Questions About Neck Pain Answered

One of the most common reasons people visit our chiropractic office is due to symptoms of neck pain therefore, we decided to write a post about it. Below you will find questions and answers about neck pain and its symptoms.

I woke up with neck pain should I be worried?

To answer this question we have to first understand why this has happened in the first place. There are a number of reasons why neck pain happens. For example your pillow might be too big or small, you could be over stressed at work causing your neck muscles to spasm, or maybe you’re suffering from latent effects of a minor soft tissue earlier in the day. The more important question we must answer first is this the first time this has happened? If it is we must find out is this a onetime thing that will improve quickly on its own, or is this pointing to a potential future problem. If it’s a chronic problem where you wake up frequently with neck pain then it is something that you should definitely get checked out by a professional. Here is a list of some of the most common causes of neck pain.

Muscle strains. A strain is essentially the overuse of the muscle causing pain and inflammation. Many describe this as a pulled muscle. A muscle strain can range from a minor stretching of tissue to even a full blown muscle tear.  Even very minor meaningless task can cause muscle strains. In our office we often see someone who was sitting at their computer to long, where brushing their hair, or simply looked over their shoulder and had a muscle strain.

Joint degeneration. Just like all the other joints in your body, your neck joints tend to undergo wear and tear with age this is known as degeneration. The more strenuous your job is the faster your joints will degenerate. Your joints can also degenerate from lack of proper movement from something as little as poor posture.

Herniated discs: Discs in your neck can take up too much space and press on the nerves branching out from the spinal cord.

Injuries. Rear-end auto collisions often result in whiplash injuries, which occur when the head is jerked backward and then forward, stretching the soft tissues of the neck beyond their limits.

What are my treatment options for my neck pain?

After your doctor or therapist determines the cause of your neck pain, they can appropriately design a treatment plan.  In the case of a slight strain or spasm, you might be able to get away with ice and rest for a few days and the issue will subside naturally. If you are having a recurrent spasm or strain which is very common in overuse injuries or sports related strains, your doctor will need to reduces the inflammation, break the spasm, and strip the tissue to prevent from further damage. At Mountain View Pain Center we do this through electrotherapy to move inflammation, and soft tissue techniques such as graston and ART to strip out the tissue.

Joint degeneration and disc herniations require further work than just a few visits. Degeneration of the bone cannot be reversed once the bone is degenerated there is no going backwards. The goal here is to stop the progression, reduce the pain, and achieve maximum function and movement from that area. In the case of a disc herniation or disc injury we typically give our patient’s two options, pain management or rehab to fix the issue. The reason for the two options is the natural healing process of the disc is 90 days so to go down the rehab process can be a 3-4 month treatment plan. The pain management option basically means you come until we reduce the pain, and then return when you reinjure the area. The rehab process we reduce the pain and inflammation, then move more into a physical therapy approach. This includes releasing tight tissues, strengthening the core, and healing the disc to prevent from further injuries.

In the case of rear end collisions or traumatic injury the doctor must look at the mechanism of injury and adjust the treatment plan accordingly. Not all injuries follow the same pathways, so must have specific treatment plans to properly address them. In whiplash or traumatic injuries there is typically a skeletal component and muscular component to each injury. Both areas must be treated appropriately to prevent from further issues.