Neck pain has many different causes.
Neck pain is debilitating and effects everything we do.


  • Poor posture
  • Neck sprain/strain
  • Disc injury
  • Radiculopathy

Those who suffer from neck pain know how difficult it is to sleep through the night, drive a car, and even enjoy a simple conversation. 

Our head weighs roughly 10 lbs. that our neck has to stabilize at all times through the day/night. 

IF we have poor posture and our head translates forward, that 10 lbs. almost doubles placing high demand on the neck stabilizers. 

Between poor posture and damage to structures in the neck from trauma, neck pain is the third most common condition I treat as a chiropractor here in Johnstown, CO.

Neck pain can often cause headaches.
This is usually due to poor posture or Upper Crossed Syndrome.

Poor posture or Upper Crossed Syndrome causes increased muscle activation on the back of the neck.

  • We often see this with anterior head carriage or when the head translates forward in comparrison to the shoulders. 
  • The small muscles near the base of the skull activate to keep the head from looking down. 
  • This constant tension puts pressure on nerves that refer pain into the head. 

Poor posture is often seen with sedentary lifestyle such as desk jobs or driving for a living.  

Stress often plays a large roll in neck and shoulder position. 

Cervicogenic Headache
Spraining or Straining your neck.
These injuries can be caused from trauma or chronic poor posture.

The major difference between a sprain and a strain is that sprains pertain to damaged ligaments that attach bone-to-bone without a muscle in between. 

A strain is damge to a muscle or tendon that connect bones together to perform a movement. 

They often have similar pain referrals and are commonly caused by:

  • Motor vehicle accidents causing WHIPLASH
  • Contact sports
  • repetitive postural strain
Disc Injuries
Discogenic pain referral

Discs are like bushings in between each vertebra. They are used to help distribute the forces and stress placed on the spine. Cervical discs can lose their structural integrity from degenerative processes and trauma/load that they weren't prepared for. 

  1. Disc Bulge- a generalized extension of disc tissues beyond the edges of vertebrae.
  2. Disc Herniation-
    1. Disc Protrusion- When a disc herniation is broader in diameter than the distance it protrudes into the canal.
    2. Disc Extrusion- When a disc herniation essentially balloons into the canal with a narrow base trying to piece off. 
    3. Sequestered Disc-A herniated disc that detaches and is separate from the disc of origin.

The outer 1/3 of the disc is innervated by nerve fibers which refer mechanical pain. The inner 2/3 of the disc is a jelly like material that our body regesters as a toxin when leaked out of the ligamentous outer 1/3 (annulus). 

Degenerative Disc Disorder
Process of aging and/or not moving enough.

Degenerative discs are easily seen on X-ray. Ultimately there is a decrease in disc height which in turn can cause local pain in the neck and radiating symptoms down into the arm. 

  • Degenerative discs often cause pressure to be placed on nerve roots leaving the spinal cord. 
  • This pressure often causes local neck pain.
  • As the process gets worse, it begins to refer pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness down the arm or into the shoulder blade. 

Typically both disc herniation and/or degeneration respond well to conservative care. 

Treatment For Disc Injuries
We want to determine the severity first.

Conservative treatment is very successful in managing disc herniations and other disc injuries. 

  1. Decrease the pain and calm down the inflammation. 
  2. Early rehabilitative exercises to restore motion and increase painless active range of motion.


We want to down regulate the system, then retrain neuromuscular control, and begin to stabilize the new posture and biomechanic control. 

Cervical Radiculopathy
Pain, Numbness, Tingling, Weakness

Cerivcal radiculopathy happens when a structure in the neck begins pressing on a nerve root that leaves the spine. 

  • This causes numbness, tingling, or weakness to distribute to the shoudler blade, down the arm, or even into the hand. 
  • This is usually caused from trauma in the younger population and degenerative process in the elderly population. 
    • Elderly- osteophytes form as well as decreased disc height causing decreased space for the nerve to exit the spine. 
    • Younger- most commonly a disc herniation/bulge or direct trauma to the nerve physical contact in sports. 
  • The pain often starts as a burning pain that may develop into numbness and in severe cases weakness.
Treatment For Cervical Radiculopathy
Repetitive exercises to decrease pain and restore neuromuscular control.

Conservative care is the number 1 way to address a cervical disc herniation. Many people recover for disc injuries with the proper guidance. Overall health must be considered with onset and recovery. Here at Rider Chiropractic Sports and Injury you can expect:

  • Traction- creates room for the nerve root to exit the spine.
  • Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy
  • Dry Needling
  • Chiropractic Manipulation/Adjustments
  • Rehabilitation exercises to strengthen deep neck flexors and restore normal mechanics

Risk factors that slow recovery= SMOKING, sedentary lifestyle, underlying health conditions. 

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