Between 70% and 75% of Americans will deal with some form of neck and back pain in their lives.
About 30% of those will experience chronic neck pain that is severe enough that it interferes with their daily activities. Because of this, neck pain is one of the more prominent causes of disability and chiropractor visits in the US.
If you’ve been dealing with neck pain, whether it’s a dull ache or something that keeps you in bed all day, you need to have it looked at by a medical professional. In this post, we’re going to examine some of the different types of neck pain to give you a better idea of what you might be dealing with.
Knowing what type of neck pain you have is the first step in developing a proper treatment plan that can rectify it. Keep reading, and we’ll give you a better sense of what neck pain is and how we can help.
A muscle spasm occurs when there’s a spontaneous contraction of the muscle. It’s usually very painful and causes tightness, resulting in an inability to move your head to either side with any level of comfort.
When you wake up with a stiff, sore neck, it’s likely due to a muscle spasm in the night. There’s not much definitive research on the root cause of muscle spasms, but they may have to do with things as wide-ranging as emotional distress, muscle injuries, and nerve problems.
Muscle pains and strains – also known as “axial neck pain” – is among the most common types of neck pain. Your muscles are made up of bundles of tiny muscle fibers that weave together to create the whole. Within these bundles, there are even tinier proteins that perform muscle expansion and contraction.
If you overextend a muscle, the layers of connective tissue between the muscle fibers and proteins can tear, which weakens the muscle and causes a lot of pain. The worse the strain is, the worse the inflammation is, and the worse the pain will be.
When these are left to get worse over time, they can turn into knots. Knots are hard and painful to touch, causing chronic pain that you’ll need to treat by going to a chiropractor who is experienced and qualified.
Facet Joint Pain
Your facet joints are the connective areas between the different parts of the spinal column. Nerves pass through these, going from the spinal cord into your arms, legs, and other parts of your body. Your facet joints are also responsible for the pliability of the spine.
If you suffer an injury to your facet joints or there’s arthritic degradation, you’ll experience deep, sharp pain. This pain worsens when you move your neck and apply pressure to the facet joints, but also when you go through long periods of inactivity, like sleep.
Pain that is experienced in a location that isn’t its source is called referred pain. A common example of referred pain is the shoulder pain that one feels during a heart attack. It often manifests as a dull, throbbing sensation or cramping that spreads out over a large area – usually on one side of the body.
When it comes to referred pain in the neck, it could be coming from the heart, esophagus, or jaw. Pain that originates in the neck can refer to other areas as well, namely headaches, shoulder pain, and upper back pain.
Referred pain is still a bit mysterious to the medical community, so it’s important to Google “family chiropractor near me”, and determine if your neck pain is a sign of a much deeper issue.
Myelopathic pain develops when the spinal cord compresses in the neck. The causes for this are usually age-related, due to arthritis and the degeneration of the spine. It can also be caused by traumatic spinal cord injuries, infections, and various autoimmune, neurological, congenital, and oncological disorders.
As with referred pain, it’s possible that you won’t feel myelopathic pain in the area where the compression has occurred. Symptoms often show up further down in the legs or feet, which makes myelopathic pain more difficult to diagnose.
When the source of the pain is located, the only way to cure myelopathic pain is through decompression surgery.
Almost all neck pain results from soft tissue problems. Sometimes, however, your actual bones will cause you pain. If you’re experiencing any pain in your cervical vertebrae (the part of your spinal column in the neck), it’s important to get immediate medical attention.
Bone pain in the neck could be the sign of a more serious health issue, or it could be the result of a bone fracture. If this is the case, your spinal cord could be at risk of life-altering damage. Symptoms of cervical spine issues include:
- Neck and arm pain
- Numbness/weakness in hands
- Muscle spasms in legs
- Loss of muscle tone
- Loss of coordination in arms and legs
Your neck vertebrae are very complex, which makes nerve pain difficult to identify and treat. At each vertebra, nerves are able to exit and branch off the spinal cord.
If there is any inflammation or damage to the vertebrae, it can pinch these nerves, causing both sharp and dull pain in different circumstances. Other sensations may include burning, numbness, and pins and needles feelings. The pain may be constant or fleeting, and it can shoot down your arm into your hands.
Diagnosing Types of Neck Pain With the Right Chiropractor Lexington KY
These are the most common types of neck pain. No matter what discomfort you’re feeling in your neck, it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
For those looking for Lexington chiropractic help, Wellington Family Chiropractic is here for you. Whether you’re looking for pain relief, spine correction, or you want to take preventative measures; our Dr. Ian will prescribe the right treatments to have you pain-free in no time.
If you’re sick of dealing with neck pain, contact us today to make an appointment and get on the path toward a more comfortable life.