Neck pain can range anywhere from a chronic, long-standing, low-grade complaint to debilitating, sudden-onset, and life-altering pain. Sometimes the condition switches from one to the other with no known reason while at other times there’s an obvious event that led to the concern. Because if its varied presentations, it can affect all ages. However, we’re noticing an increase in the the condition with the rise in desk-oriented office work that keeps employees tied to their work stations and computers for hours at end.
According to the National Institute of Health report from 2012 at any one time, 15% of the population has some type of neck pain. Of that 15%, over half seek care for their neck pain from a non-medical, or complementary sources of treatment. Patients at large are gravitating towards non-pharmaceutical methods of relief and at the American Back Center we can manage these conditions with a variety of treatment methods with great success.
Below is a short list of common neck pain presentations and causes:
Mechanical Neck Pain
This is the most common cause of neck pain and it while it’s often considered one singular condition, studies are now revealing that what was once considered a simple ‘bout of neck pain’ often can be further distinguished into various sub-groups of pain, each with its own specific treatment protocol. By performing an MDT assessment (commonly known as the McKenzie approach), we can classify the neck pain and assign specific home-based exercises that literally correct the problem. Not all exercises programs are alike and usually the neck needs only one, targeted exercise to correct the problem. If you’ve already been to someone for your neck and you’ve been given a multitude of exercises but you’re still not getting better, consider the American Back Center.
Whiplash and accident-related neck pain
This is the most common neck complaint after accidents. When the neck is thrown around in a car accident or sport injury, the ligaments that hold the spine together can get overstretched and damaged. Similar to a sprained ankle, swelling occurs and movement makes the pain worse. Usually patients have strong morning pain a day or two after the initial injury. Unfortunately, many patients wait to have their spine examined, believing that the pain will resolve on its own and when it doesn’t – often weeks or even months later – only then do they seek treatment. Don’t delay! Early intervention leads to quicker and better outcomes.
Patients can sometimes come to the office with hand, arm or shoulder pain, numbness, tingling or weakness and often this is actually a neck problem. When the sensitive nerves of the spine get pressed on by disc or squeezed by tight muscles these nerves send pain signals down their length, causing pain away from the spine. By treating the spine itself we can resolve the arm pain. However, it’s first important to determine if in fact the arm complaint is coming from the neck or whether it’s an actual arm complaint.