The spine supports the entire weight of the human head, which weighs an average of 12 pounds. The neck, also known as the cervical spine, contains seven small vertebrae and travels from the skull base down the back. The flexibility of the cervical spine, while necessary for movement, also makes the neck susceptible to injury, driving many people to seek treatment from a chiropractor to relieve pain.
Causes of Neck Pain
Biomechanics is a significant reason for the neck’s propensity for injury. Accidents, aging, body blows, extended sitting falls, repetitive movements, blows to the head, and daily wear and tear can affect cervical biomechanics. Chiropractic care examines the following factors:
Degenerative conditions including spinal stenosis, osteoarthritis, and degenerative disc disease impact the health and stability of the spine.
Accidents and injuries
Whiplash is an involuntary movement of the neck or head in one direction that causes a reactive movement toward the opposite direction. This sudden whip-like motion, often resulting from a car accident, causes injury to the supporting tissues of the head and neck. Whiplash also includes possible damage to discs, joints, muscles, ligaments, and nerve roots of the vertebra.
Obesity, poor posture, and weak abdominal muscles can impact the spine’s balance, resulting in the neck bending forward in compensation. Tight muscles from stress and tension can cause pain or a stiff neck.
Degenerative disc disease
This condition can result in reduced height and elasticity of intervertebral discs, which can herniate or bulge over time, causing pain, tingling, and numbness in the neck, back, and arms.
This joint disorder is relatively common, resulting in cartilage deterioration and the formation of bone spurs that impact the ability to move the joints without difficulty, discomfort, or pain.
The vertebrae’s small nerve passages in the spinal canal can narrow, causing compression and entrapment of the nerve roots of the spinal cord. This condition can result in arm and shoulder pain, a pinched nerve, and numbness.
Can a Chiropractor Help with Treatment for Neck Pain?
During your first visit to a chiropractor regarding neck pain, the doctor will conduct several assessments to gather data layers.
The chiropractor will ask you for a description of your symptoms, including:
- Areas of pain
- Duration and frequency of symptoms
- Activities that cause worsening of pain
- Activities that alleviate the pain
In chiropractic for neck pain, the doctor delves into the patient’s background to learn the medical history, including the following factors:
- Diet and exercise
- Personal and family medical history
- Current health issues and medications
- Occupational and psychosocial history
- Sleep habits
- Stress levels
- Use of alcohol, drugs, and tobacco
The chiropractor will conduct a neurological and physical exam for the treatment of neck pain, including the following:
- Range of motion
- Physical condition, including painful movements
- Spine alignment and curvature
- Muscle spasms
- Muscle strength
- Nerve changes
- Pain spread
The chiropractor may recommend additional testing for the diagnosis of an existing condition, including the following, which may be conducted in the chiropractic for neck pain office or through an external provider:
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computerized axial tomography (CT or CAT scans): can detect hernias and bulging discs
- Electromyography: can measure the responsiveness of the nerves
- X-rays: can identify arthritis, fractures, bone spurs, and disc space
Standard Chiropractic Techniques for Neck Pain Treatment
The scope of chiropractic care excludes the use of surgery or drugs. If a diagnosis requires treatment outside of this scope, the patient will be referred to an appropriate specialist. Chiropractic for neck pain includes various treatment options based on spinal manipulation using the hands or a device.
Manual Cervical Traction
The chiropractor stretches the patient’s cervical spine while the patient is seated or lying face-up, varying the backward and forward angle of the neck to reduce tightness.
The chiropractor moves the neck vertebrae from side to side and in a figure-eight movement with varying degrees of tilt and rotation. This smooth stretching is intended for neck pain treatment with the reduction of restricted motion between the cervical spine segments.
Cervical “Drop” Techniques
With the patient lying on a unique table with a drop-piece for the patient’s head locked into a set position, the chiropractor uses the hands to apply a mid-to high-velocity, low-amplitude thrust, causing the head-piece to release and drop a small distance. This reduces the fixation of the cervical vertebra without the rotation or twisting motions used in most traditional forms of chiropractic care for treating neck pain.
Call Us Regarding Chiropractic to Treat Neck Pain
The chiropractors at Chiropractic Approach, P.C. are skilled in providing neck pain treatment for chronic and acute issues, assisting patients with a path to pain-free activity and quality of life. We accept some insurance plans, including workers’ compensation (work-related) and no-fault (auto accident) insurance. Contact our staff in Queens for a comprehensive, whole-body plan for healing and pain relief at (718)275-1313.
Neck Pain and Chiropractic – ACA Today
Gentle Chiropractic Techniques for Neck Pain (spine-health.com)
10 Researched Benefits of Chiropractic Adjustments – Dr. Axe (draxe.com)
Chiropractic care for back pain: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia