Back pain is one of the most common human afflictions and most people experience neck pain at some point in their lives as well. These conditions can be acute or chronic. Back and neck pain may follow an injury or develop unrelated to activity. The spinal area consists of the spinal cord, bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, tendons, cartilage, and nerves, all of which can contribute to the sensation of pain. The pain message is delivered to the brain via the nerves and spinal cord. Pain that continues for a long period of time can cause anxiety and stress for the individual, which can begin an unpleasant cycle of physical pain and emotional stress.
Neck pain can radiate into the shoulder, upper back and arm while lower back pain is often felt in the hip or leg. Spine-related pain becomes more common as one ages. Common causes include age-related degenerative disorders, improper lifting and chronic wear and tear, but there are dozens of possible causes. Often, back and neck pain resolve on their own or with minimal intervention such as rest, pain medicine or anti-inflammatory medication. Severe or ongoing pain warrants a medical evaluation.