Neck pain can be extremely uncomfortable and make us feel very fragile. The neck and cervical spine help to hold our head up, and are constantly in use throughout the day. If you have pain in your neck, it could be caused by having poor posture, or it might be a symptom of a more serious issue: degeneration of the discs and areas around your spine.
Below we’re going to cover six reasons you might be suffering from neck pain.
Strains and Sprains
One of the biggest causes of temporary neck pain is the straining or spraining of the neck muscles, ligaments, or tendons. Both terms refer to a stretch or tear in different tissues: strains are tears and stretches in the muscle or tendon, while sprains are tears and stretches in the ligaments. Different activities or sudden motions can cause these strains and sprains, including:
Text Neck – Here’s another reason to keep your head out of your phone. Tilting your head forward – often caused by poor posture, commuting to work, or looking down at a book – can overwork the muscles, tendons, and ligaments of the neck. With the rise of texting and the habit of looking down at our phones, this condition has now been nicknamed, “text neck.”
Repetitive motions, as well as repetitive positioning, can also overuse the muscles, tendons, and ligaments of the neck.
Unusual Positioning for an Extended Period of Time – If you are holding your neck in an unusual position (i.e looking up in the front row of a theatre), you may experience pain related to a strain or sprain the next day.
Accidents and Injuries – One common injury from accidents (auto accidents, sports injuries, and so on) is whiplash, which can cause great neck pain. Whiplash occurs when the head and neck are forced in different directions quickly and aggressively. This force can cause the tissues surrounding the cervical spine to tear or rupture. Ouch.
Degenerative Disc Disease
While positioning or overuse can cause symptoms of temporary pain, suffering from chronic neck pain is also possible. After all, the discs in the neck are subject to wear and tear over time.
When this happens, the discs may not be able to support the vertebrae of the spine as well as they used to. This wear and tear can cause a range of conditions and symptoms, including:
Herniated Disc – Herniated discs are discs that bulge out from their natural position due to the wear and tear of their outer layer. They often cause pressure or pinching of cervical nerves.
Spinal Stenosis & Myelopathy – Degeneration can also cause the spinal canal to becomes narrow. Herniated discs of bone spurs can put pressure or even grow into the canal, which reduces its width. Simply narrowing the spinal canal is referred to as spinal stenosis, but if the stenosis affects the spinal cord, it is called myelopathy. Myelopathy can cause great pain, as well as coordination problems and weakness.
Osteoarthritis (Spondylosis) – This is an arthritis condition that is specific to the cervical spine. In this condition, cartilage wears down and the facet joints grind bone to bone. The positioning of the neck and spinal cord causes whether the eventual wear of facet joints cause bone grinding or herniated discs. Osteoarthritis can cause inflamed joints, bone spur growth, and pinched or pressed nerves.
What to Do About Your Neck Pain
One way to treat sporadic neck pain is to prevent it, especially if it is caused by posture or habit. However, if you have severe or chronic pains or believe you may suffer from one of the disc conditions above, it may be time to visit a specialist.
At iChiropractic, we offer a few different treatments to manipulate the vertebrae and discs in the cervical spine, as well as prove pain relief and strengthen the cervical area. Some of the treatments we offer that will help treat the different causes of neck pain include:
Chiropractic Adjustments – Adjustments move and manipulate the structure of the neck, which can relieve pain caused by herniated discs, stiffness from strains and sprains, and overall neck pain.
Cervical Decompression – Decompression therapy allows us to increase the spaces between the vertebrae of your neck, which will reduce symptoms of osteoarthritis or disc conditions. iChiropractic offers a safe, non-invasive form of decompression therapy.
Massage Therapy – Massage provides immediate pain relief, but can also reduce inflammation caused by injury or arthritis. Massage therapy can also help to prevent future neck pain and conditions because it increases range of motion and circulation, allowing the neck to be put in less compromising positions.
Physical Therapy – Similar to massage therapy, physical therapy does the double duty of treating current pain and preventing future pain. Physical therapy is recommended especially for those who subject their neck to strain through sports or other physical activities.
Therapeutic exercises can strengthen the muscles, ligaments, and tendons around the neck and prevent all kinds of sprains and strains. If you have been injured, physical therapy will help you regain your range of motion and strength.
For more information on how to relieve neck pain and strengthen your cervical spine through therapy and non-invasive treatments, contact iChiropractic today.
About the Author:
Dr. Marc Browner is the Founder of iChiropractic and Wellness in Naples, Florida. A graduate of the University of Florida in 1991, he earned his Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Life Chiropractic in 1995. In private practice since 1998, Dr. Browner is a member of the Florida Chiropractic Society, the Florida Chiropractic Association, and he attends continuing education seminars, classes, and workshops to remain abreast of the most current treatment methods and technological advances in the field.