Neck pain is a common problem that affects many people every day. It is so common, that many people wrongly assume that it is normal. It is essential to understand that neck pain is never normal. Neck pain has a variety of different causes, with some of them not originating in the neck. Being able to properly evaluate the body as a whole is paramount to successfully discovering the true cause, and most importantly determining the best treatment.
At Advanced Healthcare, our team of doctors and healthcare professionals use the most advanced techniques, spanning the disciplines of physical therapy, chiropractic, medicine, natural treatments and massage to design the most effective treatment program available.
Physical Causes: There are many physical factors that can cause neck pain. These include injuries and dysfunction to the muscles, ligaments, tendons and overall postural alignment.
- Muscle Weakness, Tightness and Imbalances – There are many different muscles which affect the neck. Muscle weakness is a common problem that leads toward pain and dysfunction. When certain muscles are weak, other muscles must compensate or “pick up the slack”. This creates a situation which will cause muscular imbalance. These imbalances will impair normal range of motion, which leads to increased strain to the joints and muscles. Over time, this will create muscle strains, which feel stiff and sore. Eventually this affects the joints creating osteoarthritis and increased chance of injury. If chronic, the tight muscles will develop trigger points or “knots”, which themselves will become another persistent source of pain.
- Repetitive Motions – Many times there is not one specific injury, such as a car accident or a fall, which can be attributed to the neck pain. Commonly, the neck pain is the result of activities and motions that are performed every day. This can include the way a person sleeps, lifts things, sits at the computer, or talks on the phone. These repetitive motions set up patterns which can cause certain muscles to tighten, certain muscles to weaken and joints to undergo undue stress. This process is made worse if a person already has underlying structural problems.
- Injuries – Falls, sports injuries, work injuries and car accidents are very common, and many times are untreated or under treated. Injuries such as whiplash to the neck from a car accident, many times will become chronic, causing pain for years. In any type of trauma, the body responds first with the inflammation process. This not only causes pain, but if not managed appropriately will cause chronic pain and dysfunction. Once the initial stage of inflammation is complete, which typically lasts 3 days, the body will begin the repair process. In this stage, the body will lay down scar tissue over the injury site, in attempt to stabilize the area. This stage is the most important in regards to treatment and prevents chronic problems. With the proper care, treatment can ensure that scar tissue is laid down in the most efficient and effective way, making the area strong, and allowing it to return to normal, pain free function.
- Abnormal Postural Alignment – In order for the muscles, ligaments, tendons and joints of the neck to function properly, the overall posture must be in the correct alignment. A very common, abnormal posture is the forward head position with rounded forward shoulders. This position puts a great deal of stress on the neck, leading toward chronic problems and more susceptibility of injury. For every inch that the head moves forward, it places an additional 10 lbs. of stress on the neck muscles. This overtime will develop into osteoarthritis of the spinal joints of the neck.
Other Physical Causes: Many physical causes of neck pain are found in areas other than the neck.
- Shoulder Injury and Dysfunction – This will create a situation that requires the muscles of the neck to work harder. Over time this will create neck pain and dysfunction.
- Low Back & Hip Problems– These will create problems that will eventually travel to the neck. Many of the muscles controlling the low back and hips are connected to the upper back, shoulder and neck through fascia. Fascia is a tendon like sheath or covering that surrounds the muscles and helps to function properly. There are fascial attachments throughout the body that allow the body to move in a balanced manner. The lumbodorsal fascia connects the pelvis, up through the spine to the upper back and neck. Injuries to this fascia can cause pain from the low back and hips to the neck.
- Foot Problems – Foot problems can set up a chain reaction that eventually moves up the body to the neck. A common foot problem is flattening of the arch of the foot. This problem will place undue stress on the all the joints and muscles up to the neck. This will also contribute to abnormal postural alignment.Nutritional and
Digestive Causes: An unhealthy diet or improper digestion can create a situation that will cause neck pain.
- Improper Digestion of fats and Proteins can cause stress to the gall bladder, which can cause referred pain to the upper back and neck. This commonly affects the right shoulder more than the left.
- Overall Digestive Stress and Low Blood Sugar will affect the muscles of the upper back and neck. This can create neck pain and soreness.
- Nutritional Deficiencies of certain vitamins and minerals such as vitamin D, calcium and magnesium can create conditions that will cause neck pain.
- Dehydration is another common cause of neck pain. The body is 70-80% water, and normal function cannot occur without proper hydration. Dehydration can affect the joints, muscles and discs leading to neck pain.
Autoimmune Disease: Autoimmune diseases such as Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia can also cause neck pain.
Emotional Stress: This is another common cause of neck pain. When a person is stressed they commonly will adopt a forward head position and forward rounded shoulders. This can cause neck pain. In addition, emotional and mental stress can create inflammation in the brain and body. This inflammation can result in tightening of the muscles, which can create neck pain.
At Advanced Healthcare, our team of doctors and healthcare professionals will take a full body approach to determine the cause of your neck pain. We employ techniques and treatments from physical therapy, chiropractic, medicine, natural treatments and massage that allow a high success rate to providing relief and correction of neck pain.
If you are continuing to have problems and symptoms and you are not getting answers, then stop being frustrated! Help is available!
Call Advanced Healthcare of the Palm Beaches at 561-232-3553 to schedule a complimentary consultation.