What is neck pain?
Neck pain can occur anywhere in your neck, from the bottom of your head to the top of your shoulders. It can spread to your upper back or arms. It may limit how much you can move your head and neck.
Neck pain is common, especially in people older than 50.
What causes neck pain?
Most neck pain is caused by activities that strain the neck. Slouching, painting a ceiling, or sleeping with your neck twisted are some things that can cause neck pain. These kinds of activities can lead to neck strain, a spasm of the neck muscles, or swelling of the neck joints.
Neck pain can also be caused by an injury. A fall from a ladder or whiplash from a car accident can cause neck pain.
Some less common medical problems can also lead to neck pain, such as:
An infection in the neck
Narrowing of the spinal canal in the neck (cervical spinal stenosis)
Rheumatoid and osteoarthritis
Some jobs that increase the risk of neck pain including:
Nursing and Nursing Home Caregivers
Service jobs, including police officers and firefighters
Sedentary office work and computer jobs
Workers who stand for long hours
Workers who do heavy lifting
Even routine office work can worsen neck pain, especially if you have bad workplace habits (for example, slouching over your desk, not taking regular breaks, using a chair that doesn’t give enough support) or your workspace isn’t well designed.
You may feel a knot, stiffness, or severe pain in your neck.
The pain may spread to your shoulders, upper back, or arms. You may get a headache. You may not be able to move or turn your head and neck easily.
If there is pressure on a spinal nerve root, you might have pain that shoots down your arm. You may also have numbness, tingling, or weakness in your arm.
If your neck pain is long-lasting (chronic), you may have trouble coping with daily life. Common side effects of chronic pain include fatigue, depression, and anxiety.
Your doctor of chiropractic will ask questions about your symptoms. She may ask about any injuries, illnesses, or activities that may be causing your neck pain. You’ll be asked to describe your pain and to explain when the pain began, how often you have the pain and what activities lessen or intensify the pain.
Your doctor of chiropractic will also do physical and neurological exams. In the physical exam, she will observe your posture, range of motion, and physical condition, noting movement that causes pain. Your doctor will observe your posture, check the curvature and alignment of your spine, and feel for muscle spasms.
A check of your shoulder area is also in order. She will look for tenderness or numbness, tingling, or weakness in your arms or hands. During the neurological exam, your doctor will test your reflexes, muscle strength, other nerve changes, and pain spread.
Finally the doctor will arrive at a diagnosis and treatment will begin that first visit.
For most people, neck pain responds very well to conservative care, especially chiropractic.
Keeping in mind that lower back pain is a symptom and not a stand-alone medical condition, treatment plans will often vary depending on the underlying cause of the problem.
Chiropractic offers a non-invasive (non-surgical), drug-free treatment option. The goal of chiropractic care is to restore spinal movement, thereby improving function while decreasing pain and inflammation.
A chiropractic treatment plan may cover several different treatment methods, including but not limited to:
TENS or electric stimulation,
soft tissue or manual therapy,
Kinesiotaping and rehabilitative exercises.
A neck adjustment (also known as a cervical manipulation) is a precise procedure applied to the joints of the neck, usually by hand. A neck adjustment works to improve the mobility of the spine and to restore range of motion; it can also increase movement of the adjoining muscles. Patients typically notice an improved ability to turn and tilt the head, and a reduction of pain, soreness, and stiffness.
Depending on the severity of the condition, a patient will need to be treated multiple times. The doctor will explain your treatment plan at the second visit.
Why multiple visits? This can be compared to working out. If you don't exercise for a long time, your body is out of shape and it takes several trips to the gym to get in shape and build up your strength and endurance. Similarly, if you have never been adjusted, and do not practice good back health, it takes a few visits to put your body back in alignment and proper posture.
Call Coughlin Chiropractic at 317-546-9882 for your appointment.
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Sources: ACAToday, WebMD