Neck pain is common today and affects most people at some time in their lives. In fact, two thirds of the population will experience neck pain during their lives. Healthcare professionals often refer to neck pain as cervicalgia. It is common for those with neck pain to have accompanied pain in one or both shoulders.
This is because the nerves that exit the spine in the neck also go to the shoulders and down into the arms and hands. Because of this, neck problems can refer pain into the shoulders, arms and hands. Neck pain may be the result of poor posture, muscles strain, whiplash or spinal disease to name a few. Even mental or emotional stress will lead to neck pain.
Two of the main functions of the neck are to provide stability and support for the head and to allow the head to turn and bend. The upper part of the cervical spine or neck provides most of the range of motion in the neck. The lower part of the neck and upper back are built more to provide support and strength. When spinal bones become misaligned in the neck, it will result in a loss of normal range of motion and can also damage surrounding soft tissue. The muscles of the neck can become strained. If misaligned spinal bones are not corrected, degenerative changes may occur in the neck.
Some neck problems may be more serious than others, especially if the nerves or discs in the neck have become injured. Warning signals of a more serious problem may include referred pain or numbness in the shoulders, arms or hands. It is also possible to have a loss of grip strength. At times, neck problems may be overlooked as the symptoms are presented in the arms and hands but not the neck. It is important to examine the neck when there is shooting pain, numbness or loss of grip strength.
Slouching and other poor posture habits are a major cause of neck pain. People often practice poor postural habits when working at the computer, reading or watching TV. It is easy to slouch with these activities. When slouching is done for long periods of time, the spine will become misaligned. The natural curves in the spine will be affected.
Chiropractic is a great option for neck and shoulder pain. Chiropractors are well trained to work with the musculoskeletal system and can identify and treat neck and shoulder problems. Chiropractors perform spinal manipulation to correct misaligned spinal bones and remove nerve interference. People often report better movement in their neck following chiropractic treatment. Pain and numbness felt in the arms or hands often goes away because chiropractic adjustments remove the nerve interference.
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