In most cases, neck pain goes away in a matter of weeks. For some, however, your longer-term pain can indicate a larger problem that needs to be addressed.
There is a difference between chronic pain and emergency pain and it is important to know the difference between the two. Acute pain requires immediate attention, chronic pain does require attention so that you can live pain-free, but can wait until your local chiropractor can schedule an appointment to help you.
If your pain has persisted for longer than a month, it is considered chronic. Long-lasting pain that extends beyond the time it should take for an injury to heal can cause additional aggravation and injury. The secret to overcoming back and neck pain is seeking a root-cause diagnosis early and following through with a treatment plan.
Chronic Neck Pain
Over the Age of 50
Ageing is commonly associated with back and neck pain. For some people, levels of physical activity decrease as they age. Aches and pains from arthritis, or just daily habits of desk work and TV time foster more sedentary habits to form. With reduced physical activity inevitably comes weight gain and loss of muscle mass. According to the Menopause Review, as a woman’s BMI index increases over 30, so does the occurrence of back and neck pain. Fortunately, ageing does not mean you have to suffer. Your chiropractor can help develop a plan for weight control and chiropractic care which will alleviate your pain and improve your mobility.
Recent Fall of Injury? Or Even Not So Recent
If you’ve experienced a recent slip and fall injury, car accident, or even a tweak while twisting or lifting, it’s important to get checked out right away. A chiropractor can help determine the extent of the injuries and identify any underlying conditions that might cause issues down the line. Injuries that aren’t addressed and then heal inappropriately might resurface months or even years later. Older injuries are more difficult to treat and the recovery time is longer.
Those who have been diagnosed with osteoporosis, or a weakening of the bone structure” should be particularly concerned. Even a minor fall can lead to small fractures in the bone. Your chiropractor will perform a full medical history, taking into account your other medical conditions and the nature of the injury. They will also likely take some X-Rays of the injured area to determine if there is a fracture or other condition that would require other medical interventions.
Here are other chronic symptoms that shouldn’t be ignored:
- Reduced range of motion in the neck (i.e. cannot move fully to the right or the left without stiffness and pain
- Sharp pain that shoots up or down when moving
- Neck pain that causes headaches or vision or hearing changes
- Head jutting forward, hump/lump where your neck and shoulders meet.
All of these indicate the potential for a chiropractic intervention to improve alignment, strength and flexibility. Not just for alleviating the acute pain or discomfort, but to prevent worsening of the injury or permanent limitations in movement.
Acute Neck Pain
This is defined as debilitating pain that happens immediately upon injury. Get checked out ASAP if you are experiencing any of these:
Neck Pain Interfering with Sleep
If you’re having trouble sleeping because of neck pain, it is generally is not life-threatening. If the pain gets worse when you lie down or is severe enough to wake you up, it is time to see a doctor.
Severe neck pain can be an indicator of an infection such as meningitis. The lymph nodes in your neck become swollen, and your muscles can become very stiff. Infections can quickly become serious, seek treatment quickly if your symptoms are unusual or are accompanied by a fever.
If You’ve Had Cancer
New pain in your neck can be a warning sign. The American Cancer Society reveals that cancer can cause pressure on the nerves, organs or blood vessels being affected by cancer. The pressure can cause back or neck pain to develop. Unfortunately, most pain associated with cancer will not present itself until the tumour is quite large.
Are you tired of your neck pain and ready for relief? Have you experienced any of the symptoms listed in this article?