It is a fact that 50 to 70% of the population today will experience some neck pain in their lives. Many of these problems are experienced in the workplace which affects employee time off, and because of this, large amounts of money are allocated for research and treatment to manage or heal people who are suffering. There are two major reasons neck pain occurs, those being one, lack of exercise; and two, environmental effects on posture in the workplace.
We actually lack the stability in that area of our necks which makes it easy to become overloaded, particularly while working. This pain can also originate from accidents or trauma to the neck area, but this is less common. Sitting for too long with poor posture and failure to exercise enough will result in neck instability.
Current Treatment for Cervical Pain
Neck pain involves all types of injuries, but to summarize what actually happens, joints or tissues in the neck become overloaded. When this happens, muscles tighten which then creates swelling in joints and causes restriction of movement. Mechanically, we suffer muscle weakness and in more serious cases, it can cause disk herniations or pain radiating down into the arms. Manipulation treatment can help alleviate this pain, and combining this with physical therapy or exercise can help stabilize the area of weakness. It’s very important to educate a patient in what they can accomplish on their own through exercise.
There are many treatment options which a person can do themselves which involve:
- Activity modification
- Checking your posture
- Visiting your healthcare provider
Sitting still is not recommended. Instead, you should make an effort to move around as much as possible, get your shoulders back and sit up straight. You might even consider working with a physical therapist or trainer who will instruct you in how you can strengthen and stabilize your neck muscles.
If someone is not sure if their pain is more serious, there are indicators you can check when considering what type of treatment is needed. Pain that is localized in your neck, headaches or pain that travels up to the base of your skull is less serious. However, if you are experiencing pain radiating into an extremity such as your arm, or if you experience weakness such as the inability to hold a coffee cup, you might want to seek treatment. We can screen out a disk problem and other serious neck problems through testing and perhaps imaging. You can start with a visit to your physician and get their opinion first, then pursue more involved treatment if your physician feels it is warranted.