THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CHRONIC NECK PAIN
AND RESTRICTED CERVICAL MOTION
The sound created when two rough surfaces in the human body come into contact --- for example, in osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis when the cartilage around joints has eroded away and the joint-ends grind against one another. Wikipedia's definition of the word "Creep"
Although it almost goes without saying, there is an intimate relationship between loss of normal ranges of motion in your neck, and pain in the neck. If you have poor mobility of the neck, sooner or later it is probably going to give you grief in the form of neck pain (and in some cases, even if your ROM IS NORMAL). If left unchecked, this neck pain can easily become long-standing or CHRONIC NECK PAIN.
Much of this has to do with the role played by nerve endings called Mechanoreceptors / Proprioceptors and their relationship to Spinal Degeneration. Normal ranges of motion of the vertebrae in the neck fires off the maximum amount of PROPRIOCEPTIVE NERVE ENDINGS. These are nerve endings that sense stretch, pressure, and movement of bones, tissues, and joints, telling the various parts of the body where they are at in space and what they are doing in relationship to other parts of the body. Lose the ability to move, and you fail to fire off appropriate numbers of Mechanoreceptors. The result is SPINAL DEGENERATION.
Look at the pictures of Sara above. A 'normal' range of motion in the neck means that you should be able to approximate your ear to your shoulder, get your chin on or near your chest, rest a glass of water on your forehead, and put your nose over your shoulder (without moving your shoulder forward). If you cannot do all of these things without lots of pulling and / or discomfort, it is quite likely that you do not have adequate range of motion in your neck.
Another sign that things are going south as far as your neck's ranges of motion are concerned has to do with something called "Creep". CREEP --- often referred to as "Crepitus" (think of the word "Decrepit" here) is the grating or grinding sound of crushed gravel or crushed glass, and is another dead give away that bones, tissues, and joints are not moving properly in the neck. Although Crepitus is usually thought of as irreversible, this is rarely true.
The bottom line is that loss of mobility and range of motion in your neck is not a good thing. It leads to a host of problems including Chronic Pain. How do I deal with patients struggling with neck pain? I covered this in PHASE I of my post on solutions for Chronic Neck Pain. The very first thing I do is see if a person has FASCIAL ADHESIONS or SCAR TISSUE (Fibrosis) in the tissues of their neck. If this step is skipped in patients with Chronic Neck Pain, even helpful therapies such as CHIROPRACTIC ADJUSTMENTS, NECK EXERCISES / STRETCHES, and many forms of THERAPY will often prove unhelpful --- or at least not helpful for very long. For instance.....
When people constantly feel like they need a Chiropractic Adjustment to their neck (or feel like they need to "pop" their neck), but the results of the adjustment (or 'self-popping') are short lived; you can bet your bottom dollar that Scar Tissue is present. And if Scar Tissue is present, you literally cannot be adjusted enough times (HERE) to change your symptoms for more than a few days (or in many cases, a few hours).