Neck pain isn’t JUST neck pain. Sometimes it travels up your skull, giving you headaches. Other times it makes it hard to fall asleep. We all know how a bad neck — along with a headache — can disrupt our day and shorten our productivity at work or when spending quality time with our family.
Common causes (and things you didn’t know that cause neck pain!):
MUSCLE TENSION (Common recovery times: 2-4 weeks.)
Staying in long postures for a period of time (think sitting in front of the laptop) can cause tension to build up in our upper shoulders. These muscles link our shoulders to the neck, and can cause feelings of pain, stiffness, or a pulling and aching sensation around our neck. Common muscles are the upper trapezius, levator scapulae, and scalenes.
DISC INJURY & NERVE SENSITIVITY (Common recovery times: 6 to 12 weeks.)
We know that disc injuries happen commonly in the lower back, but they can happen around our neck too. When this happens, even small movements of our neck can trigger a sharp pain, and possible numbness/tingling down our shoulder or arm. When that happens, our nerves which are right next to the spinal discs, become irritated and sensitive!
CHANGE IN NECK STRUCTURE (Common recovery times: Variable, depending on severity.)
Our neck is supposed to be in a C-shape, and accidents or loads on it over time may cause changes like a reverse-C shape (Like the picture above). This doesn’t always equal headaches or pain, but in some cases, it may be a contributing factor for muscle tension and nerve sensitivity.
What kind of treatments can help solve neck pain and headaches?
- Chiropractic adjustments: Spinal adjustments help to relieve pain and compression on the spine, which facilitates healing.
- Physiotherapy rehabilitation: Specific exercises enable you to maintain the positive changes created in your body, making sure the effects are long-lasting and that you do not need to rely on us.
- Spinal orthotics: We use Chiropractic BioPhysics® techniques and evidence-based models to help relieve stiffness and improve curvature in the neck. Read on here to find out how this helps restore the spine’s curvature!
- Decompression therapy: In cases where the disc and nerves are involved, a gentle stretching using our one-of-a-kind machine helps to reduce the pressure placed on the neck and improve numbness, tingling, and radiating pain down the arm.
Is there anything I can do at home?
- ICE: Applying ice (or a pack of frozen peas) around your neck can help relieve inflammation and reduce the intensity of headaches. Apply them wrapped in a damp towel for 10 minutes, several times throughout the day.
- Try sleeping in a different position: When your neck is sensitive, even the way you sleep can be something that makes it hurt. We’ve put together a list of different sleeping positions that you could try out, and see if it makes a difference.
- Ergonomics: May play a big role if working in front of the computer is a major part of your job! As something that you’ll be doing for at least 50% of your day, make sure that your set-up is optimal by following these tips.
- Reduce Stress: We might not realise it, but our bodies also respond to stress. So — take a deep breath, and relax your shoulders when you exhale. Unclench your jaw, take a break from the computer!
If you’ve tried these tips and you’re still being bothered with neck pain and headaches, call us to set up an appointment and let’s get started on your journey to pain-free movement.
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