Sheppard Spine And Sports Clinic offers a variety of proven treatments that can help to relieve many types of neck pain. Our practitioners can reduce neck pain with the N.U.C.C.A. technique that does not include traditional cracking or twisting of the neck. Below you will find more information about various types of neck pain. Please contact Sheppard Spine And Sports Clinic for a consultation so that we can determine the best ways to relieve your neck pain symptoms.
What Are The Common Causes of Neck Pain?
Over years, the human neck is subjected to stress and minor injury. The injuries and stress may not cause you pain at the time of the incident, but repeated stress and injury does add up. This can eventually cause a degeneration of the cervical spine, leading to neck pain.
The vast majority of neck pain is caused by degeneration in the structures of the neck. The overall condition of your cervical spine usually will be the deciding factor in how quickly you recover from injury, and whether you will have a chronic neck pain problem.
The spinal discs in the neck are comprised of connective tissue that wear as we get older. However, many neck pain problems stem from unusual wear and tear. Over the years, injuries can add up and weaken connective tissue that connects to the disc. When the connective tissue is weakened, stress such as in a car accident can more easily injure the disc. This entire process of degeneration in the disc may be called spondylolysis.
To have a better understanding of your neck pain, it is important to discuss how neck degeneration occurs and what causes neck pain most often.
Degenerative Disc Disease
As we get older, the discs in our neck loses water content and some of its elasticity. At first, it is common for tears to occur in the disc’s outer ring, also known as the annulus. Tears in this part of the disc may come with no symptoms. The tears may heal and scar tissue forms. But note that scar tissue is not as strong as normal tissue. Repeated injury and tearing will cause more damage to the neck and spine disc.
As the disc wears and loses more of its water content, the disc will start to collapse. The space that is between each of your vertebra will reduce in size. The reduction in space will affect how your facet joints line up in the back of your spine. As with any other joint in your body, the change in how the bones fit will cause pressure on articular cartilage. This is the shiny and slick material that covers the ends of your bones in all joints. Over time, the pressure will lead to arthritis of the facet joints.
Bone spurs can form around your disc and facet joints. It is believed that an excess of motion in the spinal segment can cause these spurs to form. The formation of bone spurs can cause neck pain.
Spinal Conditions Causing Neck Pain
Disc degeneration and degeneration of the spinal segment can lead to spinal problems in the neck that can cause pain. Some of the conditions include mechanical neck pain, cervical radiculopathy and spinal stenosis. Sometimes, we might have a neck injury that is minor and the pain might go away in days. This might be called a neck muscle strain, but many parts of the neck may have actually been injured.
Muscle strain in the neck is commonly diagnosed when you have a stiff neck that is hard to move. You might really have a muscle strain or pulled muscle; however, there could be other parts of the neck that are injured. You also could have damage to the disc, neck ligaments and muscles around the spine.
Mechanical neck pain may be diagnosed when you have a chronic neck ache. This could be caused by degenerative disc diseases and possibly arthritis affecting the facet joints in your cervical spine. Mechanical neck pain might be diagnosed because it often gets worse the more we use our neck.
This type of neck pain is not caused by pinched or irritated nerves. The pain commonly originates from the facet joints and from the disc. As the facet joints and disc get more irritated as we move our head, the muscles in the cervical spine may spasm, or cramp. The spasm happens because the body is trying to stop motion of the cervical spine.
Cervical radiculopathy is another common type of neck pain, also referred to as a pinched nerve. The nerve root originates at the spinal cord and the cervical spine, traveling to the various parts of the body. The nerve provides sensation to the different areas, as it also supplies electrical signals to muscles to move different body parts. But when a nerve gets pinched or irritated, it will cause the nerve to work improperly. This may cause weakness in the muscles or numbness in the skin where the nerve is.
A pinched nerve can be due to a herniated disc in the neck. Increased pressure on a disc in the spine on the neck can cause the disc to bulge into the spinal canal and the nerve root. Herniated discs are very common in people in their middle age. The condition may happen in a car accident, but it also can happen due to the process of degeneration.
Bone Spurs and Degeneration
In those who are middle aged and elderly, degeneration in the neck discs can lead to bone spurs to develop around the roots of the nerves. If the bone spurs get big enough, they can start to rub on the root of the nerve and cause irritation. The irritation will cause neck pain and pain can radiate down the arm or leg.
The most serious condition that is caused by spinal degeneration is spinal stenosis. In the later stages of spinal degeneration, bone spurs can lead to the spinal canal getting smaller. This can cause the spur to press on the nerve roots or the spinal cord. This may lead to pain in the neck, arms, legs or hands.
This is a brief overview of the causes of neck pain. At the Sheppard Spine And Sports Clinic, our practitioners can help to reduce your neck pain with a variety of proven techniques, including N.U.C.C.A.
Clinical Studies Confirm Neck Pain Relief from N.U.C.C.A. Techniques
A 2009 clinical study has shown the benefits of N.U.C.C.A., specifically upper cervical low force correction, to relieve neck pain and disability. In 2015, N.U.C.C.A. and other types of upper cervical techniques were shown to be effective to reduce neck pain, with no major complications.
The study looked at the medical files of patients in an orthospinology practice over the previous year to determine if upper cervical low force correction could relieve their neck pain symptoms.
A total of 60 patients met the study’s required criteria. Comparisons were made utilizing the NDI scale from 1-100 to check for neck disability and the NRS scale from 1-10 to measure level of pain. Measurements were taken after a 14-day period and were then divided into two categories: those who had a correction of more or less than 30%.
The group that had more than 30% atlas correction saw better results. NDI was reduced from 35.4 to 12.7. Also, NRS was reduced from 5.89 to 1.64. The group that had less correction also realized benefit. They had NDI reduced from 33.8 to 21.2, and NRS from 5.92 to 2.23.
These are promising results for using low force corrections to relieve neck pain. Also, the 2015 clinical study found upper cervical chiropractic care was helpful in relieving neck pain in 62% of causes in 17 days or less. Some of the research was specific to N.U.C.C.A.; a higher degree of neck pain relief was found in those who have multiple sclerosis. The research also showed no major adverse effects to having upper cervical care performed. This reinforces the concept that N.U.C.C.A. is a natural care method that helps patients to avoid taking medications that can sometime harm them.
- Neck Pain Relief Comes from Low Force Upper Cervical Correction. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.nucca.org/blog/neck-pain-relief-low-force-upper-cervical-correction/
- Neck Pain Overview. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.umm.edu/programs/spine/health/guides/neck-pain-overview