Many Adults Suffer From Acute Or Chronic Neck Pain
More than two-thirds of all adults suffer neck pain at one time or another. And while neck pain may be common, its causes are not always obvious.
But how does acute neck pain differ from chronic neck pain? Acute pain is typically fairly short-term, lasting anywhere from a few days to a few months. Chronic pain, however, is characterized by pain that lasts three months or longer. This type of debilitating pain can become permanently disabling if the underlying cause is not resolved.
Acute Neck Pain Culprits - From Whiplash To Wryneck
Acute neck pain is often associated with an injury, such as a whiplash or sports injury. A good example of a whiplash-associated neck injury is a low-speed rear-end auto accident. The fragile soft tissues and vertebrae that support your head and neck can be easily strained or torn during what appears to be a minor auto accident. If ignored or left untreated, neck pain due to whiplash can lead to chronic pain and permanent damage.
Another common cause of acute neck pain is wryneck, also known as torticollis. Wryneck, a painful twisting of the neck that causes the head to rotate and tilt at an odd angle, is caused by irritation to the nerves of the neck, resulting in neck muscle spasms. Wryneck can be caused by sleeping in an awkward position, anxiety, a herniated neck spinal disc, or even a neck muscle injury during birth. Interestingly, it is not uncommon for newborns to suffer from wryneck suffered during the birthing process.
Common Causes Of Chronic Neck Pain
Chronic pain is persistent and sometimes severe, and affects its victims both emotionally and physically. Causes of chronic pain can include post-traumatic arthritis, degenerative disc disease, nerve dysfunction, unresolved injury and soft tissue injury. For example, soft tissue injuries such as whiplash can often produce both acute and chronic pain.
Chronic headaches frequently accompany neck injuries, particularly when the root cause of the injury is spinal misalignment.
Poor posture and improper work station ergonomics are also known to frequently result in chronic neck pain.
Spinal Alignment Is Often The Key
Your spine is a miraculously intricate chain of vertebrae that is both fragile and yet incredibly resilient. It connects together to house and protect your spinal column, which makes movement possible and sustains life. Woven throughout your spinal column are billions of tiny nerves, constantly transmitting signals from the brain to your muscles, ligaments and organs. Should even one vertebra become slightly misaligned, nerve transmission can be affected resulting in neck and shoulder pain, headache, backache, carpal tunnel syndrome, and even infantile colic. Left untreated, degenerative disc disorders begin to take their toll on your body’s health.
Being Proactive Can Relieve And Prevent Neck Pain
Chiropractic doctors utilize a multi-faceted, proactive approach to the prevention and relief of neck pain. The most commonly used approach is through chiropractic adjustment, whereby a chirpopractic professional gently manipulates the misaligned spinal vertebrae, relieving pressure and restoring proper nerve transmission. But achieving long-term neck pain relief does not end there.
Strength Training Exercises
Chiropractic doctors often instruct patients to exercise their neck muscles, as strength training exercise has been shown to be incredibly helpful in pain reduction. This type of exercise program also helps prevent re-injury to the neck muscles that caused your pain and other symptoms in the first place.
Correct Your Poor Posture
Increasingly, people spend large portions of each day slouching over computers or sitting in front of a television. This poor posture can cause neck pain, make existing pain worse, and it can certainly make the pain last a lot longer. Poor posture is also plays a role in conditions like chronic headache, TMJ and shoulder pain.
The basis for good posture is maintaining a "neutral spine." A neutral spine is based on three natural curves including a small hollow at the base of the neck, a small roundness at the middle back, and a small hollow in the low back. So stand up straight, don’t slouch, and be sure to incorporate more movement into your day to correct poor posture.
Stop Stressing Out
Stress and anxiety are known to raise your blood pressure and put you at risk for a myriad of other diseases. It also is one of the leading causes of neck pain and associated headaches.
Allowing yourself to become angry and frustrated causes more anxiety, more tension, and ultimately, more pain. Howver, developing coping strategies involving self-assurance will go a long way toward defusing the situations that cause you to stress out.
Life can certainly be a pain in the neck at times, but that does not mean you are powerless to control it. Working together with a professional chiropractic doctor, you can take charge of your neck pain and enjoy a healthy, pain-free lifestyle.