Chronic Neck Pain: Causes and Prevention IN Chandler AZ
The neck, a network of bones, joints, muscles, and nerves, has important function-providing mobility and support for the head, while being a key pathway for critical nerve activity and feedback. When an individual experiences neck pain, the cause may be in any of these areas. For instance, irritation in the nerve pathway of the neck may lead to head and shoulder pain. Irritation in the spinal cord may cause pain in the legs.
In most cases, acute neck pain often subsides within a few days to weeks. However, if this pain persists beyond a few weeks, it may signal an underlying medical issue that requires immediate medical attention from neck pain specialists in Chandler AZ.
Neck pain may range from minor to excruciating. In severe cases, it may interfere with your ability to sleep, go about daily life, and even concentrate. Short-term neck pain is a fairly common concern for most Arizonans, often resulting from poor posture, strained muscles, arthritis, etc., especially for people who work in front of a computer from 9-5.
Causes of chronic neck pain in Chandler AZ
If your neck pain has persisted for three months or more, it would be worth talking to an Arizona pain specialist about the following conditions.
1. Cervical SpondylosisIt - is an umbrella word for degeneration that happens in the neck. The condition occurs due to wear and tear. An injury can accelerate this condition. It may result from the following:
- Cervical osteoarthritis. When the protective cartilage on a facet joint starts to thin out, the bone grinds against the bone. Bone spurs may grow on the joints, causing pain and inflammation.
- Cervical degenerative disc disease. With age, intervertebral discs become less flexible and lose hydration. It often leads to nerve compression or the discs becoming painful.
- Cervical foraminal stenosis. This condition occurs when the intervertebral foramen (where the nerve exits the spinal canal) becomes narrow. Ligament thickening, disc degeneration, or bone spurs might be the underlying cause. When the cervical root compresses, it causes arm pain, weakness, and numbness.
2. Traumatic Injury - If you fall from a considerable height or are involved in a car accident, it may damage your muscles, joints, bones, ligaments, and neck tissues. You may need to seek sports rehabilitation and physical therapy. Examples of traumatic injury include:
- Slipping on a wet or icy floor
- Auto collision
- Sports Injury
- Falling from a ladder
3. Poor posture - Your spine should stay in a neutral position, as characterized by an open chest, shoulders back, and ears aligned above the shoulders. When a person slouches at their computer desk or spends extended time looking down at their phone, they place stress on their spinal column, muscles, and discs. In fact, for every inch your head leans forwards, it puts ten extra pounds of pressure on the spine.
Poor posture is associated with chronic neck pain. If your neck pain lasts for three months or more, seek chronic neck pain treatment.
4. Uncommon causes - Less common conditions that may cause chronic neck pain include:
- Cervical myofascial pain syndrome
- Fibromyalgia. A condition characterized by widespread pain, fatigue, and tenderness.
- Spondylolisthesis. The vertebra slips above the vertebrae below it. It may happen due to advanced disc degeneration, vertebral fracture, or ligament laxity.
- Spinal tumors.
5. Muscle Spasm - When the muscles of the neck receive spastic, involuntary nerve signals, this can cause stiffness and constant pain.
Preventing chronic neck pain
Did you know that 13% of Americans experience neck pain at any given time? Can you recall a time when you woke up with pain in your neck? Whether your neck pain is acute or chronic, consider the following tips for preventing neck pain recommended by sports physical therapists.
1. Sleep on your back
Sleeping on your back is a good position for promoting proper spine alignment. It gives the spine complete rest. If you have neck problems, place a pillow beneath each arm to help realign the rest of your upper skeletal system and take the strain off the neck. If you have stenosis or spinal arthritis, sleep at a slight incline. If you are a side sleeper, make sure that you are using a pillow that is not too thick, but still properly supports your neck in alignment with the spine. Some individuals also can find relief with a stiffer pillow between their legs, to keep their spine from twisting out of good alignment during the night.
2. Place the computer at eye level
When you look at the computer screen, your gaze should fall on the top third of the screen. If you are looking down, then raise the height of the monitor. In case you’re using a laptop, consider using a table to increase the height.
3. Stretch your neck
Regular stretching and neck exercises help strengthen the neck muscles. The chin tuck is a simple exercise. It improves the flexibility of the muscles that keep the head aligned over the shoulders. It also helps to stretch the sub-occipital and scalene muscles.
4. Use earphones
Do you spend a lot of time on the phone? The constant phone cradling and head tilting place a lot of strain on your neck. Use earphones or a hands-free device like an earpiece or headset when you speak on the phone.
5. PEMF therapy
Pulsed electromagnetic field therapy or PEMF stimulates the body’s healing abilities at the cellular level. In PEMF, the therapist will place a resonating magnetic device over the injured or painful area. The device gives out magnetic pulses directly into the cells. It gives the cells an energy boost resulting in the regeneration of damaged tissue, improved cellular activity, and reduced pain. PEMF directly addresses the root cause of the pain symptoms.
6. Physical therapy
It is a common treatment option for chronic neck irritation. A sports rehabilitation therapist will apply treatments to reduce stiffness and minimize pain via an exercise regimen. It includes a series of stretches and strengthening exercises. The goal of physical therapy for neck pain is to:
- Reduce stiffness and pain
- Strengthen the neck muscles
- Improve the range of motion of the neck and head.
Are you plagued with chronic neck pain? Get in touch with us today.
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