Problems in the neck can also contribute to headaches, muscle spasms in the shoulders and upper back, ringing in the ears, temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ), restricted range of motion, tightness in the neck and upper back.
What causes neck pain?
Most neck and upper back pain is caused by a combination of factors, including injury, poor posture, joint dysfunction, stress, diet, and disc problems. The neck is more susceptible to injury due to the large range of motion it has. The more range of motion means less stabilization in the neck. That’s why it’s very important to keep proper stability, posture, and strength in the neck. The head weighs about 15 pounds, which means small distortions in our neck posture can wreak havoc.
The spinal cord runs through a canal in the vertebrae to send nerve signals to every part of the body. The spinal cord has nerve branches that go down the length of the spine. It sends large bundles of nerves that run down and control the arms and to some degree, the upper back. This means that if your arm is hurting, it may actually be a problem in the neck. Symptoms in the arms can include numbness, tingling, cold, aching, and “pins and needles”. These symptoms can be confused with carpal tunnel syndrome, a painful condition in the hands that is often found in people who work at computer keyboards or perform other repetitive motion tasks for extended periods.