Neck pain can be acute (short term) or chronic (recurring or persisting for months and even years), but regardless, when you’re in pain, relief is the first thing on your mind. Just as important as relief is finding the cause so that we may prevent future episodes. Listed below are five common causes of neck pain – and why doctors of chiropractic are well-suited to relieve the pain and determine the underlying cause.
1. Poor Posture: Looking down or slouching in your chair? You’re destined to develop neck pain eventually, if you haven’t already. Once your head and neck move out of the neutral position, a strain is put upon the supportive structures. Prolonged and repetitive strain results in injury.
2. Computer Monitor: The height of your computer screen can have a strong impact whether it is too high or too low. The top of your screen should be at eye level. Any other variation will result in neck strain.
3. Sleep Disturbances: We spend a third of our day sleeping, so your sleep habits – for better or worse – can have a dramatic effect on health. With regard to neck pain, head position is very important. Ideally we want our head and neck to maintain the neutral position throughout sleep. If your head dips or is pushed away from the mattress it can strain the neck. Sleeping on your stomach for your head to turn to one side. If you don’t believe me, try keeping your head turned in one direction for 15 minutes. See how uncomfortable you are when you go to move.
4. Technology Overload: We increasingly spend up to 16 hours typing, texting, tapping and otherwise interacting with our smartphones, tablets, etc. Bottom line: bad for your neck. One doctor has even coined the phrase, “text neck,” to describe the neck pain that can result from this constant technology interaction.
5. The Wrong Movement: Twisting, turning, stretching and stressing your neck is an easy way to cause neck pain. While the muscles in the neck are strong, they can be strained, sprained and even torn, just like any other muscle.
It should be noted that beyond these common causes, various other health issues can also contribute to or directly cause neck pain arthritis , spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal), infection of the spine, and even cancer. The good news is that a doctor of chiropractic can help identify which of these causes are to blame.
When neck pain strikes, most people turn to a temporary solution first: pain-relieving medication. But that’s not a permanent solution, of course, and it doesn’t address the cause of the pain at all, which could be something relatively minor – or more serious. What’s more, research suggests chiropractic spinal manipulation is actually more effective than over-the-counter and prescription medication for relieving both acute and subacute neck pain.