How Neck Pain Affects the Rest of Your Body

Sep 02, 2022

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How Neck Pain Affects the Rest of Your Body

In any given year, as many as 50% of Americans experience some degree of neck pain. Over a lifetime, that number jumps to 70%. Neck problems aren’t limited to the US, either. Worldwide, it’s the fourth leading cause of disability, with widespread pain and other symptoms that often aren’t restricted to the neck region.

At Body Balance Chiropractic & Wellness Center in Houston, Texas, our team focuses on neck pain treatments to relieve pain wherever it occurs, so you can feel better and prevent more severe disability in the future. Here’s how a little neck pain can be a big deal for the rest of your body, too.

Neck pain and your muscles

Positioned where it is between your head and your shoulders, it’s easy to see how pain in your neck could cause pain in either of these areas. In fact, if your neck muscles are tense or tight, you could find yourself with pounding headaches, especially when you wake up in the morning.

Tight muscles in your neck can cause shoulder pain and discomfort in your upper back muscles, too. In fact, keeping your neck bent over a phone or laptop is a major cause of shoulder pain, along with tight, tender spots called trigger points.

Remember: When you keep your head or neck in an inclined position for long periods of time, your neck muscles need to support the weight of your head, too. Considering your head weighs about 11 pounds, that’s a lot of strain on your muscles and other tissues in your neck.

Neck pain and your nerves

As part of your spine, your neck contains major nerves that travel to and from your brain. If one of these nerves is pressed or “pinched,” you can wind up with pain, numbness, and muscle weakness anywhere along the nerve path, including your arms, hands, and fingers. Neck pain can also spread into your arms and even your hands.

Whiplash is a common type of neck pain that often causes nerve-related pain in the arms and shoulders, sometimes accompanied by electricity-like shocks or persistent, dull aching. But other problems can cause nerve pain in your neck, too, including repetitive activities, like reaching over your head or keeping your neck bent for a long time. Even carrying a heavy bag can pull your neck bones (vertebrae) out of alignment, resulting in inflammation and nerve compression in your cervical spine (the upper part of your spine).

What’s more, because your vertebrae are interconnected, when your cervical spine is strained and out of alignment, it can also affect other areas of your spine. Neck pain that travels to your shoulders might change how you move or sit, which means other areas of your spine and back have to carry that load. Before long, what started as a — literal — pain in the neck is suddenly causing symptoms in other parts of your body, too.

Treating neck pain

Neck pain can cause many problems, but luckily, our team is experienced in an array of treatments to help you — and your neck — feel better. The first step is evaluating your pain, including its source, triggers, and symptoms. Then, we’ll work with you to develop a plan focused on your needs.

Depending on all those contributing factors, we might recommend:

Plus, we can help you learn important lifestyle changes to keep your neck comfortable and pain free.

Ready to get rid of your nagging neck pain? We can help. Call 281-890-5599 or book an appointment online with the team at Body Balance Chiropractic & Wellness Center today.