Common Causes of Neck Pain

If you are experiencing pain in your neck or back, that is not something you want to ignore. We know you're in pain, and you may not be able to get into our office right away. That means you will have the temptation to crack your neck or spine. Please, don't do that. That will only make the problem worse. The best thing you can do, if you are experiencing pain, and need relief now, is ice your back. Here's a list of steps you should take to receive the most benefit from icing. 

Icing Tips

  1. Find a comfortable chair where you can recline or a bed where you can lay down
  2. Cover an ice pack with a paper towel to ensure you won't get frost bite
  3. Place it on the area of discomfort 
  4. Set the timer for 20 minutes and relax

Depending on the source of your pain, you may need to ice more than once a day. But don't leave the ice pack on your neck or back for any longer than 20 minutes. Just go throw it in the freezer, and leave it there for a while. 

If your pain persists, it may be due to something more than a knot in your back. Here are some common causes of neck and back pain. 

Neck Pain Causes

Herniated Disc – (Also called a Slipped Disc) There is a soft, gel like substance between each of your vertebra that keeps them from grinding against one another. When that gel like substance slips out of position, and two of the vertebra grind against each other, you feel the pain.

Degenerative Disc Disease – This most likely happens due to a low energy injury to the disc. Since the disc has no blood supply, it cannot go through the same healing process as other tissue, and over time the disc wears out.

Cervical Osteoarthritis – (Cervical Spondylosis) This occurs because of the degeneration of the facet joints in the cervical spine and causes Arthritis in the neck. 

Whiplash – Your neck is only meant to move a certain distance in any direction. This occurs when your neck muscles are overextended.


If you iced your neck, but your pain persists, these are just some of the conditions that might be causing your pain. Even if your pain subsides after you ice a few times, it is still a good idea to have an upper cervical specialist examine you. There are many underlying conditions that could pop-up later if the initial pain is left untreated.  

To schedule your NUCCA evaluation, click here.

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Dr. Dan Spinato of the San Diego Integrative Spine Center in San Diego, California is a Rancho Penasquitos Chiropractor and an Upper Cervical Specialist trained by the National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association (NUCCA). Over the past 30 years, Dr. Spinato has helped many people find natural relief in San Diego, California. His upper cervical clinic also serves the communities of Rancho Penasquitos, Carmel Valley, Poway, Scripps Ranch and Rancho Bernardo. He is uniquely trained to correct problems in the upper cervical spine (upper neck). This vital area is intimately connected to the central nervous system and problems in this area have been shown to be an underlying cause of a variety of different health problems, including migraine headaches, chronic neck and back pain, fibromyalgia, allergy and sinus problems and temporomandibular joint disorders. More information can be found on his website at

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NUCCA Chiropractic Care

What is NUCCA
The National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association (NUCCA) is an organization of Doctors of Chiropractic dedicated to patient care, education and research.

Spinal health care using the NUCCA procedures focuses on detecting and correcting a small misalignment in the upper neck area. Gentle, non-invasive adjustments don’t require any turning, twisting or popping.

Your upper cervical spine (neck) area influences all areas of your body. Injury or chronic misalignments can cause headaches, migraines, neck pain, low back pain, weakness and more.

The NUCCA technique is currently offered by less than 1% of all the Doctors of Chiropractic.

Before the NUCCA procedure can be performed, I will sit down with you and discuss your history and symptoms. If I determine that NUCCA can help, a thorough examination and x-rays will be done. A complete report of your findings and treatment options will be discussed. 

First adjustment
Precision x-rays are taken of the spine before any treatment begins. The adjustment is performed with the patient lying on their side and the doctor applying a very light pressure behind the earlobe. A full demonstration can be seen on the video above.

The NUCCA procedure can be summed up with 5 major distinctions as compared to traditional Chiropractic:

  • Gentle adjustment to the neck with no turning, twisting or popping.
  • Precision x-rays to measure before and after corrections.
  • Total body posture and balance improvement
  • Greater stability to the spine
  • Hold adjustments longer with fewer visits

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