Neck pain is something many of us have experienced at one point or another. However, in Singapore, neck stiffness and aches are so standard that it is almost recognised as part of the "normal aging process".
The normal amount of stiffness or aches at any time should be zero.
However, a stiff neck is something even young Singaporeans suffer from, particularly among office workers and students. In this case, neck aches can be triggered by a variety of things; the most common causes of neck pain that we see include lifestyle habits, poor posture and body mechanics, long hours of sedentary work, improper sleeping positions, and so on.
Your primary care doctor may treat neck pain with medications. However, this is often a temporary fix and does not address underlying problems of the spine/body mechanics or nerves involved.
Without addressing the root cause of the problem, the accumulation of stress on the cervical spine (vertebral bodies and facet joints), nerve roots and spinal cord can lead to muscle strain at first. If left untreated, this will accelerate the wear and tear process of the neck region, leading to the growth of bone spurs, narrowing of the spinal canal and spinal nerves exit, possibly causing cervical radiculopathy or more chronic pain later on life.
At Elite Spine Centres, we believe in more than suppressing symptoms. Our professional team of chiropractors provide tailored treatment to improve your neck pain and restore your health and wellbeing to the way it should be.
Live a pain-free life today!
Causes of Neck Pain
Did you know that the full weight of your head upright (around 5-6 kg) is supported by the cervical spine, upper back and neck muscles?
The cervical spine makes it possible for the head to move in nearly every direction. Unfortunately, this flexibility also makes it easier to experience neck pain and neck injury in many cases. The susceptibility of the neck to an injury can be attributed to a combination of factors:
- Accidents or falls with blows to the head or body can lead to neck and shoulder pain.
- Car accidents or sports injuries with short, jerking head or neck movements may cause whiplash injuries or lead to chronic issues of the spinal joints and soft tissues (muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascia).
However, the vast majority of patients that come in with neck problems often suffer from poor biomechanics brought on by everyday habits. Certain repetitive movements, prolonged sitting, and poor posture cause stress to slowly accumulate on the spinal nerves, leading to a stiff neck and severe pain. Frequently, neck pain can also affect surrounding areas such as the upper back and shoulder blades.
Other less common causes of neck pain may stem from existing conditions such as:
- Cervical Spondylosis
- Degenerative Disc Disease
- Herniated Disc
Types of Neck Pain
Pain in the Side of Neck
This is a common type of neck pain that usually indicates the need to make lifestyle changes.
The neck is a densely packed region of the body with many different tissues such as muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, joints, and blood vessels being close to each other. Thus, our chiropractors will first have a detailed understanding of each patient, their history and condition(s).
In combination with a thorough physical examination, this will help us to determine likely causes of concerns. Then, if deemed necessary, appropriate X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or other tests may be sent for.
Common factors that cause neck pain at either side of the neck include:
- Sleeping on your side with improper pillow height
- Extended use of handphones and/or computers in poor posture
- Poor mechanics (misalignment) of one or more of the facet joints in the cervical spine, causing ligament strain, muscle spasm and nerve irritation
- Trauma or injury such as whiplash
- Muscular imbalance in the neck, upper back and shoulder blades.
Treatment for this type of neck pain typically includes a combination of therapies, rehabilitative exercises, and lifestyle modification strategies. This might include:
- Manual Myofascial Release (MFR)
- Specific chiropractic adjustments to specific spinal joints
- Radial Shockwave Therapy (RSWT)
- Interferential Therapy (IF)
- Stretching and strengthening exercises
- Posture rehabilitation exercise
- Ergonomic advice on workstation setup
Neck Pain after Waking Up
Dealing with neck pain first thing in the morning?
Neck pain that surfaces after waking up are often accompanied by stiffness or tightness in the neck muscles and lack of ability to flex, extend or rotate their head fully. This can be due to a myriad of factors, such as:
- Improper sleeping positions
- Mattress or pillow that doesn't suit their body type and condition
- Tech neck
- Spinal misalignments and nerve/muscle irritation
- Scar tissue, "knots", or damaged soft tissues from old injuries
- Weakened spinal column support
- Weakened postural muscles
If these issues are left untreated, neck pain after waking up can become a chronic issue and even lead to permanent muscle degeneration in some cases.
Diagnosis For Neck Pain
As our body functions as a whole, a thorough physical examination by any neck pain specialist should be carried out. This includes a full spinal orthopaedic and neurological evaluation to provide a more accurate diagnosis of your condition. The assessment will consist of checking on:
- Your spine, including the facet joints, spinal cord, neck muscles and nerve roots.
- Your spinal alignment, bio-mechanics and overall posture
- Any areas of restricted movement.
- Any neck pain that radiates down the arms, hands and fingers or up the head.
To piece together a comprehensive picture of your neck pain, we may also require patients to undergo these measures if necessary:
- Review of patient's past medical history: Investigate potential factors
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) or X-Rays: Pinpoint the exact cause of neck pain and determine the extent of damage accumulated. Detailed imaging will reveal any growth of bone spurs, narrowing of the spinal canal causing pinched nerve on the spinal cord and/ or nerve root or spinal stenosis. It may also reveal postural deviations in early stages.
In addition to providing effective neck pain treatments, your chiropractor will educate you on stress management, nutrition and may even help you create lifestyle goals and modification strategies to eliminate your neck pain!
Beginning with our extensive diagnostic process, we gather all the information needed to create a customised treatment plan that tackles your neck pain at the source, potentially getting rid of it for good.
That being said, chiropractic is not a miracle cure. In rare events that we aren't able to help, rest assured that we will help you find the right solutions for your neck pain.
Chiropractor For Stiff Neck & Neck Pain
In essence, chiropractic care is an excellent non-surgical treatment that can treat neck pain and its other symptoms.
At Elite Spine Centres, we believe that a holistic approach is the most effective way at preventing the reoccurrence of neck ache and neck stiffness. Therefore, in conjunction with your chiropractic treatment sessions, we recommend relevant lifestyle changes that reduce muscle strain and neck pain. This can include incorporating exercises, correcting poor posture, and so on.
Here are some common neck problems that our doctors of chiropractic are equipped to treat:
- Cervical strain/Neck sprain injuries
- Degenerative arthritis (spondylosis) of the neck
- Cervical intervertebral discs injuries (bulging or "slipped disc")
- Facet joints syndrome
- Numbness or tingling sensation in the arms or hands due to cervical radiculopathy
- Forward head posture
- And more!
Not sure if we can treat your specific neck pain?
Give us a call, and we'll be able to clear all doubts for you!
Neck Pain Treatment Options under Elite Spine Centres
Based on our signature Functional Correction Method (FCM), your treatment plan will feature a customised combination of physical therapy, spinal manipulation, therapeutic technologies and other techniques, such as:
- Manual therapy: Applying joint stretching and resistance techniques known to minimise neck pain.
- Instrument-assisted soft tissue therapy (IASTM): Our chiropractors use special instruments to release muscle tension and break down scar tissue.
- Trigger point therapy: Used to relieve those painful and tight "knots" within a muscle or near muscle insertion points.
- Specific spinal manipulation: This gentle technique (often associated with popping or clicking sounds) has effectively restored joint movement and reduced pain.
- Instrument-assisted manipulation: Your chiropractor will use handheld instruments to apply sufficient force at specific points. This delivers rapid nerve stimulation to desired areas of the spine in order to generate a neurological response. This instrument's high speed and controlled force is an excellent alternative to patients not suited for manual manipulation.
- Therapeutic Technologies: By combining safe and effective conservative therapeutic technologies with customised chiropractic treatment, patients can feel better faster and speed up the natural healing process.
- Rehabilitative exercises: Similar to physiotherapy, these exercises are critical for restoring proper long-term movement patterns and posture. Most importantly, these exercises reduce the likelihood of severe pain relapse.
Exercises for Neck Pain
No matter what range of symptoms you may be experiencing, your recovery plan will undoubtedly involve customised stretching and strengthening rehabilitation exercises.
However, we don't advise patients to start exercising right away, especially not with just any regiment.
A detailed evaluation by our experts is critical before adding exercises to your recovery plan to make sure that each exercise is performed in the correct form and technique. Depending on the causes of your neck pain and individual factors (age, occupation, activity levels etc.), what may be helpful to one person may prove harmful to you.
Thus, before beginning any exercise programme, Elite Spine Centre advises having a proper evaluation with one of our experts trained in rehabilitation methods.
Generally, our soft tissues (muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascia) should help us retain a nice balance between stability and flexibility. However, as the years pass, our muscles develop imbalances, with some becoming too weak (stretched) and others becoming too strong (tight). Our professional expertise helps us identify the correct muscles you need to work on.
Furthermore, your exercises should change and adapt over time as your health journey progresses. So rest assured; we will tailor your exercise regiment for you - all you need to do is focus on your health.
Neck pain relief is one call away.
How long have those sore neck muscles been bothering you?
Let Elite Spine's healing hands soothe your aches away with our holistic, conservative treatment methods. We've even prepared a treat for new patients!
Navigating chiropractic can be overwhelming for a first-timer. Hence, we prepared a special introductory package covering almost everything you need for your first few visits to our clinic.
So what are you waiting for?
Contact us today to live your pain-free life!