Nowadays, we spend a great deal of time sitting, or working at computers, or performing repetitive tasks. This often causes postural problems and muscle tension in the neck, which may give rise to headaches, migraine or other pain. In addition, muscle tension caused by such stress and fatigue can put extra pressure on the joints of the neck which can irritate the spinal nerves. This can sometimes lead to pain known as ‘referred’ pain in other parts of the body or numbness or ‘pins and needles’ in your shoulders, arms and hands. If pain has not improved progressively after several days a visit to your chiropractor could be beneficial.
The neck is very vulnerable, as it supports the weight of your head with the aid of a highly mobile system of joints, muscles and ligaments. Falls and blows to the head can cause neck injury, but it has been estimated that 85% of all neck injuries are the result of motor vehicle accidents*. Whiplash is a general term used to describe any injury (including driving accidents and fall) where the neck has undergone sudden acceleration and deceleration. 50% of people sustaining such injuries still have significant pain eight months after the accident^, and many suffer intermittent pain for up to two years.
Your doctor, or Accident and Emergency department should have checked at the time that you have no fracture, dislocation, paralysis or open wound, but even if they find no serious injury, the nerves branching out from your neck may be under stress.
Chiropractic manipulation can help to restore normal movement to your neck. Your Chiropractor may also prescribe exercises that may help you regain strength and flexibility, and also help in relieving the long-term pain and discomfort.
References * Scofferman Spine Vol 19 1994 Number 9 pp 1007010
^ Palmer and Raymaker Injury the British Accident Journal 1993 p75-78.
This article was written by the British Chiropractic Association (www.chiropractic-uk.co.uk)