Chiropractic care for neck pain offers non-surgical treatment options to help reduce your neck pain and related symptoms. Treatment usually involves neck adjustments that help improve the mobility of the cervical spine and restores the range of motion.
After treatment, patients typically notice an improvement in their ability to turn and tilt the head and reduce pain and stiffness in the neck area.
At Lotus Chiropractic Care, Dr. Desai will develop a treatment plan that may combine more than one type of treatment, depending on your condition. This can include spinal adjustments, therapeutic massages, and rehabilitative exercises.
The neck or cervical spine starts at the base of your skull and contains seven small vertebrae. The neck is designed to support and hold up the head's weight, which weighs about 12 pounds on average.
A variety of factors can impact the ease with which your neck functions, including:
- Extended periods of being stationary (e.g., sitting in front of the computer)
- Repetitive movement
- Accidents, falls, and blows to the body or head
- Normal aging
- Everyday wear and tear
While the cervical spine helps move your head in nearly every direction, this flexibility makes the neck susceptible to pain and injury.
Tech neck is a commonly seen ailment of recent times. It describes the discomfort experienced by people with strained neck muscles caused by long hours on phones, tablets, and computers.
When you look down at your hand-held screen, your neck muscles contract to hold your head up. The more time you spend looking down, the harder your neck works to hold your head in place. This strains and tires your neck muscles, causing dull pain.
Your head tends to tilt forward by 30-45 degrees from neutral while using a hand-held device or by 10-15 degrees while using a computer screen. This position puts a lot of strain on your neck and effectively means that your neck carries an extra 40 lbs of weight.
Prolonged periods of such strain can cause your spinal discs to weaken and eventually rupture, causing a reversed neck curve and further degeneration.
Here are some tips from Dr. Desai on how to prevent tech neck.
Maintain Good Posture
Good posture during your time in front of a screen is vital. Attach a lumbar support device (for the lower spine) to your chair, or place a folded towel (about 3 inches thick) between your lower back and the chair.
Point your chest bone or sternum up towards the ceiling without lifting your shoulders to reduce the tension and strain on your neck and shoulders. Additionally, ensure that the back of your head is in contact with your chair’s headrest to eliminate the head tilt.
Your spinal discs are mainly composed of water, which helps maintain disc height and spinal alignment.
Dehydration may cause your muscles and ligaments to tighten, resulting in stiffness and pain. Drink at least 1.2 liters of water daily to protect your spine from degenerating and avoid tech neck.
Take Breaks Away from the Screen
Step away from your screens every 30-50 minutes to give your muscles a break. Take a 10-minute walk around your work area, especially when you have long work hours.
Stretch Your Muscles at Timely Intervals
Using your time away from the screen to “refresh” and relax your neck muscles can be a great way to ensure good cervical health. Try the following exercises.
- Stand with your back pressed against the wall, with your feet about 9 inches away from the wall. Bend your knees slightly and raise your arms over your head with the back of your arms touching the wall. Keep the arms in contact with the wall as you lower them to shoulder level. Repeat in 3 sets of 15.
- Tilt your head to touch your right ear to your right shoulder and hold the position for 10 seconds to give your neck muscles a nice stretch. Repeat the movement on the left shoulder. Remember to perform the movements gently, without force. This exercise stretches your neck's muscles and soft tissues and helps increase its range of motion.
Place Your Screens at Eye Level
Place your laptop or monitor at eye level so that your neck stays in a neutral position. This simple change can help you avoid dull aches or muscle spasms in your neck due to long hours spent in front of your computer.
Arthritis is one of the leading factors behind work disability and medical care in the U.S., and osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis.
When osteoarthritis develops in the cervical spine, it is called cervical arthritis or neck arthritis. This condition leads to a gradual deterioration of joint cartilage, ligaments, and tendons, often causing severe pain and swelling.
With age, there is normal wear and tear in the spine. This means that over time, the vertebral discs lose fluid content and begin to dry out, which leads to a collapse of disc space, and the “cushion” between the discs disappears.
If the cartilage (the flexible connective tissue between each joint) wears away completely, the bones rub against each other, causing pain and inflammation.
Sometimes, the body may try to compensate for the missing cartilage with a new bone mass at the end of the vertebrae. These “bone spurs” reduce the range of motion of the cervical spine and may also compress nerves in some cases.
This condition leads to more severe symptoms, such as balance issues and lack of coordination.
Pain and stiffness in the neck are the primary signs of neck arthritis, especially when in motion. Other symptoms are not as common but can include muscle spasms in the neck, frequent headaches, and loss of balance while walking.
Age is usually the most significant factor for neck arthritis, a commonly seen condition in middle-aged and older people. Other factors that can increase the risk of neck arthritis include:
- Obesity or sudden weight gain
- Misalignment in the neck
- Intense or repetitive physical activities
- Joint injury or other physical trauma
- Genetic predisposition to weak cartilage
- Anxiety or depression
At Lotus Chiropractic Care, Dr. Desai will start with a complete history of your symptoms. She will also use X-rays and other tests to examine your spine and joints. This can help identify the root cause of your pain.
In the case of cervical osteoarthritis, the primary goal is to correct your spinal alignment. Degenerative effects are higher when the cervical curve is further away from the normal “C-curve.” The closer the cervical curve is to normal, the lower the wear and tear.
Gentle chiropractic adjustments can restore the neck’s natural curve and reduce the degenerative effects of cervical arthritis.
Other treatment methods Dr. Desai may employ include gentle pressure and adjustments to reduce pain and stiffness. Ultimately, the goal here will be to help you manage your symptoms better.
Although a complete cure is not possible with cervical arthritis, a combination of chiropractic adjustments and physical therapy can help minimize pain and manage your symptoms.
Dr. Tanvi Desai is a chiropractic expert with extensive training and experience in caring for patients' spinal misalignments. She offers patients natural healing options involving gentle adjustments, basic exercises, and lifestyle recommendations to improve their condition.
Lotus Chiropractic Care can help improve posture, reduce pain, and improve the body's overall function. If you suffer from neck pain, Dr. Desai can help get your body back to a pain-free life.
We service residents of Dunwoody and surrounding areas from our office on Mt. Vernon Rd, Dunwoody, Georgia.
Learn if chiropractic care may be right for you. Call us at (470) 719-9539 or request an appointment online.