A Guide to Neck Pain and it’s Symptoms - N8 Family Chiropractic in Ohio

A Guide to Neck Pain and it’s Symptoms

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What is neck pain?

A person’s head weighs about nine pounds. It takes around thirty muscles to move your entire body forward or backward one inch! The human neck can support up to 12 times its own weight.  To stabilize and move the cervical spine, ligaments, muscles, and tendons are responsible discs in the neck absorb shock between the bones. With the constant movement of the neck, experiencing dull aching pain can occur. 

Most of us have experienced neck pain at certain points in life. Any abnormalities, inflammation, or injury to the neck can cause pain. Chronic neck pain can be commonly caused by the wearing down of the spinal discs over time. It’s often a result of overuse or injury. It could also stem from inflammation within the area which causes pain to radiate down either arm(s). Neck pain may often be accompanied by headaches.

Why does it happen?

Neck pain can occur for many reasons.  The simple fact that your neck must continuously balance your head places it at increased risk for injury. But, there are other reasons for neck pain.

neck-pain-treatment-near-Columbus-OhioIncorrect sleep position can also cause neck pain. If the sleep position is not comfortable or places the neck in an abnormal position, the risk of developing chronic pain is higher. 

Direct injuries to the neck can also lead to ongoing pain. Examples include sports activities that have increased contact or whiplash injury from a car accident.

Ongoing pain in the neck is not normal and should be evaluated by a healthcare provider. 

Symptoms of Neck Pain

  • Stiff Neck – It tends to cause soreness and difficulty turning the head, particularly to the side. It is sometimes accompanied by headaches, neck pain, shoulder pain, and/or arm pain
  • Sharp Pain – There may be a stabbing or stinging sensation associated with this type of pain. This pain is usually felt in the lower neck region and may sometimes concentrate in one area
  • Soreness – The discomfort is usually felt in a broad region of the neck and is often defined as tender or achy, not sharp
  • Radicular Pain – It can radiate along a nerve from the neck into the shoulder and arm. Nerve pain may feel like a burning or scorching sensation depending on its intensity
  • Problems with Lifting or Gripping – Numbness or weakness that travels to the arm or fingers may cause this problem. Grappling or lifting objects can be problematic
  • Headache – Sometimes, there is an irritation of muscles and nerves in the neck. This usually causes problems with the head

Causes of Neck Pain

These are some of the most common causes :

  • Muscle Strain – The result of too much time spent in front of a computer or smartphone can lead to muscle strains. The slightest thing, such as reading in bed or grinding one’s teeth, can strain neck muscles
  • Joint Damage –As with other joints in the body, neck joints tend to wear down with aging. Degenerative osteoarthritis results in the destruction of the cartilage between the bones. Once the cartilage deteriorates, bone spurs may form. These interfere with the motion of your joints
  • Nerve Compression – The nerves stemming from the spinal cord can become compressed. In the neck, herniated disks and bone spurs often compress these nerves
  • Injuries – Whiplash occurs when the head jerks back and forth in a quick manner. It results in straining the soft tissues of the neck in a rear-end collision
  • Diseases – Neck pain could result from rheumatoid arthritis, meningitis, or cancer.

How to avoid neck pain in the future?

Pick a Good Pillow.

You may need a little trial and error to discover what works for you. When you sleep, there are many options for comfort. One is to put a pillow under your neck.  As a general rule, a pillow should maintain neutral cervical alignment. The key to a good night’s sleep is pressure relief for the neck.   A pillow must provide pressure reduction for the neck. It should be firm enough so that it does not slip off position. By its shape, size, or weight, the pressure on the neck lessens when sleeping on both sides.

Sleep from the back.

Sore necks are a reality, so it is important to make sure to find something that works best! Most people find that sleeping on their backs is the best position to let their spine rest. Sleeping on the back can help keep the stress off of a sore neck, which will make it easier to manage pain. If suffering from neck pain, placing a pillow under each arm will help relieve strain on the neck.

Prevent ‘text neck’.

In this age of mobile devices and smartphones, more people are being diagnosed with neck pain. It is most likely due to looking down at a screen. With the head already heavy, the usually lighter neck supports it. Leaning forward towards a phone or tablet means more straining. This can result in muscular pain and pulled muscles.  Avoid neck injuries by: 

  • placing the mobile device at eye level
  • minimizing texting time
  • resting hands on a pillow
  • taking frequent breaks.

Using headsets.

Sometimes, spending a lot of time on the phone seems unstoppable. It is important to avoid tilting the head to the side or clamping the phone to the neck. The use of a hands-free device, such as a headset or earpiece, makes it possible. Hence, it is easy to talk on the phone without the temptation of holding it. There are also newer devices that can lay around a neck so that it can keep it on all day.

Neck stretches and exercises.

When the posture is poor, the muscles get tight and this can cause neck pain. There is a way to prevent or reduce the amount of discomfort in these areas from becoming unbearable. Try some stretching exercises. It helps to relieve postural muscle tension and heal overused tissues

Maintain adequate hydration.

Staying hydrated will help maintain the flexibility and strength of the spine. Discs are spongy structures between each vertebra that will help spine flexibility. Being composed of fluids, they require lots of water to keep it pliable and strong! 

Balancing weight.

Carrying a heavy load on one side of your body can cause pain and strain. Make sure you carry it in a balanced manner. If not, there will be an uneven distribution of weight between both shoulders. If that happens, it could lead to muscle fatigue in these areas over time! If possible, using backpacks is a much better option. They distribute weight in an even manner across the wearer’s shoulders than purses do. Or, try holding onto an item that is light enough to carry (e.g., umbrella).

Supported posture.

Poor posture can lead to neck pain over time. It is usually caused by strenuous activities, such as typing or driving for long periods of time. Without taking a break,  it will strain muscles and ligaments that support the head. In the end, resulting in injury! To improve posture, do the following: 

  • Lengthen in a gentle manner the neck upwards as chin tucks in. 
  • Bring the shoulder blades down and back towards the spine. 
  • Pull in the lower tummy muscles to maintain a natural curve in the lower back. 
  • Adjust the seating position.

When to seek medical attention?

When you are struggling with neck pain (either from a new injury or chronic pain) it may be time to seek a professional opinion.  Contact us today at N8 Family Chiropractic and schedule an appointment for an evaluation. 


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A Guide to Neck Pain and it’s Symptoms
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