Today’s modern living often entails hours of driving and hunching over workstations, which can play havoc with our necks. So it is no surprising that neck pain is the second most common condition that chiropractors treat. Whilst neck pain is less common than low back pain, millions of people experience neck pain and related arm pain at some stage in their lives and therefore seek chiropractic care.
It results from abnormalities in the soft tissues – muscles, ligaments, and nerves, as well as in the bone and the joints of the spine. The most common causes that chiropractors identify and treat are soft tissue abnormalities from injury or prolonged wear and tear and in many people it is also the source of pain in the upper back, shoulders and arms.
When neck pain is caused by muscle strain, you may have aches and stiffness that spread to the upper arm and forearm. Shooting pain that spread down the arm into the hand and fingers can be a symptom of a “pinched nerve” or nerve entrapment in the neck. When a nerve is “pinched” in the neck, numbness, weakness and possibly pain of the hands or arms may occur. Disc injuries are rare but it is the most common cause of nerve entrapments.
Injuries to the neck caused by a sudden movement of the head backwards and forwards or sideways, are referred to as “whiplash”. Whether from a car accident, sporting injury or an accident at work, whiplash or neck injuries warrant a thorough chiropractic examination.
Whiplash is most commonly suffered as a result of a road traffic accident. An impact or collision causes the head to suddenly jerk back and forth beyond its normal limits.
Wear and Tear, Osteoarthritis or Joint Degeneration occurs due to the accumulation of stresses and trauma over time. Throughout life the spine is required to withstand considerable weight bearing strain, purely as a result of the pressures of daily living. The overall effects of degenerative changes of the spine, leads to a feeling of stiffness and reduced spinal mobility. However, just like any other part of the body, the better care that is taken of the spine, the less degeneration is likely to occur.
Chiropractic treatment is usually very effective for neck pain.
- Immobility of neck
- Muscle aches
There are an array of causes that contribute to neck pain, and can occur suddenly or over a longer period of time. Poor posture, such as sitting at your desk all day can lead to neck pain. Slouched shoulders and prolonged periods of looking down at documents or a keyboard can place extra strain on the ligaments and muscles in the neck which contribute to neck pain. Injury such as whiplash, sporting injuries or falls also can cause neck pain. Whiplash can strain the muscles in your neck and cause those ligaments and tendons to stretch or even tear, resulting in pain and discomfort. Degeneration of the cervical disks or cervical spondylosis can also cause neck pain and is quite common amongst the elderly population. Pain from this can also radiate out from the neck to along the shoulders or between the shoulder blades. A protruding disk or a herniated disk is another cause of neck pain, this often puts extra pressure on the nerve roots from the spinal cord, causing pain, numbness and weakness. Osteoarthritis in the neck or the degeneration of cartilage at the end of bones is a common cause and can contribute to neck discomfort causing swelling and immobility of the joints. As shown, there are many different ways one can get neck pain, even sleeping in an awkward position or using an ill-fitted pillow can lead to discomfort in the neck.
Neck pain is usually diagnosed after a thorough physical examination and check on one’s medical history as well as on any previous habits or activities that may have offset the neck pain. Radiographic imaging may also be needed to determine the exact cause of the complaint, such as MRI scans, X-rays or CT scans. These scans can show problems relating to the spinal cord, to discs that may be bulging or to problems relating to nerve root compression.
Chiropractic Care for Neck Pain
The purpose of chiropractic care at Turramurra Chiropractic is help you to be able to do the thing that you love to do and to do them well. To do this it is first necessary to get a clear picture of the problem which is done by taking a thorough history and performing a comprehensive assessment. Understanding your history is critical to identifying the cause(s) and contributing factors that have led your health to where it is currently. The assessment includes a neurological, orthopaedic, motion, posture examinations amongst others. In some cases further investigation may be required. Once we have all the relevant information we will discuss your specific needs and develop a plan of action with you. There will be ample opportunity for you to discuss the proposed care and ask any questions before proceeding.
Do you or some one you know have back pain? Give our chiropractors at Turramurra call on 9440 8003 to discuss.
Healthline.com. (2019). Neck pain: Causes, Symptoms and Diagnosis. [online] Available at: https://www.healthline.com/symptom/neck-pain [Accessed 20 Jan. 2019].
Mydr.com.au. (2019). Neck pain: symptoms and causes – myDr.com.au. [online] Available at: https://www.mydr.com.au/pain/neck-pain-symptoms-and-causes [Accessed 20 Jan. 2019].
Peterson, C., Bolton, J. and Humphreys, B. (2012). Predictors of outcome in neck pain patients undergoing chiropractic care: comparison of acute and chronic patients. Chiropractic & Manual Therapies, 20(1), p.27.