Neck Pain Dangers – When To Wait And When To Get Help

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Neck Pain Dangers – When To Wait And When To Get Help

Neck pain and stiffness are the two most common symptoms that present for evaluation and treatment.  This can be located in the middle of the neck on either or both sides and can extend down to the shoulders and/or chest.  It can contribute to or cause tension headaches that can travel up the back of the head and sometimes behind the eyes.  Pain often increases with neck movement, such as when turning the head to check traffic while driving.  It can also hurt at rest while held in static position, such as when reading a book.  Neck pain can come on gradually or quickly and often cannot be traced to a specific injury or cause, making it a challenge to figure out.  While neck pain is often not serious or life-threatening, there are causes that should be evaluated promptly.

torticollis adults neck pain chiropractorTorticollis – If you wake up with acute neck pain associated with very limited range of motion, this may be due to torticollis, or wry neck.  Prompt treatment helps it resolve more quickly than “waiting it out.”  Torticollis can be caused by exposure to a draft, changes in weather, trauma, or after a cold or flu.  When in doubt, come in for an evaluation and treatment, as anxiety associated with the “fear of the unknown” only adds to the stress associated with neck pain.  It’s ALWAYS best to be “safe than sorry”!

Numbness or tingling may accompany neck pain and can be located in the face, arms, hands, and/or fingers.  This is one of those times to come in promptly, as these symptoms may indicate the pinching of a nerve root in the neck.  There are MANY chiropractic treatment approaches that effectively treat nerve root pinching, and treatment should NOT be delayed.  Other common symptoms may include clicking, crunching, or grinding noises, technically called crepitus, which may or may not be benign.  If the noise is accompanied by pain, especially if it radiates down to the shoulder blades or arms (either side or both), it’s time to promptly come in.  Any time symptoms occur acutely or come on fast, it’s best to get evaluated as soon as possible.

Dizziness is another common symptom that can result from neck problems and is often associated with movement such as rising from laying or sitting.  Certain positions of the neck can also bring on dizziness.  This is sometimes caused by the “stones” in the inner ear shifting out of position and is technically called BPPV or benign paroxysmal positional vertigo.  When this occurs, we can usually manage it very well with treatment and specific BPPV exercises.  Other times, dizziness may be due to a restriction in blood flow reaching the brain.  In which case, a prompt evaluation is VERY appropriate, especially if blackouts occur.

Sleep interruption or difficulty falling asleep are other good reasons to seek prompt evaluation and treatment.  Sleep loss can lead to many problems such as excessive fatigue, tiredness, irritability, and just generally feeling poor!   Try the 8 Tips To Improve Sleep recommended by the Harvard Medical School in the video below.  If you don’t see improvement in a reasonable amount of time, then be sure to get evaluated ASAP.  Remember prompt care usually results in prompt resolution!

Next Week Sneak Peak:  Neck Pain – How Does Chiropractic Help?

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If you missed last week’s blog post, click here:  Surgery For Neck Pain – Are You Just Postponing The Inevitable?


Dr. Dana Williamson Chiropractor MechanicsvilleDr. Dana Williamson is a chiropractor who has been helping relieve neck pain and back pain of the residents of Mechanicsville, Richmond, Hanover, Henrico, and Glen Allen since 2001.

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This information should not be substituted for medical or chiropractic advice. Any and all health care concerns, decisions, and actions must be done through the advice and counsel of a health care professional who is familiar with your updated medical history.
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