As someone who hears all the time in the office, “Doc, I got a crick in my neck… I didn’t sleep well last night… I turned wrong and something caught…” This is definitely something that’s very important, something that we treat all the time here in the office.
So the incidence of neck pain has almost doubled since the introduction of technology in the workplace. Some people are stating that if somebody has neck pain, they have a 30% increase of having headaches or issues like that.
Also, neck pain and neck degeneration, or spinal arthritis in the neck, increases especially between the ages of 20 and 40 due to the wear and tear that happens over that time.
Some very common symptoms people have, who have any neck issues, is “crunching” or “popping” in the neck. I like to say “Rice Krispie Treats” when the neck cracks when it’s not supposed to.
Overall stiffness and muscle tension is definitely something people have a lot of with neck pain, neck tension.
If it gets bad enough, some people have tingling down the arms, or some of my patients also complain of tingling or kind of sharp pains right in their shoulder blade, which they feel is coming from the shoulder blade but more often than not, is coming from the neck.
With the stats showing neck pain is a contributing factor towards headaches, one thing that I often see people complain of with headaches and neck pain is a lot of tension underneath their skull area, trouble turning side to side also, and very inconsistent sleep patterns are something that contributes to this as well.
There are several things at home you can do for any sort of neck tension, possibly headaches.
One of the best ways that I’ve found is to do, and I recommend to my patients, is a simple chin to chest stretch. So what you’re going to do is you’re going to take both hands, put it behind your head, squeeze your elbows together, pull your head down toward your chest, and hold that 20 seconds at a time, three times.
Another option is a simple trap stretch. Trap stretch, the traps are the muscles on the side of the neck. They kind of poke out to one side or the other. The best way to stretch those out, you’re going to put one hand on top of your head. So I put my right hand on top of my head, my neck is going to bend to the right side, and that’s going to actually take some pressure off of that left muscle. And try to stretch that out. Again, the recommendation is three times, 20 seconds.
A few other recommendations to help any kind of neck tension and headaches, manual massage is great. Self-massage or having a loved one do massage on you is great to help take some pressure off those muscles, as well as ice followed by heat. In the office, we recommend 15 minutes of ice followed by 15 minutes of heat, 30 minutes off. Rinse, wash, repeat.
There are a few things you need to look out for, some things that will tell you, you need to get in to see a doctor immediately to get this checked out.
One of the things is your neck is caught. Your neck simply cannot move to one side or you can’t lean backward or lean forward. This may be many things, but definitely needs to get it checked out by your doctor.
Also, another thing is dizziness is sometimes very important for us to evaluate and really see. If this is truly coming from the neck, this could also be a neurological or vascular issue. So that’s very, very important to look at.
Of course, the one thing we also see in the office you need to get evaluated, if you have this symptom, is any kind of tingling in the arms, hands, or shoulders, because that could be some sort of nerve being impinged upon.
Here at Sandstone Chiropractic, we have a lot of options to get the neck and back fixed and feeling better. One of the things we use on a lot of our patients is the chiropractic adjustment, which helps release the tension on the joints and nerves in the area, and help decrease inflammation and pain overall to help the body function better.
Another option for you is spinal decompression therapy. So spinal decompression therapy is very much indicated with a degenerative disc or herniated disc, in that it takes pressure off that disc and allows thenerve to function and the disc to heal, It has been shown also to increase disc height in some cases as well.
We have electric stimulation, which helps decrease pain and inflammation in the area.
We also have things like Rapid Release Therapy (RRT), which help to address the irritation on the muscles and the adhesions that happened over a long period of time with this happening.
That’s short term. Now, long-term, if we look at it, we probably need to do some sort of postural treatment in order to better the person’s overall spinal well being. So some postural therapy is like whole body vibration to check the head posture, to fix the head posture, and actually put the head over the shoulders where it should be is a great option.
In addition to the postural exercises, neck strengthening exercises would also be recommended. We use a Nexus for that to help strengthen the muscles that support the spine isometrically to hold the spine in the proper position.
Easy home exercise that we recommend in the form of a neck orthotic is called the Cervical Denneroll, which helps to better the curve in the neck, which puts that nice curve lordosis in the neck to better improve the strength and flexibility of the area
If you’re experiencing neck pain or headaches, we’d love to talk to you here at Sandstone.