​Neck pain is a common condition that can affect both the young and old. Causes of neck pain include degenerative changes, poor posture and traumatic injuries.

Damage to the neck can occur in the joints, the discs, blood vessels, the nerves, as well as muscles and ligaments.

There are seven vertebrae in the neck, also known as the cervical spine, which houses and protects the spinal cord. A disc between each vertebrae (except the first two), made of fibrous material, helps to absorb shock and distribute weight of the head through the neck.

Cervical disc degeneration, which tends to affect those aged 40 and over, is the result of the gelatin-like centre of the disc degenerating, causing a narrowing of the spaces between the vertebrae. This adds stress to the joints and leads to further wear and tear.

To prevent neck pain, adopt good posture habits and do neck exercises. Start by sitting with your back supported to ensure good alignment of your neck - avoid a slouched, bent or forward head posture. When sleeping, use a good pillow to support your neck.

Be sure to take occasional breaks when using the computer to move your neck, shoulders and upper back regularly. Preventing build up of tension and stress in your muscles and joints.

Neck stretches you can do while seated include: Neck side bending, backward shoulder rolls, upper back extension, upper back rotation.

If you are suffering from any neck pain, please consult your GP for advice.