Neck pain is extremely common. In fact, most people will experience at least one episode of neck pain in their lifetimes, and usually more than one. Most of the time, neck pain will go away on its own, but sometimes it can last for a lot longer than expected. In these circumstances, taking the help of a chiropractor can help to reduce neck pain as well as treat the underlying causes of the pain. Chiropractic care for neck pain is a safe, non-invasive, and pain-free treatment approach.
What causes neck pain?
Occasionally, neck pain is caused by a serious underlying condition that will require extensive medical treatment. For instance, if along with the pain there is also numbness in the shoulder, arm, or leg, this can be an indication of a spinal cord injury that requires treatment from a neurologist. If the neck pain is accompanied by fever, vomiting, headache, or sensitivity to light, this could be a sign of meningitis which needs urgent medical treatment.
Most of the time, however, neck pain is caused by a problem with the joints, muscles, or connective tissue. This is also called "simple" or "mechanical" neck pain and can usually be treated by a chiropractor. The causes of mechanical neck pain are quite varied, and can include:
* poor posture or awkward sleeping position causing a pinched nerve or muscle strain
* slipped disc
* worn joints
* a neck injury, including a sports injury or whiplash
Chiropractic care for neck pain
Chiropractors are able to diagnose health conditions, so before any treatment begins, there will be an extensive diagnostic process to determine what the likely cause of the neck pain is. This can include taking x-rays, a medical history, and a physical examination.
Most of the time, there will be some involvement of the cervical spine (the top part of the spine in the neck) with the neck pain. Manipulation of the cervical spine by a trained chiropractor can help to loosen the joints and bring them back into proper alignment. This can release any pinched nerves and reduce muscle strains.
Putting the neck back into proper alignment can also help to improve poor posture. Chiropractors are also trained to give posture advice. This can include examining the standing position and gait, as well as sleeping positions, and then giving advice about how to change any problematic areas.
As well as treating the spine itself, a chiropractic care approach to neck pain will usually also focus on healing the soft tissue in the neck and shoulders. This can include stretching and massage, and advice about home exercises that can help to alleviate the pain.
Depending on the cause of the neck pain and the patient's needs, other treatments such as acupuncture, electrotherapy, physical therapy, heat and cold therapy, ergonomic advice, can also be offered.
Neck pain usually has a simple mechanical cause that can be treated by a chiropractor. Cervical spine manipulation can be used to bring the neck back into proper alignment, relieving the pressure on the nerves and muscles. Treatments focused on the muscles themselves, as well as lifestyle advice, can also help to treat the cause of the neck pain.