Neck pain is discomfort in any of the structures in the neck. Neck pain may be caused by tight muscles, pinched nerves, as well as spinal vertebrae instability or the cushioning disks in-between each of the vertebrae.
Neck Pain is so common we even use it to describe other problems in our lives, “that is such a pain in the neck”. No matter how you look at it, neck pain is not an enjoyable thing. Whether trying to look over your shoulder to check for traffic, sitting in front of a computer or waking from a needed nap, neck pain can interfere with your life.
Advanced Injury Rehabilitation is prepared to help you rid yourself of your “pain in the neck”. We offer a full spectrum of treatments including muscle stretching, motion restoration, chiropractic adjustments and strengthening exercises to help maintain a pain-free lifestyle.
To truly assess what is ailing you, a thorough examination of joint motion, muscle strength and nerve impact needs to be completed. It is sometimes necessary to obtain some x-rays or request an MRI to see the cause of your pain.
Below are just a few causes of neck pain:
- Whiplash (Acceleration – Deceleration Injury)
- Herniated disk (Disk bulge)
- Spinal stenosis (Narrowing of spinal canal)
- Acute Neck Pain (New onset of Neck Pain)
- Periodic Neck Pain – worse mornings and evenings
- Fluctuating neck pain that persists for a few months
- Neck pain related to certain activities or positions
- Cervical Arthritis
- Infections of the Spine (Osteomyelitis, Diskitis, Abscess)
- Fractures (Broken bone)
All of these causes should be treated by a qualified physician, including the Doctors at Advanced Injury Rehabilitation.
For MINOR, common causes of neck pain:
Take over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB) or acetaminophen (Tylenol).
Apply heat or ice to the painful area. One good method is to use ice for the first 48 – 72 hours, then use heat after that. Heat may be applied with hot showers, hot compresses, or a heating pad. Do not fall asleep with a heating pad or ice bag as this may cause greater injury.
Stop normal physical activity for the first few days. This helps calm your symptoms and reduce inflammation, see your Chiropractor for tips and healing techniques.
Perform slow range-of-motion exercises — up and down, side to side, and from ear to ear — to gently stretch the neck muscles. Only go as far as the point of pain. “No Pain, No Gain” is not the mantra you need.
Have a partner gently massage the sore or painful areas.
Try sleeping on a firm mattress without a pillow or with a special neck pillow. The Doctors at Advanced Injury Chiropractic can help you find the right pillow for you.
Use a soft neck collar for a short period of time to relieve discomfort. Using one too long can make your neck muscles weaker.
You may want to reduce your activity only for the first couple of days. Then slowly resume your usual activities. After 2 – 3 weeks, slowly resume your normal exercises. You chiropractic physician or physical therapist can help you decide when to begin stretching and strengthening exercises and how to do them.
Avoid the following exercises during your initial recovery, unless your doctor or physical therapist says it is okay:
- Weight lifting
- Leg lifts when lying on your stomach
- Sit-ups with straight legs (rather than bent knees)