As chiropractors in Sun Prairie, WI, one of the most common conditions that we see in our office is neck pain. In fact, 20%-70% of the general population has neck pain in any given year with women 1.5 times more likely to experience it. Unfortunately, up to 30% of neck pain cases develop chronic symptoms which is why it is important to address it quickly.
Our lifestyles are big contributors to neck pain. Poor posture, excessive electronic device use (people spend an average of 4 hours a day on their phone, likely looking down at it) and sleeping positions all increase the amount of stress on the neck. On average, your head weighs 12 pounds. Every extra inch that your head is forward in relation to your shoulders adds 10 pounds of stress to your neck. So if your head is even just one inch in front of your shoulders, it feels like it weighs 22 pounds instead of 12! The front of your spine isn’t built to bear weight so over time, this can cause the joints of the neck to wear down and degenerate.
Neck pain typically falls into one of two categories: Acute or chronic. Acute neck pain follows some type of trauma such as a car accident, major fall or even sports injury. However, if acute neck pain isn’t treated properly and soon enough, it may become chronic. Chronic pain is defined as a pain lasting longer than 3 months and is more difficult to treat. This is because your body is used to holding a certain pattern and it takes longer to break this pattern.
Pain can be a complex symptom as there are several different structures in the neck. Discs, bones, muscles and ligaments or a combination of these can cause pain. This is why it’s incredibly important to discern where the problem in order to effectively treat it.
How We Treat Neck Pain In Sun Prairie, WI
Comprehensive Consultation and Exam
In order to get to the root cause of your neck pain, the doctors will first perform a detailed consultation and specific examination. This will allow them to understand your problem in terms of your personal history and current condition as well as set goals for your future. The doctors really listen and understand how your neck pain is affecting all facets of your life.
Pain can be life altering, but it is a signal telling your body that something isn’t functioning correctly. During the examination, the doctors will perform chiropractic and orthopedic testing to isolate the problem. These tests help the doctors discern if the pain is from a bone, muscle, nerve, disc or a combination of these structures. Once they determine the cause of your neck pain, they can get you on the path to healing better and faster.
X-rays are one of the most useful tools in diagnosing the cause of your neck pain and Noble Choice Chiropractic is proud to offer digital motion study x-rays in our office. A proper cervical curve is important to help distribute any stress throughout your neck. The straighter the neck is, the more problems people tend to have such as neck pain, headaches and decreased range of motion. Static x-rays show the curve along with bone alignment and disc spaces. X-rays are also taken through range of motion so you and the doctors see exactly where the problem is in the spine before starting care.
Specific Chiropractic Care
Neck pain is often caused by what is known as a subluxation. A subluxation occurs when a bone shifts out of alignment with the rest of the spine. This can cause irritation to the nerves which results in symptoms such as neck pain or decreased flexibility in the neck. Subluxations need to be corrected right away as they can lead to arthritis, degeneration, chronic pain and other symptoms.
At Noble Choice Chiropractic, we use only the most advanced, scientific techniques to get you better. We do this by performing a specific chiropractic adjustment to these subluxations. The adjustment takes pressure off the nerves and allows the joints to move better. A moving spine means a functioning body and our goal is to get you feeling better faster! If your neck pain is caused by subluxations, you will likely to continue having symptoms unless these areas are corrected.
Custom Therapeutic Exercise Plan
Neck pain is often aggravated by muscle imbalance due to poor posture. Unfortunately, many Americans have a condition called Upper Cross Syndrome, where the muscles of the neck, shoulders and upper back are tight in some areas and weak in the other. This causes improper posture and extra strain to the muscles of the spine.
The doctors at Noble Choice Chiropractic know that every body is different. We create a custom exercise plan that will correct these imbalances and improve your posture. This helps to strengthen your muscles, allowing your chiropractic adjustments to hold better and longer.
Common Causes of Neck Pain in Sun Prairie, WI
A subluxation is one of the most common causes of neck pain. A subluxation, or misalignment of the spine, is what chiropractors are specially trained to find and correct. A subluxation puts pressure on the nerves of the spine. This causes dysfunction of the body which presents as neck pain, headaches, TMJ pain, numbness or even tingling into the arms and hands. Specific chiropractic adjustments are the only method to removing subluxations, and chiropractors are the only doctors properly trained to correct subluxations.
You may have heard of Tech Neck in regards to teenagers looking down at our electronic devices for too long. The truth is, many adults also have this postural problem due to poor ergonomics from working at their desk. Tech Neck typically presents with forward heard posture which increases stress on the neck joints from the weight of the head. This also reduces the natural curve of the neck which then leads to more chronic conditions such as degeneration, arthritis, and other issues. Noble Choice Chiropractic specializes in helping Sun Prairie eliminate Tech Neck by restoring the neck curve.
Neck pain may have a muscular component as well, such as a muscle strain. Strains may feel like a dull, achy pain that intensifies with movement. This can be caused by a sudden activity (like an injury) or slowly occur over time. Repetitive motion, poor posture and weak neck muscles contribute to neck pain.
Muscle strains usually resolve but you want to address and fix it early before it becomes a chronic pain. If you continue to have the same muscle strain flaring up over time, it can be a symptom of structural issue. The doctors at Noble Choice Chiropractic use specific examination techniques to discern if your neck pain is due to a muscular strain or spinal issue.
Osteoarthritis occurs when the joint space becomes compressed and is commonly seen in the neck. This takes a long time, sometimes years to develop and is usually caused by lack of motion or poor posture. When the joints aren’t moving properly, they begin to wear down and bone spurs develop. These spurs can cause irritation to the spinal nerves in the neck and in turn, cause neck pain. Chiropractic adjustments keep the joints moving and slow don the progression of osteoarthritis.
A common injury from car accidents in Sun Prairie, WI is whiplash. Whiplash typically occurs when a vehicle is struck from behind, causing the neck to move back and forth sharply, injuring the ligaments and muscles in the neck. Whiplash can be extremely painful and limiting in terms of range of motion of the neck. This quick movement of the neck causes the cervical spine to straighten which leads to long term issues if not corrected.
Whiplash must be addressed quickly as symptoms aren’t just limited to pain. Many patients also report blurred vision, difficulty sleeping, short term memory problems and irritability. Unfortunately, whiplash pain can persist for many years if not treated properly. Chiropractic is one of the best and most effective methods to treat whiplash, restore the neck curve and improve function.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a chiropractor in Sun Prairie, WI good for neck pain?
Absolutely! Chiropractic should be your first call when it comes to neck pain. The chiropractors at Noble Choice Chiropractic have helped thousands of people with their neck pain and would be happy to help you too.
When should you see a chiropractor for neck pain?
The best time to see a chiropractor for neck pain is immediately. Pain is often the last symptom to appear and you probably have had problems in your spine long before you feel pain. It’s important to address the problems right away to prevent any future issues.
Are chiropractors covered by insurance for neck pain?
Almost all insurance plans have chiropractic coverage. We will happily verify your insurance benefits for you so know exactly what you plan covers.
How should I sleep with neck pain?
Back sleeping is the best way to sleep because it keeps the spine in a neutral position. The next best is side sleeping as long as your neck is properly supported with a pillow. Sleeping on your stomach is not recommenced, especially if you have neck pain.
Is massage or chiropractic better for neck pain?
The truth is, they are very different! Massage addresses muscles that may be too tight or damaged while chiropractic addresses the spinal component of neck pain. A chiropractor will be able to determine where the problem is coming from. If it’s a soft tissue problem, then massage will be very beneficial. If the issue is due to misalignment of the spine, then the muscle spasm is a symptom of this. Massage is helpful in the short term but until the root cause is addressed, it’s not a long term solution. Many chiropractors and massage therapists co-manage cases as both methods work well together.