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    • 26 MAY 16
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    Neck Pain: Nature, Causes and Treatments

    How to deal with stiffy neck pain?

    For most of us who spend numerous hours of working in the office, we tend to ignore some of the early sings of neck pain. While we’re passionate about getting things done and providing excellent output, we should also equally care for the overall well-being of our bodies. This is why it’s quite necessary to fully know the nature of neck pain, so we could figure out the main treatments to counter the condition.

    Most importantly, we must also have a musculoskeletalprofessional to look out for us. This way we can have an expert who can best examine our conditions and provide the most effective options for our treatments. It’s understandably debilitating to experience neck and shoulder pain, so it’s necessary for you to consider all means possible to prevent scenarios of pain to frequently happen.

    First seen on (

    neck painThere are a multitude of causes contributing to headaches and neck pain ranging from overuse or injury of the delicate soft tissue of the neck region to more generalized factors such as occupation, physical, or emotional stress.  A long list of other causes can lead to this widespread condition, as well.  Recent research suggests that frequently, the causative factors are multilayered and not simply the result of one specific reason.


    Pain is often a warning sign from your body and serves the purpose of getting your brain’s attention. For this reason, acute and chronic pain resulting from headaches and neck pain should be taken seriously.  It is always a good idea to consult your primary health care provider and make a concentrated effort to determine the cause of your specific condition.  It is often necessary to seek help from a specialist who deals specifically with the type of headache that you are experiencing.


    Millions of people find relief from pain and discomfort by utilizing the services of Alternative and Holistic health care providers who treat the body as a whole.  These natural practitioners may often recommend lifestyle changes or nutritional therapies as well.


    Health care providers such as Doctors of Chiropractic and licensed Massage Therapists specialize in treating headaches and neck pain that are due to musculoskeletal imbalance and dysfunction.


    Fortunately, there are some things that you can do on your own, naturally, to help ease the pain and discomfort due to a specific type of headache known as a tension headache.  Tension headaches are characterized by a band of tightness, pressure or pain around the forehead, temples, and back of the head.  Frequently, the pain or pressure in the head is accompanied by stiffness, pain or discomfort in the neck and upper back region.


    Often, the pain begins as tightness in the neck and shoulder region and gradually progresses to a full blown headache that can be severe and disrupt every aspect of your busy day.  These headaches can last anywhere from 30 minutes to several days and can dramatically decrease the quality of your life and your energy level.


    If the above scenario sounds familiar to you, the following information could help you take charge of your health and possibly prevent the frustration and challenges related to tension headaches and neck pain in the future.


    Perhaps the most important thing that you can do to end the vicious cycle of muscle related pain is to simply listen to the constant feedback that your amazing body is constantly providing you.  If you find yourself in a stressful situation, make an effort to stop, take a few deep diaphragmatic breaths and tune into your physical body.


    Most of us have “trigger points” or localized areas of tenderness and tightness in our neck, shoulders, and upper back that serve as red flags or reminders that we are entering into a cycle of muscle tension due to stress.  Almost everyone has specific, localized areas that seem to flare up in these areas when they are tired, overworked, or experiencing negative emotions.


    If we simply try to ignore these trigger points, they usually increase in strength and become more knotted, tight, and painful, significantly decreasing blood flow and the flow of oxygen and energy to all parts of your body.  Often, if we are thinking negative and unproductive thoughts, we are attracting even more stress and tension to ourselves simply by repeating old neural patterns and mental scripts.


    When your body perceives a situation as being stressful, it reacts the same as it would to an imminent physical threat. At these times, you may experience some of the same symptoms that are a specific response to the “fight or flight” instinct that helps protect us in times of danger.


    These instincts (such as rapid breathing and tightening of your muscles to prepare for flight) come in handy if you are being chased by a bear in the woods, but only make matters worse when you are stuck in a traffic jam or dealing with high stress deadlines and events.


    We have all noticed people in stressful situations grab and squeeze the muscles of the upper shoulder near the neck when they are feeling tense and frustrated.  Perhaps this is something that you do on a regular basis while sitting at your desk or computer or talking on the phone.  You may even stretch your neck from side to side or sigh deeply.


    Using your hands and fingers to apply pressure to tight, knotted muscles is a natural response from your innately intelligent body that can help instantly relieve pain and pressure and begin the process of relaxation.  Your body gets your attention by sending signals of pain and you recognize and respond to this warning sign by applying acupressure (localized sustained pressure) to specific areas, often without even being aware that you are doing it.


    This pressure helps relax and flatten the muscle and keeps the kinks and spasms from knotting up even more. There are many other ways to keep the cycle of muscle spasm and pain from accelerating rapidly. Taking the time to practice meditation or deep breathing, getting a good spinal adjustment or massage, or engaging in cardiovascular exercise can all make a profound difference.


    Luckily, there are several safe and effective self care tools that you can use in the privacy of your own home to immediately relieve trigger point pain and prevent tension headaches originating from muscle spasm.


    Anyone who has experienced the frustration, challenges, and obstacles that accompany neck pain and headaches can attest to the fact that they can literally control your life and take the fun out of living. Although the causes of headaches and neck pain are numerous, sometimes the sufferer gets lucky by finding one solution to their problem. Hopefully, the information above may just the weapon you need to help yourself or someone you love change their life for the better by permanently eliminating tension headaches and neck pain.

    After identifying the nature, challenges and other associated treatment which are applicable to neck pain, there may be some other queries which come to the minds of patients. It helps to be further informed about the factors concerning neck pain, so they may be guided with the treatments to fit them.

    First seen on (

    Common Questions about Neck Pain

    I woke up with neck pain. What can I do?

    Daily life (and night life) can take its toll on your neck. You may have slept wrong last night, causing your neck muscles to tighten. The best thing to do is give your body time to heal on its own. To get through the day without letting the pain interfere with your normal activities, you have a few options.

    Gently stretch your neck.

    Take over-the-counter pain medications, such as Tylenol or Advil.            

    Alternate between heat and ice treatments on your neck: 20 minutes of heat followed by 20 minutes of ice should help the pain and the healing process.


    Will I need surgery?

    Most patients with neck pain respond well to non-surgical treatments (such as medication), so cervical spine surgery is seldom needed to treat it. In fact, less than 5% of neck pain patients need surgery. However, there are situations when you may want to go ahead with spine surgery.

    • Non-surgical treatment is not helping—that is, you’ve tried a combination of chiropractic care, physical therapy, medication, massage, exercises, and more, and you’re still in pain.
    • You experience progressive neurological symptoms (numbness, tingling, weakness) involving your arms and legs.
    • You’re having trouble with balance or walking.
    • You are otherwise in good health.

    Generally, surgery is done for degenerative disc disease, trauma, or spinal instability. These conditions may put pressure on your spinal cord or on the nerves coming from the spine.


    What kinds of surgery are used for neck pain?

    Typically, surgeons use 2 surgical techniques for cervical spine surgery.


    • Decompression, where they remove tissue pressing against a nerve structure
    • Stabilization, where they work to limit motion between vertebrae

    There are different types of decompression procedures such as discectomy, corpectomy, and

    TransCorporeal MicroDecompression (TCMD).


    • Discectomy: The surgeon removes all or part of a damaged disc.
    • Corpectomy: The vertebral body is removed to access whatever is compressing the spinal cord or nerve.
    • TransCorporeal MicroDecompression (TCMD): The surgeon accesses the cervical spine from the front of the neck. TCMD is performed through a small channel made in the vertebral body to access and decompress the spinal cord and nerve.

    Your surgeon will determine what’s best for your condition.

    Stabilization surgery is sometimes—but not always—done at the same time as a decompression surgery. In some forms of decompression surgery, the surgeon may need to remove a large portion of the vertebra or vertebrae. That results in an unstable spine, meaning that it moves in abnormal ways, and that puts you more at risk for serious neurological injury. In that case, the surgeon will restabilize the spine. Commonly, this is done with a fusion and spinal instrumentation, or implantation of an artificial disc.


    Some patients are at high-risk for poor bone healing or unsuccessful fusion. Smoking and diabetes are two of several risk factors that impede bone healing and fusion. A bone growth stimulator may be recommended and prescribed for patients with certain risk factors.


    What are some non-surgical options for treating my neck pain?

    Less than 5% of neck pain patients will need surgery, and there are a lot of options for you to try before surgery.

    • Acupuncture, herbal remedies, massage, yoga, and Pilates
    • Chiropractic care
    • Medication
    • Physical therapy

    Neck pain has its corresponding treatments, from its basic to most extreme forms. This is why it’s necessary to definitely be informed about the nature of this condition, so you may be better guided in countering it. Integrated Pain Management is composed of doctors who specialize in Musculoskeletal pain. They also take on the personal and complete approach, so patients are assured of more targeted, highly effective treatments.

    Learn more about our Neck Pain Treatments here


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