Neck pain is an extremely common condition that can be difficult to deal with. At some point or another, it seems inevitable that everyone will experience the proverbial “crick” in the neck or some other type of neck pain or discomfort. The pain can be sharp or dull, it can radiate through the shoulders and arms, and can even be associated with numbness or weakness. Neck pain can be so difficult to cope with because there is an abundance of information available at our fingertips, but how do we know if our sources are reliable? Below are 3 of the most common neck pain myths followed by 3 facts that might help clear up any misconceptions.
Myth #1: Everyone Has Neck Pain as They Get Older
This may be one of the biggest myths surrounding neck pain and back pain. Most people come to accept their daily aches and pains as a normal part of aging. However, not everyone experiences neck pain. Additionally, you are not doomed to a life of chronic pain just because your parents suffered before you. Most neck pain and problems do not have a genetic component. Accepting your pain as a normal part of growing older can stand in the way of you getting the care that you might need. Just as it is with any other health condition, delaying care and avoiding the issue can make the problem worse over time. Many causes of neck pain can actually be addressed naturally and effectively.
Myth #2: My Job Isn’t Physically Demanding, So That Can’t Be the Cause of my Neck Pain
It is absolutely true that physically demanding jobs that require heavy lifting, pushing and pulling can be the source of neck pain. However, office jobs that necessitate long hours of sitting can be equally as bad. Having a workstation that is set up improperly can force you to slouch, twist, and turn. If your computer monitor is too low, your neck is bent forward for the majority of the day. Using mobile devices such as tablets and cell phones only add to the problem. The average weight of an adult’s head is 10-12 pounds. Tilting your head down at a 45-degree angle makes the weight of the head feel like 49 pounds, and at a 60-degree angle, it’s more like 60 pounds. Do this for hours each day and this places a lot of cumulative stress on the spine, muscles, and ligaments of the neck.
Myth #3: Neck Pain is a Sign That I Just Need to Rest
When you are suffering from an episode of neck or back pain, it might be really tempting to take an over-the-counter painkiller and rest in bed. A short period of rest for a specific neck problem might be appropriate, but for neck pain that returns over and over or is fairly chronic, long periods of rest might actually be contributing to your condition. Avoiding activity and exercise will eventually lead to muscle atrophy, pain, and stiffness. This can lead to a frustrating cycle of pain preventing activity, but inactivity leading to more pain. Trying gentle exercises such as swimming, yoga, and walking are great ways to start reintroducing activity back into your daily routine.
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Fact #1: A Car Accident or Other Injury Doesn’t Have to be Severe to Cause Whiplash
It can be easy to ignore neck pain that arises after a seemingly minor fender bender or injury on the sports field. The truth is, though, that it doesn’t take a spectacular crash to injure the many structures of your neck. Your cervical spine, made up of 7 vertebrae, is supported by many soft tissues. When an accident happens, vertebrae can subtly shift out of alignment, muscles can be strained and ligaments sprained. Getting the proper care following even what seems like a minor incident can help you to prevent bigger problems from occurring in the future.
Fact #2: You Can Strengthen your Neck and Build Better Posture
Some people feel that once they have developed poor posture, that they’re doomed to be stuck that way forever. Much of this sentiment comes from the fact that after many months or years of poor posture, it might actually feel more uncomfortable to try and maintain good posture than it is to hunch over or slouch. This can be a sign of changes that have occurred in your spinal alignment and your muscle balance. Working to strengthen key muscle groups (such as your core) and stretch notoriously tight ones (such as your hamstrings) can help you to feel more natural in proper posture, whether sitting or standing. We may not think of it, but posture plays an important role in our overall health since the vertebrae of your spine are responsible for protecting your body’s central nervous system.
Fact #3: You Don’t Have to Resign Yourself to Living With Your Neck Pain
When you experience pain on some level day after day, it can be really easy to lose hope. Making the problem worse is that most people suffering from chronic neck pain and discomfort feel as if they have exhausted their care options and are leery of continued medication use and its associated side-effects.
Natural, Gentle, and Effective Care for Neck Pain Relief
One form of care that is growing in utilization is upper cervical chiropractic care. Upper cervical care is different in that we focus on the area of the spine that is most freely movable and has a greater potential to misalign and cause problems. The C1 (atlas) and C2 (axis) vertebrae are unique in that they hold up the weight of the head and provide us with all of the ranges of motion we are able to move our heads through. These two bones also provide protection for the brainstem, a critical component of your central nervous system. An upper cervical misalignment, also called subluxation, can negatively influence how your neck feels and moves, as well as blood flow between the head and neck, and normal nervous system activity.
When a patient comes into our office seeking care for their neck pain, we take a very detailed and systematic approach to determine the underlying cause of the problem. We understand that you’re tired of chasing symptoms around and are ready for some relief. Upper cervical adjustments are gentle and precise. They are designed to hold in place for as long as possible, which is why many of our patients report long-lasting results.
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if you are outside of the local area you can find an Upper Cervical Doctor near you at www.uppercervicalawareness.com.