Experiencing neck pain? You might be surprised to learn how many things could actually be causing it. The neck is near the start of the spine and helps align and control much of the body. It’s relatively easy to stress it, and even the smallest of agitations can lead to various types of aches, from a mild annoyance to searing pain, to a completely stiff neck that has a limited range of motion. It’s incredibly vital that you take necessary precautions to protect your neck. In the event of an accident, immediately gauging the seriousness of neck injuries and implementing healing strategies can go a long way in protecting against further damage too. Common catalysts for neck pain include:
Poor sleep positions can place undue stress and pressure on your neck and back leading to muscle strain and inflammation. This can be caused by an older mattress, a pillow that may be too thick and bulky, or an awkward sleeping position. This can be imperceptible to you when you’re sleeping, but sometime during the following days, you may start to feel your neck discomfort get worse and worse, growing from a dull ache to searing, radiating pain. Holding your neck a specific way may be the only way you can get some type of relief. The best way to prevent this from happening is to stretch your neck daily, try to sleep on your back with a supportive pillow. If you have to sleep on your side, do so with a pillow in between your knees and your head resting on a memory foam pillow with your neck in neutral position (so it forms a 90° angle with your shoulder).
Poor posture habits like slouching, slumping, and hunching your shoulders can negatively strain the muscles attached to your vertebrae and compress the spine. In addition, as the head is one of the heaviest parts of the body, if it is craned forward past the shoulders and tilted down (i.e. to stare at a computer for hours), you are almost certainly straining key neck tissues. To combat this bad habit, check in with yourself every 30 minutes to an hour to correct your posture. Shift your shoulders back, center your chin and align the top of your body over the bottom. Doing some yoga poses when you get a spare 10 minutes is a great way to keep your body limber and agile as well as condition your spine.
An unexpected accident, like a collision, whether in a vehicle or person to person, can inadvertently jolt the neck causing it to rapidly whip back and forth from the force of the impact. Compromising and detrimental to the spine, whiplash may result in both immediate or gradual build-ups of pain. Properly stabilizing the neck via some type of specialized neck brace is suggested. Whiplash can take some time to heal properly, but the injury will be only further exacerbated if the spine isn’t stabilized right away. You should see a doctor if your level of pain is severe.
The spine and it’s proper alignment completely dictate how the entire body moves, from the neck, shoulders, back, hips, knees, and feet. If there is a pinched nerve somewhere in your back, side or neck, you could easily start to experience discomfort or pain in surrounding areas. A nerve becomes pinched when the surrounding tissues place additional pressure on it due to irritation, inflammation, etc. A pinched nerve can present in a variety of ways including numbness, acute sensitivity, searing neck pain, or a prickly pins and needles sensation. While there are many ways that you can address a pinched nerve, some of the easiest are hot and cold compresses, massage therapy and seeing a chiropractor. Spinal manipulation by a chiropractor is a great way to not only treat any aches and pains you may have in your neck and back, but to prevent them too as adjustments can improve many different aspects of your health. Your digestive system, your nervous system, and your immune system can all be positively impacted by gentle, consistent adjustments that help to align your spine better.