What Causes Neck Pain?
There are many causes to neck pain and it is something that no one should have to live with. Regardless of the severity, neck pain can drastically alter your activities of daily living. Whether you are suffering from a constant dull ache, or full blown torticollis, your chiropractor can help. They will evaluate and correct the misalignments in your spine to alleviate your neck pain and restore the natural motion between spinal segments. Chiropractic adjustments help to reduce inflammation and decrease the pain input from your neck to your brain. Adjustments also restore the proper function of your spine, so your body is better able to adapt and prevent future injury to your neck.
I just woke up one day and couldn’t move my neck without pain. Did I sleep wrong?
Possibly. However, usually symptoms are the last things to show up from any dysfunction in your spine
and nervous system. More likely your pain and stiffness may be due to long term posture imbalances
that are referred to as micro traumas. Many people who sit at desks and work on computers all day
have the tendency to carry their head out in front of their body, which puts a lot of strain on the neck
and the rest of the spine. The human head weighs on average about ten pounds. Imagine holding a ten pound bowling ball straight out in front of your body for an extended period of time.
Your arm would get tired pretty fast and you would start to recruit muscles in your back and legs to assist in holding the ball. The same situation plays out when your head is not directly over your shoulders, except instead of your arm fatiguing, the muscles in your neck tire and need to recruit help from your upper traps, causing you to draw your shoulders up and forward. In addition to tight muscles and painful trigger points, over time these muscular imbalances cause the natural curve in your neck to straighten, resulting in more forward head posture and more muscle strain. Now imagine holding that same ten pound bowling ball directly at your should with a bend in your elbow and wrist. With the support of your shoulder and the stability given from the bend in your elbow, your arm muscles can sustain the bowling ball for much longer with much less strain on your muscles and posture.
How do I keep the natural curve in my neck?
Practicing good posture is the best way to keep the natural curves in your spine. Ask your chiropractor
about how to improve your posture by strengthening certain muscles and stretching others. You can get started by looking in a mirror and observing your posture. Look to see if one of your feet flares to one side. Are your hips and shoulders level from side to side? Does your head tilt or turn to one side? Is your ear directly over your shoulder? All of these things can give you a glimpse into what your spine looks like on the inside. Other things that can affect the curve in your neck are sleeping on your stomach or sleeping with too many pillows. When at all possible sleep on your back or side and make sure that your neck is in neutral posture when lying on your pillow. Overall, have a consciousness about your posture and correct it whenever you become aware of less-than-perfect posture.
Can my chiropractor restore the natural curve in my neck if I’ve already lost it?
Chiropractic adjustments are very effective in restoring motion to the spine and a lot of times, the body
will restore the natural curves of the spine because it is functioning properly again. This largely depends on the severity of the loss of curve, any resulting degeneration of the spinal discs and bones, and also the age and health of the patient. However, even with degenerative joints and more permanent changes, chiropractic adjustments can help relieve muscle tightness and decrease pain by increasing the function of the spine. Your body is an amazing machine that will always strive toward health when it is free from interference and given the tools to thrive!