Here at Kinney Chiropractic, in Belmar, NJ, neck pain is one of the most common things we treat. Your neck supports all the weight of your head which is anywhere from 10-12 lbs. Women are 1.5 times more likely to have neck pain. The neck is where most of our rotation motion occurs in the spine.
Often neck pain starts as an acute injury. Maybe you slept wrong or twisted wrong and pain goes away in a day or two. But 30% of neck pain cases usually develop into something more chronic, meaning it lasts longer. Our lifestyles are big contributors to having neck pain. If you have poor posture, or have awkward sleeping positions, you may develop neck pain. But in the past 10 years, the most common cause of neck pain that we see is from electronic devices. People look down at their phones, ipads, and laptops on average 5 hours per day. We call this tech neck. We have seen a growing number of kids coming into our office with neck pain, headaches and back pain from tech neck.
Whenever a patient comes in with neck pain, we always want to assess the health of the discs. A common cause of neck pain that we see is from Whiplash injuries or sports injuries. When your head and neck suffer a whiplash injury, typically the spinal joints shift out of alignment and people lose the normal curve that there should be in the neck spine. People can develop herniated discs in their necks from whiplash or sport injuries. The discs are like little shock absorbers in between the spinal bones that protect bone from grinding on bone but also maintain the spaces or canal where the nerves exit out. Imagine a disc to resemble a jelly donut. The outer rings are tougher material called the annulus fibrosus, and the inside of the disc are more Gelatinous material called the nucleus pulposis. If the rings of the annulus start to tear, the nucleus pulposis can start to squeeze out. Initially it’s called a bulge. If the rings of the annulus tear all the way through the thickness of disc, that’s called a herniation. Chiropractic care is one of the best treatments for cervical disc problems. If discs are not treated, over time the neck spine will lose normal alignment and motion, and the joints will become degenerative or arthritic. Permanent changes occur, loss of disc space and bone spurs will develop, which can put more stress on the nerves that exit out of the spine and create pain. If the degenerative or herniated disc is where the nerves exit out to the arm, patients may have shooting shoulder, arm or hand pain, or numbness and tingling. Because degenerative discs are permanent, getting alignment and motion back in the joints are the most important thing to do. Chiropractic adjustments help do that.