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How Your Neck Pain May Affect Your Breathing

Another Reason to Get Help Now

Do you feel that your chronic neck pain is something that you just have to accept? Do you plan to address it later or seek treatment “when you have more time”? If you have been putting off treatment for your neck pain, you may want to think twice about waiting to get help—chronic neck pain may be associated with respiratory problems and weakness, according to the results of a recent study.

A team led by researchers in Greece explored whether patients who have ongoing neck pain also have problems with respiratory strength. Their study, “Respiratory weakness in patients with chronic neck pain,” was published online ahead of print in November 2012. It appears in the journal Manual Therapy.

Check out the results of this recent study below—and then read on to learn why you should seek help for chronic neck pain sooner rather than later.

How the Study Was Conducted
The researchers looked at data on 45 patients with chronic neck pain. They compared this data with that of 45 healthy patients who did not have a history of neck pain. The study authors then assessed the patients’ respiratory muscle strength and levels of pain and disability, neck muscle strength, range of movement in the neck, and other factors.

What the Researchers Found
The results of the study showed that patients who had chronic neck pain were more likely to have problems with respiratory strength than patients without neck pain.

The study authors suggest that this may be due to problems with the neck muscles in patients who have chronic neck pain. Additionally, the researchers suggest that some psychological factors may also have an effect on the association between neck pain and respiratory problems.

What This Study Means for You
Besides the physical symptoms of chronic neck pain, like soreness and stiffness, the condition can have a number of additional effects on the body. These include weight loss due to problems eating, or fatigue due to difficulty sleeping.

The present study provides just one more reason why you should not ignore chronic neck pain and seek help for it as soon as possible. Your health care professional can help you determine if your breathing difficulties are linked to your neck pain, and start you on a treatment plan that addresses both problems.

Read these Common Neck Pain Questions to learn more about a variety of treatment options for your neck pain.

Updated on: 12/10/12
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