Waking up with neck pain

Acute insidious onset neck pain.  It’s happened to many of us.  From my experience, this usually occurs after spending several hours on the computer or other static postures limiting neck movement. Patients will often present to the clinic and proclaim that they have “slept funny”.  This is because they have usually gone to bed relatively pain free, but have woken up in the morning with intense pain.

Turning your head or changing position from lying to sitting up can be a challenge.  The discomfort can be so intense that you might feel the need to support the head and neck with your hand as you change position.

To make sense of this, let us take a look at the anatomy of the spine.  There are 7 vertebrae in the neck.  They are separated from one another  by an intervertebral disc which acts as a shock absorber.  There are also 4 joints on the back of the vertebrae that articulate with adjacent vertebral segments.  2 of these articulate with the vertebrae above, and 2 with the vertebrae below.  These joints are called facet joints and they are synovial.  This means that each joint is surrounded in a capsule.  The capsule is full of synovium liquid which acts as a lubricant.

The problem occurs because the capsule also has a lot of tiny little folds of tissue.  These folds are called meniscoids, and they are full of nerve fibers.  Often, these tiny little folds can become entrapped in the facet joint space.  The joints then become painful and inflamed, and the surrounding muscles may also go into spasm.

The chiropractic adjustment is the perfect tool to free up an entrapped meniscoid.  Patients often report a gradual improvement within the next few days as the inflammation subsides.  A few treatment may be necessary to resolve the issue.