Back & Neck Pain Chiropractor in Dunwoody GA

Back & Neck Pain

Most neck and upper back pain is caused by a combination of factors, including injury, poor posture, chiropractic subluxations, stress, and, in some instances, disc problems.

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 has the least amount of muscular stabilization and has to support and move your 14- to 16-pound head, means that the neck is very susceptible to injury. Consider your neck and head to be a bowling ball held on top of a stick by small, thin, elastic bands. It doesn’t take much force to disrupt that delicate balance. The spinal cord runs through a space in the vertebrae to send nerve impulses to every part of the body.

Between each pair of cervical vertebrae, the spinal cord sends off large bundles of nerves that run down the arms and, to some degree, the upper back. This means that if your arm is hurting, it may actually be a problem in the neck! Symptoms in the arms can include numbness, tingling, coldness, aching, and “pins and needles.”
These symptoms are similar to carpal tunnel syndrome, a painful condition in the hands common in people who work at computer keyboards or perform other repetitive motion tasks for long periods of time. Problems in the neck can also contribute to headaches, muscle spasms in the shoulders and upper back, ringing in the ears, otitis media (inflammation in the middle ear, often mistaken for an ear infection in children), temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ), restricted range of motion, and chronic tightness in the neck and upper back. We associate the neck and upper back together because most of the muscles that are associated with the neck either attach to or are located in the upper back. A few of these muscles include the Trapezius, Levator Scapulae, Cervical Paraspinal Muscles, and the Scalenes.

The Causes of Neck and Upper Back Pain

Most neck and upper back pain is caused by a combination of factors, including injury, poor posture, chiropractic subluxations, stress, and, in some instances, disc problems.


By far, the most common injury to the neck is a whiplash injury. Whiplash is caused by a sudden movement of the head, either backward, forward, or sideways, that results in damage to the supporting muscles, ligaments, and other connective tissues in the neck and upper back. Whether from a car accident, a sports injury, or an accident at work, whiplash injuries need to be taken very seriously. Because symptoms of a whiplash injury can take weeks or months to manifest, it is easy to be fooled into thinking that you are not as injured as you really are. Too often, people don’t seek treatment following a car accident or sports injury because they don’t feel hurt. 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 whiplash victims settle their insurance claims, roughly half of them state that they still suffer from symptoms from their injuries. If you have been in a motor vehicle accident or any other kind of accident, don’t assume that you have escaped injury if you are not currently in pain. Get checked out by a good chiropractor.

Poor Posture

One of the most common causes of neck pain, and sometimes headaches, is 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 more serious problems. The basic rule is simple: keep your neck in a “neutral” position whenever possible. Don’t bend or hunch your neck forward for long periods of time. Also, try not to sit in one position for a long time. If you must sit for an extended period, make sure your posture is good: Keep your head in a neutral position, make sure your back is supported, keep your knees slightly lower than your hips, and rest your arms if possible.

People who are hunched over their computers all day are prone to a forward head posture. If not taken care of with chiropractic care, subluxations like this can worsen over time.


When most people become stressed, they unconsciously contract their muscles. In particular, the muscles in their backs. This “muscle guarding” is a survival response designed to guard against injury. In today’s world, where we are not exposed to physical danger most of the time, muscle guarding still occurs whenever we become emotionally stressed. The areas most affected are the muscles of the neck, upper back, and low back. For most of us, the particular muscle affected by stress is the trapezius muscle, where daily stress usually leads to chronic tightness and the development of trigger points.
The two most effective ways you can reduce the physical effects of stress on your own are to increase your activity level (exercise) and by practicing deep breathing exercises. When you decrease the physical effects of stress, you can substantially reduce the amount of tightness and pain in your upper back and neck.

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 do, they occasionally can herniate, especially when the discs sustain damage from a whiplash injury. Contact us today!