One of the most common reasons patients visit our office is neck pain. It is estimated that neck pain affects 30-50% of the adult population in a given year, and women are almost 1.5 times more likely to have neck pain than men. It is also becoming more common for children, especially adolescents, to experience neck pain.
While we care for patients with neck pain following an acute injury or trauma, like a whiplash car accident, most of what we see results from accumulated chronic micro-traumas that occur in our daily lives. The neck supports the weight of the head, which weighs 12 pounds on average. For every inch your ear sits in front of your shoulder, your head’s weight will increase by 10 pounds. So if your ear sits in front of your shoulder by two inches, your head effectively weighs 30 pounds! That weight puts a lot of stress on the bones, discs, muscles, and ligaments of the neck that hold your head up all day. Other lifestyle factors such as electronic device use (79% of the population between the ages 18 and 44 have their cell phones with them almost all the time—with only 2 hours of their waking day spent without their cell phone on hand), sleeping positions, and poor biomechanics also increase the stress on the neck. All of these factors accumulate over time to cause neck pain.