Neck pain is a common musculoskeletal complaint in every chiropractic office. It is estimated that 70% of people in Western society will experience neck pain in their lifetime and about 35% of people experience neck pain annually. Neck pain can be dull and achy to severe and debilitating. Also, neck pain can encompass headaches, dizziness, decreased range of motion which, can affect the quality of life.
We would like to explain what could potentially cause the neck pain and how we can solve the neck pain at our Mississauga or Oakville location.
So, what are the causes of neck pain?…
Anatomy of the neck sets the stage for a better appreciation of potential causes of pain in the region. There are 7 cervical vertebrae, they are connected via intervertebral discs as well as by two joints, which provides your neck with a greater range of motion.
- Uncovertebral joints (also called the joints of Luschka)
- Zygapophyseal joints (also called facet joints)
Furthermore, joints are reinforced by soft tissues structures as ligaments, muscles and joint capsule which is called miniscoid tissue.
What Structures Can Produce the Neck Pain?
Cause: Disc Disease or Disc Herniation
Herniated disc can compress and irritate nerve roots. This kind of injury usually accompanied by an arm pain.
Another possible cause of pain is the muscles or what would chiropractor say “Myofascial Pain”.
Cause: Myofascial pain syndrome
Defined as a pain disorder involving pain referred from trigger points within myofascial structures (muscles). A trigger point is defined as a localized tender area in a firm band of skeletal muscle, tendon, or ligament. These trigger points most frequently occur in the neck, shoulders, mid-back and lower back.
Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS)
Signs and symptoms of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS).
- Hand numbness (usually one sided)
- Feeling of hand falling asleep
- Night time hand numbness
- Pins and needles in the hand (the need to shake the hand)
- Feeling of coldness in the hand
- Stiffness in fingers
- Fingers feels heavy
- Hand or finger pain
- Hand gets tired quicker than the other hand
Those are some of symptoms patient may experience with the thoracic outlet syndrome.
Nerves that supply upper limb, originate in the neck region and called “Brachial Plexus”. The network of nerves that send signals from the spinal cord to the shoulder, arm, hand and fingers.
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What is the cause for TOS or cause for your hand heaviness, numbness or pain?
Thoracic outlet syndrome is the compression of the nerves and/or arteries and/or vein by the tight neck muscles, tight pecs (pectoral muscle), or anatomical structure like clavicle.
Doctor is required to identify the cause of the arm symptom and what structure is affected for proper management.
Most common entrapment site: Muscle in the neck compress the nerves or arteries which, will cause the heaviness, fatigue, pain, and/or pins and needles in the arm and hand.
Treatment for Thoracic outlet syndrome
- Chiropractic treatment to decrease muscle tension which causing the compression
- Postural education
- Strengthening weakened muscles
- Stretch tight muscles in the neck or chest area
Cause: Joint Degenerative Disease
Furthermore, Joint Degenerative Disease (see picture) which, also called “spondylosis” can produce the neck pain and associated arm pain. Spondylosis is a normal age-related degenerative change due to wear and tear. The bone spurs on the vertebral bodies may narrow the opening where nerves exit. Subsequently compress the neural structures and cause arm pain (Radiculopathy).
Cause: Facet Syndrome
Facet joint connect two adjacent vertebral bodies together. Each joint has a joint capsule also known as miniscoid tissue. When miniscoid tissue gets entrapped inside the joint, that produces neck pain or referred pain into shoulder or mid-back (see picture below). Pain can be on one side or can affect both sides simultaneously.
You may feel the pain in your shoulder. However, the cause for the pain is the irritated facet joint in your neck.
Risk Factors: rear end collision, work above your head (painting above head), sleeping on your stomach.
If you are a stomach sleeper or slept in awkward position and you woke up with the sore/stiff neck. Also, may be referred as I woke with a kink in my neck”. One of the causes could be irritated a facet joint.
The capsules of facet joints can get trapped between two adjacent bones and cause local or referred pain which, is the most common causes of neck pain.
Chiropractic treatment will decrease muscle spasms, restore the motion and decrease tension in the neck and shoulders. Therefore, decrease the neck pain and increase functionality.
Neck stiffness can arise from number of different origins. Stiffness of the cervical (neck) spine can develop due to muscle spams, irritated joints and/or degenerative changes. Generally neck stiffness is benign in nature and does not need medical or pharmaceutical intervention.
Causes for Neck Stiffness
Strain or Sprain:
What is the difference between the strain and sprain? Strain refers to a muscle and sprain refers to a ligament. Minor strains and sprains (kink in the neck) may be the result of:
- repetitive movement
- poor posture
- incorrect sleeping position
- working with your arms above your head
- prolonged sitting position
Contact Dr. Igor Gongalskyy chiropractic clinic today, book an appointment.
More Serious Causes of the neck pain
Meningitis is an inflammation of the meninges due to virus or bacteria. It can cause
- severe headache
- neck stiffness
- sensitivity to light and noise
If you develop any of those symptoms contact medical personal immediately. It is potentially life threatening condition that needs to be addressed as soon as possible.
Who is at risk for Disc Herniation: The most common demographic between ages of 30-40. As we age degeneration occurs, discs dehydrate and decreases in size. Therefore, younger and full disc have more potential to herniate and pinch the nerve root which, will cause the arm pain.
Note that according to world statistics, only 2% of cervical disc herniations will require surgical intervention. There is evidence that disc herniation will regress with conservative (non-surgical) treatment.
Next we will discuss the Cervical Spine Stenosis (see pictures below)
Stenosis is the narrowing within spinal canal which, can put pressure on the spinal cord. Signs and symptoms are worsening neck pain with gait abnormalities, weakness and sensory changes in the upper limb. Example of gait abnormality: patient is unable to stand with feet close together, patient complaints of unexplained clumsiness of upper or lower limb. Patient may describe inability to close buttons on the shirt or dropping glass of water on regular bases. Clinical presentation may vary from patient to patient. Therefore,
in order to provide correct diagnosis, doctor absolutely required to perform thorough and detailed clinical assessment to identify the root of the pain.
Diagnosis of Neck Pain in Mississauga and Oakville (GTA)
To provide correct treatment plan, doctor has to identify the root of the pain or complaint.
Assessment starts with the thorough history of the patient which, includes family and medical history of the patient, mechanism of injury, aggravating and relieving factors, occupational hazards ext. Doctor of chiropractic needs to look at each and every patient as whole and not just focus on one area of complaint.
Following the patient history, doctor will proceed to physical examination. Physical examination consists of specific orthopeadic test to identify the exact structure that causing the pain. Also, test for functional movement, range of motion and ext.
Subsequently the physical examination doctor will provide the patient with diagnosis, comprehensive explanation what it means and treatment options. However, if a chiropractor finds red flags, he/she will refer the patient for further diagnostic imaging (x-ray) or blood work via the family doctor.
Chiropractic Treatment for Neck Pain and Stiffness
Depending on complexity of the neck pain and/or stiffness chiropractor will determine optimal treatment plan. Treatment plan can consist of:
- Cervical Adjustment
- Mobilization Techniques
- Muscle Release Therapy
- Medical Acupuncture
- Modalities such:
- IFC Machine
- Ultra Sound Machine
- Heat Therapy
- Advise on proper:
- Lifting techniques
- Sleeping posture
- Exercise and Stretching
- Head Position while using a smart phone or an Ipad
- Ergonomics of the work space
Pastural advice regarding work, everyday posture, and proper neck position while using iPad or iPhone is an essential part of chiropractic treatment plan. Focus should be on maintaining neutral head position consequently unloading muscles, discs and ligaments which, can cause neck pain and neck stiffness.
Supportive exercise and stretching techniques should be prescribed to the patient. Techniques involve strengthening deep flexors of the neck and stretching tight and sore muscles. However, exercises should be performed under supervision of the treating chiropractor or as a home routine prescribed by the treating doctor.
Does medical insurance cover neck pain treatment in Mississauga, ON?
Yes most insurance covers treatment for neck pain.