Neck Pain: What is it and How is it Caused?
Pain in your cervical spine, or neck area, can be related to a variety of causes. Many patients wake up one day with a stiff neck, and cannot recall doing anything that would have set it off. After discussing their history further, we usually uncover an old car accident, a fall or a distant sport injury where their neck was suddenly snapped in an awkward motion. While these episodes can seem relatively minor at the time, and may have not been particularly painful, they can lead to severe neck pain and bigger problems down the road.
Altered Biomechanics of the Cervical Spine
During an injury to the cervical spine, in which the muscles and ligaments are overstretched, those soft tissues are damaged. This leads to scar tissue being laid down to repair the damage. This tissue is stronger than the original tissues, but it is less pliable. This causes the joints in the neck to move differently, which we call altered biomechanics of the cervical spine. Over time, this will lead to stiffness, or reduced range of motion. The combination of altered movement and reduced motion causes wear and tear on the joints of the neck. This wear and tear is what is commonly called arthritis or osteoarthritis. This process can take years or decades before it gets to the point that it becomes symptomatic and starts causing pain.
Poor Posture, Improper Ergonomics & Heavy Bags
Other factors contribute to neck pain as well. Improper ergonomics with computer use or work activities is a major factor. Sitting for long periods of time without proper support, in an awkward position, or slumping in your chair and craning your neck forward to see the screen all take their toll on the body. Poor posture in general will put extra stress on the joints and muscles of the neck. Heavy purses or bags pull unevenly on the shoulder and overwork the lower neck muscles.
Effective Treatment for Neck Pain: Chiropractic, Physical Therapy & Therapeutic Massage
The good news is, no matter how it got started, neck pain generally responds well to chiropractic treatment. By gently realigning the vertebrae, or the bones in the neck, we can improve joint motion. If there is a significant amount of trigger points, or tender nodules in the muscles, deep tissue massage from our massage therapist can help address that component as well. Once the pain is calmed down, physical therapy is important to retrain and strengthen the area to help keep the neck feeling and functioning better.
Give the team at Superior Spine Care in North Olmsted a call today to schedule an initial patient evaluation and see if we can help with your neck pain.