If you are suffering from neck pain, you know how frustrating it can be. Neck pain is one of the most common pain problems clients report to us in practice. Knowledge is power when it comes to healing your body and feeling great, so read on to find out more.
What Could Be Causing My Constant Neck Pain?
To answer this question, let’s first start with a basic anatomy lesson. Your neck (or cervical spine) consists of 7 seven mobile bones called vertebrae. These cervical vertebrae start from the base of your skull and extend down to meet your upper back.
Although your neck is often viewed as a delicate part of your body, it is very strong and has the important job of carrying around your head’s full weight. That’s an impressive achievement, especially considering your head is approximately 5.5 kgs!
Your cervical spine allows you to move your heavy head in almost every direction, however, this flexibility comes at a cost and is why your neck is one of the most common areas of your body that is susceptible to injury and pain.
What are the Causes of Neck Pain?
Although your neck may be a common area of complaint, the good news is that your neck pain is rarely a sign of a severe health condition. However, it does not mean that you should just ignore it and hope the pain will go away. A proactive approach is vital to keeping your body healthy and strong and preventing injury in the future.
One of the greatest contributors to neck injury is partly due to poor biomechanics and daily habits.
For example, sitting for an extended period or performing repeated movements can put stress on your muscles and joints and aggravate your neck pain. Blows to the body or head, as well as falls and other similar accidents, can lead to neck pain, too.
As you grow older, your neck also becomes less flexible and mobile due to everyday wear and tear. Those who have osteoarthritis, disc disease, spinal stenosis, or another degenerative disorder, are also more at risk of developing neck pain.
Other causes include:
- Poor posture – Every 2cm your head moves forward on your shoulders DOUBLES the weight of your head
- Weak abdominal muscles – your neck tends to bend forward to cope with the disrupted spinal balance.
- Text neck -Some surveys suggest that almost 70% of the population use their mobile devices for an average of five hours per day. This puts extra stress and strain on your neck. Text neck many be associated with the following symptoms:
- Tight shoulders
- Shoulder pain
- Neck and upper back pain, mainly when using your phone
- Chronic headaches
- Sharp pain in the neck or shoulders, especially at night
Home Remedies vs Professional Help: Which is More Effective?
There are various pain relievers that you can take to help alleviate your neck pain. Some solutions can be done without seeking medical help, such as:
- If you’re suffering from Text Neck, the best remedy is to put down your phone. You can set reminders to tell you to take a break if you’re holding your phone. If possible, put your mobile into another room to resist the urge to check it.
- If putting your phone away is not an option, you can try changing how you hold your phone. It always helps to hold the phone up, meeting your eye level. This position prevents your head from slouching forward or having it too high, which can strain your neck.
- Ice wrapped in a towel can also help. This age-old home remedy is effective, especially if the area is inflamed. Place it on your neck for about 40 minutes. Repeat this at least twice, taking a 20-minute break in between.
- Solving your neck pain problem can be as easy as changing your pillow. Choose one that’s firm and avoid those that are too flat so you sleep all night comfortably.
- If your work involves you sitting for hours, take a short break. A 20-minute walk after an hour of sitting can do wonders for your neck.
- Try to avoid driving, as well. Wait for your neck to feel better before getting on the road, especially on long trips. Neck pains typically make it difficult for you to move your head to the sides, which is not only frustrating but also risky.
- Incorporate yoga into your daily routine. Enthusiasts say that just 10 minutes of the activity each day can already make a big difference to your whole body, including your posture. Before you attempt to do yoga, however, it’s recommended that you speak to a professional first.
Chiropractic and Neck Pain
Home remedies can work on simple neck issues. However, suppose you have a more complicated problem or perhaps you have been dealing with neck pain for some time now. In that case, exercises and behavioural changes may not be enough and you may need a professional to look at your condition. A chiropractor is well-versed in various types of neck pain based on the cause. An adjustment targets the correct area that affects your neck, keeping you pain-free for a longer period.
Chiropractic neck adjustments can also help loosen up your tight joints that cause your chronic neck pain. The cervical vertebrae in the neck, when manipulated by an experienced chiropractor, can result in reduced pain, whether it is caused by muscle spasms, strains, pinched nerves, or others.
When Should You Consult an Expert?
Everyone experiences neck pain from time to time, however, if you often have neck or shoulder pain or both and it is disrupting your normal routine, it’s time to talk to your chiropractor.
Here are other signs to watch out for:
- Neck pain is worse in the morning, specifically after waking up.
- The pain doesn’t go away even after several days.
- Moving your head from side to side causes severe pain.
- Your hands are tingling and or feel numb.
- Because of how painful and constant the pain is, you believe there is an underlying cause.
Never wait for the problem to resolve itself. In some cases, your constant neck pain can be due to a more significant medical disorder that you may not be aware of. If home remedies and over the counter medications that used to work no longer do, you should consult with an expert as soon as you can.
Neck Stretching for Relief
This may surprise you, but neck adjustments combined with specific exercises can work better than OTC medications. Stretching your neck can help decompress the spine as your neck does not have to carry your head. Here’s how to do it:
- Stand and have your feet aligned with your hips.
- Fold your body forward at the waist.
- Slowly lower your upper body as far as you possibly can towards the ground as you can. Make sure you do not lose your balance.
- Attempt to touch the ground.
- Allow your head to hang and nod your head ‘yes’ and ‘now’ for a few seconds once you have reached as far as you can. This releases the muscles in your neck, allowing them to relax.
So, next time you have neck pain and stiffness, instead of relying on pain relievers, choose a more holistic approach. Contact your friendly chiropractors today here at Open Space Healing. Let’s begin your journey to a pain-free neck and life!