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General Fitness>>Maintaining a Healthy Neck - 1/6/2007

v    Mechanical pain occurs when the joint between two bones has been placed in a position that overstretches the surrounding soft tissues.


v    Pain of mechanical origin in the neck can be caused by overstretching.  Overstretching may be caused by an outside force placing a sudden severe strain on the neck such as a car accident or contact sport.


v    More often, overstretching is caused by postural stresses which place less severe strains on the neck over longer periods of time. 


v    Underlying soft tissues such as capsule and ligaments can be damaged when overstretched.  These tissues are usually damaged long before the muscles are.  When these tissues heal, they may form scar tissues and become less elastic and shorten.


v    At the stage of scar tissue formation, even normal movements may stretch the scars in these shortened structures and produce pain.


v    Unless appropriate exercises are performed to gradually stretch and lengthen these structures and restore their normal  flexibility, they may become a continuous source of neck pain or headaches. 


v    Further complications can arise when the ligaments surrounding the disc are injured to such an extent that the disc loses its ability to absorb shock and its outer wall becomes weakened which can allow the disc to bulge or in worse cases, to burst through the outer ligament.


v    When the disc bulge protrudes far enough backward it may press painfully on a spinal nerve causing pain to travel down the arm. 


v    Poor sitting posture is the most common postural stress.  Poor sitting posture includes sitting slouched with a rounded back, rounded shoulders and with a forward head.

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