HOW NECK PAIN OCCURS AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT
I am seeing more and more patients coming in complaining of neck pain in my Vineland office. I’ve been practicing for around 18 – 20 years and it always seemed to be back pain I was treating, but in recent times neck pain is becoming more common. I believe this is to do with technology and the way we work these days, particularly the use of smart phones, computers and even driving. All have some impact in throwing our posture off and is a big reason on how neck pain occurs.
The average weight of an adult head is about 10-12lbs, so quite happy. In normal circumstances, our posture would correctly hold our head up as the weight is dispersed properly through our shoulders. However, when we tilt our heads forward to look at a cell phone or work on a computer, our posture is incorrect and this places extra pressure on the base of our neck and cervical spine.
For every inch our head is moved forward, it has been calculated that an extra 10lbs of weight is effectively applied to the base of the neck. In other words, the base of the neck and muscles are doing an extraordinary amount of work.
This extra pressure compresses the joint muscles, over time the discs start to thin out, bulge, herniate and protrude. If left untreated, disc herniation results and this causes a lot of pain and problems.
Furthermore, as the neck is forward, the muscles around it have to work harder too and these begin to tighten, spasm and further compress the joints. This only exasperates the problem.
As time goes by and the same pressures are applied, repetitive stress disorders cause further inflammation which only leads to more pain, numbness in other areas of the body and also tingling. So from a fairly simple improper posture, big problems can result.
Moreover, because it takes so long for the conditions to develop, you may not even think you are doing anything wrong, but once disc issues begin to take hold, more pain will develop and it will be harder to treat and correct.
WAYS TO COMBAT NECK PAIN
One of the simplest things you can do is if you feel in discomfort is to apply an ice pack to the area for 20 minutes and tilt your head backwards so as to help decompress and counter the effects of your head tilting forward. This can at least provide you with some respite. If the problem doesn’t go away, then chiropractic adjustments can greatly help and relieve your pain.
You can read more about how neck pain occurs through cell phone use plus provide some great exercises to help with our FREE downloadable guide. Check it out here.