by Brent Hearn •
From mild to severe, from temporary to ongoing, neck pain can be a—well, there’s a reason “pain in the neck” is such a common expression. Whatever the specifics of your neck pain, one thing remains constant: Enduring it isn’t any fun.
If you’re not aware of how much your life can be adversely affected by neck pain, consider yourself fortunate; it likely means you’ve never had to deal with it. If you’re older, this puts you in the minority. It’s estimated that up to 70–75% of the global population will experience neck pain during their lives.
The causes of neck pain are many and varied. Here are just a few that can be a serious pain in the neck.
Though it’s not fair to lay all the blame on the digital age (bad posture certainly existed prior to the ubiquity of the internet), the dramatic uptick in screen time over the years certainly hasn’t done us any favors. Many of us spend hours a day hunched over computer screens or staring at our phones in a variety of ergonomically inadvisable ways, and all too often, our necks pay the price. “Text neck” is no joke: At a 60-degree angle, a 12-pound human head can exert 60 pounds of pressure on the neck! (Maybe it’s time to re-evaluate if that cute video of a monkey riding a dog’s back is really worth your spinal health.)
Poor Sleep Habits
Activities that lend themselves to neck pain don’t limit themselves to waking hours. If you wake up with neck pain, your nighttime habits may be to blame.
- Do you sleep on your stomach? Doing so can cause undue stress on your neck.
- Do you catch yourself dozing off in your favorite chair? You may be falling asleep in an awkward position that can cause pain and stiffness in your neck.
- Has your pillow seen better days? Using a pillow that places your neck at extreme or unnatural angles can contribute to neck pain.
Whiplash or Other Neck Trauma
Not all neck pain can be attributed to lifestyle. A traumatic event—a car accident, physical abuse, or a sports injury, for instance—can wreak havoc on our bodies, and the neck is susceptible to the violent whip-like motion it can undergo during such trauma.
Seeking Chiropractic Care
Chiropractors have a number of different tools at their disposal to help alleviate neck pain—and to help you address its underlying causes. The treatment you receive will be tailored to your specific needs; chiropractors have a lot more in their repertoire than back-cracking.
If it’s your first visit, your chiropractor will spend some time learning about your medical history and discussing your neck pain symptoms. It’s important to share as much as possible about your overall health, as this will help them to approach your care holistically. This, along with a comprehensive chiropractic exam, will help to ensure they have the most complete picture possible. Armed with that knowledge, your chiropractor will aim to make your pain in the neck a thing of the past.