Dr. Christina Van Moorsel
Neck pain – let’s face it, most of us are going to experience it at some point. It can either be acute or chronic. Acute – meaning it appears abruptly – neck pain can happen after a slip, fall, or traumatic event such as a motor vehicle accident that causes whiplash injuries to the neck. With these types of injuries, the neck ligaments and muscles can be overstretched and injured at a rapid rate causing severe pain. Acute neck pain can also be caused by improperly lifting a heavy object or sleeping in a non-supportive position (such as belly sleeping). Chronic neck pain is caused by consistent and repetitive poor postures that are unsupportive to the neck structure, ligaments and muscles, and general wear and tear of the structure (degenerative arthritis). Chronic pain could be caused by slouching or hunching over a computer or on a couch for long hours, constantly looking down at your phone, computer or electronic device (now commonly known as “tech neck”).
Symptoms of neck pain can range from sharp, stabbing, shooting pain to deep aching, burning, tightness, and stiffness. You may notice you’re getting more headaches, fatigue, or numbness and tingling in your arms and legs.
It is important to seek help from a healthcare professional to determine the exact cause of your neck pain and appropriate treatment plan. Although most often neck pain usually subsides within a few days, it’s important to visit a chiropractor to prevent future flare-ups and help the underlying cause of the neck pain. If left untreated neck pain can progress as we age.
Whether you have acute or chronic pain, seeing a Chiropractor for treatment would be beneficial. Not only to help alleviate symptoms but also for future prevention. You don’t need to be in pain or have severe symptoms to see a Chiropractor and receive treatment. If you have postural concerns while at work or at home a Chiropractor can help prevent future neck pain from arising.
Treatment for neck pain can include ice/heat, therapeutic massage, chiropractic adjustments, therapeutic exercises, and stretches and spinal traction. The ice and heat help with decreasing inflammation and help soothe the musculature in the neck. Therapeutic massage is beneficial for helping with any muscle spasms present. Chiropractic adjustments help with getting motion back in the joints as well as stimulate nerve cells that send signals to your brain to decrease pain, inflammation, and muscle tension. Spinal traction is gentle stretching that helps reshape the soft tissue and structure to help proper spinal positioning and function and support proper posture.
There are many preventative measures to prevent neck pain. Along with chiropractic treatment, preventative measures that you can take include neck stretches that can be done at home or at the office to help relieve tension, neck exercises to help strengthen weakened muscles in the neck to help better support structure and posture, making sure that your workspace is ergonomic and that it is conducive to proper postures (sit/stand desk, making sure your computer screen or device isn’t positioned too low or too high so you are having to lean or bend over, proper work chair so you don’t slouch-helpful to have low back supports as well) and managing the amount of daily screen time if you can’t decrease the time then make sure to take breaks throughout your workday to stretch and walk around.