The neck is a cervical spine made up of vertebrae extending from the upper torso to the lower end of the skull. It also has ligaments that serve to stabilize the spine and muscles for support and to provide motion. Other body components connected to the neck include tendon, the trachea, blood vessels and the esophagus. It supports the head and has a significant amount of movement. Nevertheless it is less protected compared to other parts of the spine and vulnerable to injuries or disorders. An injury to any of the in the neck by trauma or disorder adversely affects the neck as a whole. Neck injuries can be quite painful or uncomfortable and in some cases can restrict neck movements significantly.
Injuries to the neck can result in a variety of consequences ranging from discomfort, paralysis, to even death when there is a fracture to the cervical vertebrae or trauma of the spinal cord. Due to its vulnerability, the neck can potentially be injured by blunt trauma, compressive forces, hyperextension and hyper flexion of the head causing sudden extreme movement, and by diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Major causes of neck pain and injuries include abnormalities in soft tissues such as the muscles, ligaments, and nerves. Abnormalities in the bones and spinal joints due to prolonged wear and tear can also cause neck pains. Inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis can also result in neck injuries and pain. Injuries incurred in sports, falls, and motor vehicle accidents are leading causes of neck injuries. A common example is the whiplash neck injury that occurs when there is hyperextension of the neck in a rear end motor vehicle collision. There are other rare causes of neck disorders such as tumors and infections of the soft tissues and the vertebrae. It is advisable to consult an orthopedic practitioner when one incurs a neck injury or in the case of relentless neck pains.