Neck Pain? How Chiropractic Care Can Help

Posted by Andy Thomas ● April 8, 2020

Neck pain is fairly common, especially as we get older. It seems like you can go to bed feeling fine and wake up in the morning with a kink in your neck that’s so painful you can’t turn your head! In some cases your neck pain can be relieved with some at-home care. However, if it keeps happening there could be an underlying problem that a chiropractor can help with. 

Common Causes of Neck Pain

  1. Sleeping in an odd position. Sleeping on your stomach is the worst position for your neck, but even sleeping on your side or back can sometimes cause you to have a stiff neck in the morning. If you are a stomach sleeper use a thin pillow or no pillow with a pillow under your hips to relieve pressure on the vertebrae in your neck. For side and back sleepers, be sure your pillow isn’t pushing your head into an awkward position.

  2. Poor posture. This can be from looking down at your phone for too long or sitting in an awkward position, especially if you’ve been working from home a lot and don’t have all of the ergonomically correct chairs and desks that you might have at the office. Make sure that you can always work with your neck in a neutral position without slouching or craning. Hold your phone up and more in front of you so you aren’t flipping through Facebook for an hour with your neck muscles overextended.

  3. Carrying heavy bags on a single shoulder. If you must carry a bag, either use a backpack to distribute the weight, or change sides and take breaks frequently.

  4. Whiplash injury.  A whiplash injury can be caused by more than a car accident. Any activity that might push your head forward and then back in a quick motion can cause you to have neck pain including some sports or even falling and banging your chin. You may not be able to avoid the injury, but take care to sleep in a good position to support your neck and use ice or heat to relieve the pain.

  5. Age-related spinal problems. You also can’t do much to avoid the problems we can develop in our neck caused by degenerative disc disorders or arthritis in the neck. There can be some relief given with chiropractic care to release the pressure on the vertebrae.

  6. Obesity. Carrying too much weight disrupts spinal balance, causing the neck to bend forward to compensate. Weak abdominal muscles can also cause this problem. Try to stay active and eat a healthy diet, especially during this period of time when we’re not in our regular routines. Even a few pounds lost can relieve some pressure on your spine.

  7. A pinched nerve in the neck. If you have pain that radiates down into an arm or you have numbness in your arm or fingers, the cause is likely either spinal stenosis or a pinched nerve (technically called radiculopathy). Chiropractic care can assist with relieving this type of pain.

At Home Neck Pain Treatments

If you are feeling pain in your neck you might first try some at-home care to see if the pain goes away with a day or two on its own

  • Change any activities that might be causing the pain. This might mean changing your position for sitting at your desk, sleeping with a different pillow or in a different position, and carrying your bags correctly.
  • Rest! But use a pillow and sleeping position that doesn’t put your neck at a sharp angle.
  • Ice or heat. Ice may be better in the first 2 days after you feel the pain, then switch to heat on the area a few times per day for about 15-20 minutes each time.
  • Gentle stretching of the neck by slowly rolling your head from side to side and front to back. 
  • Over the counter pain relievers like ibuoprofen or acetaminophen.

How Can a Chiropractor Treat your Neck Pain?

Depending on the cause, various kinds of chiropractic care for neck pain can be used. Neck pain treatments vary, but most are non-invasive and do not involve drugs.

Here are some treatments a chiropractor might recommend:

  1. Massage therapy. Massage given by a therapist experienced with neck pain can help relax the muscles in the neck and also reduce stress, which may be contributing to your tightness in the first place.
  2. Nonsurgical spinal decompression. This is gentle mechanical traction designed to reduce pressure on the discs. It is helpful for degenerative disc disease, bulging discs and spinal stenosis. Generally this involves a number of 15 to 30 minute treatment over a few weeks. Many patients find this allows them to avoid surgery.
  3. Cold laser therapy. We use Class IV MLS cold laser therapy, approved by the FDA to treat arthritis, back pain, and joint pain. A cold (that is non-heating) laser is applied to a specific area of the neck or back. This reduces inflammation and helps sprained and strained muscles and ligaments (such as from whiplash) heal faster.
  4. Electrical muscle stimulation. EMS is a drug-free pain relief treatment that helps relieve muscle pain, tightness and spasms. This is generally used in combination with other therapies, and can help manual adjustments work better and longer.

Our chiropractors can also do an adjustment that can help with aligning the spine and reducing neck pain. They can also provide a set of at-home neck stretches and ergonomic changes to help both heal and prevent neck pain.

If you have neck pain that has not gone away after a few days, which keeps recurring, or is radiating into other parts of your body, contact Village Chiropractic to schedule an appointment today.

Topics: neck pain