7 Signs That You Need to See a Chiropractor for Your Neck Pain
SAMPLE DATA FROM: http://www.fulkchiropractic.com/chiropractor for-neck-pain-kansas-city/ Everyone gets a stiff neck once and awhile.
Right? It might happen first thing in the morning if you slept wrong. Or it might be at the end of a long workday after you’ve finished an especially stressful project. You turn your head from side to side, and your neck really hurts. There’s a big difference between a stiff neck and one that hurts so bad that it makes your head spin, but how do you know when it’s “bad enough” that it’s time to see a chiropractor for neck pain? When to See a Chiropractor for Neck Pain First off, there are a few things you can try at home to help alleviate the pain.
Cold can reduce swelling to an area that is inflamed. Hold a cold pack or a bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel on your neck. A good rule of thumb is 20 minutes off, 40 minutes on and then repeat. Check Your Pillow Make sure you use a firm or extra firm pillow and sleep on your back or side. If your pillow is too flat, it forces your neck to bend in an unnatural position. After a long (or even short) night’s sleep, the muscles in your neck may be so stretched, you’re guaranteed to have a rough morning!
Try Neck Exercises
Light neck stretches can help to loosen stiff muscles. You may want to gently tense your neck muscles as you look up and down and then from side to side. Be careful not to over-extend your neck beyond its normal limits, though, or you may do more harm than good.
Avoid Driving If You’re Unable to Turn Your Neck Past Your Shoulder
Driving in traffic, especially in heavy traffic or when you’re backing up, requires you to look over your shoulder to see behind you. If your neck is stiff, restricting your ability to look over your shoulder, it could impair your ability to drive safely. Driving may also require you to turn your neck quickly from side to side. If you have neck pain, this may overstretch your neck and cause severe pain. It’s best to avoid driving until your neck’s normal movement is restored.
When Should You See a Chiropractor for Neck Pain?
While there are several things you can do at home to help relieve your neck pain, it’s important to know when it’s time to see a chiropractor for neck pain.
See a chiropractor for neck pain if…
- Your neck pain or stiffness does not improve after a few days
- You cannot look to the right or left without severe neck pain
- You feel like you must use over-the-counter pain medications just to make it through the day and are using it regularly to treat your neck pain
- You’re worried that your neck pain may have a serious cause
- Your neck pain started in the neck but has moved to numbness or tingling in your hands or wrists
- Your neck pain started within a few days of a car accident
- Your neck pain is worse when you first wake up in the morning but then begins to feel a little better as the day progresses
Your chiropractor will conduct a thorough consultation and examination – asking you questions about your symptoms, the history of your neck pain, what types of movement make it worse and which things make it feel better. During the exam your chiropractor will check to see how well you move your neck. He will look for tenderness or numbness and tingling in your arms or hands. Seeing your chiropractor for neck pain is always a good choice if you are aware of a specific movement (abnormal motion) that resulted in neck pain such as lifting, falling or a whiplash injury. Injuries resulting from abnormal motion often cause muscles to become overextended and the vertebra in our neck to shift out of alignment. Through chiropractic therapy your chiropractor can re-align your vertebra and restore normal motion in your neck.
What Causes Neck Pain?
Your neck is made up of vertebrae, and between each of the vertebra are nerves and discs (gel-like pillows that provide a cushion between each vertebrae). If one or more of your vertebra shift out of alignment, they can crowd or “pinch” the nerves that run between them causing neck pain. Vertebrae Can Shift Out of Alignment When…
- You consistently have poor posture (such as sitting hunched over your phone all day)
- Your neck is stuck in an awkward position for a long period of time (such as painting your ceiling)
- You continually sleep on your stomach or use a flat pillow
- Your neck is forced beyond it’s normal range of motion (like if you fall off a ladder or get whiplash from a car accident)
Whiplash is one of the most common injuries to the neck. It occurs when the neck experiences a sudden movement forward and backward or from side to side. This sudden movement overstretches and tears the tendons and ligaments in the neck.
How Can Neck Pain Be Prevented?
- Maintain good posture when your sit or stand
- Move your computer monitor to eye level
- Change your habits. Take micro-breaks throughout your day, especially if your job requires that you sit for long periods of time – or if you must take a long ride in the car
- Use a firm pillow and sleep on your side or on your back
- Learn to recognize your signs of stress and take steps to relieve stress in your life on a regular basis
- Try regular exercses throughout the day and each week to maintain proper movement in your neck.