Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you had to endure excruciating neck or lower back pain and thought to yourself, ‘no worries, I’ll just ride this out and it will go away on its own’ only to find yourself still grappling with the pain days or even weeks later? I wrote this piece for anyone who’s ever been in a similar predicament.
While you may think of your neck as the space between your head and shoulders, the neck extends from the base of your skull down to your upper torso, encompassing the whole of your back as well. This connection between back and back pain is important to understand. Since the spine runs through both the neck and back, they are closely connected.
While the complex network of bones and ligaments that make up the neck are quite versatile and allow for movement, even the slightest abnormality can cause major discomfort in your neck and back region.
Neck or back pain can be caused by anything from improper posture to severe injuries. Most neck and back pain sufferers can be treated relatively quickly and easily. Some discomfort comes from serious injuries or medical conditions and may need to be treated by a doctor.
Most neck and back pain sufferers fall into one of the below five categories, which are the most common causes of neck pain.
- Muscle Tension – Muscle tension in the neck or back can be caused by many factors. The most common are poor posture, improper sitting position, improper sleep position, or from strenuous exercise.
- Injury – There are certain parts of the human body that are highly vulnerable to injury, such as the knees. One of these parts is the spine, due to the many ligaments and bones that make it up. In the case of a car accident, fall, or sports collision, the spine is often forced to move past its normal range, leading to injuries such as whiplash in the neck or long term pain in the back.
- Osteoporosis – This progressive disease associated with the aging process works to weaken bones, mostly in the knees and hands, but it can also can extend to the neck and back, weakening the bones of the spine and causing pain and discomfort.
- Fibromyalgia – The condition known as Fibromyalgia causes muscle pain throughout the entire body, but this type of pain mostly centers around the neck. Although long considered more of a gray area, fibromyalgia is now recognized as a serious condition and is the focus of intense study.
- Arthritis – Causing swelling and pain in the joints, arthritis can affect the neck or back just as much as it does the hands, elbows, and knees. When it hits the spine, it is particularly painful to arthritis sufferers since the pain spreads across the neck and back.
Neck and Back Pain Treatments
Whether from an injury or a specific medical condition, neck and back pain can be incredibly painful and often negatively affects the lives of sufferers. Fortunately, there are a number of effective and safe treatments that can permanently alleviate pain in the neck and back area.
Massage – For individuals suffering from neck pain caused by improper posture, strain from sports and physical activity, or muscle tension, massage can be a major help and even work to permanently cure neck pain by loosening up the muscles, smoothing knots, reducing strain, and increasing blood flow in the muscles.
Chiropractor – Also for posture and general pain issues, chiropractic adjustments can work wonders for neck pain sufferers. By straightening out the spine and alleviating pressure in the muscles, chiropractic treatment is one of the most popular and successful forms of neck pain therapy in the country.
It isn’t only neck adjustments that work when it comes to chiropractic work, but back adjustments as well. The spine covers such a wide area of the body that back adjustments can have a major effect on the neck as well.
Ice and Heat Therapy – The application of cold or hot items can work to loosen muscles in the neck and back. Since tense and tight muscles are one of the leading causes of neck and back pain, the application of heat and cold can be incredibly effective for curing neck pain since these compresses work to loosen up the tight muscles and knots causing the pain.
Also, if there is any swelling involved, a cold compress will work to bring down the swelling. Cold or hot compresses can come from ice packs or even bags of frozen vegetables, plus hot water bottles applied directly to the painful area. This will cause swelling of the muscles to retreat, leading to relief from the pain.
Now that you have a better idea as to why you’re experiencing pain and what you can do to remedy it, it’s up to you to this information to good use. Also, as you consider which course of action to take, don’t forget that treatments that target the back can also aid your neck and vice versa.
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