What CausesNeck Pain?
Upper back problems
The most common causes of neck pain are problems with the upper back. The area from base of the neck to the bottom of the shoulder blades is not very sensitive in most people, but is adversely affected by the storms of life. Poor posture, stress, and injuries like whiplash cause persisting or reoccurring dysfunction in the joints and muscles of this area. Whenever there is a problem in the upper back it tends to spread into the back of the neck, often reaching the area right below the back of your head.
Joint and muscle problems in the upper back are some of our favorite things to treat. If left they lead to headaches, numbness and tingling in the arms and hands, and general discomfort in the shoulders. We are the heroes of the day when we sort this our for our patients as neck pain resolves and the problems with the upper back that you had learned to ignore are gone as well. Let us help you with your neck pain.
The neck is a fairly vulnerable structure in that it is like a flexible stick with a big heavy weight at the end of it. Coming to a sudden stop leaves the head moving forward, and often sprains or strains the soft tissues here. This can happen all at once with a trauma, or can happen over and over again with smaller injuries that you don't notice until they have accumulated over time. Either way, appropriate therapy helps to prevent a cascade of problems in the future.
This is caused by pinching the sensitve joint capsule that surrounds the little joints in the back of the neck. This often occurs fist thing in the morning upon awakening, and is very severe, painful and frightening. The pain can be located anywhere in the back of the neck, but is usually near the bottom where the neck meets the upper back. The pain is much worse with rotation, one direction usually much worse than the other. It also hurts like crazy to tip your head back, or towards the side of the problem. This condition is easy to treat, and normally resolves fully within a few days. A combination of chiropractic, massage and physical therapy modalities are the best choices.
Pinched cervical nerve root
This condition is usually caused by a disc bulge, a bone spur, or degenerative changes in an older neck. it is characterized by constant achy pain in the lower neck or upper back, often just inside the shoulder blade. The pain flows into the arm where it will produce a general ache in the upper arm, and a strip of numbness, pain, or tingling that goes through the forearm and into the hand, usually involving only one or two fingers. The most common fingers involved are the fourth and fifth. This is one of the more complicated conditions that we treat, and can progress to becoming a surgical problem if not taken care of. The sooner this is addressed, the greater the success of restoring to normal function and elimination of pain.
Don't forget that the most common cause of headaches is joint and muscle problems in the upper neck, just below the back of the head. The pain is often felt in the forehead, temples and behind the eyes, so it's easy to miss the true cause. These are very easy to fix using massage and chiropractic techniques.