Your neck is composed of cervical vertebrae, nerves, and muscles that are responsible for support your head. There are seven cervical vertebrae that make up your neck, starting at the base of the skull and extending down to the thoracic vertebrae. It has a flexible range of motion and can move up and down, and side to side. It’s high level of flexibility, however, makes the neck highly susceptible to injury. As a result there, can be many causes of your neck pain. Activities such as extended sitting, repetitive motion, accidents, falls, blows to the body or head, aging, and everyday wear and tear can result in neck pain.
Did You Know?
The human head weighs approximately eleven pounds. The neck is responsible for supporting this weight and allowing it to move in a variety of directions. The way your head is positioned affects your neck at all times and can be a possible source of neck pain.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What is my neck pain caused by?
Your neck pain can be caused by a number of things. Acute neck pain is usually the result of muscle, ligament, or tendon strain. These soft tissues can become strained during a sudden impact or from constant neck straining. Constant neck straining can occur when the spine is not balanced due to poor posture, obesity, or weak abdominal muscles. Additionally, it can occur due to the constant contracting of muscles associated with stress and tension. Acute neck pain is usually treated non-surgically and chiropractic care is especially beneficial in alleviated strained muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
Chronic neck pain that lasts beyond three months or is accompanied by arm pain, numbness, or tingling, could indicate a herniated disc, degenerative disc disease, spondylolisthesis, spinal stenosis, or osteoarthritis.
When is neck pain serious?
Neck pain is rarely cause for serious concern. In fact, most neck pain can be attributed to several mildly irritated musculoskeletal structures that cause reluctant motion.
If your neck pain has been bothering you for more than 6 weeks, is severe and is not improving or is increasing, and is accompanied by another “red flag”, then you should talk to your doctor. Possible red flags include: being under the age of 20 or over the age of 55, painful to light tapping, fever, fatigue, nausea, weight loss, severe headaches, severe stiffness, loss of bladder or bowel control, distinct pain, or feelings of numbness, tumbling, or weakness elsewhere in the body.
Neck pain is also considered to be serious if it has been caused by trauma. The most common causes of neck trauma are car crashes or falling. In these cases, the neck should be immobilized to prevent further injury, and the person should receive emergency attention immediately.
Should I see a chiropractor for my neck pain?
You may want to see a chiropractor if:
- You have neck pain and stiffness for more than a few days
- You cannot move your neck side to side without severe pain
- You are regularly using over the counter pain medications for your neck pain
- Your neck pain is most severe when you first wake up, but improves as the day continues
However, if you have the following symptoms a chiropractor may not be the answer:
- Pain or numbness that extends into your shoulders, arms, or legs
- You are experiencing fever, headache, vomiting, or sensitivity to light in coordination with your neck pain
What should I expect at my chiropractic appointment?
At your first chiropractic appointment, Dr. Foss will perform and exam to locate the source of your pain and ask you questions about how long it’s lasted, how you’ve tried to remedy it, whether or not it occurs elsewhere, and possible pain triggers or alleviators. Diagnostic images such as x-rays, a CT-scan, or an MRI may also be required.
Once the source of your pain has been identified, Dr. Foss will begin by making neck adjustments. Using his hands, he will apply a controlled but sudden force to specific joints of your neck. This force will push the joints beyond their normal range of motion in order to loosen them. These adjustments will improve your mobility, reduce your pain, and restore your range of motion.
In addition, several other manual therapies may be used. These can include:
- Instrument-assisted soft tissue therapy
- Manual joint stretching and resistance techniques
- Therapeutic massage
- Trigger point therapy
- Interferential electrical stimulation
- Therapeutic exercises
Is chiropractic care safe?
Chiropractic care is considered one of the safest drug-free and non-invasive therapies for neck pain. However, as with any medical treatment, there is always the possibility of risk. The majority of risks associated with chiropractic care stem from misdiagnosis. You can minimize this risk by being as detailed as possible when discussing your symptoms, current medications, and medical history with Dr. Foss.
How can I prevent future neck pain?
Neck pain can be prevented by:
- Using a firm or extra firm pillow and not sleeping on your stomach
- Maintaining good sitting and standing posture
- Taking breaks during periods of extended sitting to stretch
- Recognizing and alleviating daily sources of stress
- Establishing a light neck stretch routine
- Put your computer monitor at eye level
- Using a phone headset
- Staying hydrated
- Carrying weight evenly and keeping it as light as possible
Neck pain can be managed by:
- Resting your neck when necessary
- Applying ice or heat to the inflamed area
- Using over the counter pain medications
- Increasing magnesium intake
Botha Chiropractic is the premier choice for natural and effective back and neck pain relief in Denver, Colorado. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Bryan Foss today!