You want to know what’s causing your neck pain. But mostly you want to know if it can be fixed.
The good news: If your neck pain is being caused by a structural problem with one or more of the vertebra in your upper spine, it can be fixed. A structurally based chiropractor, like a certified Gonstead chiropractor, can gently help guide the spine back into the correct position so all the bones can move the way they’re supposed to. Not only does your neck pain feel better, but the underlying problem actually gets corrected.
The bad news: The demands of our modern-day lifestyle are creating neck problems left and right. Many of us have to drive in traffic, sit at a desk for many hours a day, sit on the commute home. Sit at dinner. Sit at the kids’ games. Sit. Sit. Sit. This amount of sitting isn’t good for us, and the damage is heightened when we add poor ergonomics at our workstation. Then, you factor in electronic devices and your odds of having neck pain go up even more.
Your neck is designed to bear the weight of your head: 10-12 pounds. When we bend our neck forward to look at our devices, it can increase that weight to almost 60 pounds of pressure on the neck! After looking forward at phones, tablets and laptops for hours upon hours a week, it’s only natural that discomfort develops into a constant ache.
The really good news: You can do something about your neck pain! A good starting point is to schedule a free consultation with Dr. Martin to figure out the main cause of your neck problem.
So your neck hurts. What now?
You might take over-the-counter painkillers, use heat treatment, push through the pain, ignore it, or get an occasional massage. But this is kind of like seeing the oil light come on in your car and sticking a piece of duct tape to cover it it and deciding to leave them that way and just go get your car washed.
If your body’s out of whack, and you leave it that way, the problem will get worse—not better.
Here’s one of the ways that can happen: Let’s say your neck hurts. You take it easy for a couple days, pop some Advil, convince your significant other to give you a neck rub. A few days later, you feel better. You may think that means you are better. In reality, your body is most likely compensating.
In other words, your body found an alternative way to move because the correct way it should be moving is inhibited.
It’s like using a spare tire when your regular tire popped. Everybody knows you only use a spare tire until you can get a real one. Unfortunately, not everybody realizes that continuing to “drive” the body in a compromised position will result in major long-term problems.
We usually think of pain as a bad thing. It’s not.
Pain is a signal our bodies use to tell us that something is wrong. That’s why, if we treat the pain and not the cause, we do ourselves a disservice (and end up with more pain in the end). If you have neck pain, it’s because it’s in the wrong position. A good chiropractor is trained to put it back in the right position and combat the source of the pain, not just the surface symptom.
So your neck hurts. What now?
Not so long ago, people thought that neck injuries had to come from some major incident. A car accident, a major fall, that kind of thing. But more and more, people who never had any major neck injuries are beginning to realize that the “stiffness” in their neck isn’t going away… actually, it only seems to get worse. What gives?
Maybe you’ve seen those cartoons that depict evolution in reverse. A blob-like creature evolves into a monkey, which evolves into a stooped-over Neanderthal, which evolves into an upright man. Then the posture begins to devolve into an ape-like figure hunched over a laptop or smart phone. The cartoons are funny, but if you’ve had experience with neck pain, you know it’s not funny at all in real life.
Computers and smart phones aren’t the only causes of neck pain. Students who haul around 30-pound backpacks will likely suffer later. Folks who always carry a purse or shoulder bag on the same side are likely to feel pain in their neck and shoulders. Driving, playing video games, TV lounging, physical labor, playing an instrument, golfing, swimming, performing surgery…. all these activities can lead to repetitive strain, misalignment, and a host of other problems.
Childhood is full of bumps and falls—learning to walk, goofing around on the playground, riding a bike, playing sports. These kinds of “minor” accidents can knock the spine out of alignment and, if it’s not corrected, the vertebrae will heal the wrong way and develop into bigger problems in adulthood.