A human's neck consists of seven vertebrae that are supported by several muscles and ligaments. Neck pain can occur when your neck's muscles, joints, and ligaments become inflamed or irritated. It can range from minor discomfort to excruciating and debilitating pain. When you're experiencing neck pain alongside other symptoms, you should get immediate medical attention.
Regarding neck pain treatment, chiropractic care, and exercises are better than drugs. A 2012 research study by Annals of Internal Medicine, proved that going to a chiropractor and engaging in a light workout routine can relieve neck pain more efficiently than merely relying on pain medication like aspirin, narcotics, or ibuprofen.
The study included over 270 adult respondents that were experiencing neck pain with no specific causes. The respondents were separated into three groups and underwent different treatments for 12 weeks. One group took standard taking of pain-relieving medications, the other did exercises, and the final group regularly saw a chiropractor for three months. After 12 weeks, the individuals that were under the non-medication groups experienced less pain than those taking the medication. 57% who met chiropractors and 48% who exercised reported feeling at least 75% cut in pain than the 33% who took drugs.
That's why if you're experiencing neck pain, it's best to call a chiropractor or exercise rather than rely on drugs. But before going to your chiropractors and try different workout regimes, it's better to know more about neck pain, its causes, and symptoms to help you distinguish it and get treatment fast.
Causes of Neck Pain
Our neck is also known as the cervical spine and starts at the skull's bases consisting of seven vertebrae, supporting a person's head's full weight. Although the neck allows you to move your head in almost all directions, this flexibility makes it prone to pain and injury. Neck pain can be bothersome and has an array of causes.
Here are some of the most common causes of neck pain:
- Whiplash - The most common cause of neck pain in adults is 'whiplash,' which is an injury that you can acquire during accidents, mainly car accidents. Whiplash happens when your neck or head moves in any direction, injuring the surrounding and supporting tissues around these areas. When you get whiplashed, the muscles around your neck and head will tighten, producing muscle fatigue, resulting in stiffness and sharp pain.
- Age - As a person grows older, they become more susceptible to degenerative orders, including spinal stenosis, osteoarthritis, and degenerative disc disease.
- Cervical Osteoarthritis - This is also known as cervical spondylosis and is a condition that involves the degeneration of discs, joints, and bones of the cervical spine or neck.
- Spinal Stenosis - It causes tiny never passageways in the spine to narrow, which compresses and traps nerve roots, causing shoulder, arm, and neck pain. It may also cause numbness around the neck and head.
- Degenerative Disc Disease - This condition reduces intervertebral discs' elasticity, causing these discs to bulge and herniation. It can create a feeling of numbness, tingling sensation, and sharp pain from the neck to the arm.
- Lifestyle - Having an unhealthy lifestyle, including weak abdominal muscles, obesity, and poor posture, can disrupt the spine's optimal balance. These factors cause the neck to bend slightly forward to compensate, forcing the muscles to contract and tighten, resulting in excruciating pain.
- Other Causes - In rare cases, neck pain can be due to tumors, cancer, infections, or growth abnormalities.
Although almost everyone experiences occasional neck pain, it's not something that people should tolerate. The cause of neck pain is broad. That's why when you start experiencing stiffness, limited range of motion, sharp pain, and general soreness around your neck, it's best to go to a chiropractor. They can help pinpoint your neck pain's root cause and form a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs.
Natural Benefits and Risks of Chiropractic Care for Neck Pain
The chiropractic treatment for neck pain is called 'neck adjustments,' and it's a non-medication or all-natural alternative to surgery or drugs. It's an effective method in alleviating neck pain, and only chiropractors are qualified to perform them safely. Neck adjustments can involve using chiropractic instruments or traction tables or only the expert chiropractor's hands.
Besides providing a natural and safe way of easing neck pain, here are the benefits of chiropractic neck adjustments:
- Neck adjustments can reduce muscle inflammation.
- Chiropractic neck manipulation effectively relieves pressure and tension.
- It restores the neck's proper range of motion.
- The treatment can restore the proper alignment of the neck's muscle and vertebrae.
- It can help eliminate the tension and restriction in the neck's muscles.
While chiropractic practices pose some risks like other treatment methods, most are mild or rare. For instance, one risk of chiropractic care is patients experiencing subtle soreness and stiffness the day after their neck adjustment, which is normal because their neck muscles are readjusting or recovering to the sudden movement. This pain is similar after you finish a great workout session.
Risks of Other Neck Pain Treatment Options
It's essential to compare the chiropractic neck adjustment method to other medical treatment options to ease neck pain if you care about efficiency and health risk factors. For instance, prescription or OTC (Over-The-Counter) painkillers can temporarily alleviate the pain, but it also introduces new risks.
When you compare chiropractic risks against these medical risks, the best treatment for neck pain should be clear.
- Drug Addiction - Most painkillers contain opiates, a highly addictive substance derived from the opium poppy. Although it can provide short-term relief for your neck pain, it can drastically increase your risk of developing an addiction to the drug. Never rely on strong painkillers for your neck pain, it's best to get effective corrective care like chiropractic neck adjustments to avoid undesirable side effects like this one.
- Surgical and Post-Op Complications - If you undergo chiropractic treatment, surgery may not be necessary, which can save you from several surgery mistakes and complications that carry far more severe consequences. Risks that come with surgery include postoperative infection, atrophy (loss of muscle tissue), deconditioning, and bone mineral loss.
- Pharmaceutical Side Effects - OTC painkillers or NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) can cause side effects ranging from mild to life-threatening conditions. A mild side effect can be either fatigue or dizziness, and severe side effects include organ damage or hemorrhage (internal bleeding).
- Anesthesia Risks - A branch of surgical complications includes anesthesia risks as the substance is necessary for surgical neck procedures, especially for individuals with existing cardiovascular conditions.
These numerous complications that come with other neck pain treatment methods are why experts suggest chiropractic care or exercise over drugs and other procedures. If you're not too keen on visiting a chiropractor just yet, you can always try reducing your neck pain with exercise.
Exercises for Neck Pain
If your neck pain isn't severe but is still noticeable, self-therapy or exercise is a great way to alleviate the pain. Below are the best and most effective practices you can do to relieve neck pain.
There are a few muscles associated with neck pain, and you can do some stretching exercises to reduce pain and bring these muscles to their proper positions. A great way to stretch is by standing or sitting sporting a relaxed posture while keeping your shoulders on your sides and bringing your left ear to your left shoulder. Repeat the same process but on your right sides and hold it for 10 seconds thrice for each side.
A chink tuck is a great exercise that can alleviate neck pain while stretching your neck's deepest muscles. You can perform this exercise by lying down on a flat surface or standing straight. If you're doing the latter, ensure you're sporting a natural posture and start pulling your chin back. If you're lying down, press the back of your head into a soft surface gently. For both variations, all you need to do is hold the position for at least 10 seconds and repeat it thrice.
If you're experiencing mild neck pain or stiffness, it's best to try out these exercises to alleviate the symptoms with ease. However, if the pain doesn't go away even after vigorously doing these exercises, it's time to see a chiropractor. And in rare cases, neck pain can indicate something much more severe.
When Should I Consider Chiropractic Care?
If you're experiencing neck pain alongside different symptoms, it's best to visit your chiropractor Yentz Family Chiropractic for immediate medical attention. These conditions include severe headaches, sharp pain in your shoulders, numbness on your arms or hands, difficulty speaking, blurred vision, and loss of balance. Visiting a chiropractor from Yentz Family Chiropractic will help you determine the cause of your neck pain and create a unique treatment plan that will start your journey towards a speedy recovery.
Besides neck adjustments, Yentz Family Chiropractic also offers several chiropractic treatments for different conditions, including spinal decompression, stress, headaches, auto accident injuries, and common sports injuries.
Avoid taking drugs for temporary relief and visit Yentz Family Chiropractic and get the all-natural treatment you deserve for long-term relief, helping you achieve better health and healthier overall well-being.