Neck pain is a common complaint by people of all ages and can be caused by poor posture or strained neck muscles. Bad habits such as hunching over your computer, slouching in your chair, or looking down at your cellphone repeatedly while texting are often to blame for neck pain.
Neck pain rarely becomes a serious health problem, but if your neck pain comes with numbness in your arms or hands and loss of strength, you should seek medical help as soon as possible.
Are you one of those people who cracks your neck, believing it can reduce your neck pain? What you’re practicing is called self-manipulation, and it is very dangerous. It may result in further discomfort and increase your risk of having a stroke. You might feel momentary relief from the movement of your neck vertebrae, but without consulting a professional, you have no way of knowing if the shifting of the vertebrae actually set them right or just moved them into a different yet still incorrect position.
Neck Pain Symptoms
Symptoms of neck pain can be different for every individual, but these are some of the most common ones experienced by many people:
- Inability to move your head without pain
- Neck muscle tightness and spasms
- Pain that worsens when holding your head in one spot for long periods
Neck Pain Causes
The neck can move in many directions and does the tough job of supporting the weight of the head. Due to its mobility and high use, the neck is prone to injury and developing conditions that make movement difficult and painful. Listed below are some causes of neck pain:
- Muscle strains: Often caused by overuse, such as looking down over your phone or leaning forward over the computer. Simple things, including clenching your teeth or reading in bed, can result in muscle strain.
- Worn out joints: As people age, the joints of the neck and the rest of the body wear down. When the cartilage between the vertebrae starts to weaken, you may have osteoarthritis. This leads to the formation of bone spurs that affect joint movement and cause pain.
- Nerve compression: It happens when the nerves in the neck become pinched or compressed because of bone spurs or herniated discs.
- Injuries: Whiplash and other accident-induced injuries or traumas to the head can strain the soft tissues of the neck and lead to neck misalignments.
- Diseases: Rheumatoid arthritis, meningitis, and cancer can all cause neck pain.
Neck Pain Treatment Tips to Follow
- Carefully massage the affected area in the neck to ease pain and encourage blood flow. If doing this hurts, consult a professional before continuing.
- Always maintain good posture. Do not slouch or let your head to move in front of your shoulders.
- Continue your daily activities unless your pain becomes more intense. If so, change or avoid these routines.
- Make sure you have a little pillow to care for your neck when you sleep. It will also help to sleep on your back as much as you can.
- Quit smoking as it slows down the healing process and delays tissue repair because of a drop in blood supply.
- Upon improvement of the pain, begin doing neck stretches or exercises to strengthen the muscles. You can consult a physical therapist or neck pain chiropractor in San Diego or anywhere near your area for suggestions.
Icing Instructions to Ease Neck Pain
Icing works for strains and injuries in the neck. It can help reduce swelling, inflammation, and relieve pain. Here are some tips when using ice for neck pain:
- Apply ice as soon as possible following the injury or strain. The effectiveness of icing decreases after 48 hours.
- Perform an ice massage. When applying ice to the injury, continuously move it in a circular motion throughout the area and do not let it sit in one spot for too long.
- Be cautious of the time. Never apply ice on the same spot of the body for more than 20 minutes. You can get frostbite if you do so.
- Have intervals before reapplication of ice. Let the area warm up for at least 45 minutes or an hour before reapplying the ice. Let your body recover in between applications.
- Repeat applying ice as often as you want to as long as the spot you are icing is warm and has a good feeling. Icing will speed up your recovery.
Getting Help from Neck Pain Experts
A great place to get help for your neck pain is here at Family First Chiropractic & Wellness Center in San Diego, California. If you have been suffering from chronic neck pain, it is possible that misaligned bones in your upper cervical spine caused it.
The C1 (atlas) and C2 (axis) vertebrae that sit in the upper cervical spine can easily misalign due to whiplash or other traumas to the head and neck. If these bones are misaligned, they can impact the entire body and cause conditions such as neck pain.
We know the connection between the bones of the neck and how their misalignment leads to many health problems. We are trained to locate and correct these misalignments using imaging and scientific measurements. Once we detect a misalignment, we then perform a method that is more effective and natural than forcing the bones to return into place by popping or cracking the spine. Instead, we maintain a gentle approach that encourages the bones to move back naturally, resulting in a longer-lasting adjustment. Want to get help from a neck pain chiropractor in San Diego? Call us and schedule a session. Our adjustments can assist you toward reduction or even elimination of your neck pain.