How often have you heard someone say that they woke up with a “crick” in their neck? As a chiropractor, I commonly see patients come into the office with a “crick” being their main complaint. But what exactly is a “crick?”
When people think of a crick, most think about waking up one morning with a stiff neck.
The most common symptoms associated with a crick are neck pain and decreased cervical range of motion. The severity of pain and restricted range of motion can vary greatly. Some people might complain of mild neck stiffness, while others might have severe pain and can not move their neck at all.
In most cases, what is actually causing the crick is a misalignment in one of the vertebra of the neck. When the vertebra shifts out of position, it can start to put pressure on a nerve, causing pain. This misalignment may also cause the the muscles of the neck to be pulled, which can lead to muscle spasms and decreased range of motion.
A chiropractor may treat this problem in a number of ways.
The most common treatment from a chiropractor would be an adjustment. The chiropractor will find the areas in the spine that are misaligned and use their hands to correct the misalignment. They may also use electric stimulation to help with the muscle spasms. Some chiropractors may also perform deep tissue work to the muscle to help relieve spasm and increase range of motion.
Although chiropractic treatment is effective in treating the common “crick,” it is important to also correct the cause of the problem as well. Most commonly, a “crick” occurs after sleeping in an incorrect position. First and foremost, never sleep on your stomach, this is the position most likely to cause neck pain.
If you sleep on your side, make sure that your pillow is neither too high or too low. A good general rule is that your pillow height should be equal to the distance between your ear and your shoulder. Pillow height is also important if you sleep on your back. Usually, a single pillow is sufficient to keep your head in a neutral position while on your back.
The next time you, or someone you know, wakes up with a crick, be sure to see a chiropractor as soon as possible. Also, make sure that you sleep in a proper position in order to decrease your risk of future issues.