Neck pain of any kind, at any age, is a sign that something is wrong. Pain is the way your body signals that a limit has been reached or a problem has developed. Since we can adapt, minor aches and pains are often shrugged off. While they may go away, if the underlying problem remains unattended, the problem may slowly worsen until it becomes more difficult and expensive to resolve. Some people silence their symptoms with a pain reliever and ignore the message. But that would be like removing the battery to silence a smoke detector!
Neck pain is often related to loss of the normal curve of the neck called hypolordosis and kyphosis. The abnormal spinal alignment often results in discopathy/herniations, spinal degeneration, ligament sprains and muscle strains. This irritates the nerves in the cervical area and localises the pain accordingly. Usually the cause is pinched nerves in the cervical area or inflammatory processes around them.
- Stiff neck - Soreness and difficulty moving the neck, especially when trying to turn the head from side to side.
- Sharp pain - This symptom can be pain localised to one spot and might feel like it’s stabbing or stinging.
- Radiating pain - The pain can radiate along a nerve from the neck into the shoulders and arms. The intensity can vary and this nerve pain might feel like it’s burning, achy and sharp. Tingling, numbness or weakness can result. These sensations can go beyond the neck and radiate into the shoulder, arm or finger. There could be a “pins-and-needles” sensation.
- Trouble with gripping or lifting objects - This can happen if tingling, numbness or weakness in the fingers is present.
X-rays of a patient with neck pain. The patient came into the clinic with decreased range of motion, stiffness, radiating pain, weakness and numbness down the arm. After the treatment course, the patient has significant improvement symptomatically, structurally and functionally.