The less obvious signs of neck problems

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When it comes to neck trouble, pain is often the only signal we pay attention to, but did you know there are other symptoms and warning signs besides pain? When it comes to neck dysfunction, the signs and symptoms are quite varied. Here are some to watch out for:

Tension Headaches. This type of headache is typically the result of misalignment in the cervical spine leading to postural problems and muscle weakness in the neck. Forward Head Posture (FHP) and slumped shoulders are visible signs of this problem. Tinnitus. Although it’s known as “ringing” in the ears, tinnitus can sound like clicking, roaring, and any number of annoying sounds. When tinnitus sounds like a high-pitched whistle, FHP and instability in the craniocervical junction — where the base of the skull meets the first cervical vertebra — may be causing the tinnitus.

You Can’t Sit Still. Feeling uncomfortable while sitting still is a sign of neck dysfunction. You simply can’t stay in one position for more than a few minutes without discomfort or pain. This intolerance to static postures is one of the key signs of neck weakness.

Your neck “locks up.” The sensation that your neck is locking up or freezing is related to misalignment in the cervical spine. It can feel like a painful catch in your neck as well.

Shoulder Pain. Your shoulder muscles are connected to the front of your head by the largest cranial nerve called the trigeminal nerve, which innervates both areas. Because of this, tension and weakness in one of these areas can cause pain in the other. Muscles connect the neck and shoulders, too, with pain manifesting in your shoulder even if the problem originates in the neck.

Cervical Radiculopathy. FHP and the resulting weak muscles can bring about cervical radiculopathy, a condition where nerves get compressed due to herniated discs, misaligned cervical vertebrae, and/or weakened neck muscles. When muscle strength is compromised, it creates deficiencies in motor coordination and control, setting the stage for misalignment and injury.

Muscle Spasms. Strained neck muscles may spasm uncontrollably, causing head pain and/or loss of coordination.

Does any of this sound familiar? Chiropractors are uniquely qualified to detect and correct cervical spine dysfunction. Your chiropractor will develop a program of care that may combine more than one type of treatment, depending on your personal needs. In addition to manipulation, the treatment plan often includes ergonomic changes, rehabilitative exercises, and/or physical therapy.

For more information, contact Dr. Wendy at Haydenhealth@gmail.com.

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