5 Causes of Neck Pain

5 Causes of Neck Pain

When your neck hurts, life changes dramatically. The little things you took for granted become impossible, such as tying your shoes, changing lanes while driving, and gazing at the stars. 

At Peninsula RSI Chiropractic Wellness Center Redwood City, California, we see patients every day who suffer from neck pain, ranging from mildly annoying to outright debilitating. Fortunately, Dr. Dana Robinson offers expert treatments for a wide variety of neck issues. 

She draws upon her experience using therapies from multiple disciplines, including massage therapy, advanced laser therapy, chiropractic care, rehabilitation, and soft tissue treatments. Rather than masking your pain, Dr. Robinson focuses on identifying the underlying cause of it so she can treat it directly and stop the pain at its source. 

Common causes of neck pain

The average human head weighs about 11 pounds, so it’s easy to understand that your neck has its work cut out for it and is highly vulnerable to injury as it tilts, twists, and bends. When neck pain restricts your ability to make these basic movements, it may be due to any of the following common causes of neck pain.

1. Whiplash

Most often associated with a rear-end car crash, whiplash can occur anytime your head is whipped forward and then snapped back by force. It can happen in a fall, a sports collision, and even during a violent shaking episode.

Sometimes, the pain and stiffness set in immediately. Other times, it may take days to notice the symptoms. It may also cause numbness, tingling, and tenderness in your shoulders, arms, and upper back. In severe cases, whiplash may lead to blurred vision, mental and emotional problems, and ear ringing.

Dr. Robinson can ease your pain and help your soft tissues heal through massage therapy, which relaxes tight muscles, spinal realignment, and nerve decompression.

2. Sprains and strains

You have 20 different muscles that work together to hold your head up, allow you to look over your shoulder, tilt up and down, and bend side to side. A few of them are particularly susceptible to muscle strains: the long muscles that run down the sides of your neck, called levator scapulae, and the trapezius muscles that run from the base of your skull and out to your shoulders.

Ligament sprains or tears are also a common source of neck pain. Both sprains and strains can lead to neck pain and stiffness, muscle spasms, headaches, fatigue, and sleep problems. Massage therapy can reduce the inflammation, and our class 4 laser therapy can stimulate a healing response to repair the tissue more quickly.

3. Tech neck

Tech neck is a 21st century term that describes neck pain directly related to using technological devices, such as smartphones, video games, computers, and any other kind of keyboard or screen. It occurs when you keep your neck bent to view these devices for long periods of time. 

Although the term is relatively new, the physical condition is well known — repetitive strain injury or RSI. You can experience an RSI anytime you overuse a particular joint or muscle group. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a well known wrist RSI, but this type of injury also occurs in the shoulder, elbow, or hands. 

If repetitive motion affects the nerves in your lower neck and chest area, you may experience thoracic outlet syndrome, which impairs the circulation in your chest, and therefore, your neck, shoulders, and arms.

Dr. Robinson can relieve compressed nerves and inflammation through various therapies, including massage, manual manipulation, laser therapy, and trigger point release therapy. 

4. Postural problems

Your posture — how you sit, stand, walk, and even sleep — can cause neck pain. In order to support your head, your neck needs to maintain a neutral position most of the time. But if you slump when you sit or walk, and if you sleep with a big pillow that tweaks your neck in unnatural positions, it causes increased pressure and, therefore, neck pain. 

5. Degenerative conditions

It’s a cruel fact of life that age affects every aspect of your body. You see the effects in your wrinkling skin, your weaker muscles, and your failing eyesight. Unfortunately, it also causes changes in your spine and neck. From various types of arthritis, to narrowing spinal spaces caused by inflammation, bone growths, and bulging discs, the nerves that run in and out of your spine and neck are almost doomed to get pinched somewhere along the way.

The good news is that Dr. Robinson specializes in decompressing pinched nerves and relieving the inflammation and soft tissue damage that’s often to blame.

No matter what’s causing your neck pain, Dr. Robinson can get to the bottom of it and bring you relief. Schedule an appointment online or call us today.

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