Common Causes of Neck Pain and How Chiropractic Care Can Help

5 min read

Pain in the neck can make you feel miserable. If your neck pain results from an injury, fall, or auto accident, get medical treatment right away. If your neck pain wasn’t caused by a recent trauma the most likely causes are poor posture, previous injuries, or normal wear and tear on your body. Your neck pain is probably causing you some of these symptoms:

  • Stiff neck 
  • Limited ability to move your head without pain
  • Sharp or stabbing pain that can run up into the back of your head, or down your spine
  • Muscle spasms
  • General soreness or tenderness in your neck
  • Pain that extends to your shoulders, arms, or fingers

Causes of Neck Pain

Neck pain is a common complaint; almost 20% of adults have neck pain or discomfort on any given day. Most times, it’s caused by sleeping in an abnormal position or poor posture. Other causes include:

  1. Muscle strain can be caused by overuse or poor posture from sitting at a computer or bending over a workbench.
  2. Osteoarthritis that wears away the cartilage that cushions your vertebrae, leaving bone rubbing on bone. Bone spurs can develop narrowing the spinal canal and putting pressure on nerve endings that cause pain in the neck. This is called cervical stenosis.
  3. Nerve compression from a bone spur on one of the seven vertebrae in your neck or a herniated disk in your spine. It can put painful pressure on nerves that result in tingling in the back, arms and fingers.
  4. Whiplash is a type of muscle strain common after an auto accident, especially a rear-end collision. It whips your head back and then forward, straining soft tissues in the neck. Whiplash can make your neck very painful and stiff, and it’s worse when you turn your head. Joints, muscles, and ligaments can become inflamed. Some people also have dizziness, nausea, muscle spasms, and swelling. Be sure you’re checked out by a medical professional to be sure it’s only whiplash and not a more serious condition caused by an auto accident or sudden fall.
  5. Previous injuries of the neck can result in arthritis, cervical stenosis or other problems many months, or years, later. 

What Can You Do at Home to Reduce Neck Pain?

Many people find that at-home care, combined with chiropractic treatment, can relieve their neck pain, stiffness, and swelling over the course of a few weeks. 

At-home treatments can include special exercises to stretch the painful area and hot/cold compresses for 10 minutes several times a day. Other things that may help you include:

  • Check your sleep position. The head and neck should be lined up with your spine. Try a small pillow under your neck and sleep on your back. It might be more comfortable to elevate your thighs on pillows. This flattens the muscles along your spine. 
  • Check your posture. Whether sitting, standing or walking, be aware if you’re “out of alignment.” Line up your ears over your shoulders and your shoulders in a straight line over your hips. Keep your head comfortably centered over your spine. 
  • Take frequent breaks. At least every hour, stand up and walk around, and stretch your neck and shoulders. 
  • Adjust your workspace. Adjust your desk, chair, and computer screen, so the monitor is at eye level. Knees should be slightly lower than hips. Use a headset or speakerphone instead of tucking the phone under your chin.  
  • Don’t carry heavy bags with straps over your shoulder to prevent straining your neck.

Consider Chiropractic Care for Neck Pain

While most neck pain improves on its own if your neck hurts enough to restrict your normal activities for more than a few days, consider other pain-relief methods. Chiropractic care is one of the ways many people choose to improve their neck mobility without long-term use of medications or surgeries. It provides a non-invasive, non-addictive alternative that has been proven to be safe and effective. 

Chiropractic adjustments, or manipulations, plus special exercises that your chiropractor can teach you, work better than pain medications for most people. We can also use other methods for pain relief such as electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) or cold laser therapy to promote blood flow to the neck for faster healing.

Some of the reasons to seek chiropractic care for neck pain are:

  • You’re not getting better. If, after a few days, your stiff neck isn’t loosening up, you may need different care.
  • You’re using pain medications regularly because of the pain. Having that much pain is not normal.
  • Your pain is spreading to other parts of your body, or you’re feeling tingling or numbness in your wrists, hands, or other places.
  • You feel a sharp pain in your neck when you move your head left, right, up, or down.
  • Your neck pain is worse in the morning when you wake up and gets better as the day progresses. 
  • You suspect the pain may be due to a more serious condition. 
  • Pain started a couple of days after an auto accident.   

  Related Read: Neck Pain? How Chiropractic Care Can Help

How Chiropractic Care Works to Relieve Neck Pain

Chiropractic adjustments reduce joint stiffness or restrictions and correct misalignments of the spine and other joints in the body. Adjustments can reduce inflammation and improve the function of both joints and your nervous system, allowing blood flow and relieving pain. 

Chiropractors use several techniques when helping to relieve neck pain. Different techniques work better for different people. Treatment is based on the type of injury you have, your preferences, and pain tolerance. 

It’s important to know your options for relief from neck pain. At Village Chiropractic in The Woodlands, we’ll first understand your pain and what may be causing it. Then we can walk you through treatment options that could bring relief from your neck pain. Call for an appointment today. Don’t suffer anymore with a painful, stiff neck. We’re here to help you. 

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