Your neck is one of the most important and vulnerable parts of your body. Not only does it have to support your head, which generally weighs 10 to 12 pounds, it also has to allow you to look up and down and from side to side so you can be aware of your surroundings.
It also serves to protect vital structures such as your spinal cord and many blood vessels supplying the head and brain. Having a pain in the neck is truly “a pain in the neck” and can severely limit many functions in our daily lives. That is why it is vital to keep our necks working for us, instead of against us.
Neck pain can result from countless causes in our lives. Often the common daily activities we take for granted are the most likely culprits. Some examples are watching TV, sitting at your computer, falling asleep in awkward positions, or even reading a book. Often the pain will subside when the activity is stopped. But when it persists, even to a lesser degree, that is a sign of a more serious underlying problem.
The most common causes of neck pain are postural distortions, reversal in the normal curve in the neck, joint instability from prior trauma, or accumulated daily stresses carried for a long period of time. When these postural changes occur, the muscles can either get overstretched and unstable or become rigid, compounding the problem and eventually creating a downward health cycle.
As Chiropractors, we specialize in examining the spine to look for joints in the neck that are not functioning properly. We will look at the ranges of motion to determine what motions are associated with the problem. If appropriate we will take x-rays to visualize the underlying structures of the neck.
Once the problem is identified, we can start treatment, often beginning with a series of specific adjustments to correct the problem. Typically, we will also teach the patient how to do simple exercises to help strengthen and improve control of the joints to avoid future problems.