Neck painFebruary 16 2022
Neck pain is a modern epidemic, due in part to sedentary lifestyles, most people will experience it at some point in their life.
Many things can trigger neck pain, but it usually has something to do with your posture and how you hold yourself. The most common cause of neck pain that we see at the centre is postural, It accounts for about 85 per cent of the neck pain cases seen. Postural neck pain will often be felt from the neck into the upper shoulder area, and is usually felt as an ache.
Neck pain can be associated with radiating pain down one or both of the arms. Neck pain can come from a number of disorders that involve any of the tissues in the neck including nerves, bones, joints, ligaments or muscles.
Causes of Neck Pain:
Neck pain may be caused by muscle inflammation, strain, trauma, arthritis, disc degeneration or narrowing of the spinal canal. Age, injury, poor posture or conditions such as arthritis can lead to degeneration of the bones or joints of the cervical spine, causing disc herniation or bone spurs to form. Sudden severe injury to the neck may also contribute to disc herniation and whiplash. The good news is neck pain is easily treatable and rarely serious.
1. Cervical stenosis
Occurs when the spinal canal narrows and compresses the spinal cord and is most frequently caused by degeneration associated with ageing. Mild stenosis can be treated conservatively for extended periods of time as long as the symptoms are restricted to neck pain. Severe stenosis may require referral to a neurosurgeon.
2. Neck Injuries
Neck injury symptoms include neck stiffness, shoulder or arm pain, headache, facial pain and dizziness. Pain from a motor vehicle injury such as whiplash may be caused by tears in muscles or injuries to the joints between vertebrae. Whiplash injuries can vary in severity.
3.Facet joint strain
This stiffness affecting the facet joint can often cause the range of motion in the neck to become painful and restricted and cause the muscles in the neck to become tight or go into spasm.
4. Herniated discs
A disc bulge in the neck can cause pain in the neck and often the arm. Pressure on a nerve can result in numbness, pins and needles, pain or weakness to the area in the arm the nerve supplies. Most cases resolve within six to eight weeks.
5. Wear and Tear
Degenerative conditions such as cervical spondylosis are common. This means “wear and tear” affecting the joint and discs in the neck.
How Chiropractic Care Can Help with Neck Pain:
Most forms of neck pain respond well to Chiropractic care. Your Chiropractor will take a detailed case history to ascertain the cause of your neck pain and this will help to give a diagnosis, determine the appropriate course of treatment and give a realistic idea of how long it will take you to respond to treatment. Treatment often consists of gentle spinal mobilisation, soft tissue techniques such as light massage, home stretching and postural exercises and in some cases acupuncture in the form of dry needling can be very helpful.
Lifestyle, Posture and Exercises:
The great benefits of Chiropractic care are that your Chiropractor will look at your whole lifestyle not just your pain, to help to prevent any ongoing problems. This includes your work set up- such as how you have arranged your desk and computer, your car seat set up, your sleep position and advice on pillows and a comprehensive stretching and postural exercise programme.
Pillows and Sleep Position:
How you sleep can have a huge influence on your neck and shoulders. The best position is to sleep on your side or on your back with a supportive pillow that is not too high. Try not to sleep on your front as you have to turn your head to the side to breath and over extend it which can cause neck pain and headaches. We have a range of ergonomically designed pillows at the centre which you’re welcome to try to help you to get a better night’s sleep by keeping your neck in a supported position.
Seeking Medical Care:
If your neck pain does not improve in the first few days with hot and cold treatment and you have tried over the counter analgesia such as paracetamol and ibuprofen a GP may prescribe a stronger type of analgesia in the form or painkillers eg co-codamol or anti-inflammatories such as naproxen, and if the pain is severe a muscle relaxant such as diazepam.
You should consult your GP if:
- It occurs after an injury or blow to the head
- Fever or headache accompanies the neck pain
- Stiff neck prevents the patient from touching chin to chest
- Pain shoots down one arm
- There is tingling, numbness or weakness in the arms or hands
- Neck symptoms associated with leg weakness or loss of coordination in arms or legs
- The pain does not respond to over-the-counter pain medication
- The pain does not respond to a recommended course of conservative course of manual therapy such as Chiropractic care or physiotherapy, and your chiropractor or physiotherapist has referred you to your GP.