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Neck pain is one of the most prevalent medical complaints among both men and women, and it is getting more widespread as people use computers and mobile phones for almost every activity imaginable. Many things can cause neck pain, including hours spent hunched over devices.

Neck pain is occasionally a minor inconvenience that may be managed with a few lifestyle changes and gentle stretching. Chronic neck pain, on the other hand, may indicate a more significant condition that will not "clear up" on its own. Unless you're a doctor, it might be difficult to distinguish between chronic neck pain caused by a minor strain and a serious underlying condition requiring immediate treatment. Here's why chronic neck pain shouldn't be ignored and how Premier Spine Institute chiropractors may help you obtain treatment.

The most common causes of chronic neck pain

The two most common causes of chronic neck pain are muscular strain and nerve compression. It can be difficult to determine which of these is occurring depending on your symptoms. Most muscular strain is caused by activities that exert an unequal strain on one side of your neck. Repetitive lifting is a typical source of muscular strain in the neck, especially if the loads are big or if you utilize one side of your body to carry heavy loads, such as a hefty bag over one shoulder. Sleeping in an unusual position or using a pillow that does not give appropriate support can create muscle strain in your neck.

Nerve compression happens when one (or more) of the nerves that surround the neck become squeezed or pressed as they exit your upper spine (known as the cervical spine). When nerves leave the cervical spine, they pass through your shoulders and into your arms and hands. If a disc in your cervical spine falls out of place or the tissues in your neck become swollen and inflamed, the nerves in that area may be compressed. That means you could experience pain and other symptoms anywhere along the nerve's route, including your neck.

The first signals of nerve compression are often similar to those experienced when you strain a muscle, such as soreness and pain in the neck, upper back, and shoulders. What's more puzzling is that nerve compression can be caused by many of the same actions that cause muscular tension in your neck, such as repetitive lifting. Pinched nerves are also prevalent after slip-and-fall accidents, sports injuries, and automobile accidents.

The serious consequences of delaying treatment

If you postpone treatment for a compressed nerve in your neck, you may have shooting, electrical-like pain that extends into your back and down your arms. Over time, a pinched nerve can weaken your muscles and impair your ability to use your hands. That damage can eventually become permanent; thus, delaying therapy may result in a lifetime of handicaps.

Of course, this does not imply you should overlook muscle strain. When you strain a muscle, it can induce inflammation, which puts pressure on nerves. Alternatively, you may compensate for the tension by exerting excessive pressure on other areas of your neck and shoulders, which can also push on nerves. What does this mean? Even modest muscular strains can induce nerve compression, resulting in significant and even permanent injury. The bottom line is straightforward: a medical practitioner must see and assess any chronic neck pain that persists for days without relief.

Find out what's causing your chronic neck pain

The best method to determine what's causing your chronic neck pain is to schedule a comprehensive physical examination and evaluation with a doctor. It's the first step toward feeling better and avoiding more significant complications.

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