Dufferin Family Chiropractic

Back Pain - Neck/Upper

Most people do not realize how much they move their neck during the day until they are unable to do so. The degree of flexibility of the neck, coupled with the fact that it weighs on average of 14-16 pounds means that the neck is very susceptible to injury. Your head is much like a bowling ball being held on top of a stick by small, thin, elastic bands. Once you visualize this, it's easy to see why it doesn't take much force to disrupt that delicate balance and cause neck pain.

A little anatomy...The spinal cord is protected by the bones of the spine. Its job is to send nerve impulses to every part of the body so is functions and heals. In the upper spine (the neck) the spinal cord sends off large bundles of nerves that run down the arms and upper back. This means that if your arm is hurting, and you don't remember injuring it, it likely could be a problem in the neck! Symptoms like numbness, tingling, cold, or "pins and needles" in the arm, hand or fingers is an indicator that your problem stems from the nerves of the neck. Unfortunately these symptoms are often wrongfully diagnosed as carpal tunnel syndrome, a painful condition in the hands or wrist, and many times leads to unnecessary surgery and suffering.

Research has linked many other conditions like headaches, shoulder or upper back pain, ringing of or infections in the ears, jaw clicking or pain, and many others to problems in the neck.

The Causes of Neck and Upper Back Pain

Neck and upper back pain is usually not the result of one thing, rather a combination of several factors, including injury, poor posture, stress, disc problems and spinal misalignments called subluxations.


A common and well known injury to the neck is whiplash. Whiplash is caused by a sudden movement of the head, either backward, forward, or sideways. These injuries result in not only damage to the neck and upper back muscles and ligaments but more importantly shifting of the bones of the spine..subluxation.

Whether from a car accident, sports, or an accident at work, whiplash injuries need to be taken very seriously. Too often people don't seek chiropractic care following a car accident or sports injury because they only feel muscle stiffness. Unfortunately, by the time more serious complications develop, some of the damage from the injury may have become permanent. Numerous studies have shown that years after a whiplash injury nearly half still suffer with symptoms from the accident. If you have been in a motor vehicle or any other kind of accident, don't assume that you escaped injury if you are not currently in pain. Get a full spinal check up by a spinal specialist, your chiropractor.

Poor Posture

One of the most common causes of neck pain and headaches is repetitive poor posture. It's easy to get into bad posture habits without even realizing it - even an activity as "innocent" as reading in bed can ultimately lead to pain, headaches, and spinal problems The basic rule is to keep your neck in a "neutral" position and whenever possible, avoid bending or hunching your neck forward for long periods at a time.


For some, subluxation is a new word. but for over 100 years, subluxation has been known not only to chiropractors but scientist and researches to be a major contributor to many common health woes.

Subluxations...(misalignments of the spine leading to nerve pressure and abnormal nerve supply to the body) in the neck and upper back are extremely common due to the high degree of instability in the cervical spine.

Most subluxations tend to be centered around five areas: the top of the cervical spine where it meets the skull; in the middle of the cervical spine where the mechanical stress from the head is the greatest; in the transition where the cervical and thoracic areas of the spine meet; and finally near the bottom of the spine where the mechanical stress from the weight of the upper body is greatest.

One telltale sign of subluxation is when the head is tilted to one side or one shoulder appears higher than the other. Another sign of subluxation is known as FHP - Forward Head Posture - which has become very common today with all the technology requiring us to look down for extended periods of time.

Make no mistake... Subluxations are a debt to the body and our overall health. When ignored, they worsen over time, leading to larger more serious health concerns. If someone you know shows signs of Subluxation, get them check by your chiropractor and avoid the numerous health concerns that they create.

Disc Herniations

The discs in your cervical spine can herniate or bulge and put pressure on the nerves that exit from the spine through that area. Although cervical discs do not herniate nearly as often as lumbar discs, they are prone to bulging over time or when the discs sustain damage from an injury or impact. Contact us today!

Back Pain - Neck/Upper

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Disclaimer: The information on this site is provided in good faith for general information only. We make no representation or warranty of any kind for the information on the site.