People who click their necks all the time can develop chronic neck pain. I have seen that most people can handle chronic lower back pain better than they can chronic pain and stiffness in the neck. I think, this is because our lower back is further away from our brains, so we can “cut it off” easier from your mind. However, with a neck ache there’s no hiding from it it is just right there all the time.
This comes by to why would someone try manipulate their own neck. There have been many times I have seen people who had an old neck injury trying to give themselves some neck stiffness relief by trying to ‘click’ their own necks. Well I found the craziest video on “How to Click Your Back” I have ever seen. This girl will make you think damn can that be healthy for your joints.
How NOT to Click Your Back
Lets start with a story.
There is someone, sitting in their office chair innocently grabbing underneath their chin with one hand and with the other hand on top of their head. They then try suddenly push the chin one way whilst trying to pull the head the other way. All of this in hope of getting a relieving ‘click and pop’ sound out of their neck. This person might repeat this neck manipulation manoeuvre a few times in a day. For me this person is a classic sufferer of chronic neck pain and stiffness usually associated with headaches.
In this following video I found someone cracking their own neck, back, ankles, fingers, knees and nearly every other joint in her body. She evens mentions pulling her own hair to get the click, wow! This even made me as a chiropractor freak out.
Here is the insane how to crack your joints video I promised you.
“Is it bad to crack your neck?” – Like this YES!
PLEASE DON’T DO THIS TO YOUR NECK.
Chronic Neck Pain and Stiffness
Today I thought I would talk a little bit more about the topic of chronic neck pain and stiffness. I will mention what chronic neck pain and stiffness means, possible causes and treatment options.
What Does Chronic Mean?
It is important you know what chronic means first. In the previous post on chronic pain I looked into what the definition of chronic pain is and the difference in looking at chronic pain being time based or condition based.
Waking up with a sudden neck pain or wry neck is called acute neck pain. Having some degree of daily neck irritation or pain which then persists for months can be classified as chronic neck pain.
Why this is important? It is because acute pain is different from chronic pain in the way it works and pain relief treatment options.
Neck pain can happen for a variety of reasons. Probably some of the more common causes of a long-lasting neck pain could be:
- Whiplash injury,
- Poor posture,
- Sports injury like rugby scrums/tackles or even MMA neck cranks,
- Emotional stress etc…
Usually chronic neck pain doesn’t just happen, something started irritating your neck and that irritant never went away properly. So that acute or new neck pain then stayed around for longer.
What are Some of Symptoms?
Well a noticeable pain and stiffness in your neck is an obvious symptom you’ll feel. Maybe that repeating headache that comes weekly is a symptom of a neck problem referring to the head.
Like I mentioned in the office worker story earlier, if you feel you need to click your neck lots during the day to get some pain relief you could have a chronic neck condition.
You may find you want to roll your neck lots or stretch it when sitting for periods of time. You are forever asking people to rub your shoulders and neck to stop it irritating you. The are all symptoms of chronic neck pain.
I’m sure you can either personally relate or can picture someone you know from some of the above neck pain symptoms mentioned.
A more serious chronic neck pain and nerve condition is cervical spondylotic myelopathy which you can read more about here.
So you want to get rid of this intermittent or everyday neck ache that is bugging you.
Well you have to first figure out what is causing your neck pain.
If it was from a whiplash accident then you need to maybe treat it like a whiplash. Usually different types of neck exercise and a combination of different treatments are needed. Print off some of the recommended home whiplash treatment options here in adobe pdf format.
Poor postural habits are a problem for most of us. How do you stop slumping so much when you sit, especially when reading important stuff on a computer. This is up to you on this to be aware of you posture, maybe get some advise from a pilates instructor, physiotherapist or chiropractor on how to change your posture through exercise. Posture is a toughie to fix especially if you have slumped your shoulders for years.
- Neck Degeneration
Osteoarthritis in your neck is not possible to change because you don’t get spine replacements, yet. Having a neck x-ray show boney changes in your neck doesn’t always equal the complete cause of a neck pain episode. There are people who have no neck pain, but take an x-ray of their cervical spines and you’ll see degenerative changes. So don’t think that you’ll have pain forever just because you can see degeneration on a neck x-ray. Maybe a combination of short-term or maybe long-term pain medication is needed in conjunction with active lifestyle management like exercise, diet, relaxation, different hands on treatment etc… A rheumatologist or GP is the best healthcare professional to speak to about your medication options. Chronic pain in the neck can come from a variety of sources like the degenerative boney joints, trapped neck nerves or neck muscle tension.
- Mental Stress
Emotional stress is a common cause for muscle tension. With regards to muscles, having a massage once-off or regularly could give neck pain management for some people. I have seen this especially in stressed office workers needing frequent spa treatments to try chill out. Helping your mental stress could also change the neck pain levels by decreasing the muscle tension. There are lots of ways to treat mental stress. This could include treating you for depression with mind calming techniques like mindfulness training. At the end of the day chronic pain can be quite a challenge to treat by any person.
- Pain Killers
Pain doctors are always studying why chronic pain stays around long after an injury should have healed. You may have experienced being referred to a pain clinic because no doctor could help you. So now you have to see a psychologist to cope mentally with the pain whilst another doctor prescribes you strong opioids, like morphine, to chemically control the pain levels. Chronic pain medications need to be reviewed and monitored by your prescribing doctor.
I hope you get to the reason for why you have chronic neck pain or stiffness and find a way of managing the pain so it doesn’t impact your lifestyle too badly or idealy have the pain just go away.
What have you found helps you best for your chronic neck ache and pain? Let me know in the comments below.