Monday, January 18, 2010

What Is Making My Neck Hurt?

The other day I woke up with a little pain in my neck, so it occurred to me to write a little bit about neck pain.

Right next to back problems, neck pain is one of the biggest problems for Americans every year. It's true that little pains are likely to creep into our lives little by little as we get older; unfortunately, it's often a part of the normal aging process. However, that isn't always the way it goes. Acute pain that shoots right through you and chronic pain that hangs around for long periods of time are both indications of a dysfunction. Pain is the physical signal that tells us to stop our activity because of potential physical damage we have experienced. On the other hand, as complicated as our bodies are, sometimes the pain we feel isn't actually related to the place where damage has occurred.

Let's cover a few of the more common reasons for neck pain, all of which we routinely treat at Living Well Medical in NYC.

Neck Muscle Strain: Overusing the muscles that support the head and neck can result in muscle pain. Poor posture, whiplash injuries, and poor ergonomics often contribute to muscle strains in the neck. For less serious strains, deep tissue massage can be beneficial, especially when coupled with physical therapy to strengthen those muscles and prevent future problems. Your treatment might be different depending on the type of muscle strain.

Facet Joint Syndrome: Each of the bones in the spine contain four facet joints, and when they work properly, they are responsible for a lot of movement and flexibility of the spine. Trauma, deterioration of intervertebral discs, and poor posture are among the more common causes of pain related to the facet joints. Physical therapy and non-surgical spinal decompression can be effective in treating facet joint syndrome, but individual needs will vary

Cervical Disc Herniation: The spongy structures between the spinal bones can sometimes bulge out and herniate, compressing the nearby nerves in the spinal canal. The pain can range from irritating to completely debilitating, and some patients opt for spinal surgery as a result. Our treatment programs incorporates a number of different therapies (determined by the initial evaluation), often including spinal disc decompression and physical rehabilitation.

This only scratches the surface of the reasons we experience pain in the neck. If the pain is bad enough that it's affecting the way that you live each day, give us a call at Living Well Medical in NYC at (212) 645-8151.