Neck Pain – Is It Just In Your Neck Or Is The Pain In The Shoulder, Head Or Mid Back – All Of These Can Be Due To A Problem In The Neck


Neck pain can be miserable – it can be just in your neck or can spread up to the head, as a headache, down to the mid back or out to the shoulder or even cause pain or pins and needles or coldness or weakness into the arm all the way down to the fingers.

You have 7 vertebrae in the neck – see Figure 2 below, and facet joints between these vertebrae allow movement to occur between each of the vertebrae. If you sprain one of these joints, pain can refer up to the head, or down to specific areas, depending on the facet joint affected and you can see which area each level refers to in the Figure 1 below.

referred painFigure 1


You sometimes feel as though you can move your neck one way without problem but moving it to the other direction is just not possible. This happens when one of the little joints in the neck (facets) becomes stuck – and muscles around it tighten to protect the joint so you are then unable to move properly, which is painful.

facets Figure 2


You might simply have slept awkwardly for too long or maybe you have been looking up for example painting a ceiling or looking down at a lap top or mobile or knitting or sewing for too long and you have put too much pressure on the joints by doing either for too long. When you irritate one of the joints near the top of the neck under the skull you can get a headache as a result or even pins and needles over and around the back of the ear.

The middle of the neck can refer pain to the mid back or the shoulder area and the lower neck can refer down the arm – even as far as the fingers – where you can feel pins and needles – sometimes in just a couple of the fingers or maybe the whole hand.

You have heard of a slipped disc in your back – well that doesn’t really happen but disc tears or bulges can occur and this can also happen in the neck. You will then feel shooting pain down from the neck into the shoulder blade area or into the arm. You might develop weakness in the arm muscles, pins and needles, numbness – any of these symptoms need to be checked out by a chiropractor in Southampton.

The quicker you get treatment by a chiropractor in Southampton at The Avenue Clinic, the less the pain will spread. Often the longer you leave a problem, the further away from the neck it will go and the longer it will take to resolve the problem.

Jan palpating neck

Following an extensive examination, during which we palpate the neck and upper back as above to feel for restrictions and to try to reproduce your pain, we will make a diagnosis, which we will share with you and explain what we mean so that you fully understand your problem. Then we may treat you with manipulation, mobilization, soft tissue massage and  exercises as appropriate. If your shoulders are not working properly, this can cause the neck pain so this will be assessed too. We will ask you about accidents, head injuries, hobbies, work positions etc to try to establish what you are doing to cause the pain.

Jaw problems can give rise to neck pain too – chiropractors in Southampton at The Avenue Clinic will include a jaw examination too – maybe you grind your teeth without realizing!