Did you know that neck pain is the fourth leading cause of disability worldwide¹?
This statistic should not be that surprising if we observe our lifestyles, often spending hours at our desks or slumped over our devices.
Neck pain is very common affecting approximately 30% of the population. Causes range from acute traumas such as car accidents, falls or sports injuries to more chronic microtraumas such posture and technology overuse, commonly referred to as “Tech Neck”.
Parts and Functions
The cervical spine, or neck, is made up of 7 bones and an intricate network of nerves, joints, muscles, ligaments, tendons, fascia and blood vessels. It functions as the base for the skull and carries the spinal cord from the brainstem to the rest of the body.
The range of movement produced by the joints in the neck make it the most mobile part of the spine. Mobility comes with a price however, as it is also most susceptible to injury. Disruption to any of its delicate structures could create stiffness or pain. Whether it’s a dull ache that slows you down or excruciating pain that severely affects your ability to function, the symptoms should not be ignored.
Puddles vs Leaks
When visiting a health care professional the usual protocol is to examine the site of pain to assess the problem, in this case, the neck. Is this approach incorrect? Not at all. It might however be missing a vital step. Often the pain is only a symptom, a clue, alerting us to a larger underlying problem.
In the vast majority of cases the area we are experiencing pain is not the source of the problem but rather the point of compensation for something underlying. Compensation patterns are often effective for short term relief but always lead to damage elsewhere in the body. A good example of this is a leak in your roof (the real problem) that creates a puddle on the floor (compensation). You are likely to notice the puddle first. If you mopped it up, it would most likely come back again and again leading to major frustration, and water damage if left unattended. Finding the source of the leak would lead to a long term solution.
The pain (or puddle) can temporarily be managed with painkillers or anti inflammatories. Even drastic measures such as surgery can decrease or often completely eliminate the pain. Unfortunately, like with the roof, if the leak isn’t addressed the puddle will eventually come back again.
The next step
The solution lies in looking at the body as a whole and not only focusing on the site of the pain. A great way to do this is to assess your posture and analyse how your body is holding itself upright. This gives insight into the condition of your spine and more importantly, the function of your nervous system. Chiropractors are experts in posture and motion of the spine and can help determine the source of the problem. Chiropractic has been repeatedly shown as an effective approach for neck pain and could help you too².
Can we help?
At One Chiropractic Studio our goal is to look at your body as a whole and find the source of your problems. By the use of digital postural analysis, functional testing of the nervous system and motion assessment of your spine we are able to help create a plan to find the leak and clean up the puddles.
Cohen SP. Epidemiology, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Neck Pain. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 90(2):284–299.
Clar C, Tsertsvadze A, Court R, Hundt GL, Clarke A, Sutcliffe P. Clinical effectiveness of manual therapy for the management of musculoskeletal and non-musculoskeletal conditions: systematic review and update of UK evidence report. Chiropr Man Therap. 2014;22(1):12.