Neck pain is one of the most common conditions chiropractors encounters and treat. According to the National Institute of Health Statistics national survey, neck pain is the second most common form of pain in the United States following back pain. An estimated three quarters of Americans will be affected by neck pain at some point in their lifetime.
The neck begins at the base of the skull and contains seven small vertebrae. The neck or rather the cervical spine supports the full weight of your head, which weighs on average 12 pounds. The cervical spine is very flexible in which it can move your head in nearly every direction but this feature also makes the neck very susceptible to pain and injury.
The neck’s susceptibility to injury is due in part to biomechanics. Neck pain can be very bothersome, and it can have a variety of causes. Below are the most common causes for neck pain:
- Injury and Accidents: A sudden forced movement of the head or neck in any direction is known as whiplash. The sudden “whipping” motion injures the surrounding and supporting muscles and ligaments of the neck and head. Muscles react by tightening and contracting, creating muscle fatigue, which can result in pain and stiffness. Severe whiplash can also be associated with injury to the intervertebral joints, discs, ligaments, muscles, and nerve roots. Car accidents are the most common cause of whiplash.
- Normal Aging: “Wear and tear” disorders such as osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis, and degenerative disc disease directly affect the spine.
- Osteoarthritis, a common joint disorder, causes progressive deterioration of cartilage. The body reacts by forming bone spurs that affect joint motion.
- Spinal stenosis causes the small nerve passageways in the vertebrae to narrow, thereby compressing nerve roots. Stenosis may cause neck, shoulder, and arm pain, as well as numbness.
- Degenerative disc disease can cause reduction in the elasticity and height of intervertebral discs. Over time, a disc may bulge or herniate, causing tingling, numbness, and pain that can radiate into the arms.
- Daily Life: Poor posture, obesity, and weak abdominal muscles often disrupt spinal balance, causing the neck to bend forward to compensate. Stress and emotional tension can cause muscles to tighten and contract, resulting in pain and stiffness. Postural stress can contribute to chronic neck pain with symptoms extending into the upper back and the arms.
Whatever the cause for your neck pain, ProSpine Chiropractors can evaluate and customize a treatment plan to meet your needs and goals. If your issue can not be addressed, ProSpine Chiropractors will refer you to the proper specialist to meet your needs so you can return to a healthy and pain free life. Call today if you have any questions or would like to be evaluated.