It wasn’t just that one thing that caused your neck pain!
Many everyday things we do can cause neck pain, such as using a computer, looking down at your cellphone, watching television, reading a book, or falling asleep in chair. Often the pain is temporary, and goes away on its own, usually once you stop the problem activity and your body recovers. If the pain doesn’t resolve on its own, continues to persist or even gets worse, a more serious underlying problem could be the cause.
Your neck is vulnerable to abuse doing these everyday activities. It must maintain its proper spinal joint alignment and movement in order to permit the free flow of nerve signals to the head, face, shoulders, arms and hands, as well as allow the flow of signals beyond your neck to the rest of your body. Besides the obvious annoyance, ongoing neck pain is a major sign that something is wrong.
Determining the Cause Leads to the Best Solution
A proper examination by your chiropractor can determine if chiropractic adjustments can help, and if you’re a candidate for care. The examination may involve tests of your ability to move your neck and head, or other parts of your spine and body. Your chiropractor may examine the muscle tone of the spine and alignment of the spinal bones, known as vertebrae. Non-invasive nerve testing may be performed to measure the function of the nerves controlling the structures of your neck. These and other tests are used to identify the cause of your neck pain. If your chiropractor determines that diagnostic imagining would be helpful in diagnosing your problem and determining the best treatment approach, they may order x-rays or other recommend other testing.
The most common cause of neck involves functional distortions in the spine and its nerves resulting from vertebral subluxation. In this state, the spine loses proper alignment, and at these affected levels, the signals transmitted by the nerves can be distorted, leading to increased muscle contraction to protect the joints involved. The pain-sensing nerves that are trying to send signals up to your brain might also get their signals affected, resulting in a different perception of pain by your brain than would match the severity of the problem. Chiropractic care involving spinal adjustments can help. By normalizing the spinal bone alignment and the nerve signals at these levels, muscle tone can return to normal as the body heals, and the problem that caused the pain in the first place heals.
Because the alignment of your spine is so important for its proper function and your body’s overall health, there are many pain-sensing nerves in the pairs of facet joints near the back of each vertebra. The smooth surfaces face those of the adjacent vertebra and slide past each other to allow you to rotate your head and bend it up and down. If these joints become fixated due to misalignment of the spine at these levels, pain can result. Chiropractic care can restore the alignment and proper joint motion.
Be Aware of the Risks of Ignoring Your Neck Pain
If left unchecked and uncorrected, over time, these misaligned spinal joints will begin to wear out and decay. These degenerative changes that result from neglect can include bone spurs, disc thinning and erosion of the facet joints. This process is the most common type of arthritis. If your chiropractor suspects that spinal degeneration is contributing to your problem, it is one of the reasons that they may recommend x-rays in order to visualize these arthritic changes.
Spinal degeneration can be a main reason for you responding more slowly to chiropractic care, or for a longer duration of care than someone else you know who suffered neck pain that didn’t involve spinal degeneration. For those with spinal degeneration, some type of ongoing supportive chiropractic care may be necessary.