Neck, shoulder & arm
What Is Neck Pain?
Neck pain also known as cervicalgia is a common problem, with two-thirds of the population complaining about neck pain at some point in their lives. It can present as a tingling sensation, a dull ache, sharp pains in the neck, or pain that radiates via the shoulder down one or both arms. Discomfort from neck pain may include the whole structure of the neck: bones (vertebrae), the disks between the bones, muscles and ligaments. If your neck pain involves nerves, you may feel numbness, weakness or tingling as well as pain in your shoulder, arm or hand. The spinal bones of the neck make up the cervical spine. There are 7 bones in the cervical spine called vertebrae. Their main function is to support and carry the weight of your head, roughly 12 pounds. The cervical spine is very flexible but can also be very vulnerable to injury.
Who Is at Risk for Neck Pain?
Our chiropractors treat neck pain in patients of all ages who work in a variety of fields. We treat children, athletes, laborers, office workers, and retirees. There are a few common risk factors among patients who seek treatment for neck pain.
Women are slightly more likely to experience neck pain than men and there is a higher incidence of neck pain in people who experience other types of back pain or chronic pain in general. Patients suffering from depression, anxiety, and other mental health concerns may frequently experience neck pain. As mentioned above, Office workers who sit at a desk all day and work with computers, make up a very large number of patients with neck pain-often due to the sedentary nature of their work. Playing sports can also increase your risk for neck pain due to overuse and sports-related injuries.
Neck Pain Causes
Neck pain has many root causes, including:
- Herniated disks or bone spurs, which compress the nerves that branch out from the spinal cord
- Whiplash injuries, sports injuries, or other traumas that strain soft tissue in the neck
- Wear and tear on neck joints, which can cause osteoarthritis in the neck and nerve root compression
- Sleeping with inadequate pillows, which can change the normal curvature of the neck over time
- Muscle strain or tension, which can be caused by many things, including stress, grinding your teeth, or sitting still for long periods of time
- Narrowing of the spinal canal, which results in compressed nerve roots -- also called spinal stenosis
- Weak abdominal muscles, which contribute to bad posture and increased spinal wear and tear
Compensating for neck pain by adjusting your posture may also cause secondary pain in other areas of the body. It's important to treat neck pain as soon as possible after it begins. Failure to treat it promptly may cause acute problems to become chronic. The longer neck pain goes untreated, the harder it is to fix.
Chiropractic Treatment of Neck Pain
A study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics found that patients who pursued chiropractic manipulation as treatment for neck pain successfully reduced their neck pain by more than 50 percent on average.
At Plato Chiropractic Health Clinic, our chiropractors can work with you to restore normal movement to the joints of your neck and reduce the strain on muscles in the neck. Gently restoring this movement reduces painful swelling and inflammation, removes nerve pressure, and restores normal function.
Manipulation of the cervical spine or neck region is a specialised technique of doctors of chiropractic for patients complaining of neck, upper back, and shoulder/arm pain, as well as headaches. A common chiropractic treatment for neck pain is cervical manipulation or an adjustment. An adjustment restores range of motion to the spine and removes nerve pressure to reduce pain and help with healing. After correcting the biomechanics of the neck, our chiropractors can recommend ways to strengthen the surrounding muscles to prevent the pain from becoming recurring or chronic. Similar to treatment for many conditions affecting the lower back, chiropractic is considered the first choice treatment for a range of cervical spine conditions.
Neck Pain Relief
If you suffer from severe or chronic neck pain, you can ease your symptoms by making a few adjustments to your routine. Some ways you can relieve neck pain include:
- Arrange your workspace so your work is at eye level and you are seated at a comfortable height
- Sit with good posture
- Get up frequently to stretch and stay physically active
- Exercise your abdominal and core muscles, which contributes to better posture and reduces neck pain
- Sleep on your back instead of your stomach, which can strain the neck muscles