Neck Pain Q and A

Q: What is neck pain?

A: Neck pain can occur anywhere in your neck, from the bottom of your head to the top of your shoulders. It can radiate to your upper back and arms.

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Q: What are other symptoms that are associated with neck pain?

A: Neck pain is commonly associated with dull aching. Sometimes pain in the neck is worsened with movement of the neck or turning the head. Other symptoms associated with some forms of neck pain include numbness, tingling, tenderness, sharp shooting pain, fullness, difficulty swallowing, pulsations, swishing sounds in the head, dizziness or lightheadedness, and lymph node (gland) swelling.

Neck pain can also be associated with headache, facial pain, shoulder pain, and arm numbness or tingling (upper extremity paresthesias). These associated symptoms are often a result of nerves becoming pinched in the neck. Depending on the condition, sometimes neck pain is accompanied by upper back and/or lower back pain, as is common in inflammation of the spine from ankylosing spondylitis.

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Q: What are some of the most typical causes of neck pain?

A: Injury and Accidents: A sudden forced movement of the head or neck in any direction and the resulting “rebound” in the opposite direction is known as whiplash.

The sudden “whipping” motion injures the surrounding and supporting tissues of the neck and head. Muscles react by tightening and contracting, creating muscle fatigue, which can result in pain and stiffness. Severe whiplash can also be associated with injury to the intervertebral joints, discs, ligaments, muscles, and nerve roots. Car accidents are the most common cause of whiplash.

Growing Older: Degenerative disorders such as osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis, and degenerative disc disease directly affect the spine.

  • Osteoarthritis, a common joint disorder, causes progressive deterioration of cartilage. The body reacts by forming bone spurs that affect joint motion.
  • Spinal stenosis causes the small nerve passageways in the vertebrae to narrow, compressing and trapping nerve roots. Stenosis may cause neck, shoulder, and arm pain, as well as numbness, when these nerves are unable to function normally.
  • Degenerative disc disease can cause reduction in the elasticity and height of intervertebral discs. Over time, a disc may bulge or herniate, causing tingling, numbness, and pain that runs into the arm.

Daily Life: Poor posture, obesity, and weak abdominal muscles often disrupt spinal balance, causing the neck to bend forward to compensate. Stress and emotional tension can cause muscles to tighten and contract, resulting in pain and stiffness. Postural stress can contribute to chronic neck pain with symptoms extending into the upper back and the arms.

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Q: How is neck pain diagnosed?

A: In diagnosing the cause of neck pain, it is important to review the history of the symptoms. In reviewing the history, the doctor will note the location, intensity, duration, and radiation of the pain. Is the pain worsened or improved with turning or repositioning of the head? Any past injury to the neck and past treatments are noted. Aggravating and/or relieving positions or motions are also recorded. The neck is examined at rest and in motion. Tenderness is detected during palpation of the neck. An examination of the nervous system is performed to determine whether or not nerve involvement is present.

Further testing of undiagnosed neck pain can include X-ray evaluation, CAT Scan, bone scan, MRI scan, myelogram, and electrical tests such as electromyography (EMG) and a nerve conduction velocity test (NCV)

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Q: What is the treatment for neck pain? What are home remedies for neck pain?

A: The treatment of neck pain depends on its precise cause. Treatment options include rest, heat or cold applications, traction, soft-collar traction, chiropractic adjustments topical anesthetic creams, topical pain-relief patches, muscle relaxants, analgesics, and surgical procedures. Home remedies for treatment, such as Jacuzzi treatment, neck pain relief exercises and stretches, and neck pain relief products such as neck pillows for sleep and hot pads can be very beneficial for relief of some forms of neck pain. There are many treatment options, depending on the particular neck problem and past treatment experiences. Effective treatments that have been used for chronic neck pain include chiropractic adjustments, home and office exercises and work station set-ups.

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Q: What is the prognosis for neck pain?

A: The outlook for neck pain depends on the precise cause. Most forms of neck pain can resolve with proper chiropractic care, rest, avoiding reinjury, and gradual rehabilitation.

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Q: How can I prevent Neck Pain?

A: 10 Tips to Prevent Neck Pain

Follow these 10 tips to protect your neck from injury:

1. Sleep with a cervical pillow Cervical, or orthopedic pillows, are contoured to support the spaces under the head and neck with deeper depressions where the head lies, and extra support under the neck. They help keep the neck in alignment with the spine.

2. Sleep on your back Sleeping on your back is the best position to let your entire spine rest comfortably. If you prefer to sleep on your side or on your stomach, make sure your pillow is not too high-around 4 to 6 inches thick. This will prevent your head and neck from turning unnaturally to either side.

3. Position your computer screen at eye level Sit comfortably in your office chair in front of your computer and close your eyes. When you open them, your gaze should be directly in the middle of your computer screen. If it is not, use books or other items to adjust the screen height. Do not allow your head to drift forward over your shoulders. Take frequent breaks: get up and move around at least every 30 minutes.

4. Use a telephone headset Be careful not to hold your phone between your ear and shoulder. A hands-free device is a great way to talk on the phone without being tempted to hold your phone incorrectly.

5. Exercise your neck muscles Keep your neck muscles strong and supple by doing strengthening and stretching exercises frequently throughout the day. One of the simplest exercises to do often is the chin tuck exercise (a full description is in the link below). This exercise helps strengthen the muscles that pull the head into alignment over the shoulders. It also stretches the scalene and suboccipital muscles.

6. Stay hydrated The discs between the vertebrae in the spine are made mostly of water. Sip water throughout the day to stay hydrated, keeping the discs pliable and healthy. Ideally, try to drink 8 large glasses of water a day.

7. Carry weight evenly A common mistake people make is carrying a heavy purse or a brief case on one side of their body. This causes the shoulders to become uneven, straining the muscles and causing pain. Take only your essentials in your purse or briefcase, and make an effort to keep your shoulders level at all times when you carry it. Consider using a backpack that distributes weight evenly across the shoulders.

8. Maintain proper posture Poor posture can cause neck pain, by straining muscles and ligaments that support the neck, resulting in injury over time. The “head -and -shoulders -forward -posture” is the most common poor posture that contributes to neck pain. This occurs when the neck slants forward, placing the head in front of the shoulders. This posture causes the upper back to slump forward as well, placing a strain on the entire spine.

9. Relieve trigger point pain Irritation to the facet joints of the lower cervical vertebrae can result in muscle trigger point pains. Trigger points are small knots in the muscle or fascia that can lead to pain. There are certain massages you can do yourself to work these trigger points, and lessen the pain.

Prevent whiplash

Whiplash occurs when people are rear-ended in their vehicles. The best way to protect yourself from a whiplash injury is to drive a car with a highly rated head restraint. Adjust the head restraint by following the owner’s manual.

Always practice defensive driving: when stopped in traffic, check your rear-view mirror to make sure no one is speeding up behind you. Have an escape route planned (usually the shoulder of the road) so you know where you will go if you do notice someone speeding up behind you.

We realize you can’t prevent all neck pain from ever occurring, but hopefully these tips will help you stay as healthy as possible. We have many pages on our website all about preventing, diagnosing, and treating neck pain.

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Q: What types of trauma cause neck pain?

A: There are 3 types of minor trauma that cause your neck pain:

1. Abnormal neck positioning over time

2. Repetitive neck movement over time

3. Minor bumps that are highly repetitive

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Q: Can Chiropractic help for neck pain?

A: Among people seeking neck pain relief alternatives, most choose chiropractic treatment. About 22 million Americans visit chiropractors annually. Of these, 7.7 million, or 35%, are seeking relief from back pain from various causes, including accidents, sports injuries, and muscle strains. Other complaints include pain in the neck, arms, and legs, and headaches.

Q: What exercises can I do for neck pain?

A: Here are 4 Exercises to Prevent Neck Pain

Side-to-side Head Rotation

  • Rotate your head and neck toward the right as far as you can as in backing up a car. Then look up as far as you can and down as far as you can keeping your head and neck turned. Look up and down 5 times very slowly.
  • Repeat turning your head to the left.

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Side Bending

  • Tilt your head and neck to the right as far as you can. Trying to touch your ear to your shoulder without raising your shoulder.
  • Hold for a count of 10.
  • Do 5 times
  • Repeat tilting your head and neck to the left.

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Computer Neck aka Forward Head Posture Stretch

  • Pull your head and neck back over your shoulders.
  • Hold for 5 seconds
  • Keeping your head and neck back look up as far as you can.
  • Hold for 5 seconds.
  • Do 5 times.

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Neck Rolls

  • Sit in a comfortable position. Do not slouch.
  • Inhale and roll your neck to the right and then exhale as you roll your neck down to your chest and then to your right as you are looking up.
  • Do this in one slow motion.
  • Repeat 5 times.

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Q: Have you tried almost everything and you still have neck pain. What do I do now?

A: Dr. Jason Jumper at Renew Chiropractic in Lakewood, CO is offering a Free consultation for all Neck Pain sufferers. If you or anyone you love is suffering from Neck Pain Pain and may be considering back surgery, please contact Renew Chiropractic in Lakewood, CO for a complimentary appointment today! Call 720-493-5885!


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The content on this website, www.renew-chiropractic.com, is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship. Renew Chiropractic assumes no responsibility or liability for how readers of this site choose to use the information contained within.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor, go to the emergency department, or call 911 immediately.

These articles and recommendations are not tailored for the health of one particular individual and should not be considered professional consultation. Individuals who believe they are experiencing symptoms of an illness should always consult a doctor before beginning any form of treatment.

The opinions expressed on the Site and by Renew Chiropractic, P.C. are published for educational and informational purposes only, and are not intended as a diagnosis, treatment, cure or as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. Please consult a local physician, medical doctor or other health care professional for your specific health care and/or medical needs or concerns.

No guarantee of specific results and that the results can vary - See health disclaimer

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