Neck pain and stiffness is one of the most common conditions that people suffer from silently.
The reason that the Minnesota company “My Pillow” is a huge success, is that neck pain and discomfort often bothers people at night and it is difficult to find a comfortable position to sleep. A good pillow can be helpful, but the problem is most of the time not your pillow. It’s your neck!
A lot of people wake up with neck discomfort, go to work and spend the day with discomfort and try to get comfortable in front of the TV at night. It’s a constant irritation.
Sometimes the pain is more of a minor annoyance but can range to severe and debilitating. Headaches can be associated with the pain, since all the nerves from your upper neck go up to your head. Shoulder and arm pain or numbness can be part of the symptom picture, since all the nerves from your mid to lower neck travel to your shoulders, arms and all the way to your fingertips. The nerves from your neck also tell all your neck and shoulder muscles that to do, so if the nerves are irritated they will send irritated messages to your neck and shoulder muscles and they will be tense and tight.
So why is this such a common problem? Everyday stress on your neck, such as sitting at a computer or looking down on a cellphone can add up. Lifting, and especially one sided activities, such as operating a machine or tool with your dominant hand or playing a one sided sport like tennis, cause the muscles to slowly pull on your spine in one direction. This can eventually create enough pull to cause slight misalignments of the spine that produces nerve impingement, which usually worsens with time.
Accidents and injuries are also common reasons why the neck develops chronic discomfort and pain. Many people have had car accidents in the past and left the injuries to heal on their own without proper care. The long term effect of untreated whiplash injuries according to research are:
- Chronic neck pain
- Headaches or light headedness
- Loss of range of movements
- Degenerative disc disease
- Spinal arthritis
- Loss of height
- Restless sleep
If you, or anyone you know, have chronic neck pain or discomfort or have recently been involved in a car accident, it is wise to consult with a good chiropractor, who specializes in these injuries.
We all want to live a pain free, happy life and be able to partake in physical activities and sleep well, so take care of your neck! It’s the only one you got!
By Barbro Brost, D.C.