Symptoms of neck pain include stiffness, muscle tightness or “knots” in the neck region (cervical spine) ranging from mild to severe aching. The pain may radiate into the shoulders, upper back, arms or hands. Headaches can also occur from neck dysfunction and muscle tightness. If the pain is caused by nerve irritation, pinched nerve symptoms can include tingling, numbness, pain, or weakness in the arm, hand or fingers.
Neck pain can be caused by a specific traumatic event (powerful golf swing, car accident) or it can be the result of daily activities performed incorrectly over an extended period of time. With computers being such an integral part of our daily lives, many of us spend hours on-end in front of a monitor. Sitting with poor posture or improper ergonomics can lead to spinal degeneration and neck pain. Sleeping with your head turned, painting a wall or ceiling, or constantly shrugging your shoulders can lead to neck pain.
The neck is a complex system of many muscles, ligaments, and bony structures. Different types and locations of neck pain can indicate damage to a certain area or structure of the neck. In a normal spine, there is a gentle curve, convex (sticking out) to the front. Over time, this curve can straighten or even reverse, due to stress, strain, poor posture and previous injury. This can result in “forward head carriage” where your head juts forward, and even more stress on the muscles and joints of the neck. With stress in the neck, arthritis may set in with bone spurs, degenerative/bulging/herniated discs, and limited mobility. The cervical spine is responsible for providing motion to turn and bend. At the same time, it must be well-supporting to carry the head, which weighs about the same as a bowling ball.
Aligned Medical Group’s Approach
Most mild-to-moderate neck pain resolves nicely with spinal manipulation, neck pain physiotherapy including therapeutic stretching, strengthening and postural or ergonomic modification. Our doctors provide trigger point therapy to tight muscle knots and long axis manual traction (rhythmic pulling on the head while lying on your back) to reduce spinal pressure and relax tight structures in the neck. Stubborn, tight muscles typically respond well to trigger point injections of anesthetics and Sarapin. Spinal stenosis therapy may be prescribed in cases where neck pain is caused by a narrowing of the spinal canal. In more severe cases involving cervical spinal discs, Vax-D spinal decompression may be prescribed to hydrate and repair the damaged intervertebral discs.