UNDERSTANDING THE CAUSES OF NECK PAIN IN SHELBURNE WILL LEAD YOU TO REAL SOLUTIONS
If you have neck pain in Shelburne whether it is from a car accident, sports injury, too much time on your devices, sleeping the wrong way, or just something that seemed to come out of nowhere, you are well aware of how it can affect your life: disturbing your sleep, or ability to drive safely, distracting you from being able to focus and concentrate, (there goes work productivity) making you irritable with your family when you get home.
Is The Neck Pain The Problem?
Torticollis, wry neck, crick in the neck, stiff neck, facet joint pain, degenerative disc disease, stenosis, all describe some sort of neck problem. Each is a signal or message from your body telling you something needs to change. Your first thought may be: “What can I do or take to just make the neck pain go away?” It is important to stop and consider what your objective is. Is it really just to FEEL better, or do you actually want to be FUNCTIONING better?
If you don’t address the cause and simply use drugs to quiet the symptoms, you may then be feeling better as your health is getting worse. Is your objective to live a longer, stronger, healthier life? Painkillers and muscle relaxers have a different objective. They come with side effects. They don’t correct the cause of the problem, the nerve compression or nerve irritation, so over time, the symptoms come back and then the medications don’t work so well or more are needed. Next thing you know, you are on combinations of drugs and then on additional medications to treat the side effects of the drug combos. Relapses occur or worse, silent deterioration creeps in over time.
No Pain Means No Problem. Really?
If your neck pain comes and goes, you may think it is fine when there is no pain and is only a problem when it flares up. Like a cavity, neck problems can start out silently and get worse over time. By the time you are feeling a cavity, significant damage has already occurred.
Let’s look under the hood and understand why neck pain occurs, what it may be telling us about our health and what we can do to truly correct the most common cause.
Under your neck muscles, the spinal column is the suit of armor that protects the spinal cord. The spinal cord is the information highway carrying the vital messages from the brain out to the rest of the body to control every single one of your cells. As long as the messages get from the brain to the body and back again without interference, you get to be healthy. If anything interferes with that flow of information, then the body may start to break down in its function and no longer be healthy and healing.
How Posture and Biomechanics Affects Spinal Health: Beware Tech Neck
We have a curve in our spine that protects us from degenerative change. Sometimes trauma, poor posture, or bad habits can take our spine out of position and lead to degenerative change. Over time that stress can affect the health of our spine and the role that it plays in protecting the nervous system.
But I never had an accident so it’s just a bother but nothing to be concerned about…
Postural and psychological stresses are as much a cause of spinal stress as car accidents and just as likely to cause neck pain.
If the bones of the spine are jarred out of alignment or normal movement from injuries or bad habits like poor posture, too much time spent at computers, tablets, cell phones or other devices, or even just stressed posture, it causes soft tissue damage, leading to inflammation. This is called a vertebral subluxation. This then irritates the delicate nerves which exit the spine. When irritated, your smart body will spasm the muscles around that joint to strap it down to protect it from further harm. It may not sound like it, but a muscle spasm is actually the body trying to protect itself. Really! This lack of movement then causes the discs to deteriorate over time, initiating the process of degeneration as the joints get rusty like an unused door hinge. This is known as osteoarthritis, or degenerative joint disease, which occurs from old traumas or ongoing postural stresses. That’s why it’s important to listen to the signals our body is sending so we can give it the attention it needs to be fully functional.
Spinal Hygiene: Neck Problem = Health Problem?
Don’t overlook the vital role the spine plays in keeping us healthy! The spine is tasked with protecting the vast web of nerves that control the body. If the spine shifts out of alignment and begins interfering with nerve function, this can cause a variety of issues that won’t just be isolated to the neck. Dr. Heather shows us how a problem in the neck can have adverse effects throughout the body.
Isn’t arthritis a natural part of aging?
Nope! Osteoarthritis is a consequence of unaddressed traumas and postural stresses. Proper spinal alignment means we have the biomechanical integrity of a healthy normal curve in the neck which creates the spring in the spine that protects you from degenerative change. If you lose the curve in the spine or it reverses, then instead of shock absorption, you get jamming that leads to wear and tear and bone spur formation. These changes can compress or irritate cervical nerves.
Have you been hearing these stories about young people developing horns? Sure they’re a bit sensationalist, but they’re also kinda true. Check out these x-rays! The body develops these horn-like structures as a result of poor posture. Studies have shown that poor posture associated with devices and screens is what has caused this development in 41% of 18-30 year olds.
WHY A DETAILED HISTORY AND chiropractic EXAM IS IMPORTANT FOR EVALUATING YOUR neck PROBLEMS
Some people remember the day their neck pain started, but most just noticed it gradually over time. Your past has brought you to where you are today so we need to be detectives to uncover how car accidents, sports injuries, slips and falls that have jarred your spine, coupled with bad habits, repetitive motions, and use of screens and devices have accumulated so that we can understand not only how it all got started but also what keeps recreating it.
We need to find out what is getting in the way of your body correcting the problem itself. We often find neck pain runs in families so we will also want to identify any hereditary or learned patterns you may have that will need to be addressed.
When it comes to helping patients, one of the most important steps is obviously the evaluation.
Here at Wellspring, whether you are a new or existing patient, we pride ourselves on not only our initial evaluation, but our continued efforts to constantly understand the status of an ailment. This allows us to build an initial care plan catered specifically to a patient’s needs but also course correct based on the assessment of their progress.
SPACE Certified Technology
Learn the details about our leading edge exam tools on this video.
All this helps us to better understand if a patient is dealing with a neck problem or a health problem and will give a much fuller picture of what is actually going on in a patient’s body.
WHY WE RECOMMEND X-RAYS TO EVALUATE YOUR neck PROBLEMS
Getting the clearest picture of what is going on in the spine is the only way to create an action plan for care that will really work. Dr. Heather walks us through the x-rays of the cervical spine at different stages of health. It is clear what degenerative change looks like and proves that if we can catch degeneration before it gets out of control, recovery is possible.
HOW CHIROPRACTIC CAN HELP neck PAIn
Research shows 90% of neck pain can heal with conservative care without surgery. Chiropractic care at Wellspring Chiropractic Lifestyle Center in Shelburne focuses on identifying and correcting vertebral subluxations, without drugs or surgery, restoring healthy normal spinal function and preventing degenerative disc disease in the spine. If you want a healthy body, you need a healthy nervous system, and if you want a healthy nervous system, you need a healthy spine. Who checks your spine?
Light Touch Chiropractic Care
At Wellspring Chiropractic Lifestyle Center we get our best results using a light touch model. Instead of using a more forceful adjusting model, this approach helps the brain find stored tension patterns and allows the brain to integrate them while developing healthier strategies to deal with future stresses.
Long-term Benefits of Wellness Chiropractic Care
This personal story from Dr. Heather is incredible! An injury on an icy road should have left her father a quadriplegic. If it hadn’t been for his regular chiropractic care, his body would not have been in the proper shape to deal with the trauma it experienced. Listen to how having a clear and healthy nervous system going into an injury, even a spinal cord injury, results in a more favorable outcome, ultimately avoiding surgery through conservative chiropractic care.
HOW HOME CORRECTIVE EXERCISE TRAINING CAN HELP neck PAIN
2 Best Corrective Exercises for Neck Pain
1. Preparing the Spine for Sleep
The #1 culprit of neck issues is loss of proper spinal alignment. This occurs because of bad habits, poor posture, and our obsession with screens and devices. Here’s a simple hack that can be done each night to restore the proper curve in the neck. When tension in the neck is alleviated and the nerves are allowed to transmit messages uninterrupted, the body can function optimally just as it was designed.
2. Stargazer Exercise
Our ancestors spent much time gazing up at the stars, while we spend the majority of our time staring down at our devices. This stretch is designed to reconcile the fact that we are not using our bodies the way they were designed. Throughout the day, implementing this stretch will help to restore the neck’s proper structure and help alleviate tension that has built up.
Stretches and Strengthening for Neck Pain
The muscles in the neck are designed to work best with a healthy cervical curve, that’s the forward curve of the spine in the neck. When that healthy curve is lost it puts undo tension on the head, neck, and shoulders, and we know that never results in anything good. Dr. Heather has a series of stretches that can be done at home, no gym membership needed, that will help to keep that cervical curve intact and alleviate any muscle or nerve issues.
Stress Causing Neck Pain? Try Essential Oils
We have found that essential oils are for more than just spa day at home, they are a valuable tool in promoting tension relief. Dr. Heather has two specific recommendations for essential oils that reduce tension and neutralize emotional stress. Whether they are applied topically or aromatically diffused, this is a simple yet luxurious way to seek relief.
Anti-Inflammatory Diet and Supplements
We strongly believe that lifestyle habits make a difference in fighting pain. Focusing on an anti-inflammatory diet along with the right supplements will help to avoid feeding the inflammatory fire that is burning in the body. We incorporate these specific lifestyle recommendations into our care, testing patients so that we know we’re recommending the right supplements and aren’t wasting our patient’s time or money.
3 Key Exchanges
The easiest way to shift from an inflammatory diet to an anti-inflammatory one is to think about making these three key exchanges:
Carbs: exchange refined grains like wheat and corn to ancient grains like oatmeal, quinoa, buckwheat, spelt, rye, and basmati rice or better yet, don’t be afraid to skip the grains altogether!
Sweeteners: exchange cane sugar to natural sweeteners like raw honey, maple syrup, coconut palm sugar, stevia or monkfruit to stabilize blood sugar.
Fats: exchange vegetable oils like canola, corn or soybean oils to healthy oils like olive, coconut, or nut oils.
Can neck pain be a sign of something serious?
Although tumors, infections and fractures are rare, they can be a factor that needs to be identified to get the proper care. Having a fever, or deep bone pain at night that doesn’t change in any position are possible indicators. If there is a fever/ severe headache/ malaise, and “nuchal rigidity” (an inability to bend the head forward), these are all symptoms of meningitis (inflammation of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord, caused by infection or drug side effects). If you have had an injury severe enough to fracture your spine, you probably want to have that checked out!
In the absence of these critical factors, minimizing neck pain as just something to ignore, tolerate or live around may backfire as a strategy. Just as a cavity may seem insignificant, when unaddressed in a timely manner, it can worsen and become a whole lot of trouble later that could have been prevented.
If you are experiencing neck pain, it is a signal from your body that you have exceeded the safety levels and are moving away from health. Getting it checked right away can mean the difference between a simple correction and shift toward a long-term trajectory leading to wellness or, when ignored, can end up in chronic degenerative conditions that should have been completely preventable.
What exercises improve or help prevent neck pain?
How should I sleep to improve my neck pain?
Using the right pillow can be crucial. It should be one that is molded to reinforce the healthy forward curve in your neck. It is important to avoid too many pillows that force the neck into a forward bend. Also side sleeping can be supportive as long as the right size pillow is used so that the neck stays in line with the spine.
Do cervical collars help neck pain?
Although a cervical collar may be recommended and may feel like it is protecting the neck when it hurts, they may cause long-term problems by restricting ranges of motion and causing atrophy and weakening of the neck muscles.
What is cervical radiculopathy?
Often called a pinched nerve, it is damage or change in the way a nerve works when one of the nerve roots near the cervical vertebrae is compressed or irritated. The damage occurs from bulging discs, degenerative joints, bone spurs, arthritis, or misalignment of the vertebrae (subluxation) and rarely from infections or tumors. It can cause electric-shock type referred pain, weakness, numbness or tingling along the nerve's pathway radiating into the shoulder, arm and hand, chest or upper back, depending on where the damaged roots are located.
How does my posture affect neck pain?
Poor posture has a significant impact on neck pain and if left unaddressed may result in relapses and underlying progressive degenerative changes that continue between episodes. Learn more about posture here.
What is text neck or tech neck?
Text or Tech neck refers to neck problems caused by improper posture from prolonged use of mobile devices with the head bent downward and not moving and with desktops where the head is pushed forward. Besides pain and stiffness it may accelerate degenerative changes in the joints and contribute to headaches, jaw problems and balance issues due to the head’s center of gravity migrating further in front of the body.
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