I have been seeing quite a few patients at the office in the last year, more than ever before, with their neck pain having started when getting up in the morning or soon after. Unfortunately, this problem used to only be seen in people in their later 20’s and on but in the last couple of years, it seems to be wide spread, disregarding age or gender.

If you want to know why such prevalence, I suggest you look into our sedentary lifestyle, and digital devices utilization.

The Cause

In this video, I discuss the actual diagnostic term and what to do to prevent it from happening. I have done several videos on youtube about computer and cellphone use and how to minimize the amount of stress on the neck muscles, the culprits of neck ‘crick’. It is understandable why the neck, out of all regions of the body, has the least amount of tolerance to bad posture and sedentary life style.

An average head weighs about 12-15 pounds; all supporting structures in the neck are therefore designed to withstand such amount of weight with no issues. The problems rises when the biomechanics, or movement of the joints are interrupted. Let me explain: with proper posture, an average head weighs 12-15 lbs.

However, when the head is flexed forward at let’s say, looking down at your cellphone, the same head puts approximately 60 lbs of pressure on the same structures that were designed to handle about 12-15 lbs. With forward neck, the joints signal excess flexion, which will then activate the brain to send the command to the back of the neck muscles to contract, so the head is brought to the neutral position.

Bear in mind, all of this happens NOT the moment you bend your head down but when you look at your phone for too long. When looking down for too long, too many times and too many days, the back of the neck muscles get tired and weak and before long experience pain. This is when all you have to do is turn to grab something from the back seat of your car, or not have the best neck support from your pillow and the next think you know, your neck is hurting.

Torticollis, the crick in the neck, is essentially sudden spasm of neck muscles causing pain.

The Treatment

Now that you know the cause, let’s talk about treatment. Since I see so many patients with neck pain, headaches and head and neck issues, I can tell you that in my practice, the average case lasts about 3-4 days with care and may take up to a month without Chiropractic care. Specific care after having examined the patient is the specific adjustment of the neck and upper back, Active Release Technique (ART) of the involved muscles which are determined from the exam and using Electric Muscle Stimulation (EMS) with the pain control parameter set up.

Crick in the neck has to do with our sedentary life style, use of digital devices and weak neck muscles. Watch the inserted videos to learn more about this subject. Prevention has to do with my reviewing of the patient pillow to assure proper use of it at night, showing stretching of the most common neck muscles involved in this condition and reviewing the patient life style. I always want to see what the patients’ work environment is and ask them to go to my website where they find online forms and Ergnomics tab, to open that tab on the computer they use, correct their setting and send me a picture of them behind their desk for evaluation.

I invite you to do the same and I will be more than happy to review your work environment picture if you email it to me. All the stretching, review of pillow and ART of the muscles are found on my youtube channel which you can find here; I suggest you subscribe to it and also like and follow my office FB page here for much more educational material.

Remember, you are the Designer and the Director of your own life so design and direct it the way you wish to live it.

Mamak Shakib