Neck pain has become increasingly common in that 2 out of 3 people will experience neck pain at some point. Mechanical neck pain and headache coming from the neck (cervicogenic headache) are quite common, so here is some info for you to help you further understand the relationship between spinal manipulation therapy (SMT) or the “adjustment” and decreasing neck pain.
What does Mechanical neck pain mean?
Mechanical neck pain (MNP) just means neck pain that gets worse when we use our neck more and the pain is coming from parts of the cervical spine that allow us to move our head around and up and down. Mechanical neck pain doesn’t come from “pinched” or irritated nerves, instead the pain is coming from inflamed facet joints (joints in the neck) and from degenerated or “thinned” disc(s). The disc and facet joints become more inflamed when we use our neck to move our head, and the muscles around the cervical spine begin to spasm. You can think of a muscle spasm similar to a muscle cramp.
Why is the muscle spasm happening?
Muscles that are cramping eventually lead to pain. The spasm occurs as the body’s response to try to stop the movement in the neck. Addressing the root cause of pain in the neck with an assessment of the painful cervical joints that may be “stuck” or restricted will assist in the application of treatment options. An adjustment or alternatively gentle mobilizations (challenging a joint within its normal range) may effectively remove the pain source, which will allow the muscle spasm to subside.
Ways to keep the neck joints happy:
- Sleep with a supportive pillow on you side or back
- Make sure to stretch your neck regularly to avoid stiffness in the cervical spine
- Take computer/phone breaks to avoid looking in one direction for too long
- If you need more details on how to do the above or would like more tips, book an initial visit with Dr. Maria Davidovic
If you’d like to arrange an appointment, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 416-906-0767