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Neck Pain and Stiffness

What causes neck pain and stiffness?

A woman is holding the back of her neck in pain.
Neck pain is a very common problem for many people. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 15% of adults over the age of 18 experience neck pain. Neck pain is discomforting, and can happen after an injury or it can come about over time due to age, poor posture, repetitive movements that strain the neck, and other causes.

While some people may simply accept neck pain due to their strenuous work or aging body, neck pain is treatable and should be diagnosed by a health care professional like a chiropractor. Also, pain in the neck can be a symptom of a more severe problem, especially if you experience neck pain in addition to numbness or weakness in the arms or hands or feel shooting pains down the arm or shoulder. Below, we will go over the causes of neck pain, its symptoms, and the treatment of pain and stiffness in the neck.

Neck Pain Common Causes

The neck carries the weight of the head and is responsible for supporting it while staying aligned with the rest of your spine. The neck is particularly vulnerable to conditions and injuries that may cause pain and restrict your mobility.

Wear and tear

The neck carries the weight of the head and is responsible for supporting it while staying aligned with the rest of your spine. The neck is particularly vulnerable to conditions and injuries that may cause pain and restrict your mobility.

Muscle Strain

Muscle strains don’t only occur from working a job of physical labor where you overuse your neck muscles. Extended periods of time sitting at your computer, reading, or looking at your phone can cause muscle strain in the neck too.

Nerve Compression

The spinal cord is an aggregate of nerves that run along the spine. Nerves connect to the spinal cord through the gaps between the bones. Herniated discs are rips in the spinal cord that cause fluid to spill out through cracks. They can pinch nerves and cause nerve compression. Bone spurs can also put pressure on nerves going through the spinal cord, both of which can lead to neck pain and stiffness.

Disease

Some diseases may cause or worsen neck stiffness and pain. Examples include bone cancer, meningitis, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Injury

Injuries are a common cause of neck pain and stiffness. Particularly, car accidents that cause whiplash can strain the neck and cause neck pain. Whiplash is an auto injury where the head is quickly pulled forward and backward, often resulting in a very sore, stiff neck.

What are the symptoms of neck pain and stiffness?

Symptoms of neck pain and stiffness can vary from person to person and include the following:
Limited motion of the head and neck with a feeling of rigidness in the neck
Acute or stabbing pain in the neck
Pain radiating from the neck, possibly extending into the shoulders, head, arms, hands, or fingers
Soreness in the muscles and tissue around the neck
Muscle spasms
Muscle tightness
Headaches
Increased pain when holding the head in one position for extended periods of time (working at a desk or driving long hours)
A Chiropractor adjusting a patients neck.

Treatment of Neck Pain and Stiffness

There are many chiropractic treatments for neck pain and stiffness, none of which require surgery or drug use. Below, we will go over a few common treatments for neck pain and stiffness.

Neck adjustments

Neck adjustments are a common method used to reduce neck pain and increase mobility. Neck adjustments, also known as cervical manipulation, is a procedure that uses small movements on the joints of the neck to readjust its alignment. It can increase the range of motion and mobility in the neck, spine, and nearby muscle tissues. After receiving neck adjustments, you should experience less pain and stiffness as well.

Cervical mobilization

Cervical mobilization involves the chiropractor carefully moving the bones in the neck left to right and in figure 8 motions. This will stretch the joints in the neck and decompress the vertebrae. This procedure will help to restore movement to the neck.

Cervical manual traction

Cervical manual traction is a technique that stretches and decompresses the spine. It reduces tightness and stiffness in the neck and improves mobility. It may be used in conjunction with cervical mobilization.

Cervical drop

Cervical drop involves a special chiropractic table where the head is positioned in a locked position on the table. Then, the chiropractor uses a thrust motion or gradual increase of pressure on the area that needs adjustment. This technique should reduce restrictions on the neck in order to improve mobility.

Other treatments

There are other treatments for neck stiffness and pain. Each one is used depending on the person and the condition/cause of the pain. Seeing a high-quality chiropractor for a diagnosis is the best way to determine which treatment option is best for you.

When to see a chiropractor for neck pain and stiffness?

Adjustments to your daily life, like improving your posture, taking breaks from work, improving your sleeping position, and adjusting your sitting position may all help your neck pain and stiffness. However, the best results will always be after you see a chiropractor.

If you have any neck pain or stiffness, the chiropractor will be able to treat you and improve your mobility and manage your pain.
If you have severe neck pain, you should not try to treat it at home and instead see a doctor or chiropractor. Also, if you begin experiencing neck stiffness and pain after an injury, you should seek treatment right away to diagnose and treat the problem as soon as possible.

Not seeking treatment for neck pain can result in worse issues later on. Even if your sore neck discomfort subsides within a couple of days, the best option is to make an appointment to see a chiropractor.

Getting Neck Pain and Stiffness Treatment at Accident Care Chiropractic

If you experience neck stiffness and pain, whether it is severe or mild, the best thing you can do is to seek treatment right away. Neck pain may come and go with some people, but often it grows worse with time. The sooner it is treated, the better. If you are experiencing neck stiffness and pain due to an injury or after a car accident, you should seek immediate care.

At Accident Care Chiropractic, we have top-notched doctors who can help to diagnose the cause of your sore neck and stiffness and offer you the best treatment available. Our service area extends to Portland, OR, Vancouver, Salem, Hillsboro, and more. So if you are experiencing neck pain and stiffness, reach out to us today to schedule a consultation.

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