As a chiropractor in Newport Beach, CA, one of the most common conditions that present in our office is neck pain. Your neck is a complex structure of bones, tendons, muscles, ligaments, and nerves, all of which are susceptible to various injuries and conditions that can leave you with long-term pain. If you suffer from chronic neck pain, then you are certainly not alone. Harvard Medical School estimates that seven in 10 people experience it at some point in their lives and one in 10 people is in pain any given day. Between 50-80% of adults with neck pain will experience a recurrence of the pain within five years. Women are 1.5 times more likely to experience it. Up to 30% of acute neck pain develops into a chronic condition, which is why it’s very important to address your issue as quickly as possible.
Lifestyle factors, such as poor posture from the technological toxicity of modern-day living associated with being hunched over a computer all day or scrolling through a cell phone, are one of the most common causes of neck pain. We know we have proper posture if our ears stack up over our shoulders. Every inch that our neck slips, adds 10 pounds of stress to our neck. So, if your head weighs 10 pounds and is two inches in front of your shoulders, your head actually feels like it weighs 30 pounds due to the effect of gravity! Your neck simply isn’t built to withstand that type of force for prolonged amounts of time. This increased stress can lead to neck pain and even cause joints of the neck to wear down and degenerate over time.
There are two types of neck pain: acute and chronic. Acute neck pain typically follows some type of trauma like a car accident, sports injury, sleeping incorrectly, or a fall. The sooner you are able to address it, the better and faster your results will usually be. If a problem like neck pain persists for more than three months it is then considered to be chronic pain. It is more difficult to treat chronic pain because it has been there for so long and the body is used to it. Although these cases take longer to get well, chiropractic has been proven to help thousands of people with chronic neck pain. Figuring out what needs to be addressed is essential to correcting the problem and reducing or eliminating it.
At Priestley Family Chiropractic, we use advanced technology and a fine-tuned multi-angle approach to provide neck pain relief. By using Insight scanning equipment, posture screening, and digital X-rays we can document exact measurements to track progress and improvement. We use sophisticated technology to discover the true cause of your neck pain. We don’t guess with your health, we test!
How We Address Neck Pain in Newport Beach, CA
Consultation and Exam
At Priestley Family Chiropractic, before we can assess your neck pain we must perform a thorough consultation and neurological exam. The consultation gives our doctors the opportunity to really listen and understand your specific problems and how they have affected your life. We can also capture key bits of information about your condition that help us find out what is causing it.
In the examination, we will perform a thorough evaluation of your spine and nervous system. We palpate your spine for subluxations and check your posture with bilateral scales to see if you are carrying your weight evenly. Then, we do nerve scans that tell us where you have pressure on your nerves causing muscle tension or nerve interference which affects the proper function of your organs and glands. We also assess how stressed your body is in a resting state with a Heart Rate Variability test. Depending on those findings, we do digital X-rays to locate subluxations, determine how long they have been there, and assess what phase of degeneration your spine is in. These tests allow us to give you corrective chiropractic care specific to you.
Pain is your body signaling that something isn’t functioning properly. When we find out what is causing it, we can correct function and eliminate pain.
Specific Chiropractic Care
Many times, neck pain is due to a condition called subluxation. Subluxations occur when a bone or section of the spine shifts out of its normal position. This causes interference and irritation to the nerves, which can cause symptoms such as neck pain, headaches, pain into the arms and shoulders, and numbness and tingling. Subluxations also affect how well your spine can move. If these misalignments are not corrected, over time, they can cause degeneration of the joints and lead to arthritis.
At Priestley Family Chiropractic, we perform specific adjustments to the spine which remove pressure from the nerves and allow the joints to move easier. Subluxations can be resolved through chiropractic care, but it can take time, especially for a chronic problem. By removing subluxation from the neck, proper function can be restored to the nerves and symptoms can diminish. If the root cause of your problem is coming from a subluxation in the cervical spine you will continue to have symptoms until it is addressed. That is why Chiropractic is so crucial to eliminating neck pain.
Custom Therapeutic Exercise Plan
Neck pain often originates from muscle imbalances due to poor posture. Forward head posture is one of the most common issues that causes it. This imbalance can cause muscle weakness and tightness in the neck, upper back, and shoulders that causes our posture to distort. At Priestley Family Chiropractic, our doctors create a custom exercise plan that will help to correct postural distortions and restore balance to the neck. This balance and stability allow our patients to hold their chiropractic adjustments better and longer, providing more sustained relief from conditions like neck pain.
Common Causes of Neck Pain in Newport Beach, CA
Subluxation is the condition that chiropractors are specially trained to identify and correct. When a bone or section of the spine in the neck shifts out of its normal position, it can cause pressure on the nearby nerves. This can cause symptoms such as neck pain, headaches, or even numbness and tingling into the arms or hands.
Many times neck pain is treated with exercises, massages, stretches, or even medications. You can’t exercise, massage, stretch, or drug subluxations away. The only thing that can correct a subluxation is a specific chiropractic adjustment. Chiropractors are the only doctors who are trained to properly correct subluxation in the spine. Chiropractic adjustments are gentle and specific and can provide instant relief for neck pain caused by subluxation.
Muscle strain is an injury that is caused by overstretching or even tearing a muscle or tendon. Muscle strain can be caused by too many hours hunched over your computer or smartphone, a hectic drive through rush hour traffic, even reading in bed can strain your neck muscles. Chiropractic helps the body to recover more quickly so we recommend getting a muscle strain checked out immediately.
Tech neck is a term that refers to postural problems that occur due to looking down at our electronic devices or working at desks for too long. The average person is now on their phone for around 4 hours per day! Tech neck typically presents with forward head posture, which increases stress on the neck joints and muscles. Forward head posture also reduces – and in some cases, reverses – the natural curve of the neck, which can create chronic neck issues. Priestley Family Chiropractic specializes in helping people improve their posture and alleviate neck pain that stems from Tech Neck.
Osteoarthritis is a condition that causes narrowing of joint space and is commonly seen in the neck. It takes a long time to develop, sometimes even decades, and is usually the long-term result of things like poor posture, lack of motion, or traumatic injuries.
Our joints need to move in order to stay healthy. When we don’t move our joints enough, or have poor posture, they gradually wear down. Osteoarthritis can also cause changes in the bone called bone spurs. These abnormal growths irritate nerves in the neck, causing neck pain. Chiropractic care and exercise are essential for managing osteoarthritis and slowing down its progression.
Bulged or Herniated Cervical Discs
Between each vertebra in the neck are discs, which provide support for our neck joints and allow movement to occur. A vertebral disc contains a jelly-like substance in the middle called a nucleus, which is surrounded by rings of cartilage. Due to postural stresses or repetitive movement, the cartilage can be damaged. This causes the nucleus to take the path of least resistance and push into the damaged area. When the nucleus pushes through the last layer of cartilage, the disc has herniated into the space where spinal nerves are located. This causes inflammation, bringing intense neck pain that can radiate down into the arms.
Chiropractic adjustments have been proven to provide tremendous relief from these symptoms. If left untreated surgery may be necessary to fix a disc herniation, so it is important to address the problem as quickly as possible in order to avoid surgery.
Degenerative Disc Disease
Like other joints in your body, the ones in your neck tend to wear down with use and overuse. Osteoarthritis, commonly referred to as wear-and-tear arthritis, is the most common cause of joint deterioration. Chiropractic can not only stop the progress of the degeneration but in some cases even reverse it.
Frequently Asked Questions About Neck Pain
Is a massage or chiropractic better for neck pain?
Chiropractic would be the first choice because we will determine the cause of the pain before any therapy is applied. Chiropractic addresses the spine, muscles, tendons, joints, and ligaments. Where massage works to strengthen and relax muscles and tissues, Chiropractic will get to the root cause of the pain.
How can I relieve my neck pain in Newport Beach, CA?
Several home remedies for neck pain are gentle stretching, rest, proper posture, and ice. Try sleeping on a firm mattress on your back with a small pillow. Although these remedies may make you feel better, it is important to see a chiropractor to find out the root cause of your pain and prevent it from coming back. Pain is the body’s way of letting you know there is a problem — don’t ignore it!
How can I tell if my neck is out of alignment?
1. If there is discomfort
2. If you look in the mirror and your head is naturally tipped or turned
3. If you have restrictions in motion
4. If your ears don’t line up with your shoulders
The only way to tell exactly what is going on is to get a thorough consultation and evaluation with a Chiropractor.
When should I see a chiropractor for neck pain in Newport Beach, CA?
The best time to see a chiropractor when you have neck pain is as quickly as possible. By the time you are experiencing neck pain, the problem has usually already existed for some time. Do not cover up the pain with anti-inflammatory medication or Tylenol. It is important to address the problem now before it turns into a more severe issue later on.
Is it okay to pop my own neck?
It is not recommended to pop your own neck. Doing so can cause damage to muscles and ligaments in the neck due to excessive force being used and can create hypermobility in the spine, meaning it moves more than it is supposed to. Chiropractors are the only doctors who are trained to specifically and gently adjust the neck to help relieve neck pain.
How should I sleep with neck pain?
The best thing you can do for neck pain while sleeping is to keep the spine in a neutral position on a firm mattress. Sleeping on your back with a small pillow or on your side with adequate pillow support are the best sleeping positions for neck pain. Sleeping on your stomach is not recommended at all, especially if you are experiencing neck pain.