The area of the neck, from the base of the head to the top of the shoulders, is a common source of pain, especially for people older than 50. Neck pain is often caused by strain or injury such as a fall, or whiplash suffered in an automobile accident. It can limit movement of the head and back, cause arm muscle spasms and swelling of the neck joints. Recent studies have found more than 10% of Americans suffer from neck pain at any given time.
The reason is that the neck region contains many delicate, pain sensitive structures commonly exposed to abuse and abnormal stresses. Incomplete rehabilitation of past injuries, poor posture, prolonged sitting, and lack of periodic spinal alignments are some of the more common factors in the development of neck problems.
Fortunately, most individuals suffering from neck problems will find chiropractic care extremely beneficial. Unlike prescription drugs, most chiropractic procedures address the cause of the majority of neck problems, not simply the symptoms. Best of all, chiropractic care is safe, natural, and noninvasive… no side effects allowed!
There are many causes for neck pain. Some causes result from acute injuries which cannot be avoided, such as an automobile accident resulting in a whiplash-type injury. Other causes can be avoided and result from the use of “bad” or improper habits and techniques, such as poor posture and improper lifting. These “other causes” make up the majority of neck pain causes and can be effectively treated once the cause(s) is/are identified and the appropriate measures to avoid these “bad” and improper habits and techniques are implemented.
Some of the more common causes of neck pain include:
- incomplete rehabilitation of past injuries
- lack of proper and periodic spinal alignments
- presence of cervical spine subluxations
- whiplash-type injuries
- improper workstation setup
- poor posture
- prolonged sitting
- prolonged use of non-ergonomically designed equipment
- excessive repetitive neck motions
- improper telephone techniques
- excessive mental stress
- physical inactivity
Shoulder, Elbow, and Wrist/Hand Pain
Shoulder, elbow and wrist/hand pain is very common and is usually caused by some type of minor injury or overuse. These body parts tend to become injured through athletic activity (especially contact sports), overuse from work-related tasks, accidents with machinery and accidental falls.
Treatments for Neck Pain
Doctors of chiropractic have long known that the most successful treatments involve the identification and correction of the underlying causes of the condition. That’s why chiropractic care has been so successful in the correction of back and neck conditions and the number one choice for back and neck care.
The first step in treating neck pain is to determine what has and is causing the neck pain. Once the causes and contributing factors are identified, a successful treatment plan can be structured to eliminate pain and achieve the goals of the patient. The chiropractic treatments for neck pain incorporate the use of many therapies, all of which are gentle, safe, natural and noninvasive. However, the true power of chiropractic care is found in the chiropractic adjustment – the most effective and essential treatment employed by the chiropractor. The reason? Quite simply, the spinal adjustment corrects the major problems that the majority of neck pain sufferers have.
Most individuals experiencing neck pain have either:
- suffered an acute accident such as whiplash, where the structural integrity of the neck has been altered and tissue damage has occurred, or
- been exposed to long period of adverse neck and spinal stresses most commonly from bad or improper postural habits and techniques.
In both cases, the spinal components are almost always structurally misaligned and biomechanically faulty. In other words, the vertebrae and their supporting structures have lost their “optimal” positioning and their movements are occurring in an inappropriate and stressful manner. The only effective and long-term way to correct the structural malpositions and improper biomechanics is to realign the spinal segments and restore normalize motion. This is the job of the spinal adjustment. In addition to restoring positioning and motion, the spinal adjustment also produces a reflexive relief of pain and reduction in muscle spasm. This is due to the high number of mechanoreceptors in the joints of the vertebrae which are stimulated through the chiropractic adjustment. Research has shown that stimulation of these mechanoreceptors sends signals to the brain which shutdown pain signals and result in muscle relaxation. Also, the adjustment helps to eliminate inflammation through the introduction of motion; inflammatory chemicals are known irritates to pain fibers.
Healthy Habits and Techniques
Another key ingredient to a successful neck pain treatment plan includes the learning of proper postural habits. Proper posture is a significant factor in the health of the neck and back and proper posture should always be practiced. Techniques common to daily living and work also play a major role in the development or lack of development of neck pain. This includes proper lifting techniques, telephone techniques, avoidance of repetitive motions, and much more. We can teach you correct habits and techniques which will protect your neck and back from discomfort and injury.
Healthy Living Tips For Neck and Upper Back Pain
Regular spinal checkups. Maintaining proper alignment and functioning of the neck and upper back through periodic spinal adjustments minimizes the stresses to structures of the cervical and thoracic spine. Also, keeping the nervous system free from interference ensures proper communication within the body, keeping you happy and healthy.
Practice proper posture, lifting and ergonomics. Practicing proper posture, lifting techniques and ergonomics are key in reducing neck and back injuries at work and play and minimizing future recurrences of past injuries. For more info, checkout the “Ergonomics” and “Posture” blog articles of our site.
Regular exercise. Routine physical activity keeps the heart healthy and keeps the spine as well as the rest of the body strong and healthy. An effective exercise program should consist of a minimum of 3 sessions per week for 40 minutes. Involve friends and family, mix up the activities, keep it fun and stay consistent!
Proper diet and nutrition. Providing your body with the proper fuel increases performance, reduces the likelihood of injury and sickness, speeds recovery after injury, and keeps you feeling good. If, like the rest of us, you’re finding it difficult to get all the nutrients your body needs, it’s probably time to supplement.
Utilize stress management techniques. Stress is most often carried in the shoulders, upper back and yes, neck. While stress can’t be totally eliminated there are effective techniques to help bring it under control. Checkout the “Wellness Center” for more information on stress management or contact our office for an appointment.