What is Neck Pain?
Common neck pain may occur from muscle strain or tension from everyday activities including poor posture, prolonged use of a computer and sleeping in an uncomfortable position.
The first 7 vertebral bones of the spinal column form the cervical spine in the neck region. The neck bears the weight of the head, allows a significant amount of movement, and is less protected than other parts of the spine. All these factors make the neck more susceptible to injury or other painful disorders.
Causes of Neck Pain
The most common cause of neck pain is injury to the soft tissues (muscles, ligaments or nerves) or prolonged wear and tear. Traumatic accidents or falls and contact sports can cause severe neck injuries and pain. Neck pain can also occur from infections, tumors or congenital abnormalities of the vertebrae. The common conditions producing neck pain include:
- Rheumatoid arthritis: It is an autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system attacks healthy joints, tissues, and organs. The condition occurs most often in the upper neck area, causing inflammation of the lining (or synovium) of joints, and resulting in neck pain, stiffness, swelling, and loss of function.
- Cervical disc herniation: Disc herniation is the bulging or rupture of the soft fibrous disc that cushions the vertebrae. The soft central portion called nucleus pulposus bulges out through the tear in the capsule. Cervical disc herniation refers to the herniation of the discs in the cervical spine region or neck region. The condition can be caused by normal aging or by traumatic injury to the spine. The condition results in painful, burning, tingling or numbing sensations in the neck.
- Cervical spondylosis: Cervical spondylosis refers to the abnormal degeneration of the cartilage and bones in the neck region. The condition results in neck pain radiating to arms or shoulder and neck stiffness that gets worse over time.
- Cervical stenosis: Cervical stenosis refers to the narrowing of the spinal canal that protects the spinal cord and its branching nerves. The condition causes neck pain radiating to your arms and hands.
- Degenerative disc disease: Degenerative disc disease refers to the gradual deterioration of the disc between the vertebrae and is caused due to aging. As people age, intervertebral discs lose their flexibility, elasticity and shock absorbing characteristics, resulting in neck pain.
Treatment of Neck Pain
Chiropractic care offers a conservative, non-invasive approach to managing neck pain. It is essential to consult with a healthcare provider before pursuing chiropractic care for neck pain, especially if you have a pre-existing medical condition or if the neck pain is accompanied by other concerning symptoms.
Chiropractic care may involves a range of techniques aimed at addressing musculoskeletal issues in the neck and upper spine. Chiropractors focus on diagnosing and treating misalignments in the cervical spine, which can contribute to neck pain and related discomfort. Here are some aspects of chiropractic care for neck pain:
- Spinal Adjustments: Chiropractors use manual manipulation techniques to adjust the cervical spine. These adjustments aim to improve the alignment of the vertebrae, reduce joint restrictions, and alleviate pain. Proper spinal alignment is thought to enhance nerve function and promote overall musculoskeletal health in the neck.
- Soft Tissue Therapies: Chiropractors may incorporate soft tissue techniques such as massage, myofascial release, or trigger point therapy to address muscle tension and tightness in the neck. These therapies can help relieve muscular pain and improve flexibility.
- Posture and Ergonomics: Chiropractors often provide guidance on proper posture and ergonomics, particularly for individuals who experience neck pain due to poor workplace or lifestyle habits. Correcting posture can help prevent future neck pain.
- Therapeutic Exercises: Chiropractors may prescribe specific neck exercises and stretches to strengthen the muscles supporting the neck and improve its mobility. These exercises can contribute to long-term pain relief and prevention.
- Pain Management: Chiropractors may offer pain management strategies, including ice or heat therapy, to reduce inflammation and discomfort in the neck area.
Chiropractors often work collaboratively with other healthcare professionals to ensure that patients receive comprehensive care tailored to their specific needs.