11 Oct Neck Pain Causing You Discomfort?
Chronic pain is always a challenge, especially when it affects your back, shoulders or neck. Injuries or pain in these areas can cause a ripple effect of symptoms that stem all the way down your back or limbs such as the arms and hands. Neck pain can begin suddenly or come on over time. This can be due to traumatic injuries, whiplash, muscle or ligament strain, fractures, dislocations, posture and more. If you suffer from neck pain frequently or neck pain has happened suddenly, find out why and what you can do about it!
Why Does Neck Pain Happen?
Your neck is an incredibly important structure for holding up your head and brain, which house your sensory organs. Your neck is the connecting structure between your spinal cord and brain, where all your body systems are controlled. Your neck is so strong for holding up your head because of the vertebral bones that are very thick to protect your central nervous system from damage. These vertebral bones allow your head to move with ease.
There are countless reasons neck pain could happen, especially if they are nerve-related. You have more than 100 billion nerves throughout your body, and many of those lie in areas around your spine. Your neck is part of your spine and is important because it is right in the area of the central nervous system, which consists of the spinal cord and brain. Those are where many of your nerves are, and just one getting pinched or pushed on can cause you incredible back, head or neck pain.
However, we see patients come in all the time with neck pain for reasons such as:
- Muscle or ligament strain due to overexertion and repetition
- Dislocated shoulders
- Entrapped or pinched nerves in the neck and upper back
- Looseness or instability in the neck and shoulder
- Improper posture, which puts uneven pressure on neck vertebrae
- Traumatic injury during a sports game or a car accident
- Fractures to the arm or collarbone, either freshly broken or improperly healed
How Do You Know the Symptoms
It can be hard to know if your neck pain is actually due to a problem in your neck or if it’s something with the joints of your face, your head, or nerve and muscle issues in your back. The neck can be affected by all of these factors. You want to look for specific symptoms such as:
- Muscle stiffness and loss of range-of-motion in the neck
- Pain or pain that increases when you move or stretch
- Glandular pain on either side of the neck
- Cracking, popping or rustling noises when you move your head and neck
- Cramping and twitching of the neck
- Tenderness to the touch
- Burning sensations in the skin or muscles
It is possible to get tingling and neuropathy sensations with your neck pain as well. Your symptoms will all depend on the cause and the patient. However, these are the most common ones that we see in our patients to help determine the cause and treatment. Often, chronic conditions can cause health symptoms in various parts of the body, even in areas unrelated to the main area of pain or symptoms. This is because nerves connect to one another, and some nerve endings can stretch the length of a limb.
For example, you could have an elbow injury, and yet, you’re losing feeling and having pain in your fingers because of your nerves. With any of these symptoms listed above, make sure you don’t ignore them and that you seek treatment.
Easing Your Discomfort at Home
When neck pain strikes, take measures to soothe that pain. If you find yourself having neck pain frequently, then there is a bigger health issue causing your symptoms. First, make an appointment with us. Until that appointment, you can use ice therapy to help with pain. Make sure you use an ice pack or a bag of ice, making sure there is a cloth or a layer in between your ice and skin. If heat is more soothing for you, you can use heat packs as well. With both, make sure you are only doing about 10-15 minutes with the pack, spaced out 4 or so times throughout the day.
Take over-the-counter pain medications as needed, and avoid narcotics and opioids, as those can be very damaging to your health. Avoiding contact sports and anything with jerking movements. We can provide you examples of simple stretches to help ease range-of-motion issues until you can get therapy treatments for the real cause of your neck pain.
For patients with chronic or even mild neck pain, we want to treat the actual cause of the problem instead of just the pain and symptoms. Methods of treatment for neck pain include:
- Manual therapy from the chiropractor to reset misalignment
- Massage therapy and stretching to loosen up tight muscles
- Relaxation techniques to help melt tension away
- Chiropractic adjustments
- Chronic pain management treatments to help you avoid both heavy medications and narcotics
- Corrective care for the cervical (neck) spine to help restore the natural spinal curve
In many cases, mild medicine or anti-inflammatory treatments coupled with chiropractic care can help patients get rid of their neck pain. Your neck pain may simply be due to poor posture. You can know the cause when you go in for treatment, and you can see real, lasting results with our effective therapies. If you suffer from neck pain, call Mile High Spine & Pain Center today at (720) 507-0080!