The facet joint, which is located on the left and right side of the vertebrae, is the most commonly affected area in neck pain and headaches. Another potential cause of cervical facet syndrome includes a job that requires a person to repeatedly extend the neck (tilt the head backwards). Symptoms of cervical facet syndrome include pain in the middle or side of the neck; some people also notice pain in the shoulders, around the shoulder blades, at the base of the head, or in one arm.
Repetitive strain injury is also known as Cumulative Trauma Disorder (CTD) and Musculoskeletal Disorder (MSD). Workers in many jobs are at risk for repetitive strain injuries (RSI). An RSI is an injury or disorder that occurs over time as a result of repetitive, forceful or awkward body movements.
Neck strains can be a little more complicated to treat because there are so many different muscles that attach to the neck. As described in a previous article on neck pain, muscles of the neck not only vary in size, attachment and the jobs they perform, but also how they get injured. Chronic positioning of the head, upper back and shoulders can be an important consideration in treating and avoiding neck muscle strain. Since muscles heal best by keeping tension off of them, knowing which muscles are affected is the key to the treatment. Very commonly injured are the bigger muscles of the neck and shoulder called the upper trapezius and the levator scapulae. Putting increased stress on these by stretching them may not be the answer. On the other hand, what may be needed is to maintain support of the neck and shoulders to take weight and tension off those muscles.
As with many physical injuries, it is often easier and less limiting to prevent the injuries than it is to treat them. Making sure your overhead and work postures are good can go a long way to keeping your neck healthy. Additionally, keeping your upper body and core strong will help lessen the strain on your neck when pulling, pushing or using the arms and muscles that attach to the neck in an overhead position.