Neck pain has many different causes.

Neck pain is debilitating and affects everything that we do.


  • Poor posture
  • Neck sprain/strain
  • Disc injury
  • Radiculopathy

Those who suffer from neck pain know how difficult it is to sleep through the night, drive a car, and even enjoy a simple conversation. 

Our head weighs roughly 10 lbs, and our neck has to stabilize that at all times throughout both day and night.

If we have poor posture and our head translates (leans) forward, that 10 lbs almost doubles by placing high demand on our neck stabilizers.

Between poor posture and damage to structures in the neck from trauma, neck pain is the third most common condition I treat as a chiropractor here in Johnstown, CO.

Neck pain can often cause headaches.

This is usually due to poor posture or Upper Crossed Syndrome.

Poor posture or Upper Crossed Syndrome causes increased muscle activation on the back of the neck.

  • We often see this with anterior head carriage or when the head translates forward in comparrison to the shoulders. 
  • The small muscles near the base of the skull activate to keep the head from looking down. 
  • This constant tension puts pressure on nerves that refer pain into the head. 

Poor posture is often seen with sedentary lifestyle such as desk jobs or driving for a living.  

Stress often plays a large role in neck and shoulder position.

Cervicogenic Headache

Spraining or Straining your neck.

These injuries can be caused from trauma or chronic poor posture.

The major difference between a sprain and a strain is that sprains pertain to damaged ligaments that attach bone-to-bone without a muscle in between. 

A strain is damge to a muscle or tendon that connect bones together to perform a movement. 

They often have similar pain referrals and are commonly caused by:

  • Motor vehicle accidents causing WHIPLASH
  • Contact sports
  • Repetitive postural strain

Disc Injuries

Discogenic pain referral

Discs are like padding between each vertebra. When damaged we can get referred pain as well as numbness/tingling/weakness going down the arms and even into the fingers. The most severe cases have decreased motor function causing weakness.

This requires more urgent medical help.  

read more about herniated discs here

Degenerative Disc Disorder

Process of aging and/or not moving enough.

Degenerative discs are easily seen on X-ray. Ultimately there is a decrease in disc height which in turn can cause local pain in the neck and radiating symptoms down into the arm. 

  • Degenerative discs often cause pressure to be placed on nerve roots leaving the spinal cord. 
  • This pressure often causes local neck pain.
  • As the process gets worse, it begins to refer pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness down the arm or into the shoulder blade. 

Typically both disc herniation and/or degeneration respond well to conservative care. 

Treatment For Disc Injuries

We want to determine the severity first.

Conservative treatment is very successful in managing disc herniations and other disc injuries. 

  1. Decrease the pain and calm down the inflammation. 
  2. Early rehabilitative exercises to restore motion and increase painless active range of motion.

How? Initially, we use soft tissue modalities such as:

We want to down regulate the system, then retrain neuromuscular control, and begin to stabilize the new posture and biomechanic control. 

Cervical Radiculopathy

Pain, Numbness, Tingling, Weakness

Cerivcal radiculopathy happens when a structure in the neck begins pressing on a nerve root that leaves the spine. 

  • This causes numbness, tingling, or weakness to distribute to the shoulder blade, down the arm, or even into the hand.
  • This is usually caused by trauma in the younger population; most commonly a disc herniation/bulge or direct trauma to the nerve through physical contact in sports.
  • In elderly patients this tends to result from degenerative processes. Typically, osteophytes form while disc heights decrease, collectively causing less space for the nerve to exit the spine.
  • The pain often starts as a burning sensation that may develop into numbness and, in severe cases, weakness.

Treatment For Cervical Radiculopathy

Repetitive exercises to decrease pain and restore neuromuscular control.

Conservative care is the number one way to address a cervical disc herniation. Many people recover from disc injuries with proper guidance. Overall health must be considered with onset and recovery. Here at Rider Chiropractic Sports and Injury you can expect:

  • -Traction, creating room for the nerve root to exit the spine
  • Mechanical diagnosis and therapy
  • Dry Needling
  • Chiropractic manipulation and adjustment
  • Rehabilitation exercises to strengthen deep neck flexors and restore normal mechanics

You should also be aware of underlying health conditions, and avoid, risk factors that slow recovery like smoking or a sedentary lifestyle.

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