When you’re in pain, it can take away from every single part of your life.
We know how hard it can be, and at Yost Family Chiropractic we’re here to help you. Let’s run through it together starting with why you’re in pain, what’s causing it, and what you can do.
What is causing my neck pain?
Have you been in a recent car accident? Do you work a desk job or study too much? Maybe you text a lot and you’re constantly looking down at your phone. Depending on the cause, neck pain can come in a variety of different forms and severities, from nerve impingement to whiplash or chronic postural problems leading to structural changes. If you’re reading this blog, chances are you know this kind of pain already, and it’s not just a pain in the neck. It affects the shoulders and can even cause headaches. The pain may be relative to one spot, or it can radiate to different parts of your upper body, including the arms. You may also experience occasional numbness, muscle weakness and decreased ROM.
Here are some common causes of neck pain and headaches
- Poor Posture/Daily Habits
- Injuries and Whiplash
- Motor Vehicle or Work Place Accidents
- Spinal Stenosis
- Degenerative Disc/Joint Disease
What can you do at home to help?
Here’s how you can start feeling better right now.
Stretches– Tuck your chin back over the notch above your sternum, so that your ear is line with the tip of your shoulder. You want to do as many of these as possible- my recommendation is aiming to do 10 every hour. Setting an alarm on your phone or watch to take posture breaks is very helpful. A great time to incorporate these are your daily routine- whenever you are in a car or even in the shower.
Ice– For tension and muscle soreness, ice therapy is a great form of pain relief, and here’s why. Cold restricts blood flow and reduces inflammation as well as swelling. But keep in mind, too much cold can hurt you. Don’t put bags of ice or packs directly on the skin as that could risk tissue. Instead, cover it in a towel and set it on the area. Ice the neck area no more than 10-15 minutes at a time and take hour breaks in between ICE sessions.
Neck Orthotic– The use of a neck orthotic is used to correct poor posture and restore the curve of the cervical spine. We often refer to this as “braces for the spine”. The top of the orthotic is used as a fulcrum- by placing the tip of the triangle at the base of the neck, or as low as you can go. You then lean your head and neck over the top, as shown below. Consistency is key! It is important to recognizance that correcting the cervical curve is a process not an event.
Essential Oils– Many people find success using essential oils topically when they’ve got sore or strained muscles. There any MANY kinds of oils to choose from, it’s worth looking into for natural pain relief that works. Another helpful topical is BIO-FREEZE, which uses the active ingredient menthol to cool sore muscles on contact.
Proper Neck Pillow– The kind of pillow you use could either facilitate healing, or straining your neck. Look for one that’s made of firmer foam and materials that press back, effectively supporting the head. It’s also crucial that your pillow contours to your head, neck and shoulders, offering built-in cervical support.
When that is not enough- Fixing the ROOT problem
The tips listed above will help you manage your symptoms, and they’re good for temporary pain relief, but they won’t truly fix anything. In order to eliminate your symptoms for good, treatment needs to address the root cause of the problem. Constant stress can affect the cervical spine (neck) which causes misalignments known as subluxations. These misalignments can wreak havoc on your entire body, because when the vertebrae are not aligned, it can dampen your brain to body communication system. When a nerve had pressure on it for many years it becomes damaged and starts to cause problems and pain. They key to reducing joint pain long term, is to adjust the cervical spine where vertebrae may be out of alignment. A chiropractor uses the chiropractic adjustment to manipulate the spine back into optimal alignment, which takes the pressure off the nerves which then allows the nervous system to function at its best ability.
If you are interested in a chiropractic evaluation, call us at 515-278-9678 to schedule an appointment with one of our chiropractors.