Contrary to widespread belief, anyone at any age can have debilitating neck pain. Within a year's time, neck pain occurs in about one out of three individuals. Your chance of developing neck pain increases as you age, and you are more likely to develop neck pain if you are a woman. Here are some of the symptoms you may feel with neck pain:
- A stabbing or burning pain
- A persistent ache
- Increased sensitivity to mild pressure applied to the neck
- Increased tightening/tension in the muscles in the neck
- Neck pain plus headache and numbness or tingling in one or both arms
Causes of Neck Pain
If you have any neck pain from a serious accident such as a motor vehicle accident or fall, it’s important to see your doctor right away. There could be a multitude of reasons why you are experiencing neck pain which could be from injuries or medical issues. Here are some conditions that can cause you pain in your neck:
- Mental stress: If you tighten your muscles when you are stressed out this can cause stiffness and pain.
- Physical strain: When you overuse your neck muscles this can cause pain and stiffness.
- Injury: When you have any trauma due to any sudden movements of your head or neck this can cause soreness. When you have a traumatic injury, many parts of your body can be affected such as ligaments, muscles, nerve roots in your spinal cord, and vertebral joints.
- Aging: When you have conditions that are degenerative such as spinal stenosis and osteoarthritis, they can cause pain as time goes on. An increased amount of stress can lead to spinal disc degeneration causing a pinched nerve or herniated disc.
- Conditions that affect spinal balance: Being overweight, having weak abdominal muscles, and having poor posture can affect your spine and increase your chances of neck pain.
- Other health conditions: Conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, and meningitis.
- Growths: Having a growth that contributes to neck pain is rare, but some growths that can cause neck pain would be cysts, tumors, and even bone spurs.
When To See Your Doctor
You may be wondering when you should go see your provider once you start developing neck pain. As mentioned above, you should always go see your doctor immediately if your neck pain is a result of an injury. If you develop neck pain that comes hand in hand with numbness, tingling or weakness, or a headache you should contact your healthcare provider right away. If you also notice your neck pain becomes severe or persists for several days without relief or the pain spreads down your legs or arms you should make it a priority to be seen immediately.
Prevention of Neck Pain
The majority of neck pain cases are due to aging, as well as poor posture. When trying to make a difference in your pain in terms of posture it will help if you try your best to keep your head centered over your spine. There are also changes you can make within your daily life that may help. Here are things you can try to do to alleviate your neck pain:
- Adjust your computer, desk, and chair so your computer screen is at eye level. Your knees should be a little bit lower than your hips and make sure to take advantage of the armrests of your chair.
- Take breaks often: If you travel often or must go long distances make sure to take time to get up and get your body moving. This also pertains to anyone who may be staring at the computer for a long period of time.
- Try to quit smoking: If you are someone who smokes, this can increase neck pain.
- Adjust your posture: Make sure when you are standing your shoulders are straight over your hips and your ears are right over your shoulders. Try not to bend your neck down when looking at any electronic devices.
- Stay active: Keep your body moving by exercising if you don’t already.
- Sleep in a healthy position: While this may be hard because some people move a lot in their sleep, using a small pillow under your neck can help you keep your head and neck aligned with your body. Sleeping on your back with your thighs at a higher level will help flatten your spinal muscles.
If you have any questions or want to book an appointment, WNY Chiropractic are here to help you! You can call us at (716) 282-2888.