January 2021 Chiropractic Newsletter

Avoiding Neck Pain in the New Year

Perhaps you slept on the wrong kind of pillow, experienced an auto accident, or simply turned your head in a strange position. Neck pain happens and it happens to people more often than you’d think. But that doesn’t mean you have to live out the rest of your life with it. Only by getting to know the symptoms and causes of neck pain will you be able to actively prevent it altogether. Sometimes it’s just simple lifestyle adjustments that help prevent and alleviate neck pain. It's also important to know the red flags for when neck pain is a serious condition. A chiropractor typically needs to be involved at that point and more hands-on treatment is required.

Symptoms

Some common signs and symptoms of neck pain include:

  • Intense headaches
  • A burning sensation from the neck through the shoulder and arm
  • Difficulty rotating the neck without discomfort
  • Trouble gripping and lifting objects due to numbness
  • Tenderness, achiness, or soreness in the general neck area
  • Issues with reflexes, sensation, or strength due to the compression of a nerve
  • Stabbing, stinging, or sharp pain in the lower neck

If neck pain progresses, it may become difficult to sleep or perform daily activities. Get to know the pain progression scale: acute pain lasts less than four weeks, subacute pain lasts four to twelve weeks, and chronic pain lasts three or more months. With acute and subacute pain, you may or may not need to see a chiropractor, though it is recommended. Chronic pain is serious and a chiropractor should be seen right away.

Causes

Some common causes of neck pain include:

  • Repetitive motion of the head, like in dancing and swimming
  • Trauma from a fall, slip, sports impact, or auto accident
  • Poor posture, such a slouching and hunching for long periods of time
  • Sleeping in an awkward position where your head is resting at a strange angle

Other causes of neck pain may include:

  • An infection
  • A spinal tumor
  • Emotional stress
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Sondylolistheis
  • Myofascial Pain Syndrome

Prevention

Simple lifestyle changes may be all you need to prevent neck pain from happening to you. Such changes include:

  • Sleeping on your back
  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Making sure you are using a comfortable and supported pillow
  • Making sure your computer monitor is at eye level
  • When texting, keeping your mobile phone at eye level, taking breaks, or using talk-text
  • When making a phone call, using a headset or earpiece
  • Stretching, exercising, and strengthening your neck muscles
  • Evenly distributing weight you carry on your person
  • Practicing a supportive posture (no slumping or hunching!)
  • Holding your phone at a distance rather than right in front of you

When to Get Help

Most of the time, neck pain can be healed over a short period of time with rest, ice or heat treatment, over the counter pain medication, and gentle stretches. However, it is important to seek professional help if you ever experience numbness, tingling, or pain in your arms, or severe headaches and weakness. Ineffective pain medication is another indicator that you should see a chiropractor.