Have Neck Pain? The Cause Is Something That May Surprise You
A degeneration problem that causes physical pain in the neck is a convenient and easy diagnosis for many doctors to make, because images of spinal degeneration can often be pointed to on an X-ray or MRI and named as the cause for pain. However, research has proven that degeneration problems are not the cause of most neck pain. The Orthopedic Clinics of North America published a study in July of 2005 that stated that degenerative disorders of the cervical spine (neck) do not usually cause any symptoms.(1)
Confusion persists about this topic, because many times degeneration problems are found in conjunction with neck and other spinal pain issues, making doctors assume that they are the source of discomfort. This type of thinking has been around for so long and is so prevalent that it is hard to change the mentality of most doctors about what causes neck pain.
Simply perusing the medical advice Web sites for the search term “neck pain” can show examples of this. For example: Web MD states that the cause of neck pain is “abnormalities in the bone or joints, trauma, poor posture, degenerative diseases, tumors, muscle strain.”—no mention of mental stress.(2) This contrasts with a study published in the Journal of Rheumatology in December of 1991, stating: “Our findings show that neuroticism [mental stress] is a more powerful determinant of neck pain than radiological signs of disc degeneration or OA [osteoarthritis] in the general population.”(3)
Even the well-respected Mayo Clinic Web site fails to mention that mental stress can cause neck pain, giving only muscle strains, worn joints, nerve compression, injuries, etc., as possible causes.(4)
The Mayo Clinic’s information is contradicted by a study published in the medical journal Spine in January of 2003, concluding, “. . . there is no difference in reported pain and disability levels between those with and those without evidence of cervical spine [neck] degeneration.”(5)
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