When experiencing chronic neck pain, we are frustrated and wonder just why won’t my neck muscles heal up and stop hurting?
Sometimes it would appear that inflammation is the problem, because we’ve been told that inflammation is a bad thing. But there’s more going on than that.
When talking about pain and inflammation, we are ultimately talking about the same thing. The 5 signs of inflammation are:
Swelling – Occurres due to extra blood flowing to the injured region to help with the healing process.
Heat – Blood is warm. Also, due to the additional cellular activity at the injured area, more activity = more thermal energy.
Altered function – Think of a twisted ankle. There’s inflammation, now try and run on it…doesn’t quite work the same.
Redness – Again associated with the increased volume of blood flowing to the region.
Pain – And finally pain. The great motivator. I think we get this one.
Pain is what we all want gone, but consider this. When a muscle is injured the expected recovery time is 2-4 weeks. Chronic is the word used to describe pain and inflammation that continues beyond the expected repair time, one month and beyond. So if it’s supposed to heal in 2-4 weeks, and it continues for months, something else must be happening to prevent the healing process.
If the muscles of your neck did heal up, and we re-injured our necks the day after healing finished, once again the inflammatory cycle would start over and we’d see another 2-4 weeks of the signs of inflammation.
Now what if we re-injured the tissues on day 2, or day 3? What if we were re-injuring the tissues daily? When would the inflammatory cycle end?
It wouldn’t. It would simply reset itself each and every time re-injury occurred and would therefore push the healing time back and back and back leading to a “chronic issue”.
It time to think about chronic issues as being daily acute issues.
The secret is to find out WHAT is causing the re-injury each and every day, prolonging your healing to the point that it appears that it is not happening at all.
Your daily activities or how you sit and stand all day is a great thing to consider. Slouching at work all day, will produce daily stress to the muscles and create a chronic pain issue. However consider posture… The forces of gravity, and specifically how you hold your body in gravity (posture) is also a major factor.
If you have been injured and your head and neck alignment has been altered, it is going to be very hard for your neck muscles to get back to the comfortable position that they once had UNLESS we can reposition your head and neck to a proper orientation.
This is where NUCCA Chiropractic comes in. We take a focused look at the head and neck alignment to make sure that you are positioned properly to handle gravity.
Don’t get stuck in the battle with inflammation, think bigger than that. Work on changing the stress that your muscles are taking on from gravity, and allow that natural inflammatory cycle to get the job done. It’s not a factor of inability of your body to heal, it’s just that you aren’t giving yourself a chance!!