What is Neck Pain?
Fifty to seventy percent of the population will experience neck pain at least once in their lives, and as much as one third of the population is affected each year. Due to the tremendous cost of low back pain in the United States, neck pain has been somewhat neglected, especially in terms of research dollars. At any given moment, 10% of the population has neck pain. Women are more likely to report neck pain than men, and women are also more likely to report chronic neck pain. Neck pain is one of the most prevalent and costly health problems facing the workplace and health-care communities. Neck pain is the second leading chief complaint reported by patients seeking chiropractic care.
Neck pain is referred to as cervical pain. Pain in the neck is most often due to stress and irritation of the tissues in the cervical region, particularly the facet joints. The stress and irritation develops over time secondary to poor posture, lack of exercise and poor dietary habits.
Postural stress leads to muscle tightness and spinal joint stiffness and restriction. Lack of exercise leads to muscular weakness, muscle fatigue, muscle atrophy and loss of flexibility. The eventual spinal joint stiffness and facet restriction further perpetuates muscle tightness and pain.
Your body’s normal response to postural stress is the release of biochemicals that initiate inflammation. Poor dietary habits contribute to an excessive release of biochemicals, which may lead to chronic inflammation and increase your sensitivity to pain.
A truly comprehensive approach in treating neck pain should include eliminating postural stress and addressing the following:
- Areas of spinal joint stiffness/restriction.
- Areas of muscle tightness.
- Areas of muscle weakness.
- Chronic Inflammation.