Neck Pain FAQ
When neck pain strikes, it can stop you in your tracks. Whether you’re losing sleep, time at work, or even your normal range of motion, the ache of neck pain can cause your normal life to simply screech to a halt.
If you’re suffering neck pain, you’re not alone. Around 10 percent of the adult population at any one time is suffering from neck issues. However, the cause of neck pain, what it means, and how it’s treated is often a matter of confusion for many patients. Continue reading to discover the most frequently asked questions about neck pain and what our chiropractors have to say about it.
Neck pain symptoms typically begin with localized pain in the cervical spine as well as generalized discomfort and stiffness. Associated symptoms vary depending on the underlying cause of pain, but include:
- Dull aching
- Loss of sensation
- Muscle stiffness
- Sleep disturbance
- Restricted range of motion
The structures of the spine can be damaged, impinged, or inflamed due to a variety of causes.
- Occupational Stress: Those with a sedentary occupation, such as desk workers who sit at computers daily, are at risk of developing neck pain. Those whose occupation calls for repeated motion that could overwork the structures of the neck are also at risk.
- Age-Related Wear and Tear: Conditions such as arthritis or disc degeneration often occur naturally with age, causing pain symptoms.
- Traumatic Injury: Slip and falls, contact sports injuries, and auto accidents can all inflict trauma on the neck which can result in neck pain.
- Poor Posture: Poor posture when standing, sitting, sleeping and even completing activities such as weight lifting can affect the bones that make up the neck, shifting them out of alignment and causing pain.
Otherwise, infection, damage to the spinal discs, and pinched nerves can cause neck pain.
Neck pain diagnosis typically occurs after both a physical examination, as well as medical image testing. Your physician will likely order an X-ray or MRI to get a view of your spinal alignment, check on vertebrae and discs, and check for bone spurs or arthritis. Likewise, an examination of your medical history allows your doctor to form a diagnosis.
During whiplash, the neck rapidly rushes forward and then snaps backward, motions known as hyperextension and hyperflexion. This causes the soft tissue of the neck to stretch and tear; when the muscles and tendons are damaged it is known as a neck strain, and when the ligaments are torn it is known as a neck sprain.
Whiplash injuries not only affect the soft tissue, but they can also violently force the facet joints that connect the cervical vertebrae to become misaligned. This injury can cause cervical discs to herniate, allowing their jelly-like nucleus to leak into the spinal column. A herniated disc from whiplash can irritate spinal nerves and cause pain, burning sensations, and numbness.
Yes. Trauma does not need to be present for the neck to hurt. Improper posture and misalignments within the spine can create uneven weight distribution in the surrounding structures, straining soft tissue. Age-related conditions can also effect spinal discs and vertebrae, impinging nerve roots, causing muscle stiffness, and limiting range of motion.
Tech neck is the name for the pain felt in the neck after craning down to look at tech devices, such as smartphones, for extended periods of time. This constant downward posture of the head strains the muscles and places extreme pressure on the cervical spine, which is responsible for keeping the head upright. As the head weighs nearly as much as a bowling ball, keeping it lowered at this unnatural angle can relate in neck pain and stiffness.
Chiropractic adjustments, during which a doctor administers spinal manipulations, gently force the vertebrae and facet joints of the neck back into their natural alignment within the cervical spine. Once these structures are in their proper position, joint stress and nerve compression are alleviated, muscle strain is relieved, and neck mobility is restored.
At ChiroCare of Florida, our physicians do everything in their power to ensure that neck surgery would be the last option imaginable. In fact, while many patients with neck pain worry that surgery is the only answer, conservative methods and soothing treatments can more often than not resolve or manage neck pain.
While there are plenty of pain relieving and inflammation alleviating chiropractic adjustments available, the underlying cause of your neck pain will determine which methods would be best for you. Trusted options available at ChiroCare of Florida include:
Just like any other system, the systems of the body need maintenance. Therefore, the best way to prevent neck pain is through routine health maintenance and wellness programs. This includes regular chiropractic adjustments to remain aligned, massage and physical therapy to soothe and restore health to the muscles, and active lifestyle changes to improve overall health.
Equally as important is posture. Maintaining proper posture can help reduce neck pain and reduce your chance of injury. Working with a trusted chiropractor allows you to maintain overall wellness to prevent neck pain.
Err on the side of caution always. Neck pain that persists for two weeks after symptoms arise or neck pain that is accompanied by numbness, weakness, or aches in the arm should be checked as soon as possible. If you begin experiencing balance issues, call your doctor immediately.
If you're experiencing neck pain, trust your gut. When something feels wrong, visit a physician. The cost of untreated pain can result in high financial, emotional, and physical costs.
If you're suffering neck pain in South Florida, visit one of ChiroCare of Florida's 11 offices. From Downtown Miami to North Palm Beach and beyond, there is a ChiroCare of Florida office ready to help you.
Neck pain can put a halt to your daily life. Reclaim your freedom with ChiroCare of Florida.