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Neck Pain: Why Do We Have It? How Can We Treat It? How Can We Prevent It?

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Almost everyone has experienced neck pain at some point. It could be due to stress or injury, it could be the result of a motor vehicle accident, or even just the consequence of a poor night’s sleep. Whatever the cause, neck pain can make us miserable and impair our ability to complete everyday tasks. Neck pain is one of the leading causes of disability in North America. But there are options to relieve neck pain and correct any underlying issues causing it so that we can hold our heads up and enjoy life again. Let’s take a look at the causes of neck pain, treatments available, and lifestyle choices we can make to prevent it.

A Pain In The Neck

The Symptoms Of Neck Pain
The symptoms of neck pain are pretty obvious… pain in your neck. But a more specific description of your pain can give your doctor some very helpful insight. These are some of the accompanying symptoms of neck injury:

  • Muscle tightness or spasm
  • Headache 
  • Inability to move your head
  • Pain radiating into your shoulders and arms
  • Numbness, weakness, or tingling in your neck, shoulders, or arms

If your neck pain persists for more than a few days or is accompanied by any of these symptoms, you should consult with your chiropractor.

Common Causes Of Neck Pain
As mentioned, even stress and a poor sleeping position can put a crick in your neck, but these are the most common causes of neck pain:

  • Nerve Compression: a pinched or irritated nerve in your neck can cause neck pain and pain that radiates into your shoulder and arm. Nerve compression can also cause weakness, tingling, and numbness.
  • Injury: Traumatic injuries like whiplash caused by a motor vehicle accident or a fall while participating in sports can bruise and strain the soft tissues in your neck.
  • Joint Wear: As with all the joints in your body, your neck joint is susceptible to wear with age. Age-related conditions such as osteoarthritis can cause deterioration of your cartilage leading to bone spurs that impair your range of motion and cause pain.
  • Muscle Strains: Overuse, poor posture, and bad form while performing tasks can strain your muscles and cause pain. For some people, even clenching or gritting your teeth can strain the muscles in the neck.
  • Disease: Some diseases such as meningitis, rheumatoid arthritis, and cancer can cause severe and debilitating neck pain.

Treatment Options For Neck Pain
After a comprehensive assessment and consultation, your chiropractor will have a solid understanding of the causes and effects of your neck pain, and be able to devise a treatment strategy to relieve your pain and restore mobility. The most effective treatment strategies are often a combination of treatment modalities that address the pain, activate the injured area, and promote a natural healing process. Some common treatments are:

An Ounce Of Prevention Is Worth A Pound Of Cure
Avoid future injury and pain by following these preventative measures:

  • Stand Up Straight: Good posture when standing and sitting will help prevent neck pain. Hold your shoulders in a straight line over your hips and align your ears directly over your shoulders.
  • Take A Break: Frequent breaks whenever you are sedentary, as when traveling long distances or spending the workday at your desk, allow you to get the blood flowing and stretch your neck and shoulders.
  • Be Ergonomic: Make sure your workstation is set up to support alignment and good posture. Your monitor should be at eye level, your knees slightly lower than your hips, wrists relaxed, and your arms at a 90° angle.
  • Pack Light: Heavy bags and purses can leave you off-kilter and strain your neck and shoulder. Try not to weigh yourself down with cumbersome baggage and balance your load so you can stand up straight.
  • Sleep Tight: When you hit the sack, ensure that your head and neck are aligned with your spine. Avoid excessive pillow piles and try sleeping on your back with your legs slightly elevated to avoid neck strain.

Effective Treatment Strategies To Relieve Your Neck Pain At Shephard Health

Neck pain can be mildly irritating at best and completely inhibit your ability to perform simple tasks and enjoy life at worst. While everyone can suffer a pain in the neck at some point, if your pain is persistent and intense, if it radiates down your shoulders and arms, if you experience accompanying headache, weakness, or numbness, or if it impairs your mobility, seek treatment with your chiropractor. 

As one of Calgary’s Top 3 Rated Chiropractors of 2021, Dr. Shephard uses a variety of treatment modalities to relieve neck pain, restore movement and mobility, and achieve overall health and wellness at our NW Calgary clinic in Kensington. The Shephard Health team has over 20 years of experience in services ranging from Chiropractic Care and Spinal Decompression Therapy to Active Release Technique and Massage. We are committed to providing personalized treatment solutions to our patients with thoughtful care and experienced competence. We offer a no-obligation, complimentary consultation to assure you that we are the right team to help you achieve your goals for wellness and pain-free living. Call us at 1-403-543-7499 or fill out the form to book your appointment.

FAQ

Q: How do I know if my neck pain is serious?
A: If you woke up after a bad sleep with mild pain in your neck, you will probably be okay. But if your neck pain is the result of a traumatic injury such as from a motor vehicle accident or if your pain is severe, persists over several days, radiates down your body, or is accompanied by headache, numbness, weakness, or tingling you should consult with your doctor promptly.

Q: What can I do at home to relieve neck pain?
A: If you are certain your neck pain is minor you can try alternating ice and heat applications, do some light stretching, and try some gentle massage. If your symptoms persist, visit your chiropractor.

Q: How long does it take to recover from whiplash?
A: The symptoms of minor whiplash may start to resolve themselves over time, but the quickest way to recover from whiplash, or to address severe whiplash injury, is with a comprehensive treatment plan to address soft tissue injuries, strengthen the structures of your neck, and promote the body’s natural healing processes. If you are suffering the effects of whiplash, book a complimentary consultation at Shephard Health to explore the treatment options available to you.

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