As chiropractors, lots of our patients come to see us with neck pain. Neck pain is very common, with studies suggesting that between 40-70% of  the UK population are affected at some point in their lives. Research has also shown that neck pain is more common in women and it is more prevalent in people aged 35-49. Patients may experience sharp, sudden pain, a constant dull ache or stiffness, which may also be accompanied by other symptoms including headache or pain/tingling down into the arm.

Kelly Chiropractor neck shoulder pain treatment

Most people come to us suffering with mechanical neck pain. This usually relates to issues involving the muscles, joints or ligaments of the neck. We also see cases where the nerves in the neck have become trapped, compressed or irritated. This can cause pain which may spread to the shoulder and arm. It can also cause pins and needles, tingling, numbness or weakness in the arm or hand. Very rarely, neck problems can be a sign of something more serious. If this is the case, we will refer you to a relevant healthcare professional for further investigation.

What causes neck pain?

The causes of neck pain are wide ranging and varied but we most frequently see neck pain caused by:

  • Damage to the bones, ligaments or joints of the neck
  • Wear and tear/damage to one of the intervertebral discs
  • Strain/spasm in the muscles that support the neck
  • Osteoarthritis – wear and tear to the joints in the neck
  • Stiffness or poor movement in the joints in the neck

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) also identifies the following risk factors for neck pain:

  • working in certain occupations (e.g clerical, industrial, agricultural)
  • history of mental stress
  • previous neck pain
  • sleep disorders
  • sedentary lifestyle
  • smoking
  • trauma
  • obesity
Man with neck pain

Can it be treated?

Most problems causing neck pain can be treated by your chiropractor.  Typically, treatment will involve hands on therapy including work on the soft tissues and mobilisation or manipulation of the joints. You will also be given some exercises that you can do at home to help with symptoms.

Click here for useful NHS advice and guidance on neck pain, including some do and don’t tips.

Is there anything I can do to help?

If your neck pain is not the result of a trauma, we recommend that you keep gently moving your neck within the pain free limit.

Hot and cold therapy may also help to relieve your symptoms. Try either putting an ice pack or hot water bottle over the affected area or having a warm bath or shower. Remember, do not apply the heat or ice directly onto the skin, always wrap it in a towel first.

Will I need a scan?

Most people experiencing neck problems do not need further investigation. However, in certain cases an MRI or x-ray may be required. If you were to need imaging, your chiropractor will explain their rationale for this and discuss the different options available.

Check out our Instagram page for Claudia’s 3 exercises to help keep your neck moving.