Common Causes of Neck Pain
Stop for just a minute and direct your attention to your neck. How does it feel? Do you feel some tension, maybe a bit of a twinge that you’ve managed to ignore? Maybe you’ve been dealing with some minor neck pain for a little while that you’ve been trying to push through.
Approximately 50-85% of people experience recurring neck pain, and it’s estimated that one in ten people are experiencing neck pain at any given time. In fact, neck pain is one of the most common reasons for people to seek chiropractic care.
The neck consists of the uppermost seven bones of the spine that support your head, along with the muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments, and joints that support and mobilize the bones. The structures are small, delicate, and complex, so it comes as no surprise that neck pain affects so many people.
Neck pain can be classified as acute or chronic. Acute neck pain can be caused by sudden injury, such as whiplash in a motor accident, or from straining the neck, such as morning stiffness from sleeping in a bad position.
The cause of chronic pain can be harder to pinpoint. Chronic pain can be caused by muscle strain, a pinched nerve, poor posture sitting at a desk for hours a day, arthritis, degenerative disc disease, or part of the normal wear and tear as we experience as we age.
If your neck pain is a result of poor posture or long hours sitting at a desk, there are a few things you can do to ease the discomfort, including:
- Sit with your feet flat on the floor. Your feet may seem far removed from your neck, but they are the foundation of your body and if your feet aren’t grounded, the rest of your body will tend to lean forward or to one side or the other (depending on the position of your legs and feet).
- Position your seat so your thighs are parallel with the floor.
- Make sure you have good lumbar support. If your chair doesn’t have good support, invest in a lumbar pillow.
- Raise your computer monitor to eye level so you don’t find yourself leaning forward and putting extra strain on your neck.
- If you spend time on the phone, invest in a headset to protect both your neck and your wrists.
- Take a couple of minutes to stretch every 30 minutes or so and get up to walk around and do some gentle exercise every hour.
- Choose a firm mattress and sleep with a neck pillow to keep from waking up stiff in the morning.
- Learn some relaxation techniques and practice them regularly.
- If you start to experience neck pain, use ice for a few minutes at a time. After 2-3 days, switch to heat.
- If you’re having pain, temporarily stop any activities that may be causing or aggravating symptoms.
Regardless of the cause of your neck pain, if it persists for more than a couple of days of home treatment, or if your neck pain is the result of injury, chiropractic care can help. A chiropractor can pinpoint the cause of your pain and recommend a noninvasive treatment plan that can provide relief and restore your range of motion.
If your neck pain is accompanied by high fever, severe headache, nausea, or sensitivity to light, these could indicate meningitis or another serious infection that requires immediate medical treatment and possible hospitalization. However, if your neck pain radiates down your arm, causes tingling or numbness in your arm or hand, or causes stiffness (without fever), don’t wait, call Eastern Chiropractic now on 9857 4503 to arrange an appointment to talk to a chiropractor about how we can help you get out of pain.