Neck Pain


Causes of Neck Pain

Some causes result from acute injuries which cannot be avoided, such as an automobile accident resulting in a whiplash-type injury. Other causes can be avoided and result from the use of “bad” or improper habits and techniques, such as poor posture. These “other causes” make up the majority of neck pain causes and can be effectively treated once the causes are identified and the appropriate measures to avoid these “bad” and improper habits and techniques are implemented.

Some of the more common causes of neck pain include:

  • Incomplete rehabilitation of past injuries.
  • Lack of proper and periodic spinal alignments.
  • The presence of Cervical Spine Subluxations.
  • Whiplash-type Injuries
  • Poor Posture
  • Prolonged Sitting
  • Prolonged use of non-ergonomically designed equipment.
  • Excessive Repetitive Neck Motions
  • Improper Telephone Techniques
  • Excessive Mental Stress
  • Physical inactivity or even overly excessive activity.

Whiplash Neck Injury

Whiplash is a generic term applied to injuries of the neck caused when the neck is suddenly or violently jolted in one direction and then another, creating a whip-like movement. Whiplash is most commonly seen in people involved in motor vehicle accidents, but it can also occur from falls, sports injuries, work injuries, and other incidents.

Whiplash injuries can manifest in a wide variety of ways, including neck pain, headaches, fatigue, upper back and shoulder pain, cognitive changes and even low back pain. Due to the fact that numerous factors play into the overall whiplash trauma, such as direction of impact, speed of the vehicles involved, as well as sex, age and physical condition, it is impossible to predict the pattern of symptoms that each individual will suffer. Additionally, whiplash symptoms commonly have a delayed onset, often taking weeks or months to present.

However, a number of conditions that are very common among those who have suffered from whiplash such as follows. Headaches due to neck problems are called cervicogenic or neck-related headaches. They may be due to injury to an upper cervical disc or facet joint. Arm pain and heaviness may be due to nerve compression from a herniated disc, which is easy for your chiropractor to diagnose. More commonly, arm pain is “referred” from other parts of the neck. 

“Referred pain” is pain that is felt at a place away from the injured areas, and due to pressure on a nerve. Pain between the shoulder blades is usually a type of referred pain. Low back pain is occasionally seen and is quite common after whiplash and may be due to injury to the discs, facet joints of the low back or sacroiliac joints. Difficulties with concentration or memory can be due to pain itself, medications you are taking for the pain, depression or mild brain injury. You might also experience irritability and depression. Sleep disturbance can be due to pain or depression. Other symptoms might include blurry vision, ringing in the ears, tingling in the face and fatigue.

Workplace Injury Neck Pain

Workplace injuries are any occupational injury or illness that is caused by factors in your workplace, including the specific tasks you are required to perform. Injuries may occur in people who work in many different types of workplaces, including factories, construction sites, offices, retail stores, and warehouses. Some workplace injuries may be caused by repetitive movements while other injuries may be caused by poor work place ergonomics. Each person is different and it is critical that your work station be adapted to your needs.

Causes of workplace injuries include:

  • Overexertion
  • Falls
  • Blunt force trauma
  • Repetitive stress/strain
  • Poorly designed work stations which cause your body to adapt to machinery instead of machinery adapting to your body
  • Prolonged sitting or other prolonged postural stressors especially computers, phones and chair placement

Auto Injury Neck Pain

Auto injuries commonly result in sprain-strain of the neck. The ligaments that help support, protect, and restrict excessive movement of the vertebrae are torn, which is called a sprain. The joints in the back of the spine, called the facet joints, are covered by ligaments called facet capsules, which seem to be particularly susceptible to whiplash injury.

In addition, the muscles and tendons are strained—stretched beyond their normal limits. The discs between the vertebrae, which are essentially ligaments, can be torn, potentially causing a disc herniation. The nerve roots between the vertebrae may also be stretched and become inflamed. It is important to know that the amount of damage to your vehicle is often times not proportionate to the amount of injury sustained by occupants of the vehicle. Research shows even minor impacts can cause significant neck injury. Early evaluation and diagnoses is essential for optimal treatment and healing to occur. A delay of treatment allows your neck to attempt to heal in an incorrect fashion. If a delay of treatment is prolonged, disruption of appropriate healing will cause more difficulty in the treatment process. If a joint is left out of alignment or is hypermobile, this can lead to future degeneration.

Neck Injury