Common Causes of Neck Pain in the Elderly

seniors neck pain causesOlder adults frequently experience neck pain and back pain, with a variety of anatomical, pathological, and physiological factors involved in the development of symptoms. Arthritis is a common cause of neck pain in seniors attributed to the spine itself, as are discogenic disorders, trauma, tumours, and infection. Other issues involve the muscles in the neck, or nervous system function. Below, we outline some key causes of neck pain, because knowing its origins is essential to getting appropriate treatments and, where possible, for preventing pain recurring.

Muscular Causes of Neck Pain

The muscles in the neck may trigger pain in cases of myofascial pain syndrome, torticollis or fibromyalgia, as well as after accidents resulting in whiplash. Seniors may be more at risk of musculoskeletal problems due to an increasingly sedentary lifestyle and loss of muscle, increased frequency of falls and slower healing time, and also from conditions like diabetes which are more common with age.

Medications and Neck Pain

Seniors are also more likely to be taking medications that can have adverse effects on long-term bone health, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), as well as having a lifetime of accumulated wear and tear that predispose them to neck pain. Osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, and calcification of connective tissue may be factors in neck pain in seniors, as can systemic inflammation that leads to pinched nerves in the neck.

Additionally, many post-menopausal women experience problems with thyroid health that can go undetected for years and this can lead to swelling of the thyroid gland, putting pressure on other structures in the neck. Older people are also more likely to become dehydrated, leading to a sore throat and neck pain.

Treating Neck Pain in Seniors

As you can see, there is quite a variety of possible causes of neck pain in seniors, which can make it very difficult to figure out how to manage neck pain effectively in this patient demographic.

2 replies
  1. mrs Patricia gillian Campbell-symons
    mrs Patricia gillian Campbell-symons says:

    I have osteoarthritis of the spine amd all weight bearing joints now also in the shoulders elbows, wrists and hands, the discs c2toc7 have disintergrated along with most of my lower lumber region discs too so I am in a lot of pain daily, I do take painkillers mepted 200and paracetamol 500 four times a day, but I try to keep active by gently exercises, and trying to do gardening work in rather small doeses as I can’t do as much as I used to a year ago


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] LMatthews on March 1, 2014 ShareConservative therapies are almost always indicated in seniors who have had neck pain for less than six months and who do not appear to have an immediate risk of spinal cord injury, […]

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *