Neck pain is a common type of pain that can be caused by injuries, wear and tear or underlying conditions. This type of pain is becoming more common as people tilt their heads for hours at a time while using smartphones and tablets or while working on laptops or computers. These activities result in muscle strain in the neck, which causes soreness and stiffness. Other causes of neck pain include poor posture, injuries, such as whiplash from auto accidents, and herniated discs or spinal growths pressing on nerves that lead to the neck. Neck pain can also occur over time as joints become worn down, especially in those with osteoarthritis. As this condition grows worse, increasing neck pain and stiffness can occur.
Whether you have acute neck pain from an injury or chronic neck pain from osteoarthritis, our doctors at Health First Injury & Pain Centers can help you find relief. Treatment for neck pain usually starts with conventional methods, such as taking over-the-counter pain relievers and using a support for your neck. Applying ice or heat and limiting your activities might also help. When these forms of treatment only offer temporary relief or when your pain does not go away, chiropractic treatment is another option to consider. This type of treatment involves aligning the spinal discs in your back, including your upper back, which connects to your neck. When these bones are placed back into alignment, you can expect to begin feeling relief from neck pain. Alignment along the entire length of the spine helps support the healing process.
At Health First Injury & Pain Centers, we also have physical therapy services available. These services provide you with the opportunity to make sure that your neck muscles are strong and flexible, which decreases the risk of experiencing neck pain again or on a recurring basis. If you have been injured in a car accident, sports injury or work-related accident, our physical therapists can help you work toward recovery by having you do exercises that strengthen your neck muscles, which provides your neck joints with improved support. These exercises also restore your normal range of motion, allowing you to turn and move your neck without experiencing pain or stiffness.
You can lower your risk of neck pain in a number of ways. One of the most effective ways to do so is by making sure you practice proper posture. This means holding your shoulders straight and your neck at a comfortable angle without tilting it. Doing this while sitting and standing helps ease pressure on your neck muscles and joints, which reduces your risk of strain and other causes of neck pain. If you use or work on a computer, laptop, tablet or phone, keep the screen or monitor at eye level as much as possible. You should also give yourself breaks from staring at these devices for long periods of time. When you take a break, stand up and stretch the muscles in your neck and shoulders.
You can also lower your risk of neck pain by ensuring that you sleep in a comfortable position that does not strain your neck. This involves keeping your neck and your head in alignment as much as possible. Keep in mind that you might need to place an extra pillow below your neck to accomplish this. Other ways to prevent neck pain include not letting heavy bags hang on your shoulder and giving up smoking.