Reasons Your Neck Hurts

John Naumann Headaches, Neck Pain Comments Off on Reasons Your Neck Hurts

Reasons Your Neck Hurts and what to do about it

There are many reasons you neck may hurt and the treatment of neck pain is never the same for everyone. Knowing some of the common cause can help you better treat your neck pain!

  • Degenerative Disk Disease (DDD) – As you get older you will inevitably get degenerative disk disease.  Thank gravity for this one.  Your spine experiences constant compression over your life and the discs between your neck bones act as shock absorbers.  These discs begin to wear out over time and become more compressed and less pliable.  This can result in stiffness in the neck and increasing the stress on muscles and ligaments that attach in the neck.  Worst case scenarios, are when the disc degenerates to a point that it allows the nerves in that area to become “pinched”.  Typically ice and heat can help, but if it doesn’t chiropractic and physical therapy can be very helpful.  In severe cases, steriod injections or surgery might be necessary.
  • Neck Strain Injury – The neck is one of the most mobile areas of our body.  It allows for the head to rotate, flex, extend, and side to side motion.  This ability also creates a greater ability for an individual to experience a neck strain injury.  A strain is related to the muscles and ligaments that attach in the neck. A strain occurs when this muscle or ligament become extended with load over a long period of time.  We also call this a static posture.  My neck is holding a static posture while I type.  If I didn’t take an ocassional break to stretch and move my neck.  I could experience a neck injury if hadn’t just paused and moved my head around into a new position.  Make sure to change your neck posture about every 30 minutes when you are in a more strained neck posture.
  • Herniated disk – Your disk is firmer on the outside and jelly filled in the middle.  If the outer layer ruptures and can let the jelly filled interior to push out and apply pressure on a nerve and cause neck pain.  Physical therapy and chiropractic care can help treat the area and allow for the herniation to heal.  In some instances the herniation might not heal and a surgical procedure may be necessary.
  • Tension Headaches – This can be a result of neck pain.  If your muscles in your neck get tight do to static posture or stress it can result in increased pressure in the suboccipital muscles at the base of your skull.  This is most common among people that sit in front of a computer all day.  An Ergonomist can help with setting up your work station to improve your posture and decrease the tension in your neck.  Physical therapy and stretches are also a good option to help relieve your neck tension.

These are some of the most common causes of your neck pain.  Proper posture and changing your posture often can have a significant impact on reducing your potential for neck pain.

Types of Pain You Shouldn’t Ignore

John Naumann Acute Pain, Headaches Comments Off on Types of Pain You Shouldn’t Ignore

Everybody experiences pain at one time or another and we will often ignore it.  But there are certain types of pain you shouldn’t ignore.

Chest pain 

Heart attack pain can feel like pressure in the center of your chest, which may spread to the jaw, neck and arm. Other possible heart attack signs include pain that gets worse when you exert yourself, shortness of breath, nausea and sweating.


While most headaches are not a sign of a severe medical problem, there’s one exception: pain that comes on suddenly, particularly after exertion, and feels like the worst headache of your life. This could be a sign of an aneurysm, or bleeding in the brain. This type of headache needs immediate medical attention.

Abdominal pain

Stomach pain is one of the most common complaints seen in the ER. In as many as half of cases, there’s no specific diagnosis. Common causes of abdominal pain include appendicitis, gallstones (hardened deposits of digestive fluid that can form in your gallbladder), pancreatitis (an inflamed pancreas) and diverticulitis (when pouches in the wall of the colon get inflamed or infected).

Appendicitis is associated with pain in the right lower section of the abdomen and is often accompanied by fever, nausea and vomiting. Anyone with these symptoms should go directly to the ER. If the pain is caused by appendicitis, a quick diagnosis is important because if it’s caught before the appendix ruptures, the surgeon often can remove the appendix with laparoscopic surgery. If the surgery isn’t done until after the appendix ruptures, the surgery becomes more complicated, and the recovery is longer.

Gallstones cause pain in the right upper section of the abdomen, often after eating a fatty meal. The pain can be severe and is often associated with nausea. As with appendicitis, removing gallstones early makes surgery simpler, with a faster recovery.

Back pain

While most cases of back pain are caused by muscle strain, some types of back pain are a sign of a more serious problem. Back pain associated with weakness and numbness in the arms and legs, or accompanied by fever, should be evaluated immediately. This type of back pain could be a sign of a spinal cord infection, which should be treated right away to reduce the risk of permanent damage to the spinal cord.

Severe upper back pain, whether or not it’s accompanied by chest pain, could be a sign of a heart attack or aneurysm.

Leg pain

If you have leg pain along with swelling of the leg, it could be a sign of a blood clot. The risk of a blood clot is higher after a long period of immobility, such as a long plane ride or after a person has been in bed for a while following surgery. The pain caused by a blood clot feels more like throbbing or aching. A blood clot is diagnosed with an ultrasound.

You will want to identify and treat a blood clot as quickly as possible, because an untreated clot could get larger, break off and go to the lungs, where it can cause a life-threatening problem.

10 tips to reduce stress

John Naumann Acute Pain, Chronic Pain, Headaches Comments Off on 10 tips to reduce stress

Reducing stress in your life helps with your overall well-being and helps reduce pain. When we are stressed the body is at a continuous state of fight or flight through the release of cortisol which can inhibit our mind from returning to a state of calm.   Here are 10 tips to reduce stress that doesn’t involve a vacation or spa weekend.

  1. Meditate – This can take place anywhere at anytime.  Sit up straight with feet on floor, and think of something warm and relaxing and close your eyes.  Shut out the world around you and let your mind focus on this peaceful, serene place.  A few minutes of meditation can make a big difference in
  2. Deep breathing – This is excellent when you feel frantic and hot tempered.  Sitting calmly for about 5 minutes just taking slow deep breaths that go from your diaphragm to the upper part of your chest can reduce your heart rate and blood pressure.
  3. Be Present – Reduce the number of things you are thinking about and focus on one sense, like, taste, touch, hearing, smell, or sight.  Listen to nature or watch a pretty view.  Bring yourself to the now.
  4. Reach out to people – Reach out to your family or friends, do this face to face, not online.  Talk to them about what you are dealing with and invite a new perspective that may help you find solace.
  5. Tune into your body – Find a place to lay down flat on your back and start with your toes and go up, taking a moment to see how each body part feels.
  6. Decompress – Take a warm bath, lay on a heating pad, place a warm wash cloth on your face, or massage an area that is holding tension.
  7. Laugh out Loud – Think of something funny, listen to a comedian you like, but the act of smiling and laughing triggers the release of endorphins that helps suppress the release of cortisol.
  8. Listen to music – Listening to your favorite up-beat music and even singing along with it can do wonders in relieving your stress.
  9. Get moving – Exercise and activity can help release chemicals that help provide positive energy and emotions.
  10. Be grateful – Create a journal that you write in daily that documents what you did for yourself, work, family, and community.  Even if it is what you might consider a minor thing it triggers a positive emotional response in the brain.

Highly effective people lead stressful lives but have understand that stress doesn’t have to be contained in the body, but released in a way that can lead to a positive lifestyle.  It’s the harboring of stress in the body that does damage to it and can lead to more pain.

Sleep Soundly

Dr. Jolley Articles, Back Pain, Chronic Pain, Headaches Leave a comment  

Sleep Soundly

How to sleep soundly

Getting a good nights sleep is the best way for the body to recover after a busy day.  So, how do you sleep soundly?

1) Your Mattress
Most people buy a new mattress when their old one “wears out,” meaning that it’s tattered, torn, excessively stained and/or otherwise unappealing to sleep on. Generally, it is not a good idea to keep a mattress longer than 10-15 years due to the wear and tear you put it through. Depending on the quality, it may last longer or shorter. Going to a store and lying on a mattress for a few minutes is not enough time to make a decision on something you will have to lie on every night for years to come. You need to test it out in a real sleep environment to make sure you can experience rejuvenating sleep. After all, why pay good money to end up tossing and turning every night?

Choose a mattress that has a trial period so that if you do not like it, you can return it and get another. Most good mattresses come with trial periods of anywhere from 90 days to up to five years, depending on where you buy them. Do not buy a mattress if you have no ability to return it. They cost far too much money to have buyer’s remorse later.

Again, in terms of which specific mattress type/style to choose, it really boils down to how it makes you feel/sleep. Some people prefer a firm mattress, while others like a softer mattress. As long as it adequately supports your head, neck and back during sleep (meaning you don’t sink into it excessively or don’t hurt the next day from lying on something that feels like your hard floor), it’s what makes you sleep well that matters most.

2) Sleeping Position
Okay, so you’ve picked out your “perfect” mattress; now how do you sleep on it? From a health perspective, the best position for sleep is on your back with a pillow under your knees. The pillow should be comfortable for you and help take pressure off the small of your back. The second-best position is on your side with a pillow between your knees. The pillow between the knees must be thick enough to keep your thighs hip-width apart. On your side also means you need a supportive pillow (I’ll explain what kind of pillow in just a minute).

The most undesirable position for sleeping is on your stomach. This is because you need to turn your head to either side in order to breathe, which can cause neck pain. Often I notice that people who sleep on their stomachs also throw one or both arms over their head, which can lead to pain in the shoulders as well. Please try to avoid this position, as it is not healthy for your body.

3) Your Pillow
Think about how you like to sleep before you choose your pillow. People who sleep on their back need a thinner pillow than those who sleep on their side. There are so many pillows to choose from, but my best advice to you is to take your current pillow to your chiropractor and let them analyze it for you.

Your head should not be lifted so high that it cranes your neck. While on your side, your pillow should cradle your neck so that your spine forms a 90-degree angle with a line through the shoulders. Don’t be fooled! Just because you have an orthopedic or fancy memory foam pillow doesn’t mean it is right for you. In fact, it could be one of the causes of your sleep problems. Again, let your doctor evaluate your pillow and discuss the best option to maximize your sleep.

Source: To Your Health –By: Kevin Wong, DC

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