Your Hidden Treasure: Relief from Neck Pain

By Martha Michael

Chiropractic for Neck Pain

The appraisal of a necklace set with jewels can certainly impress people when they learn its market value. But there aren’t enough gems in the world to match the priceless value of the neck it wraps around.

As a relatively unprotected part of the body, maintaining the health of your cervical spine requires close attention. It’s important to address any symptoms that arise, such as pain.

Links to Pain

There are several different circumstances that can result in neck pain, which can range from slight discomfort to chronic throbbing. A visit to The Joint Chiropractic is always a good first step toward assessing what might be a problem that might be much bigger.

An inflammatory disease such as meningitis can produce stiffness in the neck, as well as headache, nausea and other symptoms, according to the Johns Hopkins Medicine website. Both viral and bacterial meningitis result from inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord, and when the nerve fibers become activated it creates neck pain. There are disorders more often experienced by older individuals which can cause pain in the neck, explains

  • MayoClinic.org
  • . Osteoarthritis, aka degenerative joint disease, is a common condition in which the cartilage between your vertebrae deteriorates, and the bone spurs that form can cause painful joint movement.

    Injury is another cause of neck pain, and a common condition associated with car accidents is whiplash. The forward-to-backward jerking movement involved in a rear-end collision can strain and sprain the neck’s soft tissue, requiring treatment for symptoms and other side effects related to the condition.

    Accurate Evaluation

    It may be challenging to know whether or not a beautiful neckline is masking an ugly internal reality, but there’s no need to assume the worst about neck pain and become prematurely alarmed, says an article in

  • PainScience.com
  • . Writer Paul Ingraham suggests looking through a list of red flags before jumping to conclusions and calling a bump or twinge a sign of cancer or other serious condition.

    Make an appointment with your healthcare practitioner regarding neck pain when all three of these conditions occur:

    • You’ve been in pain for more than about six weeks
    • The pain is severe and it’s not improving; rather, it’s getting worse
    • At least one of the conditions discussed below occurs as well

    If you’ve been the victim of an accident in which the force was enough to possibly fracture your spine or damage nerves, you need to seek professional help, Ingraham says. Pain when tapping lightly on your backbone is a sign you possibly need intervention.

    Individuals who are coping with a serious illness, such as cancer or diabetes, should watch for changes in symptoms. If they are losing weight without dieting, or if they have fevers and/or chills, there may be cause for concern.

    An intense headache is another red flag that something could be seriously wrong. If you’re unable to bend your head forward it can be a sign of meningitis. A sudden “thunderclap headache” is usually benign, according to Ingraham, but contact your chiropractor if you’re experiencing those.

    The importance of spine health can’t be overstated. You may or may not have neck pain associated with symptoms such as a lack of coordination in your hands, numbness in your limbs, an awkward gait or weakness. One of the signs that your upper cervical spine is in crisis is nausea, sometimes with vomiting.

    Treatment

    Immediately following an injury, you need to seek the advice of your healthcare professional. Your chiropractor can determine if you need treatment for minor damage or if you have an acute medical issue. Visiting your practitioner as soon as possible after an injury can keep inflammation and further damage to a minimum.

    You may need physical rehabilitation if you have neck pain due to injury. It’s important to follow through with an exercise routine or other program recommended by your chiropractor. In many cases, recovery includes building muscle strength for additional support. Further treatment for neck pain may include:

    • Rest and relaxation
    • Manual manipulation
    • Immobilization/use of a brace
    • Massage therapy

    The Mayo Clinic staff recommends several methods for prevention of neck pain.

    • Sit and stand straight; if you spend a lot of time at the computer, adjust your chair, if necessary
    • Don’t tuck the phone between your shoulder and your ear
    • Limit the weight when carrying bags with shoulder straps
    • While sleeping, tuck a small pillow under your neck, and if you can, sleep on your back with pillows under your thighs

    It’s easy to be distracted by the pile of unfinished work or schedules that never quit. But the most important shiny objects, where our necks are concerned, include posture, body mechanics and staying alert so pain doesn’t become uglier. You don’t want a nagging ache to string you along -- instead, let your actions become an accessory to your wellness.

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