Stop Your Neck Pain Now!
Last Updated on January 2, 2022 by Dr Timothy Lim
Neck pain can be so irritating that we describe many of life’s problems as “a pain in the neck.” A common cause of neck pain has a lot to do with carrying around your head all day with a poor posture. Try balancing a 12-pound bowling ball on your fingertips the whole day. If you have cervical misalignment, the seven bones in your neck, the discs, tendons, muscles and nerves can be stressed causing neck pain. In order to compensate for the instability, the neck muscles often tighten, putting additional stress on the delicate structures, which can then interfere with nerve conduction. The result is usually stiff neck pain. Sometimes neck stiffness can lead to extreme pain in the neck when turning it.
Like the other joints in your body, worn joints in your neck experience wear and tear with age, which can cause osteoarthritis in your neck. Neck osteoarthritis can cause pain and stiffness in the neck. Disc disorders can occur as you age, the disc between the neck bones function as cushioning disks which become dry and stiff, narrowing the spaces in your spinal column where the nerves come out. Narrowing spaces encroach on nerves and can lead to the numbness and tingling feeling in the hands. The discs in your neck also can herniate causing neck pain. If the disc cushion is not centered due to misalignments, the inner gelatinous cartilage material protrudes and impinges on nerves causing sharp or burning pain.
Neck bones can have bony growths that press on your nerves as they exit your spinal cord leading to neck pain radiating to shoulder or hands. Muscle strains from overuse such as too much time spent on the computer often trigger muscle strains. Neck muscles in the back of your neck become fatigued and eventually strained. When you overuse your neck muscles repeatedly, these strained muscles are not as strong and can lead to further misalignments and chronic neck pain can develop.
How does Chiropractors relief neck pain?
Typically, Chiropractors offer neck pain relief by adjusting the bones in the neck to alleviate pain caused by muscle spasms or other injuries. However, depending on the diagnosis, the treatment is not always the same. Although Dr Lim is licensed and certified in physiotherapy to do traction, we find that it usually temporarily relief the pain but do not resolve the root cause. How about neck air traction to help relief neck pain? Some patient purchase their own equipment such as a neck air traction, which is basically like an air tire that lifts your head up or stretches your neck. It also immobilizes your neck so you cannot move much to hurt yourself in those directions where you have neck pain. My review of neck air traction is not to use it long term as prolonged immobility will lead to neck muscle atrophy which will result in further muscle pain. Now if you have the neck air traction equipment and using the neck air traction temporarily relieve the pain with less pain killers, then use it to your benefit until you get professional help.
To successfully relieve neck pain, we must first determine if the neck pain is the result of muscle strain or cervical spine misalignments. Of course, these are the most common reasons we see though there are other reason which will require further diagnostic work. We usually check the upper, lower and mid-back of the neck to see if there’s pain there as well and to help diagnose the cause of the pain. In our office, you will usually be seated in an upright special cervical chair that is slightly reclined to make the patient comfortable while allowing access to the neck. Our chair is adjustable even for those who are taller or shorter. The neck usually gently moves back and forth to feel how the bones are moving. Very often our patients can notice their neck doesn’t want to turn in a certain direction, such as rotation to the right or left, looking up and down or leaning their ears to either shoulder. We also may feel the skin at the back of the neck for any irregularities such as heat, dryness, stickiness, lump and bumps. Changes in the nervous system often result in changes of the skin. We can often detect muscle spasms which are a result of nerve interference. If needed, we adjust the cervical spine either the seated chair or lying your back, whichever is more comfortable for the patient.
Pain Bending Neck Forward
Do you have difficulty or pain, bending your neck forward or when touching chin to chest? If you can’t touch your chin to the chest regardless of any pain or not, the worst case scenario is a form of bacterial infection. This infection affects the brain and is called meningitis. However, it must be accompanied by some form of fever. So you if you are not sure, take your body temperature with an accurate thermometer. If you have a fever, you must go see your doctor immediately or emergency room.
On the other hand, if you do not have a fever but have neck pain when you flex or bend your head forward, then you likely have a muscle strain or cervical subluxation. You can get it from caused by sleeping in an awkward position, from cradling the telephone or cell phone between neck and shoulder for long hours, painting a ceiling, reading in bed lying on your stomach, reaching forward for something that was difficult to get repeatedly, such as washing dishes or trying to get your kitchen utensils, sitting in the front row of a movie theater requiring you to look up, looking at something that requires extreme bending or turning of neck, and prolonged typing on the computer. Muscle tension resulting from stress at work, poor posture in the office can also lead to neck pain that radiate (shoot, spread) into the upper back and into the scalp.