Among the general population, it is very common that self-diagnosing the neck pain as cervical spondylosis. The spondylosis word or the condition has become more status creator and fashionable.
(once it was Diabetic).Not only among the common people but also it increases in health professionals.Majority of the diagnosed cervical spondylosis is not true cervical spondylosis.
Neck pain is the most compliant after the lower back pain with spinal disc degeneration (Fejer R, The prevalence of neck pain in the world population 2006). But in the gadget era, the neck pain has taken the first place among pain without disc degeneration.Interestingly it has been increasing for last 20 years especially after the arrival of smartphones.In majority f the neck pain patients the cause of pain cannot be attributed to a specific pathology in the cervical disc.
Increasing use of smartphone has resulted in increased incidence of neck pain (Cote P, The annual incidence and course of neck pain in the general population: a population-based cohort study.2004, Martin.Expenditures and health status among adults with back and neck problems.2008, Khedr EM, Assessment of the corticodiaphragmatic pathway and pulmonary function in acute ischemic stroke patients. 2000).These studies are showing the relationship between the improper posture and neck pain.During the smartphone use, the user’s neck bent more forward to looking the screen.The common question arises this time is, same forward bent happens during the other activities and why only smartphone use?. Why means the strain is much higher when we consider the position of the lumbar spine and unsupported arm use during the phone holding and touching the screen.
Studies are reporting that Myofascial pain syndrome can mimic like a cervical spondylosis ((nizar abdul jalil .scalene MFPS mimicking cervical disc prolapse.a report of two cases.2010.). A person can experience severe neck pain, radiating pain in the arm, headache and other symptoms without true cervical spondylosis, because of the improper posture and changes in the biomechanical aspect of the function of structures.
(image source biomechanicas and human movement .Grene)
Let us understand the biomechanical causes of these problems.We know that the head and neck is first class lever system(figure below).We know that mechanical advantage is when the input multiplies.Just look at the two images below, we can understand from this when the neck bent forward the input has to increase .that means the mechanical advantage is very less.The input is giving extensor muscles of the neck that means the stress is increasing in the extensor muscles especially in the levator scapule.
(Image source Dr.Ken Hansaraj study)
In addition that altered normal curvature of the cervical spine gives even changes in the thoracic spine and its increases by unsupported arm.Especially strain increases on the upper thoracic spine.Increases strain on the thoracic spine increases stress on the neck muscles.So it is important to give an attention while using the smartphone.
To conclude, it is very important to remember that neck pain can cause many problems.It is not just only a familiar word spondylosis. It is very important to find out the origin of pain and the true culprit behind it. Moreover taking correct treatment at a correct time.