Many of my neck pain patients come to me and say “I have a kink in my neck”. Most often they remark that they must have slept wrong because they woke up with neck pain. Usually the pain is only on one side and there is difficulty moving the neck in most directions. Some physicians call this condition torticollis, although other physicians reserve this term for more serious conditions involving diseases of the nervous system.
If you’re reading this, chances are that your neck is hurting now and you don’t care what it’s called. You want to know what you did and how to make it better. There are a couple ways in which this pain may have come about. One does involve sleeping improperly, which may have jammed the joints of the neck together for a long period of time. Once this happens the muscles on one side get locked up (tight), while the muscles on the other side become overly strained. This muscular imbalance causes the joints to become misaligned, as well as producing pain. Another thing to consider is if you were doing any strenuous activities the day before. This can cause a strain in the neck that is not noticed that day, but manifests throughout the night. As our bodies stop moving sometimes inflammation sets in more throughout the night.
There are different methods for treating this type of neck pain. Home remedies may include ice, stretching, and possibly an anti-inflammatory. I recommend being cautious with the use of heat. Heat could possibly loosen up the tight muscles, but often it can cause the pain to be worse a little while after the heat is removed. This is the case when there is inflammation in the area.
In my practice we treat many types of neck pain. For this particular condition I utilize physical therapy modalities such as interferential. This is also known as electric stimulation, and helps reduce the muscle spasm. It also helps relieve pain by stimulation nerve receptors in the area, and cause a release of endorphins (the feel good chemicals). After it is loosened a bit we employ some stretching and myofascial release (a particular type of massage that looses the neck). Finally, chiropractic adjustments are applied to the restricted joints. The adjustment serves to release the locked joint allowing for a better range of motion. Also, the adjustment causes a neurological reflex to take place that further relaxes the muscles that cross that joint.
If you have any questions regarding our treatments you may visit us at www.chiropractorkirkwood.com or call us at 314-822-5300.