How To Fix Your Chronic Neck Pain: Three Important Tips!
Do you suffer from neck pain that just never goes away? Many people do.
Tension, stress, too much hunching over your computer – these are all causes of neck pain. Whether the result of an accident or worries, your neck can become a center of unrelenting pain in your body.
If this is a problem that you are facing, there is good news! You can find stress and pain relief through non-invasive treatments, including chiropractic care.
Giselle had this problem for a long time before visiting a chiropractor. She had intense, continuous pain in her neck as well as numbness in her hands.
Through treatment, however, she has found relief!
Giselle began visiting a chiropractor who worked with her to adjust her alignment and improve the function of her nerves. After two months, her numbness was gone and her neck pain had completely disappeared!
Giselle is now such a believer in chiropractic care, that she plans to not only continue, but to bring her small children as well!
Giselle’s enthusiasm and relief are a common sight at chiropractic clinics across the nation. Many patients, like Giselle, are reluctant to see a chiropractor, but again and again encourage others to “give it a try!”
Neck pain is very common, and we want you to find help. Please continue reading to find out about the causes of neck pain and how chiropractic care can help you find relief for chronic neck pain!
Why is Neck Pain So Common?
Your neck is one of the most vulnerable parts of your body and spine. Your lower back benefits from the support of your core muscles to hold it steady and strong. Your mid-back is supported by your ribs, which provide a framework to hold your back together.
Your neck, however, is basically on its own, with only the small muscles of your neck and the tendons and ligaments holding up your head to help it stay upright.
This means that some very small muscles have to work very hard in keeping your neck and head supported! Imagine that these small muscles are trying, every day, to keep a bowling ball balanced on a fence post.
The constant stress and work of these muscles, ligaments and tendons causes them to become irritated, overworked and painful over time.
What Are the Reasons for Neck Pain?
Your neck is very vulnerable, and that means that it is more likely to suffer from both daily, and traumatic events. Both bad posture and traumas like car accidents are significant reasons for neck pain.
Let’s talk about bad posture. For every inch your head moves forward as you hunch over your phone, book or computer, it can add up to ten pound of pressure and stress to your neck and down into your spine!
Imagine again that your head is like a bowling ball. If you were to carry a bowling ball in your arms, the further away from your body you stretched your arms out, the more stress you would feel in your shoulders.
This is what is happening to you neck when you lean your head forward. All the weight of your head (somewhere between ten and twelve pounds) is stressing the muscles and ligaments of your neck.
Since the average American spends something like 4.7 hours a day on their cell phone, that adds up to a lot of hours with your head shifted forward!
Whiplash and Car Accidents
Another common reason for chronic neck pain is a whiplash injury. These types of injuries are very common results of car accidents, but can also happen by tripping and falling or even someone, like a child, jumping on your back unexpectedly.
The reason it’s called a “whiplash” injury is because your head and neck move like a whip. First, your head whips back on your neck, and then sling-shotting forward violently, moving your head far out away from your body.
When you get in a car accident, your head will whip backward and forward from the impact of your car striking another car or fixed object. This causes damage to both the front and back of your neck, affecting the muscles, the tissues, the ligaments and the tendons.
This can also cause injury to the discs of your spine, causing inflammation, nerve irritation and causing significant problems. These problems can include neck pain, muscle spasms, numbness and tingling, headaches and migraines.
What Can I Do to Help My Neck Pain?
We can offer three important, non-invasive and non-pharmaceutical tips and ideas that will help you get relief from your neck pain. We encourage you to try all three!
Firstly, it’s important to work on your posture. Your pain won’t improve as long as you continue to try and hold the bowling ball of your head out and away from your body.
One easy way to focus on good posture is to visualize a string running from your feet, up through your body and out the top of your head.
Stand sideways in a mirror or have a friend or family member take a photo of you from the side, standing normally, and see if that string would be straight or not.
Then focus on pulling the imaginary thread up from the top of your head to pull your posture straight.
This will cause you to stand straighter, pull your chin in and tuck it slightly, and move your shoulders down and back. Your goal is to have your head directly over your shoulders and your shoulders directly over your hips.
Work on this activity until your posture improves, and that better posture is a habit!
2- Exercise and Stretching
Moving, instead of sitting still, is always going to be a better option for improving your muscle pain. Getting the blood moving to your tight and irritated muscles will help them relax and heal.
Try some stretches, like these recommended by Self magazine to feel better and relieve some of your pain. Take a long, hot shower to loosen things up and then stretch carefully and gently.Breathe deeply and hold each stretch for at least thirty seconds, concentrating on letting tension go.
You may also want to consider some neck strengthening exercises. These exercises can be as simple as a chin tuck against the wall, or consulting a yoga professional about what poses and movements will best help you relieve your neck pain.
Your neck muscles are most effectively stretched, and relieved of pain, when you practice strengthening your muscles as well!
3- Chiropractic Care
Finally, we encourage you to seek care from an experienced chiropractor. At Intero, we have years of experience treating patients like Giselle and helping many get relief from pain.
We will give you a full examination to see if chiropractic care can help you, and come up with a plan that will start you on the path to being pain-free. You should expect a physical and neurological exam, as well as a series of questions about your pain.
Your chiropractor will want to know when the pain started, what you have tried to seek relief, if you are feeling pain in any other parts of your body, and what, if anything works to make it better.
Your chiropractor may suggest a treatment plan that includes any combination of adjustments, massage or exercise. Your doctor will likely perform cervical adjustments, which involves adjusting the joints of your neck, by hand. This type of neck adjustment works to improve the mobility of the spine and to restore range of motion; it can also increase movement of the adjoining muscles.
Research shows that patients with chronic neck pain show significant improvement after chiropractic care. For this reason, we think chiropractic care is an important step that you can take on your path to being pain-free!