8 Most Common Causes of Neck Pain and How to Treat Them
Ever wonder why your neck hurts when you wake up? You may have thought it was from sleeping awkwardly or that maybe you held your head too low while on the computer. Uncovering the cause is critical to finding relief — mainly since neck pain can be debilitating and dangerous if not properly treated.
According to chiropractic philosophy, the root cause of neck pain can be traced back to these spinal misalignments or subluxations. Therefore, chiropractors use various techniques to manipulate or adjust the spine to correct these misalignments, restore proper alignment and function to the spine, alleviate neck pain, and promote overall health and wellness.
In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the most common neck pain causes and how chiropractic treatment can help alleviate it so you can get back to living a fulfilling life.
What are the most common neck pain causes?
Neck pain, neck creaks, and soreness in the upper back are nothing new. We’ve all been there at one point or another, from staring at our computer screens all day to ageing-related issues —our necks are always vulnerable. But what’s causing those niggling little pains? We’ll discuss some common causes of neck pains so that you can hopefully be better prepared to make any necessary lifestyle changes that can protect your neck.
1. Muscle tension and strain
Muscle strain, resulting from the overstretching or tearing of muscle fibres, can cause neck pain through various pathophysiological mechanisms. Factors such as inflammation, muscle spasms, overuse, repetitive strain, poor posture, trauma, and age-related reasons contribute to this pain. Moreover, muscle tension and stress can exacerbate neck pain, with neck and upper back muscles tightening in response to stressors like poor posture, prolonged sitting, or repetitive activities, leading to discomfort, stiffness, and further pain.
2. Poor posture
Do you experience neck pain after sitting all day? You may have a bad posture that puts stress on your neck muscles. Poor posture can cause neck pain by increasing muscle stress, creating muscle imbalances, causing joint misalignment, increasing pressure on nerves, reducing blood flow and oxygenation to muscles, and increasing load on spinal discs. Therefore, it is essential to maintain good posture and ergonomic positioning during activities such as sitting, standing, and lifting, take breaks and perform exercises to improve posture and reduce the risk of neck pain.
3. Neck injury or whiplash
Neck injuries, such as whiplash, commonly result from motor vehicle accidents, sports-related incidents, or other traumatic events that cause the head to jerk suddenly and forcefully, leading to hyperextension (backward) and hyperflexion (forward) movements of the neck. These rapid and excessive movements can cause damage to the muscles, ligaments, joints, discs, and nerves in the neck, leading to neck pain
One of the fundamental mechanisms behind neck pain after a neck injury is the strain and sprain of the muscles and ligaments in the neck. The sudden and forceful movements during a neck injury can cause the muscles and ligaments to stretch or tear, resulting in inflammation, pain, and stiffness.
4. Spondylosis and degenerative disc diseases
Spondylosis and degenerative disc disease are conditions that can cause neck pain through degenerative changes in the spine. Spondylosis involves the vertebrae, discs, and other structures, while degenerative disc disease specifically affects the intervertebral discs in the neck. Such conditions can result in neck pain, stiffness, decreased range of motion, headaches, and sometimes radiating pain or numbness extending to the shoulders, arms, and hands. Age-related changes, wear and tear, or injury contribute to these degenerative processes, and pain may be aggravated by bending, lifting, or prolonged sitting or standing.
Paraesthesia refers to abnormal sensations in the skin, such as tingling, numbness, or a “pins and needles” sensation. While paraesthesia may not directly cause neck pain, it can be associated with conditions resulting in neck pain. Underlying conditions that result in nerve impingement or irritation, such as herniated discs, degenerative changes in the spine, or nerve injuries, are typically the root causes of neck pain and paraesthesia.
6. Cervical herniated disc
A cervical herniated disc can cause neck pain due to mechanical compression and irritation of nerves and structures in the neck. The cervical spine comprises vertebrae, separated by intervertebral discs, which act as shock absorbers and allow smooth neck movement. When the outer layer of a disc in the cervical spine becomes damaged or weakened, it can bulge or rupture, resulting in a cervical herniated disc.
Arthritis is a condition that involves inflammation and degeneration of the joints, and it can affect the neck, leading to neck pain. The neck, also known as the cervical spine, comprises vertebrae separated by intervertebral discs and joints, allowing neck movement. Arthritis can affect these joints, resulting in neck pain and discomfort. The symptoms of neck pain associated with arthritis can vary from mild discomfort to severe pain that affects daily activities. Other symptoms may include stiffness, reduced range of motion, and changes in sensation or strength.
8. Text neck
Text neck, also known as “tech neck,” is a modern phenomenon that refers to poor posture and increased neck and upper back strain caused by prolonged use of mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets. Text neck can cause neck pain and discomfort due to the increased stress and strain on the neck muscles, ligaments, and joints.
Neck pain treatment: Why chiropractic care is effective in treating neck pain
Chiropractic treatment is a popular approach for managing neck pain, and it can be effective for several reasons.
1. Spinal manipulation
Chiropractors are trained to perform spinal manipulations, also known as adjustments, which involve applying controlled force to the spine’s joints. This can help improve joint mobility, alleviate muscle tension, and relieve neck pain associated with joint dysfunction.
2. Individualised treatment plans
Chiropractic care is often tailored to each patient’s needs. Chiropractors perform thorough evaluations to identify the underlying causes of neck pain and develop personalised treatment plans that may include various techniques, exercises, and lifestyle modifications to address the root causes of the pain.
3. Non-Invasive and drug-free
Chiropractic care is generally considered a conservative, non-invasive approach to managing neck pain. Chiropractors typically use hands-on techniques and do not prescribe medications or perform surgery, making it an attractive option for patients seeking drug-free and non-surgical solutions for neck pain.
4. Holistic approach
Chiropractic care often takes a holistic approach, considering the overall health and well-being of the patient. For example, Chiropractors may advise on posture, ergonomics, exercise, nutrition, and lifestyle modifications to help patients manage their neck pain more effectively and prevent a recurrence.
5. Patient education and empowerment
Chiropractors often educate patients about their condition, treatment options, and ways to prevent neck pain in the future. By empowering patients with the knowledge and self-care techniques, chiropractic care can help them take an active role in their health and well-being, leading to better outcomes.
Chiropractic care targets neck pain causes for long-term relief.
Chiropractic care’s holistic approach to treating the root cause of neck pain goes beyond a “crack and pop” approach. It emphasises a comprehensive understanding of the body, individualised care, patient education, and addressing the underlying causes of neck pain for long-term relief and overall wellness.
For many individuals with neck pain, chiropractic care can offer a holistic, non-invasive, and personalised approach that focuses on addressing the root cause of the pain, promoting overall health and wellness, and providing long-term relief without using drugs.
Kissun Chiropractic is a trusted and leading Chiropractic clinic in Singapore, offering affordable and effective treatments for all ages in the community. Their chiropractors are certified and registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). Further, they have established many years of experience treating patients with back pain effectively in Singapore. They are also experienced in treating common and complex neuromusculoskeletal conditions such as headaches, neck pain, shoulder aches, osteoarthritis, scoliosis, sciatica, pregnancy aches and pains, sports injuries, performing ergonomic assessments, and postural checks.
Patients’ conditions are managed through natural, safe, non-invasive, drug and surgery-free treatments, relying on the bodies’ inherent recuperative functions. Treatment plans are customised to patients’ specific needs and preferences.
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- Rut Jackson. The Classic: The Cervical Syndrome. Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2881998/
- Somaye Kazeminasab & Seyed Aria Nejadghaderi. Et al. Neck pain: global epidemiology, trends and risk factors. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8725362/
- Michael T. Hanelinea & Robert Coopersteinc. Chiropractic care for patients with acute neck pain: results of a pragmatic practice-based feasibility study. Journal of Chiropractic