This is a common problem I see in plenty of my patients. They come to me and tell me they can’t turn their neck as far to the left or right as they could previously. Usually, one side is more limited than the other. In most of these cases, the patient is over 40 years old but I get some young patients telling me the same thing.
When chiropractors describe this problem, we say that a patient has a limited range of motion—in other words, the vertebrae do not have a normal level of mobility. There is some kind of strain on the neck and this may be causing muscle spasms that limit motion. This is something that chiropractic is very good at remedying.
Poor Range of Motion = Reduced Quality of Life
I know that when a patient suffers a reduced range of motion, it affects their quality of life. It’s uncomfortable, for one thing, because their neck hurts when they try to turn to look at something. It can also create hazards in their daily lives. For example, they may have to rely only on the mirrors in their car to check the area around them, which might place them at greater risk for an accident.
The good news is that it’s probably not necessary to suffer from a reduced range of motion, even if you are aged 40 or above. Chiropractic care can help you recover a normal, youthful range of motion.
Causes and Prevention
By knowing what causes this limitation, you can learn how to prevent it. Here are the most common reasons people wind up with this limitation:
- Poor sleep posture: If a bed sags or there are too many or too few pillows, a person’s head can be tilted up or down all night. The right sleep posture is one in which the head is comfortably held parallel to the surface of the bed.
- Computer usage: The majority of workstations I see are poorly set up. The individuals sitting at those workstations are normally looking down at their monitors. A person using a laptop is even more likely to have their heads tilted forward as they look down at the screen. Also, too many people corkscrew their bodies around by not placing their screen directly in front of their bodies. Poor positioning like this strains the neck and that will eventually reduce its range of motion.
- Smartphone usage: Whether it’s texting or looking up information on the web, nearly everyone tilts their heads forward and down when they use a smartphone. This tilt places extra strain on the neck.
- Sitting for extended periods: Those who read, drive or simply sit for extended periods of time can lose the flexibility and mobility in their necks.
- Falls, whiplash injuries: These also strain the neck and usually result in reduced mobility.
Through the correct arrangement of the bed and workspace and by bringing a smartphone up to your face, you can avoid straining your neck. If you are someone who sits or drives for long periods, breaking those long periods up with activity helps you retain your range of motion.
Every treatment plan should start with careful testing, x-rays and diagnosis. It’s important to rule out any serious problems before treatment starts. Then, when it’s known exactly where any subluxations (Subluxation = misaligned vertebra that pinch nerves) lie and where the muscle spasms are, it’s possible to start restoring your range of motion.
A person’s treatment plan might include a number of different therapies, such as the following:
- Chiropractic adjustments
- Supplemental calcium and/or magnesium
- Gentle stretches
In my practice, I also add this one:
- Pressure Point Therapy in which I apply direct pressure on tight, locked-up knots of pain in your muscles.
When the body is in balance, the spine is well-aligned and the muscles have the electrolytes and nourishment they need, a person can move their neck easily and well. There’s no reason to prescribe drugs like over-the-counter or opioid painkillers or muscle relaxants to get a neck to move. Restoring it to good condition and full health will do the job in nearly every case.
If your neck has lost some of its mobility, I hope you’ll stop by my office soon. Working together, we can get your neck moving again. I’d be happy to ease any painful areas using Pressure Point Therapy. I’m the only chiropractor in this area that uses this technique and my patients tell me how much relief they get from it. I hope I’ll see you in my office soon so you get to experience this relief, too!
Give us a call at (314) 635-1008 to schedule an appointment.