As a Chiropractor, my job isn’t simply about adjusting joints and making people’s spines crack. I need to look beyond the patients’ pain and their muscles, joints, and nerves. I must look at other factors which may explain the cause of their problem, which influence the prognosis of their neck injury, and the risk factors which may result in long term chronic pain/disability.
Neck pain is a common occurrence. I often see it in those who sit for long periods of time, in athletes and in those who have been in car accidents. Some people get better quickly while others never seem to recover.
Here are some of the risk factors that increase your chance of experiencing neck pain.
- Highly repetitive activities
- High force activities
- High job demands
- Neck flexion – head forward posture
- Arm force
- Arm posture
- Duration of sitting
- Twisting or bending of the trunk
- Hand-arm vibration
- Workplace design.
- Previous neck/shoulder injury
- Reduced health/quality of life
For the most part, these factors can be controlled by you. It is understandable though, that these factors may not be completely in your control because of your professional duties. If possible, contact your employer to look into changing your office ergonomics or changing your equipment.
The length of your treatment depends on a number of factors. These same factors may also be reason for the people developing chronic neck pain. So what factors lengthen your recovery or lead to chronic pain?
- Greater initial pain
- More initial symptoms
- Greater initial disability
- Little influence on your work situation
- Passive coping style
- Depressive mood
- Fear – avoidance behavior
- Blue collar worker
- Prior sick leave
You can control some of these factors but for such factors, such as, passive coping, depression, catatrophizing and fear-avoidance behavior seeking out the appropriate professional will be beneficial.
I hope this has helped you further understand the factors that influence your neck pain and the factors that may be slowing your recovery.
Until next time, enjoy your day
P.S. Scroll down and check out some of the research on neck pain
We found 226 articles related to course and prognostic factors in neck pain and its associated disorders. After a critical review, 70 (31%) were accepted on scientific merit; 47 of these studies related to course and prognostic factors in WAD. The evidence suggests that approximately 50% of those with WAD will report neck pain symptoms 1 year after their injuries. Greater initial pain, more symptoms, and greater initial disability predicted slower recovery. Few factors related to the collision itself (for example, direction of the collision, headrest type) were prognostic; however, postinjury psychological factors such as passive coping style, depressed mood, and fear of movement were prognostic for slower or less complete recovery. There is also preliminary evidence that the prevailing compensation system is prognostic for recovery in WAD.
methodological quality and study design, 4 levels of evidence were defined to establish the strength of evidence for the relationship between risk factors and neck pain. Altogether, 22 cross-sectional studies, 2 prospective cohort studies, and 1 case-referent study were eligible for determining the level of evidence. The results showed some evidence for a positive relationship between neck pain and the duration of sitting and twisting or bending of the trunk. A sensitivity analysis was carried out excluding 3 items of the quality list, the importance of which seemed doubtful. On the basis of this sensitivity analysis, it was concluded that there is some evidence for a positive relationship between neck pain and the following work-related risk factors: neck flexion, arm force, arm posture, duration of sitting, twisting or bending of the trunk, hand-arm vibration, and workplace design.