Neck pain and stiffness are common ailments that can seriously impact your daily reality. A variety of factors can cause these problems, and patients experience flare-ups that vary in severity.
Luckily, self-management solutions and chiropractic treatments can help you manage your neck pain and stiffness. Read on to find out what causes neck pain and what chiropractic treatments are available.
What Causes Neck Pain and Stiffness?
Neck pain can be caused by a variety of factors. These may include:
You might have heard of “text neck,” the term for neck aches and pains caused by hunching over a smartphone or computer for hours on end. In the modern world, we often find ourselves sitting too long, using poor posture, or contorting into unnatural positions to use technology, all of which can cause muscle strains.
But you might not know that other seemingly harmless behaviors can lead to neck pain and stiffness. Even reading in bed or grinding your teeth can create a strain on your neck muscles.
As you age, you may experience a common condition called osteoarthritis, which causes the cartilage between your vertebrae to deteriorate and bone spurs (a protruding growth from the edge of a bone) to form. Bone spurs may affect your joint motion and cause neck pain.
Similarly, bone spurs or herniated discs (a vertebral cushion pushed out of place) can put pressure on the nerves branching out from your spinal cord, causing a painful sensation.
Specific injuries can, unfortunately, lead to long-term neck pain. These might include whiplash from a car accident, a sports injury, a nerve pinch, or lifting a heavy object improperly.
In some instances, neck pain can be a sign or symptom of disease, like rheumatoid arthritis, meningitis, or cancer.
Neck Pain and Stiffness: Signs and Symptoms
We’re all familiar with the neck strain that comes from “sleeping wrong.” Signs and symptoms of neck stiffness are similar to that feeling. They include headaches, muscle tightness or spasms, and the inability to move your head or pain triggered by keeping your head in a particular position.
While neck pain is generally a common issue and not much to be concerned about, it can become more severe in rare cases. Warning signs include a headache, numbness/weakness/tingling in your arms and hands, and shooting pain from your shoulder down your arm.
If neck pain is severe or doesn’t relent for several days, you should see a chiropractor.
Self-Management and Prevention
Fortunately, you can take steps to prevent your neck pain from returning.
Neck pain management and prevention methods include a focus on the following:
Improve Your Posture
Using good posture when both standing and sitting can make a major difference in preventing neck pain and stiffness. Ensuring that your ears are aligned over your shoulders and your shoulders are aligned over your hips is key to maintaining proper posture.
Use Good Technology Habits
If you sit at a computer all day, make sure your chair adjustment is maximized for comfort and that your computer monitor is at eye level. Take frequent stretch breaks throughout the day, and when talking on the phone, avoid cradling the phone between your shoulder and your ear.
Smoking is a known cause of neck pain. Quitting smoking will likely lead to improvements in chronic neck pain and stiffness.
Avoid Heavy Lifting
Lifting heavy objects with improper posture or carrying a heavy bag on one shoulder can lead to neck strain. Choosing a backpack with good support can make a world of difference.
Improve Your Sleep Position
To avoid “sleeping wrong,” ensure that your head and neck are aligned with the rest of your body, and try placing a small pillow below your neck. Sleeping on your back with a pillow beneath your thighs can help improve spinal alignment.
Who to See for Neck Pain
Suppose you suffer from neck pain due to advanced osteoarthritis or believe your neck pain may be an underlying cause of another disease. In that case, it’s essential to consult your primary care physician.
If you suffer from neck pain or stiffness due to poor posture, an injury, “sleeping wrong,” or an unknown cause, you may benefit from seeing a chiropractor. A chiropractic adjustment involves spinal manipulation that may offer you immediate relief.
Chiropractic Adjustment: What to Expect
Your chiropractor will perform a physical exam with particular attention to your spine at your initial visit. You may also be asked about your health history or given an X-ray.
You’ll likely lie face down on a chiropractic table during the adjustment. Your chiropractor may guide you into specific positions to apply controlled force to a particular joint, extending it beyond its typical range of motion.
You may hear popping and cracking sounds during treatment, but you should feel relief from your symptoms immediately with minimal side effects.
Treat Your Neck Pain at DeBole Chiropractic
DeBole Chiropractic offers chiropractic treatment for neck pain, serving Victor, NY, and the surrounding area. At your visit, we offer realignment for pain reduction and a discussion of long-term solutions to prevent future discomfort.
For more details about our services, give us a call today at (585) 433-5680 or fill out our online form!