One of the increasing causes of neck pain is prolonged computer use. Today’s society is highly focused around technology, which has seen a high increase in desk-bound work. We spend most of our time looking down, whether that is using our phones, playing a computer game, watching television or studying. How many hours a day do you spend looking up?
It may surprise you to know our head weighs on average 4-6kgs. With prolonged neck flexion i.e. looking down, gravity begins to take effect and slowly positions our head further forward than it should naturally be. Research has found for every inch we have our head forward, an added 10lbs is placed on the spine. This places pressure on the joint, muscles and ligaments; therefore it is no surprise that neck pain is the second most common condition that chiropractors treat after low back pain. Frequently the two areas go hand in hand, as a poor posture in the upper quarter can affect the lower quarter and vice versa.
Pain in the cervical region of the spine can be caused by a number of factors. Excessive or traumatic movement of the neck, for example, whiplash resulting from a car accident, can cause quite severe pain. A more long-term, chronic issues with the neck include arthritis, herniated (slipped) disc and damage to the vertebrae (spondylitis/spondylosis).
Neck supports can be used in the treatment of neck pain and related conditions. Neck braces and soft collars are designed to provide support and to help carry the weight of the head; this relieves strain on the neck muscles. A soft collar can also be helpful during an episode of neck pain due to a whiplash injury.
Whiplash injuries most often occur following a car accident when the vehicle decelerates rapidly. This causes the head to move forward very quickly in relation to the body. This can stretch the muscle and ligament tissue at the back of the neck, which causes pain and stiffness. A neck support is excellent at reducing stress on the ligaments and muscle tissue.
The severity of your injury will determine the treatment methods afforded to you, which is why a professional diagnosis is essential. Following trauma paramedics will offer neck support to minimize the risk of further injury being caused by a full x-ray or scan can help diagnose the extent of the injury. For less severe conditions such as stiffness or through wear and tear a neck collar may be used which offers comfort as well as restricting movement.