What Is Causing That Pain in Your Neck?
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What Is Causing That Pain in Your Neck?

What Is Causing That Pain in Your Neck? Do you have pain in the neck and you are trying to figure out what’s going on, what the problem is, and what you can do about this problem?

In this blog, we will talk about the pain in your neck, what could be some of the causes, and different things you can do to treat it.

Many people are affected by neck pain. It is a common pain point we deal with in our clinic, so your pain is not uncommon and could often be similar in many cases to the different problems we see on a daily basis.

That is why we thought we would talk about what could be wrong with the neck and identify the common issues that seem to arise when it comes to pain in the neck.

3 Main Causes of Neck Pain

Do you feel that your neck hurts when you are leaning over your computer trying to get work done, keeping you from checking your blind spot when driving, or just limiting the range of motion that you want in your neck to make life easier? You are not alone.

These are all common symptoms of neck pain and having to deal with the impact that it has on daily activities can be frustrating and painful. If the neck pain isn’t treated, then it can’t move as it needs and is not getting healthier.

That is why it is important to identify the cause of the problem and come up with a way to reduce, eliminate, and treat the pain so you can enjoy life and the activities that you love.

There are 3 main causes when it comes to neck pain, and they are:

1. Joint

If you are having joint pain, what is going to happen when you try to perform a motion you will feel a hard stop. This is common when the person is trying to rotate the neck. It happens when the person is turning their head side to side, and they then feel that they can’t move the neck any further.

While it can be painful, sometimes it might not be and you just feel that you can’t move the head more and rotate further. It could just be a stop and inability to turn it more that is keeping you from getting the full range of motion you are used to having in the neck.

Initially, we see patients that just have a limited range of motion to begin with and it isn’t until time goes on the patients will then begin to experience pain. So if you feel that the neck has the feeling of bone on bone, or that your feel you are up against a wall and limited on how much you can rotate the neck, then it could be time to seek treatment for the area and try to avoid pain by waiting for it to heal on its own.

Cartilage issues still fall under the category of the joint because it is part of the joint. The main function of cartilage is to make sure that the motion and movements of the joint are smooth. When this isn’t the case, when the movements aren’t smooth, you will feel sharp pains in your neck and it will also impact the range of motion.

2. Muscle

A muscle issue in the neck will usually give people an achy sensation in their neck, one that feels that a good stretch would work it out and solve the issue. However, the person still feels that the neck is not rotating or getting to that full range of motion, and there is a tight pull on the muscles in the neck.

Different from a joint issue, the neck will feel more like tightness and that you just want to stretch it out. And often this is the case, that the muscles have gotten really tight and you just can’t get it stretched out in a normal way.

If you are having muscle issues, we often like to get our patients to ask ‘how are they breathing?’ We find that in today’s society many have been taught to use the muscles in the upper body, such as the neck muscles, in some of their deep breathing and not using the diaphragm that is actually designed to do that type of breathing.

This can be fixed relatively easily. Focus on using the abdomen and that diaphragm to breath. It will relieve the stress that is put on the neck.

 3. Disc

If the cause of your pain is the disc in your neck, you will usually feel a tingling or numbness in your shoulder, elbow, or hand. Discs are located near the nerve roots, which come out from the spinal cord, and will result in the sensation that you feel going through your arm.

Another common thing we hear when there are issues with the disc, is that the neck feels unstable. It isn’t about the lack of motion that they are troubled with but it ends up being that they don’t feel comfortable doing that motion. Meaning that when we see them in the clinic and ask them to do a motion and to go a bit further, they say they just don’t think it is a good idea to push further, and it isn’t because it hurts, they just feel unsure. That uncertainty is common with a disc issue in the neck.

The disc rupturing or herniating causes the neck to feel loose and that a patient just doesn’t feel there is stability in the movement of the neck.

Treating Neck Pain After Identifying What Is Causing It…

You could always have more issues than just one we mentioned. It could be multiple. But now that you have an understanding of what could be causing the issues, here are different things you can do for each problem to help you treat it.

For joint issues in the neck, you want to make sure you mobilize that joint. You want to make sure that you are getting things moving correctly so the joint can heal.  Movement is so important to tissue in the body and for it to heal there needs to be activity to heal it. You must be certain that it is moving correctly, and it will do the rest.

Muscles in the neck can be treated by stretching them efficiently. Usually the muscles in the neck and shoulders get really tight and when that happens they get short. And when that happens the muscles are always tight and there is tension that causes the muscles in that area to just stick and become painful. Stretching it in the most efficient way is the answer to reducing the tension and then the neck pain.

Disc issues need stimulus to help heal it. Discs really respond to rotation because the fibers otherwise lock, so getting them to rotate and function as they need to is important. If they are not rotating in a pain free motion, then that is when the muscles are going to retract and make the pain worse. Keeping the motion in a pain free motion is important to the disc getting the rotation it needs.

Physical therapy is a great way to get to understand the body and treatment for any pain that you might be experiencing. If you do not know where to start or have questions about what you can do to treat these issues, then come see us.

How To Understand The Cause of Your Neck Pain and How to Treat It…

If you’ve been struggling with neck pain for more than a week, it keeps coming back or it’s become more painful, there may be a more serious cause of the problem.

One that stretching and other exercises can’t fix.

If this sounds like you, we would love to invite you for a free neck pain assessment, which will enable you to get a full diagnosis and finally understand the real reason your pain won’t go away!

You can contact us by telephone at 425-658-4944 to claim your free neck pain assessment or by completing our enquiry form in under 30 seconds.

Not sure whether physical therapy is right for you?

We appreciate that you may want to find out more and ask some questions about private physical therapy which is you can arrange a FREE Discovery Session or a FREE Telephone Consultation.

Other Free Resources To Help You With Chronic Pain

Download our free knee, neck and shoulder, and back pain reports.

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Dr. Amy Konvalin

Dr. Amy Konvalin

Struggling with pain and dysfunction can impact every part of our lives — it drains our energy, distracts us from our goals, and keeps us from the people and activities we love. As an Orthopedic Clinical Specialist, Dr. Amy Konvalin understands how frustrating those limitations can be — and she knows how to help get you back to the life you want to live! Beginning with a focused evaluation, Dr. Amy works to determine the root causes of your pain, as well as understanding how it affects the way you move through your world. Dysfunctional patterns of movement often grow worse with time and cause further damage if left untreated — so it’s important to address these issues as soon as possible. Dr. Amy knows there is no one-size-fits-all plan for success, and she partners with patients to identify their unique treatment goals and personal values. Using these goals as a guide, Amy uses her doctorate training in manual (hands-on) therapy and exercise prescription to treat patients with a wide variety of medical challenges and histories throughout the Maple Valley, Black Diamond and Covington areas. Dr. Amy is also a wife to a Boeing superstar/former C-130 navigator. While they lived in Germany, Dr. Amy was able to volunteer with the US Army to treat military personnel and civilians on base. She has two beautiful teenage ballerinas who keep her on her toes and educate her on all things ballet! Bailey, the princess pup, is her running partner and her napping partner. In the spare moments in between, Amy enjoys reading, yoga, wine with friends, Pilates, and walking on the beach.
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