We don’t often consider the importance of the neck when evaluating the parts of our body that we need to manage and take care of, but the neck plays a vital role that enables us to live our daily lives: carrying our head (roughly 5 kilograms!). The neck spends all day with our head on top of it, while also giving us the ability to turn it and twist it.
The neck also serves as the balance between the tip of your spine and your brain. If anything goes wrong in that spine-brain relationship, a number of uncomfortable issues may occur all throughout your body.
With that said, the neck is a lot more delicate than we think, which is why one of the biggest problems facing Australians today is neck pain, with one in five Australians suffering neck pain right this moment.
Causes and Types of Neck Pain
The neck can be hurt by a number of factors. These include:
- Irregular sleep
- Pinched nerves
- Repetitive activities
- Poor posture
- Carrying heavy things around your shoulder, such as a bag
- Injuries related to sports or labour
These issues can contribute to different kinds of neck pain, which are categorised based on their cause and effect. The three most common pains attributed to the neck include:
Mechanical neck pain: This is what most people experience when they say they have neck pain. Mechanical neck pain can be attributed to prolonged bad posture or sudden movements in the neck, which lead to pain coming from spinal joints, muscles, and tendons in the area. Those who are most at risk of mechanical neck pain are individuals with jobs in physical labour involving raising their arms above their shoulders.
Referred neck pain: This pain is felt in the back, shoulder, and arm, and sometimes even in the form of headaches and migraines. This is caused by a pinched nerve in the neck, which is why other areas of the body are affected.
Radicular arm pain: While “neck” isn’t in the name of this type of pain, this is still caused by the neck, or when neck-related issues lead to inflammation or nerve compression. This leads to feeling sensations of weakness, tingling, numbness, and discomfort in the arm, and is most often caused by damage to the discs in the spine which lead to pressure on certain nerves.
Preventing Future Neck Pain
To avoid suffering neck pain, it is crucial to take steps immediately towards preventing it. There are a number of everyday things you can do to minimise the likelihood of developing neck pain, such as:
- Fixing your posture
- Avoid carrying heavy items with your shoulders
- Don’t bend your neck sideways to talk on your mobile phone pressed against your shoulder
- Make sure your work computer is not too high or too low; it should be at eye-level
- Your body should be straight when you stand or sit, with your shoulders level vertically with your hips
- Get enough sleep
- Use pillows that are relatively flat but still have some small support
- Don’t sleep on your belly, as this stresses out the muscles in your neck
- If necessary, partake in neck exercises
Treating and Managing Existing Neck Pain
While it is possible to resort to over-the-counter medication or ice packs to treat neck pain (such as Panadol, aspirin, or Ibuprofen), these do not act as long-term solutions for more serious and recurring issues.
If these and other home remedies (a heating pad, a hot shower, neck exercises at home) do not help, it might be time to see a professional Chiropractor for treatment. A Chiropractor will ask a number of questions to assess your pain, including, “When did your pain start?”, “Are you injured?”, “Do certain movements worsen the pain?”
First Choice Chiropractic: End Your Neck Pain Today
When you are faced with neck pain and medication seems unable to cure it, it doesn’t mean you are stuck with the pain for the rest of your life. At First Choice Chiropractic, we offer those one in five Australians suffering neck pain a way back to a painless everyday life. With techniques and healing strategies that focus on fixing the physical aspect of your pain rather than medicating you or putting you under the knife, we offer a solution unlike any other.
First time to visit a Chiropractor? No problem! We have a limited-time New Patient Chiropractic Offer, giving all first-time patients the full package and consultation to start their journey towards pain relief.