We’ve all had it at least once in our lives. That nagging rigidity in our necks makes all types of head movements hell and adversely affects our mood and daily lives. 

The neck, also called the cervical spine, is that part of our spinal column beginning from the base of the skull and goes down till the shoulders. 

Never Ending Story – Why does it hurt?

Multiple activities and positions of the neck have been shown to increase the likelihood of neck pain because of the flexibility involved. 

Common Causes

By far the most common cause of neck pain among children and young adults, sudden excessive movement or impact on the head and neck by any external stimuli often result in neck pain. Examples include the whiplash neck injury seen in a car crash and sudden acceleration or deceleration of the head. The neck muscles try to compensate for the movement by contracting and often go into a stiffened phase called a spasm. 

This spasm is what manifests as pain. 

Poor posture such as slouching and rounding of the shoulders is the second most common cause of neck pain and is more common among the working-class population of adults. Sitting around all day for extended periods of time leads to fatigued neck muscles which have the default function of maintaining the straight position of the neck and head. 

Upper Cervical Physicians to the rescue

While drugs and surgeries for neck pain and injuries are the more popular forms of treatment, we’d like to direct your attention towards the third kind of solution. 

A conservative treatment without the use of drugs and surgeries, one that treats your neck pain by manipulating the natural axes of movement in your neck joints to simply untangle the tangled muscle and nerve fibers, alleviating the pain. 

OMT aim to restore normal function and mobility to your joints and muscles using manually elicited natural movements of the affected joints. Your physician after a thorough physical and neurological exam of your neck and adjacent areas will employ the appropriate technique(s) to reduce the pain and return the neck to its normal mobility and function as conservatively as possible. 

6 ways to ease neck pain

The following six tips can help you find neck pain relief:

  1. Don’t stay in one position for too long. It’s hard to reverse bad posture, Dr. Isaac says, but if you get up and move around often enough, you’ll avoid getting your neck stuck in an unhealthy position.
  2. Make some ergonomic adjustments. Position your computer monitor at eye level so you can see it easily. Use the hands-free function on your phone or wear a headset. Prop your tablet on a pillow so that it sits at a 45° angle, instead of lying flat on your lap.
  3. If you wear glasses, keep your prescription up to date. “When your eyewear prescription is not up to date, you tend to lean your head back to see better,” Dr. Isaac says.
  4. Don’t use too many pillows. Sleeping with several pillows under your head can stifle your neck’s range of motion.
  5. Know your limits. For example, before you move a big armoire across the room, consider what it might do to your neck and back, and ask for help.
  6. Get a good night’s sleep. Sleep problems increase the risk for several different conditions, including musculoskeletal pain.

Generally, neck pain is nothing to worry about, but if it’s occurring with other, more serious symptoms, such as radiating pain, weakness, or numbness of an arm or leg, make sure to see your doctor. “Other key things that might make one more concerned are having a fever or weight loss associated with your neck pain, or severe pain,” said Dr. Isaac. “You should let your doctor know about these symptoms.”