Tendonitis is an injury that can occur in the neck, especially when repetitive motion happens. Tendons connect the muscles to the bones. This is what allows the muscles to move the body. But if a tendon becomes inflamed, it can result in every little movement becoming painful. Today, we are going to pay particular attention to the symptoms and causes of tendonitis in the neck and shoulders. Then we will discuss how a subspecialty of chiropractic can provide safe and gentle support for the healing process, leading to long-term relief.
Symptoms of Neck Tendonitis
When tendonitis occurs in the neck, it can present with a number of symptoms. Here are the primary things you may be feeling:
- Neck pain – While there can be many causes of neck pain, tendonitis is definitely one of them.
- Radiating Pain – It is very common for neck pain to come with shoulder pain when the tendon injury exists.
- Stiffness – Limitation of range of motion occurs due to stiffness in the neck. You may not be able to turn all the way to one side or the other or perhaps even look up or down in the full range you normally can.
- Swelling – You may experience swelling around the area where the inflammation is occurring.
- Tenderness – Even the slightest touch may be excruciating.
- Grating – Any motion that uses the tendon may create a grating sensation.
What Causes Tendonitis in the Neck?
While there are many potential underlying causes of this issue, we’re going to present four that are very common in modern society:
- Poor Posture – Posture is so important, especially when it comes to functionality of the neck. When we sit at a desk all day for work, spend a lot of time behind the wheel of a car, or relax in odd head positions in bed or on the couch, this can all lead to tendonitis.
- Repetitive Strain – If you work in an office, you may be subject to repetitive motions that strain the tendons of the neck such as looking at computer monitors constantly or holding a phone between your ear and shoulder (which should never be done – use speakerphone or invest in a headset). Technology can lead to repetitive strains, especially if you regularly crane your neck to check a mobile device in your lap or at chest level.
- Sudden Strain – A sudden movement that stretches the neck too far can also lead to an acute injury. This can occur in a car accident, slip and fall, or in many other ways.
- Sleep Position – A stiff neck when waking up may be due to a sleep position that is putting a strain on the neck. Try to use the right pillow for sleeping on your back or side, so that your head has full support or not too high. Never sleep on your stomach because this forces the head to turn to one side all night.
Finding Safe and Natural Relief from Tendonitis
First of all, it is important to note that inflammation responds well to ice. Heat can actually make inflammation worse, so be sure to use ice on your neck and watch the temperature of your showers.
Second, keep in mind that the tendons connect neck to bone, so proper bone alignment can have an effect both on how easily an injury occurs as well as how long it may take to heal. The upper cervical spine, in particular, can affect all of the structures of the neck. How so?
When the atlas (C1) is out of alignment, the rest of the bones and soft tissue of the neck have to shift to compensate in order to keep the head straight and the eyes level with the horizon. Once the neck is locked in a stressed position, it becomes easier for an injury such as tendonitis to occur. If the misalignment persists, it can cause the tendonitis to take far longer to heal and can lead to chronic pain.
How can you know if an atlas misalignment has been caused by a repetitive motion or sudden strain or even just the effects of poor posture or sleep position?
Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care – Natural Help for Tendonitis
An upper cervical chiropractor is a practitioner who is focused on just the top two bones in the neck, the atlas and axis (C1 and C2). Using a physical examination along with diagnostic imaging techniques, the practitioner can determine the exact location and degree of misalignment, even down to hundredths of a degree. While that may seem like an insignificant misalignment, it is enough to set off the chain reaction noted above that occurs in an effort to maintain the proper balance of the head.
Once a misalignment is diagnosed and precisely measured, a gentle adjustment (no cracking, popping, or forceful motions) is designed specifically for you. This low force and customized adjustment is designed to be long-lasting, giving the body the time it needs to heal properly.
Once the neck is in proper alignment, remember to be cognizant of what causes the problem in the first place. Good posture should feel natural with the atlas in place. Don’t go back to sleeping on your stomach. And try to avoid the repetitive motions that put pressure on the spine. These lifestyle adjustments, combined with a properly aligned atlas, can lead to a reduction in the pain and stiffness you are experiencing. Schedule a consult with a practitioner near you today to learn more.