Neck pain is pain in or around the cervical spine. It is one of the most common reasons why people see a doctor. It is estimated that one out of three people will experience neck pain at least once a year. Neck pain can range from dull and minor to sharp and debilitating. It can last for months or even years.
Neck pain can affect neck mobility. Many people with neck pain need help with daily activities and those suffering report a lower overall quality of life. In addition, neck pain can affect productivity, being one of the most common causes of missed days at work and school. Neck pain is often caused by muscle strain or tension. Also, sometimes an underlying condition can cause neck pain.
Unaddressed neck pain can shoot from the neck through the arms and hands. It can cause headaches that can interfere with your day-to-day activities. Many people hope that their neck pain will go away within a few days or weeks. But do not assume that your neck pain will automatically subside. If neck pain persists, neck pain symptoms can worsen over time affecting the quality of life.
Neck Pain Causes
- Aging: Age related deterioration is a common cause of neck pain. Like other joints in the body, the neck joint tends to wear down with age. Aging is a risk factor for degenerative conditions such as spinal stenosis, and osteoarthritis. Hence, these conditions can cause excruciating neck pain.
- Injury: Trauma from sudden forced neck movements that occur during a car crash can cause pain and soreness. An injury can affect the muscles, nerve roots, vertebral joints, ligaments, and discs in the cervical spine or strain the soft tissues of the neck.
- Muscle strains: People who hunch over their phones or laptops for hours are at high risk of neck pain. So, poor posture can also strain neck muscles, contributing to neck pain.
- Nerve compression: Aging related wear and tear, injury and strain can cause a herniated disc. Herniated discs or bone spurs in the vertebrae of the neck can compress a nearby nerve branching out from the spinal cord. This causes a debilitating neck pain.
- Mental stress: When we experience stress, our muscles tighten causing neck pain and stiffness.
- Physical strain: Overusing neck muscles during repetitive actions or strenuous activities can lead to sharp neck pain.
- Diseases: Certain health conditions such as meningitis, fibromyalgia, some types of cancer and rheumatoid arthritis can cause neck pain. In some cases, neck pain can occur due to a congenital abnormality, infection, or an abnormal growth such as a cyst, tumor, or bone spur.
Some symptoms of neck pain include:
- Pain that gets worse when you hold your neck in one position for a long period
- Muscle tightness and spasms
- Tenderness or sensitivity to pressure
- Sharp or stabbing pain localized to an area
- Pain that radiates to the shoulders, trunk and arms. If the pain is caused due to a compressed nerve, you may feel tingling, numbness or weakness in an arm or hand
- Cervicogenic headache
- Decreased range of motion-you may feel like your neck is stiff or stuck
- Pain that gets worse when the cervical spine is palpated or physically examined
Additional Risk Factors For Neck Pain
Gender is a risk factor for neck pain. Women are more prone to neck pain than men. Being overweight or obese also increases one’s risk of neck pain.
Additionally, people whose job involves strenuous physical activity, driving or traveling long distances, working long hours at a computer, or carrying heavy bags on shoulder straps are more likely to develop neck pain.
How Can Chiropractic Care Help?
Many people with neck pain turn to chiropractic care for help. A chiropractor for neck pain in Santa Rosa uses chiropractic or spinal manipulation, neck adjustments and massage to treat musculoskeletal disorders. The main aim of chiropractic adjustment is to relieve pain, improve the range of motion in the neck and reduce irritability.
- Spinal manipulation: Spinal manipulation involves manipulating the spine. A chiropractor uses their hands or a handheld device to apply gentle pressure to the affected spinal joint.
- Cervical traction: Your chiropractor may also use cervical mobilization which involves moving the cervical vertebrae to the left or right. The chiropractor gently pulls and stretches on the cervical region to improve mobility and relieve pain.
- Cervical drop approaches: The chiropractor uses low, medium or low velocity thrusts to apply calculated pressure to the affected joint.
- Therapeutic massage: It involves mobilizing of the soft tissue to reduce pain and restore normal range of motion.
Your chiropractor may also recommend therapeutic exercises such as chin tucks and rotating shoulder blades to improve your neck’s mobility. These exercises can help improve the range of motion in the neck and prevent neck pain from progressing.
Chiropractic care can help relieve pain, discomfort and swelling caused by neck pain, when performed by an expert. It is a safe, non-invasive and non-addictive alternative to over-the-counter and prescription pain medication.
Various studies have found that chiropractic care can ease neck pain and relieve neck pain symptoms. A study was looked at 41 randomized control trials. At the end of the study, researchers observed that chiropractic care improved treatment outcomes in patients with acute and chronic neck pain.
Chiropractic adjustments work by reducing the level of stress hormones including cortisol, adrenaline, and norepinephrine. They stimulate the brain to release the feel-good hormones such as serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin. These hormones produce a happy and euphoric feeling. As a result, chiropractic care restores the body’s natural ability to self-heal by aligning the spine.
Toth Chiropractic is a leading chiropractic clinic serving Santa Rosa. Dr. Douglass Toth has years of experience treating neck, back, and shoulder pain. His ability to craft treatment plans tailored to his patient’s specific needs sets him apart. To make an appointment with him, call (707) 526-1390.