Neck pain can affect many aspects of your daily life. It can be painful, limiting, and even debilitating. Knowing the common causes and treatments of neck pain can help improve the life of someone with neck pain and inspire others to be aware of the wear and tear your neck can go through.
How Is Neck Pain Caused?
Injury, age, and daily wear can affect your neck. When the cervical spine goes through sudden force, the vertebrae can become misaligned. This is referred to as a subluxation. This can be caused by anything from a minor slip to a car accident. Another common neck injury in a car accident is whiplash. In this scenario, the cervical spine is forced forward and then pulled back in a fast motion. The whipping motion strains the spine and the supporting tissues of the neck and head.
As we age, degenerative disorders can develop that affect the spine. Osteoarthritis causes deterioration of the cartilage. When cartilage deteriorates, the bones respond by developing bone spurs, boney projections that irritate surrounding tissue. Spinal stenosis is another condition that can cause neck pain. Spinal stenosis causes nerve passageways in the vertebrae to narrow, trapping nerve roots. Another condition, degenerative disc disease reduces the height and elasticity of intervertebral discs. This can cause the discs to bulge or herniate, causing pain amongst themselves and their surrounding areas.
Daily life and personal habits can also cause neck pain. Poor posture leads to the build-up of scar tissue around the spine and associated muscles, which cause the neck to stay that position. Obesity and weak abdominal muscles also contribute to the neck being pushed forward in an unnatural position. Stress can cause muscles in the neck to contract, causing pain and tightness.
How Chiropractic Care Can Help Neck Pain
When you first see your chiropractor, he or she will ask questions about your neck and the pain you are feeling. Physical and neurological exams will be performed, and if needed, a CT scan, an MRI, or an EMG may be performed. For misaligned joints in the neck, your chiropractor can perform neck adjustments. These adjustments are performed by hand using quick, precise movements to shift the neck back into line. This will decrease the pressure that the misalignment is causing and provide pain relief to the area. In addition to adjustments, your chiropractor may want to implement massage, mobilization, or exercises. Treatment type and duration will depend on what is causing your neck pain and the severity of the case.
If you have a stiff, swollen, or painful neck, schedule an appointment to see your chiropractor. Do not let neck pain keep you from living your life.