Neck Pain Can Originate Outside the Cervical Spine

It is important for individuals suffering from neck pain to realize that neck pain can originate outside the cervical spine. When a person feels pain and discomfort in the neck area, it stands to reason that the cause most likely occurred in the same area. However, this is not necessarily the case. Pain that is felt in the neck may be the result of something that happened in the shoulder or even the mid-back.

Particularly because of the number of places neck pain can be caused, patients suffering from it should consider making an appointment with a reputable Kingwood chiropractor as soon as possible. It is better to know with certainty the source of neck pain so it can be treated accordingly and for longer lasting relief.

Recognizing Neck Pain

Most individuals that describe neck pain have some pain and/or discomfort in that area. However, it is also possible for neck pain to radiate outward to areas like the shoulders. Neck pain can feel different for everyone depending on their unique circumstances, but it usually manifests as one or more of the following:

  • Achiness
  • Burning
  • Headache and neck pain
  • Increased sensitivity to the area
  • Stabbing sensation
  • Tightening of neck muscles
  • Tingling or numbness in the arms

What Is the Cervical Spine?

To know what can cause neck pain outside of the cervical spine, it is essential to understand where the cervical spine is. This portion of nerves, bones, ligaments, muscles, and tendons stretches from the base of the skull to the top of the upper back. It is comprised of seven vertebrae which are typically referred to by chiropractors as the C1 through the C7.

Why Neck Pain Can Originate Outside the Cervical Spine

Our bodies and the bones, muscles, and tendons within them are intricately connected. For example, this very thing is what may make a shoulder problem something that is felt in both the shoulder and neck.

One of the primary sites that can cause a person to feel neck pain outside of the cervical spine is the shoulder. Studies have shown that both pain in the neck and shoulder can exist simultaneously. However, in some instances when a chiropractic professional helped manage a cervical condition, it resulted in some relief and improved function in the shoulder. Other studies have shown the opposite to be true, that a treatment of scapular stabilization exercises helped provide some relief from neck pain and disability.

Another common site that can cause a patient to feel neck pain outside of the cervical spine can be the mid-back. Some studies have shown that manipulative therapy for the mid-back yielded some relief from cervical neck pain in patients that typically experienced chronic forms of that type of pain.

While the shoulder and mid-back are often culprits for neck pain outside of the cervical spine, it is not limited to these areas alone. Other studies have shown that areas of the body even further away from the neck than the shoulder and mid-back can contribute to neck pain. Some findings have shown that other conditions such as the following may be contributors:

  • Differences in walking symmetry
  • A stiff spine
  • Leg length inequality

While each of these conditions are typically known to cause pain and discomfort closer to the area of the legs and spine, there have been some cases noted to also result in neck pain. This is due in large part to the fact that body naturally tries to compensate for movement deficiencies, so if there is a deficiency in the back, it could potentially lead to neck pain from overcompensation.

Regardless of whether the neck pain originates outside of the cervical spine or within it, neck pain can be debilitating for many patients. Its existence may hinder key functions such as holding the head straight and the ability to keep eyes level.

Should a person begin experiencing neck pain that becomes highly uncomfortable, prevents them from doing their daily activities, or becomes chronic, they need to consider seeing a reputable and professional chiropractor for treatment as soon as possible.

One of the first steps a chiropractor will take is to listen to a patient describe the pain they are feeling, how long they have been suffering with it, and what makes the pain feel better and worse. The next step is to perform a basic physical examination so they can visibly look for factors that could be contributing to the patient’s neck pain.

Before forming a treatment plan, most chiropractors will ask patients about their goals for seeking chiropractic care for neck pain. Patients will need to determine if their goal is to have some relief from the pain, be able to resume a certain daily activity that neck pain has been hindering them from doing, or another specific goal. Once these parameters have been set, a treatment plan can be formed.

Most chiropractors do not treat neck pain with medication. The aim of receiving chiropractic treatment is to reach the patient’s goal without the use of over the counter or prescription pain relievers or anti-inflammatory medications.

Instead, chiropractors frequently choose to utilize manual therapies such as manipulation and mobilization. These techniques are often used in combination with other potential methods of treatment, such as:

  • Customized exercises for the patient to practice at home in between visits to the chiropractor
  • Ergonomic modifications to help make patients more comfortable
  • Nutritional counseling to ensure the patient has an adequate intake of key vitamins and minerals
  • Physical therapy modalities

When one or more of the above methods are implemented by an experienced chiropractor and the patient follows these recommendations, there may be a decrease in the pain they are experiencing in the neck.

Neck pain can originate outside the cervical spine, making tracking the source of that pain tricky without the help of a licensed professional chiropractor. If you or someone you love is experiencing neck pain, take action today and reach out to a reputable Kingwood chiropractor.