Don’t Underestimate Neck Pain – Here’s What Happens When It’s Left Untreated
We have all experienced neck pain at some time during our lives, due to bad posture or sleeping in an awkward position; however, neck pain is often passed off as a minor nuisance and thus goes untreated. Neck pain can potentially be caused by a number of different underlying issues and, if left untreated and neglected, can progressively worsen. So, if you are experiencing persistent neck pain, don’t suffer in silence.
Often overlooked and underestimated neck pains, which can begin as a minor annoyance, can complicate causing further root causes of pain in the neck and throughout the body. Not only will the pains caused by your initial condition worsen, but new causes of pain can arise from repeated injury.
At the Functional Wellness Center here in Scottsdale, Arizona, we think that a visit to your local chiropractor should be akin to visiting your dentist for a routine check-up. Not only can we help resolve current issues, but we can also prevent future ones and overall create a happier, healthier you.
Treating neck pain is next to impossible if you cannot determine its cause. That’s why we at Functional Wellness Center in Scottsdale, Arizona, use specialty diagnostic tools to determine the pain’s cause. Before discussing the eventual effects of untreated neck pain, we must first examine the underlying causes behind neck pain to understand better why you should consider treatment when experiencing neck pain.
The Underlying conditions behind neck pain:
I have already mentioned one of the most common causes of neck pain, which is posture. Usually, bad posture will cause mild to moderate pain at first and will eventually lead to chronic severe pain if not addressed and treated properly.
The general population is often plagued by micro-injuries such as muscle strain along with spinal subluxations most of the time caused by bad posture. Most would simply ignore the pain and carry on with their lives; however, over time, if not corrected, they can increase the likeliness of much more severe injury. If you have poor posture, a rigorous schedule, a physically demanding job, or have an athletic pass time; then you will be more likely to be plagued by neck pain. You may want to consider visiting a chiropractor and getting evaluated in order to correct the issue before long term damage like arthritis and degeneration occur causing life long problems.
Another common cause of neck pain could be a pinched nerve. This occurs when a nerve becomes irritated or compressed and can lead to cervical radiculopathy, which is where you start to experience sensory issues down the arms and into the hands. There are seven vertebrae at the top of your spine, and nerves branch out through tiny openings in the vertebrae. When these nerves become compressed or irritated, you may experience neck pain, numbness, or tingling in the arm or hand, weakness in the shoulder, arm, or hand, loss of sensation in the arm, or hand.
In a slightly more extreme example, you may be experiencing neck pain as the result of a herniated or compressed disk. Similar to a pinched nerve, this is caused when a soft cushion of tissue between the bones in your spine pushes out. This can cause pressure and irritation to be applied onto the nerves causing neck pain, numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness.
Perhaps the pain you are experiencing is caused by worn joints. When the cartilage between your vertebrae begins to wear down, this can cause the formation of bone spurs. Bone spurs can cause pain and hinder mobility. These occur because your cervical spine is not in its proper alignment and those joints experience excess wear and tear causing them to break down, its similar to if your car tires we not aligned correctly and the damage that happens because of that.
You may also experience neck pain caused by an injury, for example, whiplash. This commonly occurs after traffic accidents and is caused by sudden strong movements of the neck. Whiplash is caused by soft tissue damage in the neck; you might not consider it all that serious since it doesn’t show up in an x-ray; however, if left unchecked, you may experience significant complications in the future. It is extremely likely that individuals that have experienced whiplash injuries will have major damage to their cervical spine and neck curvature which if left untreated will lead to chronic degeneration.
Signs and symptoms of untreated neck pain:
If left untreated and ignored, then even some of the most straightforward causes of neck pain can mount into further injuries.
For example, if you have recently been in some form of collision and have a neck injury that has gone untreated, you are at much greater risk of spinal damage and cord compression. A doctor might prescribe painkillers and muscle relaxants to treat and mask the symptoms; however, this could potentially make things worse as the neck will have experienced a change in alignment and may never regain the correct alignment. It is almost certain that the condition will worsen, the ligaments supporting the neck will weaken and perhaps tear, causing a tremendous amount of pain and limited mobility and lead to life altering symptoms that will persist and get worse quickly.
That might all sound pretty extreme. However, when neck pain goes untreated and symptoms are allowed to worsen, causing further complications, this scenario is undoubtedly going to occur.
If left unchecked, you could run the risk of further problems with pinched and damaged nerves causing numbness, tingling sensations, additional pain, loss of sensation, and more. And it goes beyond problems with your neck and spine. Persistent pain can cause issues sleeping and create a significant risk of mental health conditions such as depression.
Not just that, but when injuries and issues are left untreated, you are then more vulnerable to other causes of neck pain. This can cause vertebral deformity, nerve damage, soft tissue damage, and ultimately intense pain.
The potential issues that can be caused by unchecked and untreated neck pain are vast, and it would be difficult to list each and every possible outcome in one singular blog post. However, I will attempt to quickly list a few complications and chronic symptoms which arise from not receiving the proper care.
Complications caused by neck pain:
- Tinnitus (ringing in ears)
- Increased pain sensitivity
- Shoulder pains
- Back Pains
- Headaches and migraines
- Slowed reflexes
- Tight muscles around neck, shoulders, and back
- Reduced mobility in the affected area
- Strange gait caused by limited mobility or continued bad posture
- Weight gain due to loss of mobility and lack of muscle strength
- Reduced grip strength
- Shooting pains
- Loss of productivity and unable to perform everyday tasks
All of that can be caused by a minor injury, or bad posture, or ignoring aches and pains until the pain finally becomes overwhelming. You needn’t wait until your body finally gives in and breaks. The longer you leave neck pains untreated, the harder it is to resolve the issue due to mounting complications and worsened health.
When neck pain goes neglected, and symptoms begin to mount, it is common for patients to experience overall disadvantages in their everyday life. It is needless to say that living with large amounts of pain can eventually affect mood, productivity, sleep, relationships, and overall wellbeing and mental health. You may struggle to make it into work, especially if your job is physically demanding, and you may experience a general loss of productivity. So, it’s important to note that neck pain will not only affect your physical body but will also significantly affect your lifestyle and way of living.
Here at Functional Wellness Center in Scottsdale, Arizona, we specialize in locating the problem and coming up with a solution rather than just treating the symptom. It’s unfortunate that the people of Scottsdale so commonly suffer from neck and back pain, so we do our best to provide top-quality services to eliminate the root cause of pain.
We not only solve problems when the pain begins to get out of hand but also offer preventative treatments for those with minor micro-injuries or who are at risk of spinal problems. We can help improve your posture, preventing any further neck or back pain caused by poor posture. We can help relieve muscular and skeletal stress, which can help you manage your mood and stress levels. There are a wide variety of benefits that can be received when undergoing chiropractic therapies.
We relieve neck pain by tracking down its source and coming up with specific treatment plans that will fix the underlying issue and correct the problem. So once again, please don’t suffer in silence. Even if you think your neck pain is a minor concern, it is better to get effective treatment before your condition spirals out of control. We can help you deal with pain without medication or surgery, but you have to take action and visit Functional Wellness Center to have your spinal health evaluated. Please visit our website www.scottsdalechiropractor.com for more information or contact us at [email protected] with any questions you may have.