The cervical spine (or neck) is one of the most fragile parts of the spine, responsible for supporting the head and regulating blood flow to the brain. The neck can easily become a source of pain due to muscle strain or other serious injuries. In fact, many people experience some degree of neck pain at least once in their lifetime. While most neck pain is acute, resulting from sudden trauma like whiplash or a muscle strain or sprain, neck pain can also be chronic, often indicating a more serious problem.
Below, I discuss common causes of neck pain and possible treatment options for neck pain relief.
causes and symptoms of neck pain
There are many causes of neck pain, including injuries or accidents, as well as degenerative disorders like osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis and herniated discs. Improper posture, obesity and weak abdominal muscles can also lead to neck pain — especially for individuals who sit at their desks all day. In fact, most neck pain is associated with poor posture. When you hunch over your computer screen or work space, your neck bends forward. This puts stress on the muscles of your neck and spine, creating wear and tear on your joints, causing muscle pain and stiffness.
Initial symptoms of neck injury include muscle fatigue and soreness followed by some degree of pain. The pain can vary from a deep, dull, achy sensation to a sharp, superficial feeling. Chronic or recurrent neck pain can be severely debilitating and can also be accompanied by back pain, shoulder pain and tension headaches.
neck pain treatment
At Pottawattamie County Sports & Family Chiropractic, our chiropractors perform thorough examinations to address the root cause of your symptoms and accurately diagnose and treat your condition.
Depending on your diagnosis, your treatment plan may include:
- Spinal manipulation/mobilization — a manual procedure applied by hand to the joints of the neck to improve mobility and restore range of motion
- Soft tissue therapy — movement-based therapy, such as Active Release Technique (ART) or Myofascial Release, used to address short or tight, overactive muscles and trigger points, as well as aid in the correction of muscle imbalances
- Rehabilitation exercises — stretching and strengthening exercises to improve flexibility and posture
Regardless of the degree of your neck pain, it is important to remember that change is a process. It doesn’t happen overnight — or with one treatment. Tissues in the human body take about four to six weeks to fully heal and develop. If you are experiencing neck pain, there may be more than one factor contributing to your condition. Schedule an appointment so we can evaluate your symptoms and create an individualized treatment plan to meet your needs.
Contact us for more information on the right course of treatment for you.