Why Does My Neck Hurt and what can I do about it?

Your neck is a complex part of the body which has a tough job. It has to hold up the weight of your head every day… for a lifetime. Holding up about 11 pounds may not seem like a lot, but those 7 bones and 25 or so muscles in your neck need to work together correctly for you to move your head around free of pain.

 

What causes neck pain?

Most neck pain stems from an event, or long term problem which disrupts the natural functioning of the neck – commonly, these might include Postural changes, sudden injuries, and arthritis. Most of the time, your pain can be traced to a problem with either the muscles, bones, discs, or nerves in your neck.

Recent changes to the way we live our lives, as well as the immediate adjustments demanded by the pandemic also mean that we’re spending more time on our digital devices than ever before-  and this too adds to the neck pain crisis. If you are looking down at your digital devices all day every day, your neck still has to carry the weight of your head – but it has to do it at a bad angle. Imagine carrying a heavy rucksack – that’s already tricky, but now imagine carrying it in front of you, with your arms outstretched and you might start to understand what your neck is going through!

Over time, this stress can add up and result in your neck not moving correctly. At this point, it’s only a matter of time before you wake up with a stiff neck or turn your head during the day and are greeted by an intense muscle discomfort or pain.

If you’ve ever had a stiff neck and couldn’t turn your head to either side for a day or two, you know how impactful neck pain can be. The sharp muscle spasms that restrict your ability to move often result from your body trying to protect a joint that isn’t moving correctly.

Almost every bone in your neck has a pair of sliding joints towards the back called facet joints. If an adhesion forms or the joint is stuck, your body will try to compensate for a little while. However, over time, this compensation can cause a cascade of additional challenges.

To recap…

 

  • Sudden injuries, arthritis, and postural issues can all contribute to neck pain.
  • The facet joints of your neck can become stuck and cause muscles spasms and pain.
  • Gentle spinal adjustments combined with daily stretching can help restore the motion of your facet joints and reduce pain.

 

What can I do about it?

There are two major approaches to preventing neck pain – preventative measures and treatments. Of the treatments available, chiropractic is one of the best options available, and has a proven track record in treating neck pain. Whereas many therapies seek just to reduce the pain, chiropractic aims to address the underlying injury or postural problem which was the source of the neck pain in the first place.[1] At complete chiropractic, we don’t just focus on adjustments either – as a chiropractic biophysics clinic, we can also provide you with some customised simple, and highly effective stretches and exercises you can do at home to keep improving. This approach to treatment means we are often able to get on top of neck pain much faster than you might think![2]

Unfortunately, it’s not exactly that simple though – chiropractic can bring a neck pain episode to an end, and over a slightly longer period postural corrections can be made for long term improvement in health, but if you continue to, for example, spend hours sat in front of a PC, it’s likely that neck pain will return. As a clinic, we always used to recommend that patients make changes to their lives to eliminate situations which resulted in this kind of strain, but times are changing and today, that just may not be practical anymore.

So are we all doomed to a life of neck pain? Not at all – by opposing and correcting the damage taken by the neck during your day to day life, regular chiropractic care can effectively “turn back the clock”  on your neck pain resetting it to a better state and moving you’re further away from a painful problem. While ti’s not absolutely ideal, regular chiropractic adjustments can be a legitimate way to avoid neck pain episodes for those who simply cannot change the factors which are leading to pain in the first place.

 

Need help with neck pain?

If you’re struggling with neck pain, give us a call today! There’s still time to take advantage of our 2020 new patient discount, but hurry, this offer must end soon!

 

 

[1] The Cervical Spine Before, During and After Manipulation. The Spine Journal. 2018.

[2] Do You Have a Stiff Neck? Try These Simple Remedies. Cleveland Clinic. 2015.

 

Blog by / October 19, 2020 / Blog

Dr Paul Irvine
Dr. Paul Irvine is a doctor of chiropractic who graduated in 1994 with a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of NSW and in 1996, attained his Master of Chiropractic degree from Macquarie University in Australia. He practised in North Sydney for 5 years before he left Australia to travel and practise in the UK. He joined Complete Chiropractic in 2003 (est 1999) and took over the clinic in 2007