4 Reasons Your Neck Hurts, and Why Chiropractic Care Can Help
Neck pain is one of the most common complaints that chiropractors receive when patients arrive seeking relief.
Neck pain affects an estimated 80% of people at some point or another in their lifetime. This can occur at any point between childhood and late adulthood, and can stem from a variety of causes: from an injury, a genetic predisposition, poor posture developed over time, or from a lack of ergonomic support in the workplace environment.
Neck pain can be very debilitating and severely decrease the quality of one’s life. Constant aching can be distracting from normal, day-to-day activities, and become completely unignorable during special events.
Types of Neck Pain
Neck pain can take many forms. Here are some of the most common manifestations of neck pain:
Burning neck pain which feels like a hot, uncomfortable sensation around the base of the neck and in the neck itself can be the result of an injury to the muscle. Muscular injuries and spasms around the neck area become inflamed, irritating the nerves in the general vicinity, which creates a burning or “hot” sensation.
Muscle sprains, tears, and strains are the most common originating factors of this type of neck pain.
A sharp pain in the neck is commonly caused by damage to the nerves in the general area. Nerve pain in the neck can arise from misalignment of the bones or joints, a very common occurrence that is often visibly noticeable as a postural imbalance.
A sharp, shooting pain in the neck is possibly the result of a misaligned joint which is constricting or compressing the nearby nerves. This compression contributes to inflammation, and over time, can cause nerves to become bruised, frayed, or even severed.
Cold, dull, or aching neck pain can be the result of both nerve damage and muscular pain. Aching pain is often the result of chronic (6+ months), untreated discomfort in the neck. It can also be the result of a severe muscle spasm that was never treated, and did not relax back into its normal position in the neck.
Aching pain is also commonly the result of sleeping in a bad position for one or more nights, creating a spasm or knot in the neck that radiates pain across the local area.
Like sharp pain, shooting neck pain is typically the result of nerve pain or nerve damage. Shooting pain in the neck indicates that a nerve may be pinched. You may feel shooting pain in your neck when you turn it to one (or both) sides, or experience shooting pain all the way from your neck to your arms, hands, and fingers.
Stiffness & General Discomfort
Stiffness and general discomfort can be the result of poor workplace ergonomics, meaning that your neck is spending a significant amount of time in a poor postural position. This may be during waking hours, or during the night, when you’re sleeping.
Discomfort or pain that is left untreated for long periods of time can eventually lead to stiffness and general discomfort full time. Fortunately, even chronic neck pain is treatable, and should be addressed as soon as possible, even if years have elapsed since the onset of the pain.
Grinding, Crackling, or Crunching
It’s very common for your neck to crackle when moving from side to side or in a circular motion—this is often due to air bubbles trapped in the joints of the neck, which are released as the result of movement.
Grinding and crunching sounds, however, can be a warning signal of degeneration in the neck area. These types of sounds, especially accompanied by pain, can indicate that there has been a wearing away of the soft discs between the joints of the spine, which can be the result of arthritis and other forms of degenerative diseases. While chiropractic care can help reduce pain and improve posture in these instances, regenerating lost bone material is highly unlikely.
#1. Poor posture—also known as “tech neck!”
Poor posture can be caused by a variety of factors: uncomfortable sleeping position, misaligned workplace setup, but more commonly, overuse of technology.
A cell-phone is not the only culprit when it comes to “tech neck.” Forward head posture, which is what occurs when the neck is not properly supported or is constantly craned forward, can also come from sitting for longer periods of time, especially on soft, unsupported surfaces like a couch (while watching TV or using a computer).
Tech neck is one of the most common causes of neck pain, as it can eventually lead to poor postural habits even when technology is not in use.
#2. An untreated injury.
Another common cause of discomfort, untreated injury can turn into chronic neck pain, even if it seems like the original injury healed long ago.
The neck is a delicate combination of muscles, nerves, soft tissues, ligaments, and tendons. At the base of it all is the cervical spine, which, if injured, can destabilize and thwart the functions of the other parts of the neck.
If an injury is not appropriately treated at its onset, the neck can become stuck in a pattern of compensation. This means that a strain or sprain can create long-term imbalances if they are not rested and supported properly when they occur.
#3. Poor sleeping position.
Poor sleeping posture is one of the most overlooked causes of neck pain. If the neck is not supported and aligned with the rest of the spine correctly, poor sleeping position can actually contribute to misalignments in the cervical spine.
Ask your expert chiropractor what the best sleeping position is for your neck based on your overall posture and any concerns that you may have regarding neck pain and your posture during the day.
#4. Disc degeneration or herniation.
Disc degeneration can happen as a result of lifestyle factors (smoking), age, or accident and injury. When the discs in the cervical spine degenerate for any reason, or are herniated (dislodged), this can create pain and discomfort.
Depending on the wear and tear on the disc, pain resulting from disc herniation can often be resolved. Pain resulting from degeneration can be minimized with expert chiropractic care.
Pain in the neck? Consider chiropractic care.
If you’re ready to resolve your neck pain, an expert chiropractor can help! Advanced Spine & Posture (ASP) has helped thousands of individuals find relief from chronic neck pain. At ASP of North Las Vegas, we pride ourselves on our drive to get to the root of the pain. We create a treatment plan customized for your needs, to ensure you make progress toward the relief you have been seeking. If you’re ready to begin your journey toward optimal health and well-being, book your appointment today!