It won’t surprise anyone that patients seek chiropractors to treat neck pain. Recently we’ve been exploring the link between neck pain and a range of other painful conditions and how a chiropractor can help. In this article, we’re looking at the connection between a sore neck and other prevalent complaints – sinus pain and a stuffy nose. We’ll dive into the well-established medicine, demonstrating how a misaligned neck can cause sinus problems. We’ll also look at how sinus pressure can cause secondary neck pain. If you regularly experience sinusitis and a stiff neck, this is the article for you.
Can neck pain lead to other symptoms?
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The concise answer is definitely! The most important point to remember is that good spine health is vital to how the rest of our body functions. The neck, in particular, being so close to the brain and head, is extremely delicate.
It’s hard to miss the symptoms of irritation and trauma to the neck. We’ve already looked at the link between neck pain and certain types of headaches. Neck pain is also closely related to a range of conditions that cause dizziness, which we explored in depth in a recent article. Chiropractors also link a misaligned neck with symptoms of fatigue, numbness and sensations like pins and needles.
Can a misaligned neck cause sinus problems?
Can a misaligned neck cause sinus problems? Definitely. If you’d like to deep dive into the science behind neck pain and sinusitis yourself, we recommend this article by medical specialists in the States. The important take-away is that misalignment of certain vertebrae inhibits sinus drainage and leads to sinusitis. We’ll summarise the essential points for you here.
What is a sinus?
Sinuses and sinusitis are commonly used words, but not many people know what they are or how they work. Sinuses are air-filled cavities in the bones of your face and skull. They play a role in reducing the total weight of all that bone in your head but are primarily responsible for producing the mucous that keeps your upper airways running smoothly.
In healthy sinuses, all of that mucus constantly drains to where it needs to be. If that drainage is blocked however, the sinus fills with fluid instead of air and infection can set in. This is when we experience symptoms like a stuffy nose and sinus headaches.
Nerves monitor sinus drainage
As with almost any bodily function, nerves play an important role in the proper management of the mucus production and drainage in the sinuses. If you think of every process going on in your body as an extremely finely tuned machine, it’s not hard to imagine that cutting communication with the control centre in your brain almost always leads to problems.
When it comes to the sinuses, their line of communication are facial nerves that run directly through the very top vertebrae of the spine. Misalignment of the upper neck or trauma to the tissue around the vertebrae can disrupt the proper function of these nerves and easily lead to problems including improper sinus drainage.
Proper neck shape helps sinus drainage
The spine and tissues of the neck have a natural curved shape when healthy – it’s when the neck is in this shape that everything works best. Misalignment of the vertebrae can alter this optimal geometry and lead to issues. When it comes to sinusitis, this likely means blocking the tubes that drain mucus from the sinus into the nose and throat, leading to congestion and sinusitis.
Can sinus pressure cause neck pain?
Is neck pain a common secondary symptom of sinus pressure? Yes – As the sphenoid sinuses that sit behind your eyes experience blockage, it can result in a painful headache that often translates into a range of other symptoms, including a sore neck.
Sinus headaches and neck pain
To explain the link here, we have to get more specific and talk about the sphenoid sinuses. These are the pair of sinuses that sit deep in the skull, right behind your eyes. Sinusitis in the sphenoids is commonly associated with headaches. In turn, certain headaches can feel like or cause neck pain. We’ve already covered the topic in more depth here. One recent medical study reported that 84% of patients suffering sinus headaches also said they experienced neck pain.
Sinusitis can cause muscle pain
We’ve all felt muscle tension when we’re fatigued or stressed out. If it goes on long enough it can become quite painful. A serious sinus infection hits you with a two punch combo, making quality sleep difficult and leaving you feeling miserable when you are out of bed. If your sinus infection has set in, it’s possible that a combination of poor sleep and fatigue, discomfort and stress during the day have led to muscle tension in the shoulders and neck which can feel particularly painful.
Immune reactions can cause neck pain
Sinusitis is an infection. As well as the direct symptoms like a stuffy nose, any infection results in a reaction by your immune system trying to fight back. One of the most important parts of recognising a new infection happens in the lymphatic nodes. These are located all over your body and when they’re doing their job they swell which can cause pain. They’re the reason you feel aches and pains when you have the flu. The high concentration of nodes in your neck may also cause pain when you have a local infection like sinusitis.
Can a chiropractor help with your neck pain and sinusitis?
If your neck pain is caused by a spinal misalignment, realignment therapy with a chiropractor can definitely help – it’s what we do best. If your misaligned spine has been affecting the function of your facial nerves or drainage from your sinuses, then there’s also a very good chance your sinusitis may improve as well.
There are also a variety of chiropractic techniques that directly promote sinus drainage to alleviate your symptoms directly regardless of the cause. If you’ve noticed your sinusitis often comes with a stiff neck and are wondering if sinus pressure is causing your neck pain, the best place to get answers is by getting in touch with the best chiropractor in Sydney. If you’re already convinced, it’s easy to book an appointment with us online anytime.