What is Neck Pain?
Neck pain is one of the leading causes of disability worldwide. On average over 50% of people will have neck pain at some point within a year. Pain originating from your neck can cause headaches, stiffness, weakness and dysfunction over time. People with neck pain often state their head feels heavy and that massage and heat packs seem to help. But most people with neck pain struggle to find the underlying cause of their issue.
Neck pain is one of the most complicated areas to have pain because there are so many muscles, arteries, veins, fascia, nerves and ligaments in the neck to consider.
The human neck must be a stable and strong structure to support the head but also flexible enough to allow movement so we can change what our eyes can see. Your neck is very closely linked to your eye-movement and in the inner ear balance system (vestibular system).
There are seven bones or vertebrae in the normal human neck. These bones are designed to follow a curve that allows for your head to sit directly on top of your shoulders. Neck pain from poor posture or poor sleeping positions can alter the structure of your neck and change posture long-term. Often there are no symptoms associated with changes in the neck structure, however, research shows that there is more likelihood of pain and dysfunction occurring when there are changes away from the normal structure of the neck.
If neck pain is affecting you and you don’t know what to do about it, then we are the right place for you. We have a special interest in neck pain and headaches and have the skills to properly assess and diagnose neck pain conditions and causes. It is important to rule out more serious causes of neck pain such as arterial insufficiency or blockage, lymph node inflammation or infection. Our Chiropractors are trained to recognise all causes of neck pain and refer you to the appropriate place for proper treatment. We search for specific problems in the neck that we can identify through reduced movement in the neck as well as touching the neck and doing special tests designed to provoke pain, which shows us which structures are involved in your neck pain. If the problem isn’t directly from your neck, then there is a likelihood it comes from poor eye-movement or inner ear balance disorders.
The way the eyes, neck and balance centre are linked is through the brain, which is our area of assessment. When you turn your head to look at something your brain gets signals from your eyes that you have looked to one side, your balance system to tell your brain if you have lost balance and information from your neck to tell your brain which way you turned. Your brain then takes these three pieces of information and if they all agree with each other there is no problem. On the other hand, if one of these pieces of information is incorrect the brain can send signals to tighten up your neck or give dizziness signals also known as vertigo. Whatever happens, it is uncomfortable and usually can be helped through a proper assessment and treatment program.
There are many physical structures which can cause pain in the neck. The nerves are the way your body carries information from your brain out into your body. If the nerves are irritated, then pain signals begin to come from your brain to warn you that there is a problem. If the problem is large enough the brain can also send signals to your muscles to tighten up and protect your neck from further damage. On a smaller scale there are joints that connect the seven bones in your neck called facet joints. These joints are the movable part of your neck and are susceptible to stretching and compression especially after a car accident, fall from a bike, trip on the stairs, impact to the head or leaning forward to look at your phone or computer for long periods of time. Assessment of these joints can be done by our Chiropractic team to determine if this is one of the causes of your neck pain, alternatively, MRI images can show deterioration and inflammation in these joints.
Regardless of which technique you used to assess your joints, you will need an appropriate treatment program to assist with your condition. We offer realistic treatment plans to help people relieve the symptoms and then stay out of pain long-term. No one wants neck pain when they turn their head or stiffness in the morning or dull aches in their neck when they are trying to work, rest or play.
Whiplash is a general term given to a moment where the head is forcefully thrown in a particular direction. Most whiplash injuries occur in car accidents where the head is thrown forward and then backwards into the headrest and then bounces forward again.
This stretches and compresses the nerves in your neck as well as the bones and stretches the muscles. People are often unaware of any pain following a whiplash incident until a few days or even a week after the accident. It is important to be checked by a health practitioner after you suffer a whiplash incident and always pay attention to your symptoms for at least one week after a big fall or any car accident. People are often unaware of the impact a whiplash can have on your brain and brainstem.
These areas (brainstem) are referred to as the ‘reptilian brain’ and are very important for eye-movement, balance, stress reduction and spinal stability. When these areas are stretched or rotated, they can become damaged and cause symptoms such as dizziness, video, trouble with coordination and sleep.
02 Nerve Pain
All neck pain has some relationship with the nerves. The nerves are the only way you can feel pain. Without nerves you would feel no pain at all and be unable to move any muscle. Therefore, Chiropractors focus on the spine and the nervous system as they know this is the master controller of the body.
People with pinched nerves, or nerve pain in their neck will often report a sharp feeling in one part of their neck and if the pain is bad, they will say it travels down their arm as well. The patient may or may not experience numbness, weakness or tingling in their arm. Often our Chiropractors will assess a person with nerve pain in the neck and do muscle testing that shows they have weaknesses in their arms or neck that they were not aware of. Sharp nerve pain can be debilitating for some people and cause them to seek the advice of spinal surgeons. Here at The Innate Connection (Croydon Chiropractor), we will assess your neck pain and tell you if we think we can help or if you need to get a pain injection or even see a surgeon.
Generally, we are looking for a positive change in neck pain treatment. If you are not responding after 6 to 12 treatments, then the likelihood of you responding after that is poor. In this case we would need to change the treatment procedure or get further imaging to determine exactly where the problem is coming from and what to do about it.
03 Neck Arthritis
Neck arthritis is a condition that is caused by wear and tear of the joints and discs of the cervical spine (neck). It is a common problem, particularly in adults over the age of 50, and can cause pain, stiffness and limited mobility. Common symptoms include neck pain and stiffness, headaches, difficulty turning the head, shoulder and arm pain, and numbness or tingling in the arms and hands. Chiropractic is a form of manual therapy that is focused on restoring proper joint function and range of motion in the spine. Chiropractors are trained to diagnose, treat, and manage disorders of the musculoskeletal system. They use a variety of hands-on techniques to manipulate the spine and soft tissue in order to relieve pain, improve mobility, and restore normal joint function. Chiropractic care for neck arthritis can help reduce pain, improve mobility and range of motion, and improve overall quality of life. Chiropractic adjustments can help reduce inflammation, improve posture, and reduce the risk of further damage to the spine. Massage therapy can help reduce muscle tension and spasms, improve circulation, and reduce pain. Additionally, stretching and strengthening exercises may be recommended to improve posture, reduce pain, and improve overall function.
People often think about neck arthritis as creaking joints and stiffness in the morning. And while this is correct it can also happen to people that do not have neck arthritis. True neck arthritis is additional bone growth in the neck because of long-term wear and tear.
This will be clearly visible on x-ray and if our Chiropractors find that you have neck arthritis, they will alter their treatment technique to ensure safety comes first. Some people can take standard neck arthritis medication to help with their symptoms, while others need some massage and heat packs to help when their arthritis flares up. We have a special interest in helping people with neck arthritis and the muscular tension associated with constant stiffness and lack of movement.
People with neck arthritis often claim they have trouble turning their head in the car to check blind spots, have a sore neck after working in the garden long term, or wake with a stiff and sore neck most mornings. People with neck arthritis also say that it is worse with cold weather or weather changes, but there is no scientific evidence to support this.
Neck Pain Treatment Options
When it comes to neck pain there are many people who claim they can help. GPs can offer medication, you can get massage, osteopath, physiotherapy treatment, acupuncture, dry needling, cupping and many other forms of therapy. People with severe neck pain need to be referred to an appropriate sports medicine doctor or surgeon to tell them if they need an injection into their neck, or to have neck surgery to replace a disc or help with bony change.
Our Chiropractic approach to neck pain is that we only treat patients that we are confident we can help. We use an advanced in depth physical examination procedure, and sometimes x-rays, to assess the health and movement and strength in your neck to determine the best course of treatment.
Our Chiropractors can feel areas in your neck that are not moving well and will push on these areas, and you will feel they are sore as well. For neck pain we offer traditional Chiropractic manual hands-on therapy, as well as the lower force techniques such as activator methods, Network technique and Torque Release technique. We have massage Chiropractors in the clinic to assist us with tight muscles that are holding you back from recovering completely from your neck pain.
If you are sick of neck pain, have woken up with neck pain or know someone with neck pain then give our office a call and book an appointment.
Alternatively, you can book online and leave one of our Chiropractors a note to tell them what is wrong with you. When you come into our clinic our Chiropractors will talk to you about your neck pain and make sure they understand everything there is to know about what you are going through and the level of pain you are in.
Our Chiropractors are University graduates who have the title of doctor because they can see anyone without referral and diagnose and treat that person. This is a special privilege granted to Chiropractors because they do five years of university study.
Our Chiropractors have done extra research into neck pain causes, assessment and treatment so that they can serve the Croydon community to the best of their ability. Neck pain is complicated, and a skilled professional is the best way to counteract constant or nagging neck pain.
20 facts about Neck Pain
1. Neck pain is a very common complaint.
2. Neck pain can be caused by a variety of conditions such as muscle strain, ligament sprain, nerve compression, arthritis, whiplash and other injuries.
3. Neck pain can affect people of all ages and can be acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term).
4. Neck pain can be felt in the neck, shoulders, arms, and/or upper back.
5. Poor posture can lead to neck pain.
6. Neck pain can be caused by emotional stress or anxiety.
7. Neck pain can be treated with anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, exercise, and massage.
8. Poor sleep posture can cause neck pain.
9. Neck pain can be caused by a herniated disc.
10. Poor ergonomics can cause neck pain.
11. Neck pain can be caused by muscle tension.
12. Neck pain can be treated with hot or cold therapy.
13. Neck pain can be caused by sleeping in an awkward position.
14. Neck pain can be caused by degenerative disc disease.
15. Neck pain can be caused by poor posture when sitting or standing.
16. Neck pain can be caused by a pinched nerve.
17. Neck pain can be caused by a cervical sprain or strain.
18. Neck pain can be caused by daily activities such as using a computer or driving for long periods of time.
19. Neck pain can be treated with physical therapy, stretching, and strengthening exercises.
20. Neck pain can be caused by a number of underlying medical conditions such as fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, or osteoarthritis.