How to Effectively Reduce Neck Pain
Chances are you’ve experienced neck pain at some point in your life. In fact, there is a very high chance that we will all experience a bout of neck pain at least once in our lifetimes. Most often, we associate neck pain with a bad night of sleep or spending too much time buried in work at a computer or other piece of technology. Thankfully, neck pain most often resolves on its own within a day or two with a little stretching and rest. However, what happens when pain becomes severe or chronic? It can start putting a major damper on your day to day life.
When neck pain starts changing the way you live life, it’s time to seek professional help. Today, we will dive into causes of neck pain and treatment options, like chiropractic care, that will help you feel your absolute best.
Causes of Neck Pain
Most often, neck pain is a result of a mechanical issue or a misalignment in the cervical spine that is putting the entire area out of balance. The most common factors that initiate or aggravate neck pain, and can lead to chronic issues, include the following:
- Poor posture. Many of us are guilty of sitting or laying in an awkward position for much longer than the body can tolerate. This can lead to muscle strain and underlying spine misalignment that leaves you feeling sore.
- Age-related changes. As we get older, years of wear and tear and changes in the extensibility of our connective tissues can lead to degeneration of local joints (i.e. disc herniation, arthritis, and stenosis). When these age related factors affect the cervical spine, or even shoulders, they can lead to a stiff and sore neck.
- High impact injuries. Injuries caused by sports injuries, car accidents, or falls can put a major strain on the neck. The jerking motion that occurs in the neck with a sudden change in direction overstretches the local muscles, joints, and ligaments in the neck- leading to pain that often becomes chronic, ambiguous, and frustrating in nature.
- Chronic disease. Certain diseases are linked to neck pain, such as meningitis and rheumatoid arthritis.
When neck pain is present, secondary symptoms often develop that further affect everyday activities and function as well. After complaints of pain, other common neck related symptoms include headaches, stiffness, loss of neck range of motion, loss of shoulder function, weakness, numbness and tingling. These are often indicators of a bigger underlying issue within the cervical spine itself and are best treated with the help of a healthcare professional. If your symptoms come on suddenly without cause, are severe, and are hard to pinpoint, this can even become a medical emergency (think heart attack or spinal cord compression), so seek immediate help if you experience any of these.
Like most systems in the human body, the cervical spine is a complex system that has many interconnected parts. Thus, differentiating symptoms and pinpointing the cause of the pain is crucial for getting both short term and long term sustainable relief. Healthcare professionals that understand these intricacies include chiropractors and physical therapists. Common treatment options for dealing with neck pain, acute or chronic, include the following:
- Short term pain management with modalities such as ice, heat, electrical stimulation, ultrasound, and cervical traction
- Posture training
- Exercise prescription to improve flexibility and muscular balance within the upper body
- Lifestyle education to boost overall health and maximize the recovery process
- Massage therapy for addressing stiff and sore muscles and connective tissue
- Extensive education to truly understand what is causing your pain and how to prevent or manage it properly in the future
- Adjustments to restore optimal spine alignment and neural integrity
Why Chiropractic Care is Your Best Choice
Regardless of the initial cause, spine misalignment is most often an underlying factor in neck pain. Poor spine alignment ultimately affects nerve flow for proper daily function. Plus, it puts the entire system out of balance. The good news is that whether your pain was initiated from a car accident or a bad night of sleep, a chiropractor that understands the importance of spine alignment can help you reach your goals of being pain free.
Once spine alignment is restored, you can work on taking back your life and living pain free sustainably. Suddenly, you’ll be able to focus with more clarity and less fatigue. If you’re ready to say goodbye to stubborn neck pain that you’ve learned to live with, chiropractic care is the answer. The entire team of experts at North Alabama Spine and Rehab in Decatur and Huntsville, AL are ready to help you tackle your neck pain issues. They specialize in recognizing subtle spine issues, particularly when caused by a motor vehicle accident. Get in touch with their office today to see what they can do for you.