Neck PainNeck pain affects a significant number of individuals. Recent studies have found more than 10% of Americans suffer from neck pain at any given time.
Your neck, also called the cervical spine, begins at the base of the skull and contains seven small vertebrae. Incredibly, the cervical spine supports the full weight of your head, which is on average about 12 pounds. While the cervical spine can move your head in nearly every direction, this flexibility makes the neck very susceptible to pain and injury.
Common Causes of Neck Pain
How Chiropractic Can Help
Evidence Supporting Chiropractic Care and Neck Pain
Common Causes of Neck Pain
Injury and Accidents: A sudden forced movement of the head or neck in any direction and the resulting “rebound” in the opposite direction is known as whiplash. The sudden “whipping” motion injures the surrounding and supporting tissues of the neck and head. Muscles react by tightening and contracting, creating muscle fatigue, which can result in pain and stiffness. Severe whiplash can also be associated with injury to the spinal joints, discs, ligaments, muscles, and nerve roots. Car accidents (“car accidents” highlighted to link to auto accident page) are the most common cause of whiplash.
Growing Older: Degenerative disorders such as arthritis, spinal stenosis, and degenerative disc disease directly affect the spine.
- Osteoarthritis, a common joint disorder, causes progressive deterioration of cartilage. The body reacts by forming bone spurs that affect joint motion.
- Spinal stenosis causes the small nerve passageways in the vertebrae to narrow, compressing and trapping nerve roots. Stenosis may cause neck, shoulder, and arm pain, as well as numbness, when these nerves are unable to function normally.
- Degenerative disc disease can cause reduction in the elasticity and height of vertebral discs. Over time, a disc may bulge or herniate, causing tingling, numbness, and pain that runs into the arm.
Daily Life: Poor posture, sleep position, obesity, and weak abdominal muscles often disrupt spinal balance, causing the neck and head to move forward. Stress and emotional tension can cause muscles to tighten and contract, resulting in pain and stiffness. Postural stress can contribute to chronic neck pain with symptoms extending into the upper back and the arms.
How We Can Help!
Fortunately, most individuals suffering from neck problems will find chiropractic care extremely beneficial. Unlike prescription drugs, most chiropractic procedures address the cause of the neck problem, not simply the symptoms. Best of all, chiropractic care is safe, natural, and noninvasive ... no side effects allowed!
A neck adjustment is a precise procedure applied to the joints of the neck, usually by hand but can be done with an instrument at our office. Neck adjustments work to improve the mobility of the spine and to restore range of motion; it can also increase movement of the adjoining muscles. Patients typically notice an improved ability to turn and tilt the head, and a reduction of pain, soreness, and stiffness.
Typically, we develop a program of care that combines more than one type of treatment, depending on your personal needs. In addition to manipulation, your treatment plan may include mobilization, specific stretching and rehabilitative exercises, Gua Sha muscle work, etc. To find out more about our specific treatments, visit our services page (link).
As chiropractors, we are conservative care doctors; our scope of practice does NOT include the use of drugs or surgery. If we diagnose a condition outside of this conservative scope, such as a neck fracture or an indication of an organic disease, we will refer you to the appropriate medical physician or specialist. We will also ask for permission to inform your family physician of the care you are receiving to ensure that your chiropractic care and medical care are properly coordinated.
Evidence Supporting Chiropractic Care for Neck Pain
“In a Randomized controlled trial, 183 patients with neck pain were randomly allocated to manual therapy (chiropractic), physiotherapy (mainly exercise) or general practitioner care (counseling, education and drugs) in a 52-week study. The clinical outcomes measured showed that manual therapy resulted in faster recovery than physiotherapy and general practitioner care. Moreover, total costs of the manual therapy-treated patients were about one-third of the costs of physiotherapy or general practitioner care.”
-- Korthals-de Bos et al (2003), British Medical Journal
“In our randomized, controlled trial, we compared the effectiveness of manual therapy, physical therapy, and continued care by a general practitioner in patients with nonspecific neck pain. The success rate at seven weeks was twice as high for the manual therapy group (68.3 percent) as compared to the continued care group (general practitioner). Manual therapy scored better than physical therapy on all outcome measures. Patients receiving manual therapy had fewer absences from work than patients receiving physical therapy or continued care, and manual therapy and physical therapy each resulted in statistically significant less analgesic use than continued care.”
– Hoving et al (2002), Annals of Internal Medicine