Neck pain often gets taken for granted, mainly because it can quickly disappear. Sometimes, all it takes is a soothing massage to ease the tension in the muscles or calm the nerves. However, some cases of neck pain linger, causing discomfort for several days. The pain can also progress each day, making you wonder, can neck pain cause headaches, back pain, or other health problems?
If yes, what can you do to address it? Can a professional like a massage therapist or cervical chiropractor help? What happens if you don’t care for a painful neck? Let’s answer all of these neck-pain-related questions and more below.
How Can Neck Pain Cause Headaches and Other Mishaps?
Did you know that the neck plays various critical roles in maintaining your overall well-being? That’s because of its unique anatomy.
Take a closer look at the neck’s structure. You’d notice that apart from holding your head up and supporting movements, your neck also performs an additional function – protecting the spinal cord and its various nerve roots.
And, as you might recall from basic anatomy classes, your spinal cord and its nerve roots facilitate communication between your brain and the body. That means if something happens to them, like when they get irritated or compressed by your neck bones, they can malfunction.
Consequently, your body suffers various effects like stiff muscles, a painful neck, unlevelled shoulders and hips, backaches, and even headaches or migraines. You can also have a pinched nerve, leading to additional painful symptoms that can affect your limbs, back, and neck.
Studies also add that the slight changes in your neck bone alignment can pave the way for developing health complications like chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, vertigo attacks, and multiple sclerosis.
They can happen because apart from causing your nerves to misfire information, blood fluid and drainage also get impaired by a cervical subluxation or bone shifting.
So the answer to your question, “can neck pain cause headaches or other health problems?” is an obvious YES. And if you want to correct the problem, then going to a cervical chiropractor for a quick assessment should be among your critical tasks in your pain management plan.
What Are the Usual Causes of Neck Pain?
Now that you’re a bit acquainted with possible things that may stem from neck pain, let’s look into its usual causes. This way, you can manage your risks better, and you can determine the best course of action you can take. Here are some of the commonly reported reasons behind a painful neck:
- Muscle strain or overuse
- Rear-end car collisions
- Injuries from contact sports like football
- Inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis
- Worn out joints, ligaments and intervertebral discs due to aging
How Do You Know if Your Neck Pain is Serious?
Generally speaking, neck pains aren’t a cause for concern, especially if they stem from regular muscle strain. However, studies note that if the neck pain occurs because of a neurological or nerve problem, it can cause damage to various parts of your body and take longer to heal.
When you observe neck pain, we highly recommend keeping track of it for a few days. Usually, the aching subsides after a few days and slowly disappear as you use neck pain remedies and solutions such as:
- Using ice and heat therapy to manage the swelling and hasten recovery
- Switching to a stand-up desk to promote good posture while working
- Doing gentle neck stretches to loosen and soothe stiff muscles
- Enjoying a soothing and relaxing massage
- Taking pain medications to experience short-term relief from the aching
- Staying physically active to promote the release of natural pain killers (endorphins)
However, if your neck pain worsens or triggers symptoms like muscle numbness or tingling, headaches, and pain in your back and limbs, you should call your doctor.
This could mean that you have a pinched or compressed nerve in your neck. Alternatively, the lingering or worsening pain might be your body’s way of warning you that you have misaligned neck bones. You will need to consult with an upper cervical chiropractor to assess your neck bone alignment changes in such a case.
What Can an Upper Cervical Chiropractor Do to Ease Your Neck Pain?
When you have cervical misalignment, you can certainly expect to have neck pain that comes and goes. On top of that, you might begin to notice additional symptoms like backaches, headaches, or other concerns. Good thing you can address the problem by seeing an upper cervical chiropractor.
Typically, your upper cervical care doctor helps you gauge the severity of the neck misalignment. It involves checking your neck structure via imaging techniques and finding the specific points that need to receive upper cervical chiropractic adjustments.
The process is gentle, and it relies on precise measurements done by your neck cervical chiropractor. However, it can take weeks to complete the procedure, depending on the angle or level of bone misalignment.
If you previously had neck trauma due to a car collision or perhaps a sports injury, it’s a good idea to get your neck checked.
So, can neck pain cause headaches plus other health conditions? We hope this blog clears things out. If you’re currently dealing with neck pain and you suspect cervical misalignment, we highly recommend scheduling your consultation with an upper cervical chiropractic practitioner right away.
Get in touch with the nearest upper cervical doctor today!