You may have had a bad whiplash, a major accident, or sports injury. Those can be the direct or indirect cause but I want to talk about the things that happen in the body to cause the pain.
The first example would be pain from a disc. One can have a disc herniation or a bulged disc that's causing pain. Between the spinal bones or vertebrae, if you will, there lies a disc. The spinal joints have disk in between.
The disc acts as, not only a cushion for movement, jumping, twisting, etc, but also as a spacer. That space allows nerves to have a space to exit. The spinal cord, which travels down a big hole in the posterior part of the vertebrae, and then gives off nerves that travel out a gap created when two vertebrae come together. Those are actually the nerve roots, which branch into more and more nerves.
Now that you know some anatomy, you can imagine if a disc protrudes or bulges out, it can put pressure on a nerve. Really what happens is that that disc takes up space in the gap as well as some inflammation, as well as arthritis or a misalignment.
The second is a muscle strain or sprain. Attached to all the bones are ligaments. Muscle that connects bone to bone is a ligament. Muscle to bone connection is a tendon. For our purposes here, any irritation to the muscle belly, ligament, or tendon can be referred to as a muscle strain/sprain.
Here's a trick to make it easy to remember: sTrain has a "T" for tendon, so if we have a muscle sTrain, it's more Tendon. A sPrain is the other one and that's ligament. When we strain or Spain an area it typically gets over stretched and therefore irritated and inflamed. All of the healing cells of the body rushed to that area initially causes more nerve pressure an pain. This is the body's inflammatory response.
Next would be strain or sprain to the joint. Okay, so we can strain or sprain the joint or the muscle. Typically this will usually be that ligamentous sprain. Since the ligament is connected directly to the bone, it will often directly affect the joint. This often takes more time to heal. Think of that ankle sprain you had years ago and that ankle wasn't right for three weeks...
Last could be a misaligned joint. A spinal bone, or any other bone, for that matter, can shift out of place allowing more nerve pressure. When a spinal bone shifts out of place it often gets stuck, this means inflammation will build up creating more nerve pressure. If then, this happens, it can often get worse if motion is not restored.
Another thing that happens is imbalance. As one can imagine, having a crooked body means crooked posture. Not only may this not look good, it means more stress and strain to certain areas versus others. When the body is not in perfect alignment we cannot even withstand the forces of gravity as well. This can lead to arthritis forming, which will often mean even less room for the nerve, and more nerve pressure.
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