Neck pain is fairly common and can be related to posture, injury or a degenerative condition. Persistent neck pain can reduce your quality of life and should be investigated by Aurum Health Care’s experienced chronic pain consultants.
About neck pain
Your neck is made up of vertebrae, joints, discs, nerves, ligaments and muscles that all work together to support and rotate your head and to protect your spinal cord.
Neck pain may happen suddenly, after a motor vehicle accident, for example, or may develop slowly through ‘wear and tear’.
If an injury or underlying health condition affects any of the bones, nerves or soft tissues in your neck, you may experience pain. That pain may be minor and short-lived or could become so bad that it becomes hard to move, concentrate or sleep. You may also experience stiffness and difficulty moving your head.
Aurum Health Care’s chronic pain consultants are experienced Chiropractors with an in-depth understanding of the musculoskeletal system and the relief of ongoing pain.
It is wise to have an experienced health professional examine you and treat both your pain and its underlying cause. You may find relief from some types of neck pain through self-care measures such as rest, ice or heat, over-the-counter pain medicines or improved posture, but it is always best to be examined by a professional before starting self-care just in case there is something else going on.
Common types of neck pain
- Neck sprains or strains
- Cervical discogenic pain syndrome
- Cervical meniscoidal entrapment
- Cervical facet syndrome
- Torticollis (wry neck)
- Cervical degenerative joint disease
A strain or sprain is when damage occurs to your neck’s soft tissues – the ligaments, muscles, discs or other tissues surrounding the cervical spine – through excessive stretch, tears or rupture.
A neck strain or sprain can happen through:
- Direct trauma – such as falls, motor vehicle accidents (whiplash) or sports injuries
- Overuse, fatigue or repetitive microtrauma
- Postural causes
– Increase or decrease of cervical lordosis (neck curve)
– Prolonged stressful positioning i.e. poor posture at the computer or desk
- Sudden unguarded movement.
- Pain in your neck and upper shoulders
- Pain that radiates into the base of your skull or down your shoulder or arm
- Headaches and tinnitus (ringing in your ears).
In between each vertebra of a healthy spine, there are soft, spongy discs that act as a shock absorber. The discs in the spine are designed to cushion the vertebrae and prevent the individual vertebra from grinding together and facilitate movement.
Sometimes, though, discs can ‘slip’, bulge or herniate due to:
- Trauma, such as a fall, a motor vehicle accident, whiplash, or a sports injury
- Overuse, such as fatigue or micro-trauma as a result of repetitive motions
- Increase or decrease in cervical spinal curve
- Prolonged stressful postures or habits such as the working on a computer for long period of time i.e. office workers or student
- Sudden unguarded movements
- Degenerative disc disease.
If that happens, you may experience symptoms such as:
- Pain immediately or shortly after the suspected incident
- Pain referred into the shoulders, scapula, mid-back, arm, forearm, or fingers
- Mid-back pain
Meniscoids are a type of soft tissue that help to stabilise your neck by filling up otherwise empty spaces within your neck joints. They feature a large number of pain receptors and can cause pain in your neck if they become entrapped by your neck joints.
If you have a trapped cervical meniscoid, you may experience:
- Neck pain with a ‘catching’ feeling when moving your neck
- Sharp neck pain with muscle guarding that gets worse over time
- Limited neck movement.
So, why does it happen? The causes of cervical meniscoid entrapment include:
- Abnormal biomechanics in the cervical spine (neck region)
- Pain as a result of muscle spasm, i.e. acute locked neck syndrome
- Prolonged immobility of the joints in the neck i.e. prolonged poor posture when using electronics (tablets, phones).
Facet or Z-joints are little joints that sit behind each of the vertebrae in your neck, helping to stabilise the spinal column while allowing movement in your neck.
Cervical facet syndrome occurs when the facet joints become irritated or damaged and cause neck pain and discomfort. That can happen if you have:
Symptoms of cervical facet syndrome include:
- Dull ache and pain in the neck, which may be sharp during acute episodes
- Decreased range of motion in neck
- Neck pain and muscle spasm / torticollis (wry neck)
- Neck pain may sometimes radiate into shoulder, mid back region or head.
Torticollis is a rare twisting of the neck that causes your head to rotate and tilt at an odd angle.
It can be present at birth (congenital), possibly due to the baby’s position in the womb or to trauma to the neck during birth. It can also be acquired later in life after irritation to the cervical ligaments from a viral infection, injury, or vigorous movement.
Other causes include:
- Muscular damage
- Cervical spine (neck) injury
- Cervical (neck) joint issues such as poor biomechanics
- Certain medications
- Central nervous system infections, tumours, and eye disorders.
Symptoms of torticollis include:
- Neck pain
- Head rotation and head tilt
- Difficulty moving the head and neck.
Due to the acute and complex nature of torticollis, we strongly recommend that you contact us immediately on 9899 1416 so that our chronic pain consultants can assess you and formulate a treatment plan to get you on the road to recovery.
Degenerative joint disease refers to the gradual loss of one or more of the cushioning discs in the cervical spine (neck region) as a result of them breaking down due to wear and tear. The most common form of degenerative joint disease is in the cervical spine is usually at the C5/6 and C6/7 levels.
Many people have cervical degenerative joint disease with no symptoms at all. Those who do show symptoms report:
- Pain in the neck and upper shoulders
- Stiffness and pain aggravated with repetitive or heavy use such as computer work
- Decrease in range of movement in your neck.
The causes of neck pain due to cervical degenerative joint disease (DJD) include:
- Abnormal biomechanics such as poor posture
- Metabolic diseases such as osteoporosis and Paget’s disease
- Childhood anatomical abnormalities
- Joint trauma or fracture
- Repetitive joint movement
- Secondary degenerative joint disease resulting from spinal or skeletal surgery.
Cervical DJD tends to be more common in people over 50 due to age-related changes in tendons and ligaments which alter the strength in the joints and cartilage, as well as a decrease in nutrient supply to the cartilage.
Treating neck pain at Aurum Health Care
Our chiropractors will listen to your symptoms and ask you many questions about your symptoms. We’ll also review the results of any tests you’ve had and build a detailed picture of your overall health.
Then we’ll conduct a thorough clinical examination of your neck.
Our experienced chiropractors may recommend a range of treatments to improve your neck pain, including:
- Ice or heat
– We recommend ice for neck strains/sprains, discogenic pain, meniscoid entrapment and cervical facet syndrome
– We recommend heat for degenerative joint disease.
- A supportive neck pillow
- Gentle neck stretches
- Avoiding aggravating postures or activities.
With Aurum Health Care, you:
- Finally feel that your neck pain is recognised and understood
- Gain hope that there is a way forward
- Can trust our high level of clinical expertise in chronic pain, which enables us to diagnose and treat your pain after assessing you as a whole person
- Experience streamlined care from one highly skilled chronic pain consultant
- Feel empowered by our clear explanations of your neck condition and equipped to practice self-care methods alongside in-clinic treatments.