Neck and Upper Back Pain

Neck and upper back pain are conditions we treat on a regular basis. The muscles of your neck and upper back could be strained from poor posture - such as at your computer or workbench. Osteoarthritis also is a common cause of neck pain. Sometimes, we see that patients develop neck and upper back pain after sleeping. However, there are instances where neck pain indicates a serious problem.

You can’t always assume the discomfort is no big deal. If your pain isn’t getting better or seems to linger for more than a few days and you’ve tried different forms of pain management. You should seek care. If you also rely on regular pain medications, it is a good idea to have your neck and upper back pain evaluated. Chiropractors are physicians that are trained to diagnose and treat a variety of conditions. If you need additional tests or a referral to a specialist, we will guide you through the process.

Your neck is flexible and supports the weight of your head, so it can be vulnerable to injuries and conditions that cause pain and restrict motion.

What are the common causes of back pain and neck pain?

Muscle strains
Overuse, such as too many hours hunched over your computer or smartphone, often triggers muscle strains. Even minor things, such as reading in bed or gritting your teeth, can strain neck muscles.

Joint degeneration
Just like the other joints in your body, your neck joints can degenerate with age. Osteoarthritis causes the cartilage between your vertebrae to deteriorate. As a response, your body forms bone spurs that affect joint motion and cause pain. In many cases, this degeneration can be seen with imaging. Schedule an appointment if you suspect you have arthritis.

Nerve compression. 
A herniated disc in your neck or bone spur in the vertebrae of your neck can press on the nerves branching out from the spinal cord. If your neck pain is accompanied by numbness or loss of strength in your arms or hands or if you have shooting pain into your shoulder or down your arm. It may indicate a pinched nerve. This condition requires medical attention and is something we can evaluate in our office.

Injuries. 
Rear-end auto collisions often result in whiplash injury. Seek immediate care if severe neck pain results from an injury, such as a motor vehicle accident, diving accident or fall. If you’ve sought care and are still suffering with persistent neck pain, schedule an appointment. We are trained to evaluate neck pain after a car accident. Whiplash is a violent backward-and-forward jerk of the head. This motion can cause tears and inflammation of the muscles and ligaments in the neck and upper back. Whiplash can also cause symptoms like fatigue, dizziness, and nausea. These symptoms may be delayed and not show up until days after your accident.

Diseases. 
Although not as common, some diseases can cause neck and upper back pain. Rheumatoid arthritis, meningitis, or cancer may cause pain in these areas. We are trained to rule-out diseases like these and we can guide you in the right direction for care.

In many cases, neck and upper back pain is associated with poor posture combined with age-related wear and tear to the bones and soft tissue. With so many of us working from home, it is critical that we have good workstation ergonomics.

How do I get relief from neck pain at home?

  • Adjust your desk, chair, and computer. Your monitor should be at eye level. Your knees should be slightly lower than hips. Don’t forget to use your chair's armrests.

  • Avoid tucking the phone between your ear and shoulder when you talk. This can cause excessive strain on your neck and shoulders. Use a headset or speakerphone instead. 

  • Use good posture. When standing and sitting, be sure your shoulders are in a straight line over your hips and your ears are directly over your shoulders. A pillow or bolster behind your lumbar spine may be helpful.

  • Take frequent breaks. If you travel long distances or if you work long periods at your computer, get up, move around and stretch your neck and shoulders. Try setting a timer on your phone for a 5 minute break each hour.

  • If the pain limits your abilities in your day-to-day life, you may wonder how do I get rid of neck and upper back pain? We can help! Chiropractors are trained to diagnose and treat many of the common causes of neck pain as well as upper back pain. 

 

We may use techniques such as; chiropractic adjustments, acupuncture, stretching, massage, and therapeutic exercises to provide pain relief and improve function. Chiropractic adjustments are safe and effective and acupuncture is a great way to alleviate neck and upper back pain. Our Naperville office is ready to help you start feeling like yourself again.