North Carolina offers countless activities that appeal to all ages, especially to those residing in or visiting the city of Raleigh. From scenic adventures around the JC Raulston Arboretum to learning the beauty of science and history at the state capitol and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, there is an abundance of opportunities to move about after a long work week.
Do you notice putting a greater strain on your shoulders, back, or hips to counter neck pain while walking, sitting, or working? In the content below, we explore neck pain causes, discuss neck pain treatments in Raleigh, and clarify how the onset of symptoms commonly highlights long-term issues (unless derived from a vehicle or sporting accident).
3 Common Causes of Neck Pain
Our cervical spine, also referred as the neck, supports the full weight of your head, about twelve pounds.
According to the American Chiropractic Association:
“While the cervical spine can move your head in nearly every direction, this flexibility makes the neck very susceptible to pain and injury. The neck’s susceptibility to injury is due in part to biomechanics. … Neck pain can be very bothersome, and it can have a variety of causes.”
Neck pain is one of the leading causes of global disability. As a result, this stops many from engaging in work or other everyday activities. Although a plethora of elements can factor into lower back pain, there are three common causes of neck pain that oftentimes go unnoticed long-term.
#1. Posture and “Text Neck”
When you receive a text message or scroll through your social media feed, what posture do you assume? Do you slouch over a little and look down at your phone?
Poor posture can lead to excessive straining on your postural muscles that may result in a relaxed structure over time. However, many people are now beginning to turn their attention towards improving posture.
The most common contributing factors to poor posture include:
- Weak postural muscles
- Abnormally tight muscles
- High-heeled shoes
- Decreased flexibility
- A poor work environment and incorrect working posture
- Incorrect posture while looking at a mobile device or laptop
- Unhealthy sitting, sleeping, and standing habits
As you grow older, your body has a higher likelihood of developing degenerative disorders that directly affect the spine such as osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis, and degenerative disc disease. By neglecting to correct your posture, you risk a greater susceptibility to injury and additional body pain.
#2. Whiplash, Injury, and Accidents
Although whiplash seems like a common occurrence, its effects can cause lasting damage. Whiplash occurs any time someone experiences a sudden or forced movement of the head or neck in any direction, there will be a resulting “rebound” in the opposite direction.
As a result of the unforeseen “whipping” motion, the surrounding tissues of the neck and head become injured. In cases of severe whiplash, you increase the likelihood of having injuries to the intervertebral joints, discs, ligaments, muscles, and nerve roots.
Like a small car accident that seems to have resulted in no damage, you never really know until a body shop looks at the undercarriage for a full report. Similarly, although a minor sports injury or an injury from an auto accident seems to heal in a short time frame, many people fail to consult with a doctor or chiropractor for an assessment.
Therefore, even if a fall or hit seems minor and easy to recover from, it is best to schedule a precautionary appointment to determine the true severity of the injury.
#3. Subluxation and Chronic Pain
Although most people with neck pain are capable of fully recovering, a small percentage of people experience chronic recurrence that will last a lifetime. In some cases, chronic back pain develops into a disabling pain and disturbance that appears in forms such as arthritis, subluxations, and herniated discs.
What is Subluxation?
A vertebral subluxation occurs when one or more vertebrae moves out of position and puts pressure on, or irritates, spinal nerves. Spinal nerves are the nerves that come out from between each of the bones in your spine. This pressure, or irritation, causes those nerves to malfunction and interfere with the signals traveling over those nerves.
5 Neck Pain Treatments
Below, we discuss five of the most effective neck pain treatments that help generate both immediate and long-term relief. It is important to note that the greatest results derive from implementing all five treatments unless otherwise directed by your physician and chiropractor.
#1. Chiropractic Adjustments with Spinal Re-Engineering
Neck pain can be a constant source of discomfort with the potential of leading to more serious issues spreading down the spine if left untreated. However, chiropractic care and adjustments are a safe, cost-effective, non-invasive, and drug-free treatment for neck pain that treats the issue, not just the symptoms!
Spinal re-engineering is a chiropractic care technique that combines chiropractic and engineering principles, believing that if you correct the structure of your spine, you directly affect its function. This practice can help remedy many issues, including low back pain, neck pain, headaches, migraines, and others:
- Decrease pain
- Improve flexibility
- Improve posture
- Promote overall function
- Increase range of motion
- X-ray correction
- Boost health and overall performance
- Improve immune function
- Decrease risk of injury
- Correct the biomechanics of all joints in the body
#2. Utilize Traction, Laser Therapy, and Whole-Body Vibration
Oftentimes, a chiropractor will advise that you include traction, laser therapy, and whole-body vibration in your neck pain treatment plan. Each of the three affects your body differently.
Traction therapy is a decompression exercise that encourages correct alignment from your neck and spine. Typically, this exercise occurs before a chiropractic adjustment and can also be done at home when prescribed by your chiropractor. Depending on your individual x-ray results, your chiropractor will develop customized exercises catered to your body’s health.
Approved by the FDA in 2002, laser therapy, or photobiomodulation, is the use of specific wavelengths of light (red and near-infrared) to create therapeutic effects, including:
- Improved healing time
- Pain reduction
- Increased circulation
- Decreased swelling
- Reduced muscle spasms, stiffness, and pain
Typically, after each chiropractic adjustment, you can stand on a vibration plate for a few minutes. Doing so increases the longevity of your adjustment. Additional benefits include:
- Improving posture and balance
- Increasing flexibility
- Enhancing endurance
- Reducing inflammation and back pain
Note that whole-body vibration is best done under chiropractic approval and supervision.
#3. Improve Your Posture
Before considering heavy medications or surgery to relieve lower back pain, have you considered the effects of improving your posture? This free treatment can significantly reduce lower back pain and help correct long-term issues.
By simply taking conscious effort in fixing your posture, you can:
- Keep bones and joints in correct alignment and correctly use your muscles
- Reduce the stress put towards ligaments holding together your spinal joints
- Minimize the likelihood of incurring injuries
- Increase the efficiency of your muscles and use less energy doing so
- Prevent muscle fatigue, muscle strain, overuse disorders, back pain, and muscle pain
Take the next week to consciously assess your neck and back posture when working, standing, sleeping, and sitting. You may be surprised what needs correction!
#4. Avoid “Text Neck”
As we discussed above, it can be so easy to fall susceptible to poor posture when looking at a mobile device. Although that posture may not impact your body immediately and cause pain, it will damage the shape of your cervical spine and later affect your lower back if not properly remedied.
Although this treatment involves correcting posture, it requires extra effort apart from other posture remedies. Since the introduction of text messaging, our bodies have naturally grown accustomed to the slouched posture. However, this unhealthy habit increases the risk of incurring long-term neck and back pain.
While old habits may die hard, it is important that you make the considerable effort to avoid “text neck.” Instead, hold your mobile device up towards your eye-level. Doing so maintains proper posture and minimal impact on your neck and spine.
#5. Exercise with Low Impact Workouts and Stretches
Exercise that adheres to what your doctor or chiropractor suggests can help reduce overall pain! From taking a twenty-minute walk on your lunch break to taking the weekend to swim and hike, exercise helps loosen any stiff areas along your cervical spine and encourages proper alignment.
However, it is important to note that your exercises should have a low impact on your neck. Therefore, if you plan to complete workouts, try modifying certain activities to reduce the improper strain put on your neck. Do not forget to stretch before and after each workout!
Start Your Neck Pain Treatment Today with Raleigh’s Team Chiropractic
Anyone can crack a back. However, only a spinal engineer can truly fix the spinal issues you are facing and generate the greatest long-term relief. At Team Chiropractic, our team of qualified spinal engineers works hard to create a custom treatment plan according to what your body needs for long-term restoration.
With over 25 years of service, we are the leading spinal adjustment practice in the Raleigh area and are uniquely suited to helping relieve your lower back pain through safe, professional spinal adjustment. Our Certified Chiropractic Extremity Practitioners (CCEP) and Certified Chiropractic Sports Physicians (CCSP) enables us to correct the overall biomechanics, which enables you to hold your correction.
We believe in the six essentials to healthy living: spiritual/mental alignment, physical alignment, nutritional alignment, exercise in alignment, rest in alignment, and removing chemical stress. By offering both services and products that adhere to the six essentials, we help promote an overall health and wellness treatment for every client who comes through our doors.
If you or someone you know is experiencing troubling neck or back pain, we are here to help! Contact us online today or give us a call at 919-788-8881 to schedule your initial appointment and x-ray. We look forward to helping restore your health!