The Top 3 Misunderstandings About Neck Pain

the-top-3-misunderstandings-about-neck-painMost people will experience neck pain at some point in their lives, and it can be very uncomfortable to live with.  The commonness of this problem is so widespread that it is basically inevitable that everyone will have some kind of neck pain or discomfort.  Sometimes the pain is sharp or dull, it may radiate through the shoulders and arms, and it could be related to numbness or weakness. Neck pain can be very hard to deal with because there is so much information out there, making it hard to know what to trust.  We have listed 3 of the most prevalent misunderstandings about neck pain and included 3 facts to help clear up any misconceptions.

Myth #1: Aging and Neck Pain Is Normal

This could be one of the top myths regarding neck pain and back pain.  While many people accept their daily aches and pains as a regular part of the aging process, not everyone experiences neck pain.  In fact, even if your parents suffered from chronic neck pain, it does not mean that you are destined to as well. In most cases, neck pain issues do not have a genetic component.  The problem with accepting your pain as a normal part of growing older is that it can prevent you from getting the necessary care that would help you. Similar to any other health condition, delaying care and ignoring the issue can lead to worsening of the problem.  The good news is that many causes of neck pain can be cared for naturally and effectively.

Myth #2: Unless I Have a Physically Demanding Job, My Workplace Is Not Causing My Neck Pain

Physically demanding jobs that require heavy lifting, pushing, and pulling can definitely be a source of neck pain.  But it’s important not to underestimate the physical demands of office jobs that require long hours of sitting, which can have just as serious of physical results. Set up your workstation in a way that helps you combat issues like slouching, twisting, and turning.  For example, ensuring that your computer monitor is set at eye level to prevent your neck from being bent forward for the most of your day is just one way of improving your work environment. The use of mobile devices such as tablets and cell phones can be a problem.  It’s valuable to take into account that the average weight of an adult’s head is 10-12 pounds. When tilting your head down at a 45-degree angle, it multiples the force exerted on the head’s supporting structures to somewhere around 49 pounds, and at a 60-degree angle, it’s more like 60 pounds.  Doing this for hours on a daily basis adds up to a lot of cumulative stress on the spine, muscles, and ligaments of the neck.

Myth #3: Neck Pain Is Just an Indicator That I Need to Rest

The usual response for most people experiencing neck discomfort is to grab an over-the-counter painkiller and get a little rest. While a brief period of rest can have a positive impact for certain neck problems, for chronic neck pain that happens over and over, long periods of rest could potentially contribute to your condition.  Long periods without activity and exercise can lead to muscle atrophy, pain, and stiffness, resulting in a frustrating cycle of pain preventing activity and inactivity leading to more pain. A few approvable and mild types of exercise are swimming, yoga, and walking. These are all excellent options for when you decide to reintroduce activity back into your daily routine.

Fact #1: The Cause of Your Neck Pain Doesn’t Have to Be a Major Injury

It may seem natural to ignore neck pain that follows a seemingly minor fender bender or injury on the sports field.  However, it doesn’t take much to injure the many complex structures of your neck. Your cervical spine, composed of 7 vertebrae, is supported by many soft tissues.  During an accident, vertebrae can subtly shift out of alignment, straining muscles and spraining ligaments. Being proactive and getting proper care after even a minor incident can prevent more serious problems from developing in the future.

Fact #2: Strengthening Your Neck and Correcting Your Posture Is Up to You

If you have a habit of using poor posture, it can feel impossible to correct this at first.  The reason for this is that when you have spent many months or years using poor posture, correcting that posture can feel unnatural.  This could indicate changes that have happened in your spinal alignment and your muscle balance. Doing the work to strengthen key muscle groups (such as your core) and stretch notoriously tight ones (such as your hamstrings) are great ways to help you to feel more natural in proper posture when you’re sitting or standing.  It’s not usually the first thing that we think of, but posture has a vital role in our overall health because the vertebrae of the spine are in charge of protecting the body’s central nervous system.

Fact #3: You Can Do Something About Your Neck Pain

For many people who deal with pain on some level day after day, it can be extremely discouraging. Suffering from chronic neck pain and discomfort can be exhausting, especially when you feel that you have tried every care option out there and feel unsure about continuous medication use and the side-effects that come with it.  

An Effective, Natural Option for Neck Pain Relief

One form of treatment that is gaining popularity is upper cervical chiropractic care.  Upper cervical care is unique because we focus on the part of the spine that moves the most freely and is the most susceptible to misalign.  The C1 (atlas) and C2 (axis) vertebrae are different from all the other bones in the spine because they carry the weight of the head and allow the wide range of motion that the head can do.  These two bones also house the brainstem, protecting this critical component of the central nervous system. An upper cervical misalignment, also called subluxation, can have adverse effects on the way your neck feels and moves, and can even constrict blood flow between the head and neck, and normal nervous system activity.

When our offices receive patients who are suffering from neck pain, we exercise a very detailed and systematic approach to identify the root cause of their issue.  Our goal is not to chase the symptoms but to accomplish long-lasting relief. Upper cervical adjustments are gentle, precise, and designed to stay in place longer than the average adjustment, which is why many of our patients report long-lasting results. We would love for you to come and visit our office to see how we can help you with your specific condition.