Whether you’re hunched over a computer for hours at a time or pushed yourself too hard at the gym, the question of the day is usually: when should I see a doctor about my stiff, painful neck?
Human heads weigh 10 to 12 pounds on average and are fully supported by the neck. Also known as the cervical spine, the neck is a delicate network made up of bones (vertebrae), cushioning discs between the bones, nerves, and muscles. Although the design and structure of our necks is actually quite strong and flexible, there are many causes of neck pain.
While most minor neck pain goes away on its own within a few days with minimal medical treatment, there are distinct times when you should see a doctor right away.
Below are some of the common causes of neck pain and when you should make an appointment with your chiropractor.
Sleeping in an unusual position or pushing yourself past your limit at the gym can strain your neck muscles. Bending the neck too far forward (hyperflexion) or too far back (hyperextension) can lead to a stiff neck, soreness, and pain. You should fully recover from this injury in a few days with simple neck stretches. You can also apply heat or cold, depending on which alleviates the pain better for you. Heat helps with spasms while cold is better for reducing inflammation.
Hunching over a computer or slouching at home puts extra pressure on your muscles and spine. Improving your posture is crucial because chronically tense muscles can change the characteristics of your spine. A change you can make today is correcting your seated posture; proper seated posture involves maintaining a straight back and bringing your knees slightly higher than your hips. Ask your doctor for personalized neck exercises and how to correct your posture.
Very similar to poor posture, the so-called “text neck” is caused by keeping your head at a non-neutral angle. Research has confirmed that bending the head forward at a 45-degree angle, the general position when using a cell phone, exerts up to 50 pounds of force onto the spine. This causes a tremendous amount of strain to the cervical spine. The solution to prevent this neck pain is simple: lift and hold your cell phone to be level with your face. You will also benefit from raising your computer monitor up on your desk to be eye level.
ACCIDENT OR OTHER TRAUMA
Always see the doctor after any type of fall or accident. Pain may take a few days to become noticeable after trauma has occurred. Make an immediate appointment if you also develop numbness, a tingling sensation, or weakness in your arms or legs. We cannot stress this enough so we will repeat ourselves: always see a doctor after any type of fall or accident. Moreover, individuals with osteoporosis should consult their chiropractor after even minor falls.
Regardless of the cause, if the sore neck is interfering with your daily life, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor. There is no reason to endure unnecessary pain. It is time to see the chiropractor if the pain has not resolved itself after 3-4 days.
Furthermore, you should call the doctor as soon as possible if you have any of the below symptoms in addition to neck pain:
- a fever that keeps you up at night
- consistent headaches
- balance issues or sudden clumsiness
- tingling or numbness in your arms, hands, fingers, legs, feet, or toes
- sharp pain that shoots down your arms
Contact a doctor at Divine Spine for neck pain treatment if you are experiencing neck pain or any of the above symptoms. It is imperative to receive the treatment you need before it causes other severe injuries. Divine Spine utilizes the most advanced treatment technology to decrease neck pain and resolve the root cause of the problem without any twisting or popping to the spine. Get the best chiropractic care from the wellness center, Divine Spine located in Yorba Linda, Orange County, CA.
Our last blog talked about Spine Health in 2019 – Read it HERE