You are not alone if you have neck pain, stiffness, or discomfort. In fact, acute or chronic neck pain is estimated to affect anywhere from 16% to 75% of people in some parts of the world.
The most common causes of neck pain in the United States are our sedentary and technology-heavy lifestyles. Consider this: Most of us spend the majority of our days sitting and staring at computer screens or mobile devices. Then we go home and watch television or spend more time on our phones and tablets.
This way of life puts a lot of strain on our necks, often resulting in posture problems that aggravate our neck pain even more.
What causes pain in the neck?
Your neck, also known as the cervical spine, begins at the base of your skull and is made up of seven small vertebrae. Your cervical spine bears the entire weight of your head, which weighs approximately 12 pounds on average. Because the neck is so flexible and allows you to move your head in virtually every direction, it is prone to pain and injury.
The following are some of the most common causes of neck pain:
• Accidents and injuries: Whiplash is defined as a sudden, forceful movement of the head or neck in any direction, followed by a “rebound” in the opposite direction. The abrupt “whipping” motion injures the neck and head’s surrounding and supporting tissues. Muscles respond by tightening and contracting, causing muscle fatigue, pain, and stiffness. In severe whiplash, injuries to the intervertebral joints, discs, ligaments, muscles, and nerve roots are also common. A car accident is the most common cause of whiplash.
• Aging: Degenerative disorders such as osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis, and degenerative disc disease directly impact the spine.
• Osteoarthritis, a common joint disorder, causes cartilage to deteriorate over time. The body responds by forming bone spurs, which impair joint motion.
• Spinal stenosis is a condition in which the small nerve passageways between the vertebrae narrow, compressing and trapping nerve roots. Stenosis can cause pain in the neck, shoulders, arms, and numbness when these nerves are unable to function normally.
• Degenerative disc disease can cause intervertebral disc elasticity and height to decrease. A disc can bulge or herniate over time, causing tingling, numbness, and pain that radiates into the arm.
• Daily life: Obesity, poor posture, and weak abdominal muscles frequently disrupt spinal balance, causing the neck to bend forward to compensate. Muscles can tighten and contract as a result of stress and emotional tension, resulting in pain and stiffness. Postural stress can aggravate chronic neck pain, causing symptoms to spread to the upper back and arms.
Can chiropractors help with neck pain?
Cervical manipulations are chiropractic procedures that are used to loosen the joints between the cervical vertebrae in the neck. Chiropractic neck adjustments are also known as cervical manipulations. This can help to alleviate pain caused by pinched nerves, muscle spasms, strains, and other factors.
The majority of neck pain is caused by a combination of poor posture and wear and tear as we age.
Chiropractors use their hands to manipulate the neck and realign the vertebrae, reducing the effects of posture and other factors.
Neck pain isn’t always limited to the area around the neck. Pinched nerves, for example, can cause pain to spread throughout the shoulder and down the arm. Chiropractors can help alleviate these symptoms by realigning bones, relaxing muscles, and relieving nerve pressure.
Continuous stretching and home exercises, in conjunction with your chiropractic treatment plan, can help keep your neck pain at bay. Soft tissue massage can also help to relieve pain by loosening muscle knots in the neck and shoulders.
Is chiropractic treatment for neck pain safe?
Spinal adjustments to the neck can be safely administered by licensed chiropractors. Chiropractic care is a safe, non-invasive, non-addictive alternative to prescription medications or over-the-counter pain relievers, which are widely prescribed to patients to help them manage their pain and swelling.
Chiropractic adjustments relieve joint restrictions or misalignments in the spine and other joints, which can reduce inflammation and improve the function of both the affected joint and the nervous system. This allows your body to better manage the discomfort in your neck.
According to research, patients with chronic neck pain who participated in clinical trials reported significant improvement after receiving chiropractic adjustments. Researchers examined nine previously published trials according to a study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics in March/ April 2007 and found high-quality evidence that patients with chronic neck pain experienced significant pain-level improvements after spinal manipulation. Furthermore, all groups showed positive results up to 12 weeks after treatment.
Is it necessary to consult a chiropractor for neck pain?
Your chiropractic treatment plan will be tailored to your specific situation. Patients suffering from neck pain as a result of a car accident, sports injury, or arthritis may require long-term care, whereas patients suffering from postural issues or a pinched nerve may only require short-term care.