Almost everyone will experience neck pain at one time or another. However, when neck pain becomes chronic, it is vital to figure out what is causing it and if there is a natural way to find relief. We are going to take a closer look at some of the most common causes of neck pain. Then we will address a natural therapy that is helping many patients to find the relief they crave.
Misalignments of the Cervical Spine
One of the most common causes of neck pain has to be misalignments of the cervical spine. When the bones of the neck are not correctly aligned, the surrounding soft tissue adjusts to compensate. This is particularly true when the C1, or atlas, becomes misaligned. Since the skull balances on this bone, the body does whatever it can to keep your head on straight despite the misalignment.
While injury can cause misalignment, poor posture and repetitive motion injuries can also be responsible. For example, a person may look down at a smartphone over and over throughout the day or may frequently hold a phone between his ear and shoulder.
Head and Neck Trauma
Injuries to the head or neck are frequently to blame for neck pain. Neck injuries seem pretty obvious and whiplash, in particular, will cause damage to the neck. However, most head injuries will also cause damage to the neck. In fact, it only takes a five mph accident to cause the neck to move fast enough to sustain damage, so you could imagine what happens when someone gets tackled head-on in football or falls without being able to block it with their arms.
Here are a few examples of injuries that can cause neck pain:
- Car accidents
- Sports injuries
- Slip and fall
There are spongy discs between the vertebrae that keep them from rubbing and allow the spine to move in many ways without pain. The neck, as a part of the spine, functions in the same way. However, when the spine becomes locked in a stressed position, the discs may wear prematurely. As a result, the discs can rupture or bulge. This can put pressure on nearby nerves and also lead to the vertebrae coming in contact with one another during movement. Therefore, it is essential to protect the discs of the spine. A few ways to do this include staying properly hydrated, getting misalignments taken care of as soon as possible, and not smoking.
Osteoarthritis and the Neck
When the cartilage between the joints wears out, movement of the joints becomes painful, and this is called osteoarthritis. The most commonly affected joints are in the knees, feet and hands. However, any joint can experience arthritis. In the spine, this occurs when the discs, rather than rupturing or bulging, simply wear down. When this happens, a person experiences arthritis in the spine.
Your spinal cord is a critical element of your central nervous system. The spine acts as a protector. However, as a person ages, especially if there is a problem causing additional wear and tear, this canal can begin to shrink. That process is called spinal stenosis. It can become excruciating and develop gradually over the course of decades or rather rapidly if something is quickening degeneration.
How to Prevent Neck Pain Naturally
Now that you know some of the primary things that cause neck pain, how can you keep these problems from occurring? Here are a few safety tips for preventing neck pain.
- Maintain proper posture – Again, many of the problems noted above involve premature wear and tear on the body. One of the best things that you can do to prevent this degeneration is to maintain proper posture, whether you are standing or sitting. Pay particular attention if you sit a desk all day for work or if you use a laptop.
- Reduce smartphone usage – Many of use look down to check our messages, the time, and social media upwards of 100 times per day. This repetitive motion can damage the neck by placing undue pressure on the spine. The head weighs 10-12 pounds, but when you look down at a 60-degree angle, it puts 60 pounds of pressure on the neck!
- Sleep the right way – Stomach sleeping is rough on your neck because you have to have your head turned to the side all night. Sleeping on your back or side with an appropriate pillow is far better for your neck.
- Employ safe driving techniques – Car accidents are one of the primary ways that people experience the misalignments, which later cause serious neck issues. Driving safely will reduce your risk.
This is great if your neck is in good shape right now and you want to keep it that way, but what if you are already experiencing pain or degeneration? One thing that may be able to help provide some relief is upper cervical chiropractic care.
Natural Neck Pain Help from Upper Cervical Specific Chiropractic
Upper cervical chiropractors focus on the top two bones in the neck. Since these bones balance the skull, protect the brainstem, and facilitate blood flow to the brain, proper alignment is crucial. In fact, the surrounding soft tissue and even other parts of the spine will shift to compensate for misalignments as little as a fraction of a millimeter.
Upper cervical chiropractic involves precise and gentle corrections for even the slightest misalignments of the C1 and C2 vertebrae. This may keep the spine from ending up locked in a position that leads to degeneration. Once the surrounding soft tissue stabilizes, you may find that your chronic neck pain finally goes away.