Neck pain is very common. Around 30% of adults will experience neck pain each year. In most cases, the neck pain isn't caused by a serious underlying condition, but it still can be very painful. Painkilling drugs can help to dull the pain, but they can have side effects and in some cases can be addictive. Because of this, many people turn to chiropractic care as a treatment option.
Causes of neck pain
Simple/mechanical neck pain
Strain on the muscles, joints, or ligaments in the neck can cause pain and is often caused by lifestyle factors such as poor posture, stress/tension, poor sleeping position, or overuse of screens.
Injuries to the neck can occur many different types of situations, for example, while playing sports, from a fall, or in a car accident.
Neck pain in older people
As we get older, there is natural wear and tear on all the elements of the neck. As well as this, the intervertebral discs can narrow, leading to stiffness.
Neck pain because of disease
Some diseases can cause neck pain, such as osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis, and degenerative disc disease.
How chiropractic care can help with neck pain
The neck is especially mobile, but this mobility can make it more prone to injuries and damage. Chiropractic care practitioners are trained in a variety of treatment techniques that can help to alleviate the symptoms of many of the causes of neck pain.
The initial appointment with a chiropractic clinician involves an in-depth diagnostic procedure, designed to understand the root cause of the neck pain. Some of the diagnostic techniques can include observing posture and range of motion, feeling the alignment and curvature of the spine, checking reflexes and muscle strength, and running tests to check for damage, such as x-rays, CT scans, and MRI scans.
Once the cause of the neck pain is determined, a treatment plan is made to alleviate the symptoms. If the problem is one that would need medical intervention, the chiropractic clinician will be able to liaise other health professionals.
This is the main treatment that will be employed for neck pain. It involves the chiropractic clinician using their hands to make short, controlled thrusts to the joints in the cervical spine. This pushes them beyond their usual range of motion and can help them to realign to a more optimal position. Spinal adjustment of the neck in patients with neck pain has been found to improve pain levels and range of motion, and most patients are satisfied or very satisfied with their care (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2786244/).
Other chiropractic treatments for neck pain
The chiropractic treatment plan will include other therapies that can help to reduce neck pain and improve range of motion, such as:
• deep tissue massage
• heat and cold therapy
• fascial release
• exercise and rehabilitation
• advice about posture
• sleep advice
• electronic modalities, such as ultrasound, cold laser therapy, and TENS machine
Most causes of neck pain can be treated effectively with chiropractic care, and most patients experience a reduction in their pain and an improvement in their mobility. Depending on the cause, a wide variety of treatment options can be offered that will help patients to recover quickly and prevent neck pain reoccurring.