Neck Pain FAQs

The regular forms of neck pain that most people suffer from, those that relate to poor posture, stress, muscle weakness and old injuries do not as a rule cause pins & needles in the feet. If you have a serious issue within the cervical (neck) spinal canal it could potentially cause pins and needles in the feet, very few cases of neck pain would relate to such changes. Regardless of the probable cause, if you have ongoing pain or pins & needles anywhere you should get them checked by a trained professional.

The best treatment for neck pain is the one that works for YOU without being too risky or invasive! Unfortunately there is an element of unpredictability to who will respond best to which treatment. Spinal Manipulation, Acupuncture, Acupressure, Rehab Exercises, Scar Tissue Release, Float Tanks & Alexander Technique are all worth your consideration to mention a few. It is worth adding that very few cases of neck pain respond well to surgery and pharmacology in the long term. 

Stress is a major cause and a major trigger for neck pain. When we experience trauma, emotional stress, mental stress and depression many of us clench the muscles in our necks as part of our physical response to the situation we find ourselves in. 

Clenching the neck muscles for protracted time windows can easily cause tension and inflammation in the neck. In some instances, stress related muscular tension in the neck can act as a trigger or irritant which causes old neck issues to become symptomatic after extended ‘symptom free’ periods. In other words neck issues can lay dormant and be woken up by stress.

Trapping of nerves in the human neck is an extremely rare event, relative to the number of other reasons why you might get pins and needles down your arm. In order for a nerve to become trapped you need to have some advanced arthritis or severe damage to your spinal column. 

There are many tissues deep in the neck, in the back of the shoulder girdle and in the arm itself that can cause pins & needles in the arm and hand. These tissues collectively are a far more common cause of pins & needles than trapped nerves in the neck. If however your pins & needles are extremely intense to the point of you not being able to sleep well, or be at all comfortable getting through a normal day, it could be that you do have a trapped or inflamed nerve somewhere in your neck. Either way get checked out.

Many cases of neck pain do resolve themselves naturally and settle or more likely just become ‘dormant’. Other cases, if left unattended become chronic, persistent and worsen. If you have stubborn stress in your life or stubborn work conditions that aggravate your neck you are far more likely to get stubborn neck pain. 

It is not advisable to treat your own neck pain unless you have at least already had it properly examined and diagnosed by a professional. That being said applying some self massage and ice packs to your neck can be beneficial and is unlikely to do any harm. If you have a more significant issue with your neck it is common to need some professional treatment if you want it to resolve fully. 

Your average family doctor has a similar number of  hours training in the management of neck pain as they do managing toothache. A handful. That being said they are a doctor which means they may be able to reassure you that you don’t have meningitis and give you a pain relief prescription.. no bad thing. 

There are other legitimate professionals like osteopaths, chiropractors and physiotherapists who train extensively to manage pain conditions… in the same way your dentist trained extensively to work on dental issues. Ultimately it is your choice who you see for treatment of your neck pain, but be discerning and expect coherent answers, along with effective treatment. 

Chiropractic neck adjustments carry significantly less risk of serious side effects than over the counter medications like aspirin. All healthcare interventions carry some risk. Chiropractors are legally registered health professionals with the same level of legitimacy as doctors and dentists in the eyes of the law. 

There is no known way to reverse arthritis in a joint, one day stem cell technology may achieve this feat but sadly we are not there yet. There is good news however. Arthritis is not necessarily the ‘pain sentence’ you might have been lead to believe it to be. By using focused and consistent physical therapies like acupuncture, joint mobilisations and rehab exercise many arthritic joints can become pain free. 

Neck pain can most definitely be a sign that there is something seriously wrong with you, meningitis can cause neck pain, tumors can cause neck pain, inflammatory arthritis can cause neck pain amongst many more. The good news is that most neck pains are less serious in nature and come under the ‘aches & pains’ heading. If in doubt get checked up by someone who is trained to diagnose these type of things.

The best treatment for severe neck pain is the most focused and flexible treatment. What this means essentially, is that if you have severe neck pain you want to find a practitioner who will mix and match treatments to get a result, and who treats exactly the right areas. As a rule you will get quicker relief with a combination of treatments eg. spinal manipulation, acupuncture and ultrasound, than you will with just one form of treatment. 

The best treatment for severe neck pain is also generally the one that is more ‘hands on’. If your neck is severely locked up and in spasm it is not likely that you are going to exercise your way out of it, as is the common expectation among physiotherapists. Severe neck pain is virtually always a call for ‘hands on’ treatment styles, make no mistake!!

If your neck pain is stubborn, the most likely reason you have it is some combination of lifestyle choices, work conditions, stress and posture. Old injuries can play a role too. There are also in more unusual cases, a variety of medical conditions that can cause neck pain. 

If you have ongoing neck pain and you are unsure as to what is causing it you should get it looked at by a professional.