For many, life can be literally an ongoing pain in the neck. They live with chronic neck discomfort. Others may not realize how much they move their neck during the day until they are suddenly unable to do so.
The neck, or cervical spine, begins at the base of the skull and contains seven small bones (vertebrae). It is fully integrated with shoulder, jaw, and upper back motion. Since the cervical spine links these systems and allows movement of the head in nearly every direction, it is particularly susceptible to pain and injury.
Causes of Neck Pain
Whiplash injuries, the most common source being car accidents, are a leading cause of neck pain. Injuries related to sports and work can also result in chronic neck discomfort.
Many of the activities of daily life, as well as habits we have developed over the years, cause neck pain. Chronic poor posture, on the job and at home, places continual stress on the neck and its supporting musculature. The stresses of life and emotional tension cause muscles to tighten, leading to pain and stiffness.
Aging leads to increased chances for osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis (narrowing), and degenerative disc disease, all of which can complicate neck pain.
Chiropractic Care for Neck Pain
On your initial visit you will be asked questions regarding the history of your neck pain, such as:
When did it start?
Are you aware of anything that may have caused it?
What makes the pain worse or better?
Do you have pain anywhere else – head, arms, etc.?
Are you experiencing any numbness or tingling into one or both arms?
An examination will be performed to determine, among other things, your mobility (range of motion) and where in your neck and/or muscles the pain seems to be originating. Various orthopedic and neurological checks will be performed. If thought to be necessary, the doctor may obtain cervical x-rays to check for any abnormalities in your spine.
Treatment may include any of the following:
Spinal manipulation to address joint dysfunction. Modalities such as ultrasound, interferential therapy, ice or heat to address pain and inflammation. Manual therapy to relieve muscle tension in the neck and upper back. Recommendations regarding needed changes in posture, ways to improve work ergonomics, exercises, and relaxation techniques.
Forward head posture is very common for people who are stooped over their computers all day long. Rather than the cause, slouched posture is a symptom of muscle imbalance and joint tightness.
Cervical Spine Manipulation
A neck adjustment, also known as a cervical spine manipulation, is a procedure applied to joints of the neck, usually by hand. The adjustment works to improve the mobility of the spine to increase range of motion. It can also help reduce muscle tension. Patients typically experience an improved ability to move their head and a reduction of neck pain and stiffness. Often, if they are having headaches related to neck misalignment, these will resolve. It takes a series of adjustments to adequately address your neck condition. You will be asked to do your part by following recommendations regarding ways to improve your posture to help reduce stress to your neck. By working together, favorable results can be achieved more quickly.