activity or an exercise that uses the upper body and arms
  • fracture or dislocation of the spine
  • ruptured disc
  • injury to the ligaments or muscles in the neck


[Read: Neck Pain Relief Exercises]


Common Causes of Back Pain


A sedentary lifestyle is the reason for back pain in most people. Fortunately, most people with severe back pain can recover within a few weeks and resume their everyday routine. Listed below are some common causes of back pain.

  • Overuse of muscles, ligaments and joints.
  • Exertion of pressure on nerve roots of the spinal canal, which usually happens in the case of a herniated disc, osteoarthritis, spondylolisthesis, spinal stenosis, fractures of the vertebrae, spinal deformities (including curvature problems such as severe scoliosis or kyphosis) and compression fractures.
  • Ankylosing spondylitis (a form of arthritis) may affect the spine and cause back pain.
  • Bacterial infection may carry bacteria to the spine through the bloodstream, which may cause severe back pain.
  • Intravenous (IV) drug use.
  • An injury on the back.
  • Spinal tumours.


[Read: Tips to Avoid Back Pain]

If you’ve pulled a muscle accidently to make your back or neck stiff, there is a high possibility of it being treated. You may practice neck and back specific exercises to reduce back pain or try back pain management techniques to ease stiffness of the back or neck.  In case your discomfort has been getting worse with each day despite taking necessary measures to treat it, consult an orthopaedician.


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