What You Need to Know About Neck Pain

What You Need to Know About Neck Pain

Do you frequently wake up with a stiff neck?  Does neck pain interfere with your activities?  If so, you’re not alone.  It’s estimated that at any given moment, one in ten people are experiencing neck pain, while at least half, and perhaps as many as 85%, of adults experience recurring neck pain.  Most people with neck pain will find ways of coping with it, while about 10% describe their neck pain as disabling.

The neck is made up of a complex network of small bones, joints, tendons, ligament, nerves, and muscles, all of which work together to not only support your head, but allow you to move your head in many different directions.  With all those tiny structures, it’s really no surprise that neck pain is such a common problem.

Pain is classified as either acute or chronic.  Acute pain is more sudden and usually the result of injury or muscle strain.  It can be caused by sudden force, such as happens during a rear end vehicle collision, or by straining the neck, such as with poor posture, spending hours at a desk, or sleeping in a bad position.  Chronic pain comes on more gradually, continues to get worse, and may spread down one arm.  Chronic pain is more often caused by a herniated disc or a degenerative condition such as arthritis.  Either acute or chronic pain can usually be successfully treated noninvasively, though pain that persists longer than 6-12 weeks despite treatment may require surgery.

Chiropractic care offers noninvasive, drug-free relief from pain, using gentle manipulation of joints, massage to loosen surrounding muscles, and exercise to strengthen muscles so they can better support the joints.  To help your chiropractor accurately diagnose and treat your pain, it’s important that you be as descriptive as possible when describing your pain and associated symptoms.  Is your neck pain on one side, both sides, or in the middle?  Do you have any stiffness or lack of mobility in your neck?  Are you feeling pain in your shoulders or arms?  Do you have any numbness or weakness?  Are you dizzy?  Do you have a headache?  Are you unusually tired?  Is the pain sharp, dull, stinging, tingling?  Any of these symptoms and any others you may be experiencing are relevant and can help your chiropractor pinpoint the underlying cause of your pain.

Possible causes of neck are nearly endless and include:

  • Muscle strain,
  • Infection,
  • Compressed nerve,
  • Degenerative disc disease,
  • Herniated disc,
  • Wear on the discs,
  • Narrowing of the spinal canal, which can place pressure on the spine,
  • Anxiety,
  • Depression, and
  • Many others.

Chiropractic care can effectively treat many of these causes of neck pain, but if you are experiencing high fever, sensitivity to light, or nausea, you may have a serious infection such as meningitis that needs immediate hospitalization.  If your chiropractic assessment indicates that your pain could be caused by a spinal cord injury or compression, or is accompanied by symptoms such as weakness, loss of sensation, weakness in the hands, trouble walking, or loss of bladder or bowel function, you may be referred to an appropriate specialist, though your chiropractor may still be able to work in cooperation with the specialist to manage your pain.

Your chiropractor will develop a treatment plan based on your specific symptoms and the specific cause of your pain.  Options include manipulation, massage, exercise, rest, heat, and ice.  For more information on how chiropractic may be able to help you, contact Spine Scan now on (08) 9221 0402 today.  You don’t have to continue living with neck pain.  We can help you get your life back.