Most of your neck pain is psychosomatic. For you to understand this you need to discredit the myth that tissue damage and spinal degeneration is the primary culprit.
Having a degenerative problem that cause the physical neck pain is an easy and convenient diagnosis for many doctors. Images of spinal degeneration can be pointed out on MRI or X-ray and usually considered as the source of pain. On the other hand research has proven that degeneration problems are not the primary cause of neck pain.
The North America Orthopedic Clinics published a study in July 2005 that states that the degenerative disorders of the neck or cervical spine do not cause the usual symptoms.
Confusion may arise on this topic because usually degeneration problems are linked with spinal pain problems and neck issues. This makes the doctor assume that it is the source of discomfort. This kind of thinking has been around for so long that this belief has become prevalent.
Now, it is hard to change the doctor’s mentality about what is the probable cause of neck pain.
Even when you search on the medical advice website regarding “neck pain”, there is numerous definition of it. Say for example, Web MD explains that the cause of neck pain are abnormalities in the joints or bones, muscle strain, tumors, degenerative diseases, poor posture, and trauma. They did not mention anything about mental stress.
This is in contrast with a study published of the Journal of Rheumatology in December of 1991 stating that their findings showed that neuroticism or mental stress is more powerful determinant of the cause of neck pain than the radiological signs of osteoarthritis and disc degeneration in the general population.
Even the Mayo Clinic Web Site which is a well-respected medical site fails to mention anything about mental stress that causes neck pain. They only give possible reasons such as injuries, nerve compression, worn joints and muscle strain as potential causes.
This information in Mayo Clinic is contraindicated in a medical journal Spine which was published in January of 2003; they conclude that there is no difference in the disability levels and reported pains between those having and without evidence of neck or cervical spine degeneration.
The truth is there is no tissue damage that occur in the muscle to send the pain signal. In the book entitled Muscle Pain: Understanding It’s Nature, Diagnoses and Treatment which is recommended by the New England Journal of Medicine for physicians dealing with muscle pain, state that the stimulus intensity needed to activate the muscle nerve cell or nociceptor that sends the pain signal are usually lower compared with the cause of persistent damage to the tissues.
In short, you can feel the muscle pain without any tissue damage.
So what is really the physical source of neck pain if doctors are wrong about persistent tissue damage and degeneration as the primary cause?
Your Cells Are Like People Too
Just imagine that your cells are like miniature people. These small people need oxygen to breath for them to function properly. If they do not received adequate oxygen, their normal functioning will be impaired.
Thus, the pain signal will be sent to the brain as a result of oxygen deprivation or also known as tissue hypoxia. If you experience going from a low elevation to a very high elevation, you will easily understand the dynamics of deprivation of oxygen.
If you go up in the mountains on a ski trip, you will know how low oxygen levels feel like. If you move from where your luggage is staying, you may feel puffing and huffing as if you are running a marathon. This is because your body is not acclimated to lower oxygen levels at higher altitudes of the mountains.
This is because the reaction of your body that causes you to breathe heavily is it tries to get more oxygen to your system even if you are moving just a small and carry-on bags.
Similar with your puffing and huffing feelings in the mountain, your cells have the same reaction with low oxygen levels. But as a replacement for puffing and huffing, the cells have a chemical reaction that tells your nerves to transmit pain signal to the brain.
In the article, “The Oxygen View of Pain”, written by Dr. Majid Ali, he said that it is important to acknowledge that oxygen can drive chronic pain pathway primarily by its mere absence.
In the Neurologija, a neuroscientific journal, the researchers stated that the syndrome of chronic muscle pain, the most probable cause of the pain is the combination of muscle hypoxia or low oxygen levels and muscle tension. This conclusion is supported by the finding of a pathological distribution of the tissue oxygen pressure in the painful muscles.
The lack of oxygen causes pain in the muscle is seen in a number of studies across various discipline conducted by scientific organization and different physicians.
The autonomic nervous system controls the non-conscious mind. It is also known as the unconscious mind. The word “unconscious” is used because it means something like being asleep or passed out.
It is considered as non-conscious mind because you are not aware of the decision you are making for your body. It tells your liver, kidney, digestive system and others what to do without you having to think about it. Your body is running automatically which is controlled by the non-conscious mind.
The autonomic nerves go from the brain then out to your body. Then it tells your body systems what they have to do without you being aware of it. You may feel the results of the non-conscious mind are instructing your body – like for example when you’re heart races or when you are nervous.
But you are not consciously aware that those physical reactions are being controlled. Your non-conscious mind send the signals to your body and your body then respond to the signal with the physical reactions, just in the cause of lower oxygen levels that causes the pain.
But why does your non-conscious mind want you to have a neck pain?
Dr. John Sarno, the pioneer of the Information Therapy for musculoskeletal problem says that the non-conscious mind causes body pain to distract a person so the repressed emotions like anger will not resurface. If you do not completely agree with what Dr. Sarno is saying, it is alright, but his assessment is believable.
Protect You Against Pain
If you have a stressful thought, you may be compelled to act differently to the socially acceptable behavior like anti-survival or against the idea of who you are like the anti-self ideal. You may yell your boss for example or act out angrily to your love one. If you yell at your boss, it is interpreted as anti-survival and yelling to your love one may go against the idea that you are a good person.
Even if you consciously believed that you will do anything contemptible, your non-conscious mind does not easily believe this. So it finds a way to protect you by distracting you from the strong and repressed emotions with pain. This causes you to focus on the body instead of anger.
If you are focused on the neck pain, then you are not feeling the rage or anger that might make you act in a socially unacceptable manner.
You may think that there is no way for your non-conscious mind to try to hurt you, and that is okay. Bear in mind that there is no tissue damage that occur for pain to be felt in your muscles. The non-conscious mind may cause this kind of pain receptors in the muscle tissue to its advantage and create pain without damaging the tissue.
Life is indeed stressful and many people do not wish to act in an anti-self ideal or anti-survival ways. Thus, neck pain remains common in the society. The solution is to make effective body and mind therapy made available to the public so less people will experience neck pain.