Contact Discover Life Chiropractic today to help with your neck pain issues.
Neck pain is a common occurrence in many people across the world. Those who suffer from neck pain can obtain more effective relief from chiropractic care.
People who experience neck pain frequently report having the following symptoms:
- Muscle spasms
- Stiff neck associated with limitation in range of motion
- General tenderness of soreness in the neck
- Concentrated stabbing or sharp pain in the neck
- Radiating pain leading from neck to shoulders, head, arms and fingers
Chiropractic neck adjustment referred to as cervical manipulation, is used by Tacoma chiropractic care givers to loosen the joints of cervical vertebrae around neck region reducing neck pain.
Some types of neck pain that can be treated using chiropractic care include the following:
- Cervical sprain injuries
- Facet joint sprain
- Cervical intervertebral disc injury that may not require surgery
- Degenerative joint syndrome around the neck region such as facet joints
Typical causes of Neck Pain
The neck is flexible and can move the head in many directions. Because of this flexibility, the neck is very highly susceptible to injury. Majority of causes of neck pain include:
- Sedentary and technology-based heavy lifestyle
- Pinched nerves
- Watching television screens for prolonged period of time
- Reading a book in an improper position
- Using mobile devices such as phones and tablets
- Bone spurs
- Falling asleep in wrong position
- Worn joints
- Emotionally stressed at workplace or at home
- Muscle strains due to postural deviations caused by poor posture
- Getting involved in auto accidents or injuries from sports
- Repeated bad posture or ergonomics
- Repeated stress injury in the neck caused by excessive texting or watching on handled devices over a prolonged period of time
- Age-related tear and wear of the muscle joints as you grow older. This includes degenerative disorders like spinal stenosis, osteoarthritis, and degenerative disc diseases that affect the spine directly.
All these cause the vertebrae to shift from the usual natural alignment resulting into a painful neck.
Problems of prolonged neck pains
Discomfort caused by neck pain if untreated can permeate throughout the body causing serious pain in the arms.
Prolonged neck pains can cause:
- Vertebrae misalignment
- Stiffness with associated long-term mobility issues
- Chronic headaches
- Degenerative disc disease
Chiropractic care givers can help by relaxing the muscles, repositioning the bones, and relieving the pressure exerted on the nerves.
How do chiropractors diagnose neck pain?
Experiencing acute or chronic neck pain, discomfort or stiffness will require the help of a chiropractic care giver.
To comprehensively diagnose specific cause related to your neck pain, a chiropractor will:
- evaluate your entire spine including cervical, low back (lumbar), and mid back(thoracic)
- determine specific areas showing restricted movement
- examine how you walk
- examine your overall posture
- examine your spinal alignment
- thoroughly review your past medical history
- conduct some specific tests such as:
- Orthopedic examination – your chiropractor will take note of your spine by feeling, its curvature and the alignment as well as feeling the muscle spasm
- Posture and gait examination – noting movement causing pain
- Neurological examination – test reflexes, pain spread, nerve changes and muscle strength
- Range of motion and weight distribution tests
- X-ray test which may reveal narrowed disc space, bone spurs, fractures, or arthritis
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) examination may reveal bulging disc and herniation.
- in cases of suspected nerve damage, your chiropractor can request further specialist test such as Electromyography (EMG) or Computerized Axial Tomography (CAT).
- analyze examination results and make report findings
- create a care plan that suits the needs and goals of the patient
A chiropractor will follow these steps to get a better understanding of your body mechanics. The diagnostic process can enable a chiropractor to create a personalized treatment plan for your neck condition.
After diagnosis of the cause of the neck pain, your chiropractor will create a program of treatment plan that may include combining several types of treatment options, depending on the necessity of personal needs. Cervical manipulation aside, your treatment plan may consist of mobilization, rehabilitative exercises or massaging.
Your chiropractor will take time to take you through the possible treatment options after diagnosis so that you are aware of what will be happening in the course of your treatment.
And if your chiropractic care giver believes that your neck pain can be better treated through surgery, then you are more likely to be referred to a spinal surgeon.
How a Chiropractor can help in treating your Neck Pain
Chiropractor care givers can help in adjusting the neck through what is referred to as cervical manipulation by loosening up joints of cervical vertebrae around the neck region.
A chiropractor may also opt to use manual therapy as part of the treatment plan for the neck pain in addition to other techniques.
Chiropractic care givers use their hands in manipulating the neck and placing the vertebrae back into its natural alignment.
Spinal manipulation technique may include the following:
- Flexion-distraction technique. This is a gentle and hands-on spinal manipulation. This technique involves pumping action on intervertebral disc as opposed to using direct force
- Specific spinal manipulation. This technique can help restore joint movement through the use of gentle thrusting technique
- Instrument-assisted manipulation. This technique involves use of a hand-held device in applying force without thrusting into your spine.
According to a 2019 study Lohman et al. (2019) revealed the potential of cervical spine manipulation in the treatment of neck pain.
Manual therapy technique may include the following:
- Trigger point therapy technique is used by chiropractors to relieve tight and painful points on experienced on muscles
- Manual joint stretching-and-resistance techniques. These can be used to reduce neck pain and other related symptoms
- Instrument-assisted soft-tissue therapy such as myofascial release and massage is a technique that use special devices in diagnosing and treatment of muscle tension in the neck
- Therapeutic massage technique can help in relaxing a patient’s tense muscles
Other therapies that a chiropractor may consider using to ease your neck pains include:
- Ultrasound to send sound waves into the muscle tissues in relieving stiffness and neck pain
- Therapeutic exercises can be used by your chiropractor to help in improving overall range of motions in the neck. This also helps in preventing progress of neck pain
- Inferential electrical stimulation that uses low frequency electrical impulse current that stimulate neck muscles
- Posture correction
- Changes in lifestyle such as behavioral changes and exercise
In addition, a chiropractor may also educate you on stress management skills and appropriate nutritional diet to follow as well as lifestyle goals after treating your neck pain.
How safe is chiropractic care for neck pain?
Chiropractic care doctors are conservative; the scope of their practice doesn’t include the use of surgery or drugs in treating patients suffering from neck pain.
If your chiropractor’s diagnosis of your condition falls outside the accepted conservative scope, that may indicate existence of organic disease or neck fracture; you will be referred to an appropriate medical specialist or physician. Your chiropractor may also request for permission to liaise with your family physician regarding the on-going chiropractic care to ensure a properly coordinated chiropractic care and medical care.
The use of over-the-counter pain medications can be addictive. However, the best alternative to prescribed medications for patients with neck pain is to engage the services of a licensed chiropractor.
The goal of a chiropractor is to relieve your neck pain and improve its functioning. Chiropractors don’t do surgery or prescribe drugs. They manipulate your spine or adjust body structure to proper alignment. A properly aligned body ensures better chances of the body healing itself overtime.
Licensed chiropractors are qualified enough to safely administer non-invasive, non-addictive spinal adjustments to your neck as the best alternative to prescribed medications to patients suffering from neck pain.
Chiropractic adjustment has been hailed by research as one of the best ways to treat neck pains. According to a study published in National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) by Haneline and Cooperstein (2009) showed improvement of patients suffering from neck pain who underwent chiropractic treatment.
How long does chiropractic care take for neck pain to heal?
The circumstances that precipitated your neck pain will dictate the duration that chiropractic treatment plan will take. Patients experiencing neck pain caused by auto related accidents, injuries sustained in the course of participating in sports or arthritis are likely in need of long-term care. While patients experiencing neck pain due to pinched nerve or postural issues may be in need of a short-term chiropractic care.
The only way to determine the length of chiropractic care is to visit a chiropractor for consultation, x-rays and palpations.
Benefits of chiropractic care
Chiropractic care can provide patients suffering from neck pain with the following benefits:
- Relieves neck pain
- Reduced discomfort
- Improvement in range of motion
- Decreased inflammation
- Increased activity
- Improved flexibility
- Improved lifestyle
- Releases muscle tension
- Can improve the quality of sleep
Chiropractic spinal adjustments can significantly reduce misalignments and associated inflammation. This can improve functioning of affected nervous system and joints and reduce discomfort experienced in the neck.