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The neck, also known as the cervical spine, begins at the base of the skull and is made up of seven small vertebrae. The critical task of holding up one’s head, which weighs about 12 pounds on average, lies directly on the neck. The biomechanics of the neck – the flexibility it has and the function of moving the head in nearly every direction – contribute to its susceptibility to pain and injury.

Neck pain is a common condition, occurring in more than 66% of the population. It can be difficult to determine the exact cause due to the wide range of causes, from a neck injury like whiplash to viral or bacterial infections like meningitis to sleeping wrong. Symptoms can also vary widely, from mildly annoying to so excruciatingly painful that one avoids any movement at all.

Symptoms of Neck Pain

  • Stiffness: soreness and difficulty moving, especially turning the head side to side

  • Sharp pain: stabbing or stinging, localized in one spot, often in the lower neck

  • General soreness: tender or achy

  • Radiating pain: radiates from neck into shoulders and/or arms, may feel like burning or searing

  • Tingling, numbness, or weakness: radiates into shoulder, arm, fingers; “pins-and-needles” sensation; typically in one arm

  • Trouble with gripping or lifting objects: tingling, numbness, weakness in fingers

  • Migraines: tight muscles or pinched nerves can cause pain to radiate into the head


Common Causes

  • Sleeping in a wrong position: sleeping in an awkward or atypical position

  • Sports injury: collision or fall while playing a sport; stinger, when nerves in the neck/shoulder are impacted and pain, numbness, and weakness can radiate down the shoulder, arm, and hand

  • Poor posture: the head tilted forward for long periods of time causing the muscles, tendons, and ligaments to work harder; poor posture while working at a computer, watching TV, reading a book, gardening, etc; text neck is a common problem due to spending hours looking down at the phone while texting

  • Repetitive motion: turning the head repeatedly, such as side to side while dancing or swimming

  • Holding the head in unusual position: cradling a phone between the head and shoulder while talking, watching an air show

  • Whiplash: when the head and neck are quickly jolted forward and backward with a great deal of force (auto accident), possibly tearing or rupturing soft tissue near the cervical spine

  • Degenerative disc disease: wear and tear on the spine, disc dehydration; can lead to herniated disc, pinched nerve, arthritis

  • Herniated disc: when a disc tears and leaks; can lead to nerve irritation

  • Spinal stenosis: narrowing of the spinal canal; can lead to nerve compression

  • Infections: viral or bacterial, such as meningitis or tuberculosis of the neck

  • Fibromyalgia: chronic, widespread pain disorder


Treating Neck Pain Naturally

Chiropractic adjustments are one of the most effective treatments for relieving neck pain without the negative side effects of drugs or invasive procedures, and with the added benefits of improved range of motion, increased immune system function, and reduced stress. One of the basic foundations of chiropractic care is “vitalism” – recognizing that the human body has an innate ability to heal itself, called Innate Intelligence, which does not rely on symptom treatments like drugs or surgery.

Your Chiropractor will perform a thorough examination to determine if you have subluxations – misalignments of the spine causing nerve pressure – including observing your posture, range of motion, and physical condition. We will analyze your health history, exam results, and x-rays to develop the best strategy to not merely relieve your symptoms, but to cure the root cause of your problem. The recommendations from your chiropractor will include a comprehensive care plan that may also include exercises, tractions, lifestyle changes, and other natural methods of care.

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