Neck pain is a common complaint. A doctor in the Netherlands receives on average seven patients a week with complaints of the neck. Throughout their life, about 80% of people will experience pain in the back and/or in the neck. By far the largest type of neck pain, approximately 90%, is non-specific neck pain because doctors cannot find a direct cause. These complaints can be a result of strain and muscle fatigue or an overload of neck ligaments. Chiropractic MoveWell is specialized in complaints of the neck. Please read on if you would like to know more about neck pain.
The neck consists of seven vertebrae. This is called the cervical spine. It is the yellow part in picture below. Between the vertebrae are intervertebral discs. These intervertebral discs tend to work like cushions. In other words, they operated like shock absorbers. Facet joints are also located between the vertebrae, and these act as hinges. Together with the intervertebral discs, the spinal facet joints ensure that the spine can move as it should be.
The spine is like a house for our nerves. The nerves attach your body through the spinal cord to your brain. The back and neck have approximately seven layers of muscle, from tiny small muscles to big strong muscles. The lower back can only function well if the whole structure, the combination of the joints, muscles, ligaments and nerves, operates in harmony. A neck complaint can often be related to one or more parts of the structure.
A complaint to the neck can reveal itself in different ways, like pain, stiffness or restriction of movement. Pain can be sharp, stabbing, aching or dull. The complaint can be localized in the neck or radiate to other parts of the spine, the shoulder or the arms and hands. One can feel it constantly, after an exercise like sport or climbing the stairs or even at rest. The complaint may be constant, worse with exercise or even at rest. Furthermore, it is also possible that you feel a tingling or prickling sensation.
|Sudden incidental causes like lifting, falling, a sudden movement or accident.|
|Gradual causes occur when one has pro longed poor posture (sitting, standing or lying), lack of exercise, weak abdominal and back muscles, a lot of lifting, bending and twisting (throughout a longer period of time), stress, obesity, pregnancy or old age (wear out).|
The fixation of one or more vertebrae or joints causes tensions in the neck. Nerves get irritated and the surrounding muscles start aching which finally leads to an injury. In the following image the explanation is visualized.
When you look at the image, you will see a vicious circle. Once you recognise that, it is not so hard to explain what causes neck pain, back pain or other joint problems. Almost all the problems arise in the same way, by overloading. Is your everyday posture at work (desk, truck) incorrect? Do you sleep in the wrong position and/or in an uncomfortable bed? Do you always lift up from the back? Then it’s not so strange to imagine that this affects the joints and they get overloaded. If you still keep it up then it is only a matter of time before the pressure in a joint will rise so high that it becomes irritated.
Joints are actually nothing more than hinges. If a hinge of a door is squeaking, almost everybody knows that the tension on the door is too high. With a continuing pressure on the hinge or joint it is possible that the irritation will be followed by pain. There is a Dutch saying which states that it is the proverbial water drop that overflows the bucket. The pain signal results in a growing tension in the muscles. To illustrate: if your hand accidentally touches a heater, your reflexes will pull it back fast.
If you have neck pain almost the same reaction occurs. With a high pain signal there is a contraction of the muscles. The body tries to protect you so as not to aggravate the painful spot. When you ignore this signal and you keep burdening the irritated spot, it will lead to more pain. The vicious circle at the onset of neck pain can occur suddenly; then “shoot down your neck” or the vicious circle can build up gradually over years due to increasing pain.
The chiropractor at MoveWell finds out where the obstruction (in movement) is located, proceeds with solutions that get to the heart of the problem, treatments, exercises, training and advice on posture. Read more…