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Jun. 14 2017 Published by: Dr. Craig Singer

What Causes Neck Pain – and What Can You Do about It?

Category: Neck Pain

What Causes Neck Pain – and What Can You Do about It?

You wake up after a night of rest feeling pretty good – until you attempt the seemingly simple act of turning your head. Sharp, shooting pain tells you that’s not a great idea. You sit up carefully, doing your best not to move your neck at all. What the heck is going on?

Chances are, you’ve experienced something like this before in your life. Neck pain and stiffness are fairly common. There are a lot of reasons why they occur. In the particular instance described above, you most likely slept with your neck at a bad angle, causing the muscles to be stiff and tight. Generally, this type of neck pain will work itself out fairly quickly. You’ll be back to your old self in no time.

If you are dealing with chronic neck pain though, the reasons behind it – and how to alleviate it – can be a bit more complicated.

Common Causes of Neck Pain

Muscle tension. Okay, so technically this is the exact type of neck pain described above. The difference is that the above pain was due to a single night of sleeping in a bad position. What if it wasn’t an isolated incident though? What if you woke up every day feeling that way?

There are a number of things that can lead to chronic muscle tension in your neck, including:

  • General bad posture
  • Sitting at a desk all day
  • Jerking your neck around during exercise or other regular activities

Injuries. If your neck is whipped around in some kind of accident, it can cause a couple different kinds of injuries. Sudden, extreme jerking of the neck is called “whiplash.” It can involve issues like pulled muscles. In serious cases, bones or cervical vertebrae can actually be fractured.

Arthritis. You might not think of arthritis as something that affects the neck, but it can. Generally speaking, rheumatoid arthritis makes your joints swell and causes pain and bone spurs. We’re used to hearing about how these things happen in hands and fingers, but they can occur in other parts of the body as well, including the neck. When they do, pain is often the end result.

Degeneration of cervical discs. This tends to happen as people get older. Basically, it is a condition narrows the space between your vertebrae, which puts extra stress on your joints. This extra stress, in turn, can result in neck pain.

Neck Pain Fort Lauderdale

Ruptured or slipped disc. Sometimes a trauma or injury can cause a disc to protrude. This will put extra pressure on your nerve roots or spinal cord, which can cause pain in the neck.

Fibromyalgia. We’re still in the process of learning a lot about this condition, which results in muscle pain throughout your entire body. What we do know, though, is that, while pain related to fibromyalgia can be anywhere in the body, often the shoulder and neck region are hit particularly hard.

Osteoporosis. A condition that weakens bones and can lead to minor fractures. Most often this is something that happens in hands and feet, but the neck can be affected as well.

Spinal stenosis. If you suffer from arthritis or other conditions that cause ongoing inflammation, it can eventually lead to spinal stenosis, where the spinal column narrows. This puts additional pressure on the spinal cord or nerve roots and can cause neck pain.

Those are just the most common reasons. In some cases, ongoing neck pain has been found to be caused by a wide variety of things, including:

  • Abscesses
  • Cancer
  • Infections
  • Tumors

How to Deal with Neck Pain

There are a number of things that you can do to help manage and alleviate chronic neck pain. Your approach will depend on what works best for you.

Take medicine. There are many medicines designed to relax your muscles and reduce pain and inflammation. The downside of this approach is that you’re not really getting to the root of the problem, just making it more bearable in the short-term.

See a physical therapist. Going to physical therapy can allow you to strengthen your neck muscles and improve your neck mobility, so that strains are less likely to happen in the future. Physical therapists can also show you how to move your neck to avoid these types of strains.

Talk it out. This may seem strange, but studies have shown that emotional issues can make neck pain worse. Because of this, if you are dealing with something stressful or emotional in your life, it can be valuable to talk about those issues.

Fort Lauderdale Chiropractic

Get a neck adjustment. Chiropractors use all kinds of physical treatments to deal with neck pain, including electrical STIM therapy, ultrasound, and more. One of the most common is cervical manipulation or a neck adjustment, which they use restore range of motion and improve your spine’s mobility. After an adjustment, people tend to experience less pain and stiffness and find it easier to tilt and turn their head.

If you’re interested in learning about additional ways that a chiropractor can help you with neck or other types of pain, feel free to reach out to our office.

 

About the Author:

Dr. Singer has been a practicing chiropractor for more than 20 years, and USA Health & Therapy has been around since 2004. Over the course of his career, Singer has helped tens of thousands of people with all kinds of issues by using a wide variety of treatment strategies. He has extensive knowledge of chiropractic modalities, including Gonstead, Diversified, Thompson Drop Table, and Activator, and in 1997 he earned a special adjunctive Chiropractic Certification in Spinal Trauma (CCST) to better provide care for car crash victims. Dr. Singer is licensed to practice chiropractic medicine in both Florida and New York.

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3434 Northeast 12th Avenue
Oakland Park, FL 33334-4523
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