Your neck comes under a great deal of pressure every day and night and it it hardly surprising that we can need some Chiropractic help from time to time to help our neck out. Driving, computer work and stress all put pressure on your neck.
An adult head can weight between 10 to 14 lbs and your neck has to support this weight and movement. The neck is also part of the spine that contains most of the nerves that connect your brain and the rest of your body.
Many of the daily activities that you undertake can result in the loss of proper movement in the joints of your neck. These include having poor posture, sleeping incorrectly, spending long periods at the computer, lifting things in and out of your car, lifting your children, holding the phone in the crook of your neck as well as manual work.
Loss of proper joint movement can cause irritation of the nerves that exit your spin leading to pain in your neck. It can also cause referred pain over an area through which the nerves pass such as your arms. Nerve irritation or pressure in the neck and upper spine can also cause arm pain, pins and needles, weakness or numbness.
Do I Have Whiplash?
Whiplash injuries need not be the result of car accidents only. A slip or fall can give you a whiplash type injury and sudden repetitive movement may also cause injury. Normally the joints at the back of the neck glide over each other and are self lubricated but a whiplash type injury forces them together damaging the surrounding area which includes nerves, muscles, ligaments and discs. There are tiny receptors in the ligaments in the neck called proprioceptors. During a whiplash injury the ligaments can be damaged affecting the functioning of these proprioceptors.
Is rolling my neck good for me?
Whilst many people in the past have been given neck or head rolling exercises to help stretch their neck, no, rolling your neck is not good for you.
The joints in the neck are designed for one type of movement such as looking up or down, turning to the right or left, bending your neck to the right or left (bringing the ear to the shoulder) rather than all of these movements together. It is better to stretch the neck in one direction at a time.
Should I wear a collar?
A soft collar may offer some relief in an acute stage of neck pain. However, it is important that a neck collar does not become relied upon. Reliance on a neck collar will cause the muscles of the neck to become weaker as the collar is doing their work for them.
An active treatment plan is the best solution which involves your Chiropractor, postural and ergonomic advice and an exercise program to help support the muscles and joints of your neck.
How many pillows should I use?
It is important that your pillow is not too low or to high or that you are not using too many pillows as the ideal sleeping position is to have your spine in a straight line.
Either sleep on your back or on your side and avoid sleeping on your front as you want to avoid twisting your neck to the side.
There was no pain after the accident – why has it started hurting now?
It is often not until after some time that pain develops as the body compensates in the short term for injuries. Therefore, it is fairly common that pain from a whiplash injury occurs some time after the accident itself.
I was involved in an accident at 10mph but had severe pain. Why?
Sometimes accidents that occur at slower speeds or a rear end car accidents can result in more pain than faster ones. This can be caused by the action of the receptors in the neck.
When these tiny receptors are stretched very quickly they cause the muscles in the neck to contract which protects the neck from injury. However, from time to time when they are stretched more slowly they do not cause the muscles to contract and so the neck is not so well protected.