Are You Suffering From Chronic Neck Pain? Here’s What You Should Know

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Are you suffering from chronic neck pain? Research shows that two in three people will experience neck pain during their lifetime. While most instances of neck pain are temporary, some can last for months or even years. Known as chronic neck pain, it’s often a debilitating condition that hinders your ability to exercise, work and even sleep.

 

Strained Muscle Tissue and Neck Pain

One of the most common causes of chronic neck pain is strained or overworked muscle tissue in the neck. The neck has over two dozen muscles, all of which play a key role in stabilizing your head and shoulders. Like other muscles in your body, though, neck muscles can also sustain so much stress before tearing. If you overwork your neck muscles, they could stretch beyond their physical capacity, resulting in strained muscle tissue that manifests as neck pain.

 

Osteoarthritis and Neck Pain

Another common cause of chronic neck pain is osteoarthritis. Not to be confused with rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis is a degenerative form of arthritis that’s characterized by the gradual breakdown of connective tissue, including cartilage, in the joints. Osteoarthritis generally affects the fingers, knees and back, but it can also affect the neck. When osteoarthritis targets the neck, the connective tissue here begins to degrade, resulting in painful friction when you bend or move your neck. Osteoarthritis occurs most frequently in adults over age 50. With that said, even younger adults can develop this all-too-common form of arthritis.

 

Migraines and Neck Pain

Even migraines can cause chronic neck pain. According to Migraine.com, roughly 5 million Americans experience migraines on a monthly basis. Migraines aren’t just ordinary headaches. Rather, they are severe headaches with symptoms like nausea, light sensitivity, smell sensitivity and, of course, neck pain. Unfortunately, it’s unknown what exactly causes neck pain. Medical experts have identified risk factors for migraines, including genetics and stress, but the underlying cause is often unknown. Nonetheless, if you suffer from migraines, you may experience neck pain as a symptom.

 

Whiplash and Neck Pain

If you begin to experience neck pain shortly after an automobile accident, it could be attributed to whiplash. Whiplash refers to injuries of the neck involving the forced movement or distortion of the neck in a short period of time. When you’re sitting in a car seat and get into an accident, your body remain will remain stuck to the seat, but your head will propel forward due to the law of inertia With your neck connecting your head to your body, it will sustain the greatest stress during accidents such as this. Whiplash isn’t the only cause of chronic neck pain, but it’s responsible for hundreds of thousands of cases each year.

Whiplash has been around for centuries. Prior to the invention of the cars and trucks, it was known as “railway spine” because it was most commonly sustained when riding on a train. In recent decades, however, the condition has since become known as “whiplash.”

 

 

Apply Heat to Your Neck

Heat therapy is an effective, time-tested treatment for neck pain. It works to relieve neck pain by forcing over-stressed and tense muscles to relax while also dilating blood vessels in the neck. If your neck pain is the result of strained muscle tissue in your neck — or similar types of overuse injuries or conditions — try applying heat to your neck. After warming up your heating pad, apply it directly to your neck where you are experiencing the highest level of pain or discomfort.

Keep in mind that you shouldn’t use a heating pad for longer than a half-hour at a time. After allowing the heating pad to sit on your neck for 30 minutes, take it off and wait at least another half-hour before reapplying it.

 

Get a Neck Massage

Massage therapy is a safe, drug-free way to combat chronic neck pain. One study found that adults suffering from neck pain experienced a temporary reduction in pain after receiving a neck massage. Like a heating pad, massage therapy forces over-stressed muscles to relax. Furthermore, massage therapy acts as a catalyst for the release of pain-fighting hormones and chemicals in the body, such as dopamine and oxytocin. As these hormones and chemicals are released, you’ll experience less neck pain. Massage therapy may not cure your chronic neck pain, but it can lower the severity of your neck pain.

 

Take an Anti-Inflammatory Drug

Anti-inflammatory drugs can help relieve neck pain. Available over the counter at most pharmacies and drug stores, anti-inflammatory drugs are designed specifically to reduce inflammation. And because inflammation can cause or worsen neck pain, anti-inflammatory drugs are highly effective at treating this condition. Talk to your doctor or physician to learn more about anti-inflammatory drugs and whether they are an effective treatment for your chronic neck pain.

 

To learn more about Atlanta Chiro and Wellness’s chiropractic and integrative medicine services, contact us today.

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