Neck pain plagues a great many of people and can have far reaching effects on the quality of life of each individual. Oftentimes people don’t understand the importance of a healthy neck until they have trouble with pain or stiffness that limits their mobility. The structure of one’s neck is intricate and amazing. The curve of a neck is optimized to allow for a great amount of flexibility without much muscle to support the movement. Because of the weight born by a neck, the balance is critical to keep things in working order. However, the neck is an area of the body that can easily be injured or worn down due to poor ergonomics or abrupt damage. When this happens, the fragile system can break down, causing issues that impact the entire body.
Not only do neck injuries or strain cause problems in the localized area, but they can have far reaching effects as well. The neck is a part of the spinal cord which is the ‘power line’ that helps nerves throughout the body communicate. At each point, vertebrae house nerves that expand throughout the body. The vertebrae in the neck can send signals to the arm, head, upper back, etc. This means that symptoms of a neck alignment problem can present as nerve damage or pain in arms or elsewhere in the upper body.
Unfortunately, the fact that neck problems can show symptoms in multiple areas of the body often leads to a misdiagnoses. For example, many people in this day and age suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome. As a society we are deeply involved with work that includes excessive typing or data entry on a keyboard, repetitive manufacturing motion, and improper ergonomics; carpal tunnel is often the culprit when people experience those painful symptoms. However, there are times when the symptoms are similar and a neck problem can mimic carpal tunnel issues.
Some Results of Neck Problems
Another complaint associated with neck problems include muscle pain in the shoulders and upper back. These issues can complicate many areas of life and result in muscle spasms, discomfort, pain, and lack of mobility. While a person can originally attribute the problem to other areas of the body, one cannot get complete relief without finding the core issue within the neck and extended system.
Further, a host of problems in the face and head can often be linked to an imbalance or nerve issue originating in the neck. For example, mild to severe headaches can stem from the nervous system being compromised, resulting in pain in the head. Other possible symptoms include ear problems resulting from middle ear inflammation, TMJ (jaw problems), and fatigue.
"I was convinced to try decompression therapy when I began to notice that I was unable to turn my neck to the side very far, making it difficult to see safely while backing out of a parking space. I had previously been to a chiropractor for years regarding my neck, which helped quite a bit, however the pain continued to linger. I decided to give decompression therapy a try! After receiving the treatments, I can now turn my neck from side to side without having to turn my whole body. I am also free to do everyday tasks and not have pain in my neck! The staff at the Schneider Clinic is very friendly and helpful! Decompression therapy has really helped me have a better life with less pain. I can enjoy doing activities again!"
Pain in the neck, muscular system, skeletal system, and nervous system are studied as separate entities, but they are closely linked to produce a single unit that must function together properly in order to produce optimal results. The upper back in particular includes muscles such as the trapezius, levator scapulae, cervical paraspinal muscles, scalenes, and others that provide a full range of motion. All of these muscles working properly are dependent upon status of one’s neck. One major issue faced in the current day is the loss of one’s appropriate neck curvature. The extended use of computers with improper ergonomics can result in a person leaning their head forward. Months and years of doing this can cause the necessary curve used to buffer the weight of one’s head on such a slim stem’ to become straight or even to slightly turn in the opposite direction. This problem will have far reaching results. One initial problem could be a mere knot in one’s shoulder as the body tries to compensate for the change in the structure of the neck. However, over time the symptoms will extend throughout the body, causing deeper problems.
Posture is lauded as a good way to present oneself in public. However, it is also a key component to long term health in public and in private. Improper posture can result in damage to the neck and other key components of the skeletal muscular system. A thorough review of sitting, standing, walking, and lifting habits can result in long term improvement of a person’s neck health.
Managing Neck Injuries
Neck injuries can result from a myriad of sources. Many people suffer neck injuries due to accidents on a sports playing field. A lot of times the long term problems do not show up until several years later. Car accidents are a leading cause of neck injury. For example, whiplash occurs when the forces of a car’s movement are rapidly altered, while the mass of a person’s head remains in its current trajectory path and speed. Of course, the neck bears the brunt of that by absorbing the differentiation. Thus, the neck often suffers damage to connective tissues and can become further aggravated over time as inflammation progresses.
It is imperative to have a neck injury fully evaluated immediately so that further issues will not develop. Unfortunately many people wait until the symptoms become unbearable. At that time, the treatment options have diminished. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and it’s best to take the time to have an immediate and thorough evaluation by a qualified chiropractor before the problem is advanced to the point that you will lose quality of life, miss out on your favorite sports or hobbies, or lose work time and income.
Not only does a person need immediate medical attention to manage their injury properly, but insurance companies and worker’s compensation claim reviewers will often look to see when an injury was reported. If a significant amount of time has passed, they are likely to deny an insurance claim or worker’s compensation claim. No matter what kind of accident you have; whether at work, in a vehicle, on a boat, or in someone’s home; the likelihood of some type of insurance company getting involved is high. They will look for any loophole to avoid paying the claim, so don’t give them reason to doubt your injury by having it evaluated right away.
If you are suffering from neck pain or have recently been involved in an accident involving your neck we can help. Give us a call at (574) 293-7000 to set up a consultation with Dr. Schneider. We can help you get rid of pain and get your life back on track.