Everyday we get a lot of questions from people about some pain, aches, and discomfort they experience. All doctors do. We are asked on the street, in the church, at a party, at the PTA meeting. The questions might be all different and unique just like people asking them but the topics are pretty much the same. Some may ask how chiropractors “treat” neck pain and some will call it “fixing” neck pain but it is all about neck pain.

So we decided to put all these similar questions together on this page and answer them for all right here. Please forgive some natural repetitiveness of the questions below, we just wanted to group them all here in one place.

So let’s begin:

What is neck pain?
What are neck pain symptoms?

Neck pain is a general term that describes pain, aches, and dysfunction of the neck area. Numerous different things can cause this pain. Trauma, poor posture, stress, sleeping wrong, etc can irritate or damage the various structures in the neck and pain can occur. There is no one type of neck pain. Different people feel different symptoms. Some people feel a dull ache while others have sharp pain when moving the head around. Dysfunction in the neck can even refer pain up into the head, causing headaches.

What are neck pain causes?

Neck pain can be caused by several things. Trauma such as a fall or a motor vehicle accident is a common way to injure your neck. Bad posture from sitting all day or texting has been shown to cause neck pain. Poor sleeping habits and stress can also cause neck pain.

Why does neck pain occur?
What does neck pain mean?

Neck pain occurs because various tissues or structures in the neck have become injured or inflamed sending out pain signals to the brain. Experiencing neck pain means that something in your neck it not functioning 100 percent.

What is neck pain on left side?
What is neck pain on right side?

Neck pain occurs because something is wrong in the neck. Having neck pain means that different structures are irritated, which activates your pain sensing nerves. People can feel neck pain all over their neck, on the right side or the left side of the neck. The pain can even travel from the neck down the arms or into the head.

Why is neck pain worse at night?

Typically, it can be common to experience a worsening of neck pain at night. This is because the tissues that are injured and causes the pain become even more aggravated as we go about our day. Each day we move our necks around we countless times, adding extra stress to the neck. Sitting or standing puts increased pressure in the joints and discs due to gravity. All of this extra stress builds on itself, resulting in an increase of pain at night. However, neck pain or a worsening of the pain at night can be a sign of a more serious issue, especially if you have noticed any unexplained weight loss or a deep, boring type of pain. This is especially important to note if you have had any previous cancer or are at risk for cancer.

What if neck pain comes with dizziness?

Dizziness or vertigo can have many causes. Visual disturbances, inner ear issues or interference with the communicating pathways between the brain and body can causes the sensations associated with dizziness and vertigo. The neck, particularly the upper part the neck has been shown to cause dizziness, vertigo, or other balance problems when there is dysfunction to the various structures of the neck. When the neck is the cause of the balance issues, it is called cervicogenic dizziness. If you have neck pain with associated dizziness or balance issues, it is important to get help from an upper cervical specialist.

How does neck pain cause headaches?

Cervicogenic headaches is the term to describe a headache that actually is caused from a problem in the neck. When structures of the neck are irritated or misaligned it can put pressure on various nerves, meninges, muscles, or blood vessels, which can then either project pain into the head, causes pressure imbalances, or irritate some the sensitive protective covering of the brain.

When is neck pain serious?
When is neck pain severe?

Anytime you sense pain, it means that something is wrong in your body. Left unchecked, it can develop into a serious problem later in life. Signs of a more serious issue include pain lasting more than 6 weeks, when the pain is severe, not improving or getting worse, burning pain in the shoulders or down the arm, loss of coordination, and/or unexplained weight loss. If the pain is severe, stiff with a sudden onset, worse at night, or is associated with a fever, it is imperative to seek medical help immediately.

When does neck pain mean a heart attack?

Heart attacks can present differently in different people and 25% of them are silent, meaning there was no warning symptoms. The most common symptom is pain in the left arm; however, pain in the shoulders or neck can occur also. Call 911 if you have chest discomfort, pressure or pain, shortness of breath (with or without chest discomfort), pain in the neck, arms, jaw, back, or stomach, breaking out into a sweat, nausea, or lightheadedness.

When is neck pain meningitis?

Meningitis is an infection that affects the tissue that cover and protect the brain and spinal cord. This is a serious condition, which can be fatal without immediate medical attention. Classic signs of meningitis include having a fever, a severe, constant headache, and neck pain or neck stiffness.
The pain or stiffness in the neck can also make it difficult to bring the chin to the chest. These symptoms may develop in a few hours or over a few days. Patient may even feel like they have had the flu in the days prior. Other symptoms of meningitis include nausea, vomiting, confusion, drowsiness, and light sensitivity.
If you have a sudden onset of neck pain/stiffness and a headache with a fever. Seek immediate medical help.

When does neck pain mean cancer?

While rare, neck pain can be a sign of cancer. Many times people will also present with a lump in the neck or swollen lymph nodes. Other signs to watch for are a deep, boring presentation of the pain, worse pain at night. Pain accompanied by fatigue, and/or unexplained weight loss. If you have had previous cancer (breast, lung, liver, prostate, etc), it is very important not let neck pain with any of these other signs go unchecked as it may be a sign of metastasis to the bones.

Can chiropractic make neck pain worse?
Can chiropractic cause neck pain?
Can chiropractic adjustments cause neck pain?

Chiropractic has been proven to be one of the safest health care interventions used today. Doctors of Chiropractic pay some of the lowest malpractice insurance premiums in existence and research has shown chiropractic to be a very effective and safe procedure. As with any health or medical treatment, there are some risks and some people do not responded favorably to chiropractic care. However, this is often a rare thing. It is common for patients to experience a little soreness or an ache in the neck after a correction is made. This is because the tissue can be a little sore after the bone has been moved back into its correct position, but this discomfort is often reported as mild and sort-lasting.

What do chiropractors do for neck pain?
Is chiropractic good for neck pain?
Is chiropractic care safe for neck pain?

Research shows that chiropractic care can be an effective and safe means of helping patients with neck pain get better. Chiropractors analyze the neck for injured tissues and misaligned joints, which can be causing the problem. If a joint is misaligned it can put pressure in the nerves, it can also causes muscle spasms, tightness, and joint inflammation. Chiropractors specialize in correcting the misalignment to take pressure off of the nerves, allows the joints of the neck to work as designed, which decreases the inflammation and results in less irritation and pain.

…to be continued…

Our main page for all neck-related issues is here.