Take a moment to close your eyes and scan your body. How do you feel? Do you notice any tension? If you’re like many people, there’s at least a little tension, maybe a twinge of pain in your neck. Could be this isn’t new for you, maybe it’s been there for a while, but you’ve learned to ignore it.
At any given time, approximately one in ten people is experiencing some degree of neck pain, while at least half, and as much as 85% of people experience recurrent neck pain. Perhaps it’s no surprise then that neck pain is one of the most commonly cited reasons for chiropractic treatment.
The neck is made up of seven cervical (neck) vertebrae, along with the joints, muscles, nerves, tendons, and ligaments that support the head, mobilize the bones, and carry messages. All of the parts of the neck are small, complex, and delicate, which explains why neck pain is so common.
Neck pain is generally classified as either chronic or acute. Acute pain comes on suddenly, in response to sudden injury or from placing undue strain on the neck, such as the morning aching and stiffness that comes from sleeping in a bad position.
Chronic neck pain tends to come on more gradually and determining the cause can be more difficult. Common causes of chronic neck pain include pinched nerve, poor posture, long hours sitting at a desk, arthritis and other degenerative conditions, or simply normal wear and tear that comes with age.
There are a few things you can do to prevent or ease neck pain caused by posture or too much sitting. Some of these include:
- When you’re sitting, keep your feet flat. Your feet may be a long way from your neck, but they form a foundation for the rest of your body. Without a firm foundation in your feet, it is impossible for the rest of your body to be in balance.
- Adjust the height of your seat to keep your thighs parallel with the floor.
- If your chair does not have good back support, invest in a lumbar pillow to keep your spine aligned.
- Adjust your computer monitor to eye level to keep your neck aligned.
- If you are on the phone a lot, a headset can protect both your neck and your wrists.
- At least once every hour, get up and walk around and stretch. In between, do some stretches at your desk.
- Sleep on a firm mattress with a supportive neck pillow to avoid morning stiffness.
- Practice relaxation techniques regularly.
- If you do start to feel a bit of pain in your neck, take a break from activities that could be causing your symptoms and apply ice for a few minutes. After a couple of days of ice, switch to heat.
Neck pain caused by injury, or that persists after more than a couple of days of ice, heat, and rest, no matter the cause, may need chiropractic treatment. A chiropractor can help you determine what is causing your pain and can develop a safe and noninvasive treatment plan that will offer relief and improve your range of motion.
If you experience high fever, nausea, sensitivity to light, or severe headache with neck pain, go to the hospital immediately. These symptoms indicate meningitis or other serious medical treatment. Neck pain that travels down your arm or causes numbness or tingling, or if you have stiffness not accompanied by fever, call Eastern Chiropractic today on 9857 4503 to schedule an appointment to discuss your treatment options.