The human neck is an essential part of the spinal column and is comprised of seven small cylindrical bones called cervical vertebrae. Its main functions include supporting the head weight, facilitating blood flow to the brain, protecting the spinal cord, blood vessels and sensory organs, and securing the nerves responsible for transmitting motor and sensory information from the brain to all body parts. Moreover, the neck allows the head to turn in all directions, therefore providing a person a wider range of vision since the eyes have a limited peripheral and direct line of vision.
Neck Pain and Its Possible Causes
Because the neck is a fragile part of the body and is usually exposed to a lot of daily tension and stress, it is normal for people to suffer from neck problems or develop several painful conditions. The most common condition known is neck pain, which arises from inflamed or injured joints, ligaments, and muscles of the neck. Some forms of neck pain are minor and go away on their own after a few days without needing medical attention, while in some cases it can cause an individual to experience agonizing and unbearable pain. If neck pain is accompanied by other serious symptoms, it is best to consider seeking help from a medical professional.
A few of the common symptoms of neck pain are the following:
- Extensive discomfort and tenderness in the neck
- Stiff neck accompanied with restricted movements of the neck
- Stabbing or sharp pain on a particular part of the neck
- Radiating pain, which could extend to the head, shoulders, back, and arms.
Also medically referred to as cervical pain, neck pain is a prevalent medical condition affecting almost all age groups. According to statistics, 45% of American workers suffer from neck pain, with 15% struggling with chronic neck pain.
There is a myriad of disorders and illnesses that can cause a person to experience neck pain. The most common ones include the following:
- Strains and sprains
- Injury suffered from doing sports
- Awkward sleeping position
- Bad posture
- Repetitive stress in the neck area
- Cervical herniated disc
- Cervical degeneration
- Cervical osteoarthritis
- In some cases, neck pain can also come from other conditions or illnesses which are not typically related to neck problems. Some of them include:
- Crowned dens syndrome
- Eagle syndrome
Chiropractic services specialize in handling medical conditions associated with the musculoskeletal system and nervous system, including neck pain. It is known to be a safe, non-surgical, non-invasive pain relief alternative which involves the use of various therapeutic treatments, the most common of which is hands-on cervical manipulation for neck-related issues. Chiropractors believe that the correct alignment of the spine allows the human body to cure itself without the aid of medication or surgery.
People who suffer from neck distress but do not want to use drugs or other medicaments to alleviate their pain may opt for chiropractic care to address the problem. To be able to create an effective and customized treatment plan for neck pain, a chiropractor will carry out a comprehensive examination. This includes a physical exam, diagnostic imaging tests such as MRI or X-Ray (if necessary), and an assessment of the patient’s medical history in order to identify the root cause of the neck pain.
Chiropractors use a method called chiropractic neck adjustment to treat and help relieve the pain a patient is experiencing. It requires particular cervical manipulation to enhance and increase the mobility of neck joints, decrease joint constraints, muscle cramps, and spinal misalignments. As a result, it reduces inflammations in the neck, improves the neck’s motion range, and boosts spinal health and function of the nervous system in order to better cope with neck discomfort.
Like any other medical treatments, chiropractic is not without risks. However, adverse effects from chiropractic care have been known to be mild and risk very little. Patients who have undergone chiropractic treatment for neck pain report feeling instant relief, although some may experience a mild degree of soreness.
Types of Chiropractic Treatments for Neck Pain
Depending on the patient’s preferences and cause of neck pain, a chiropractor may use a variety of chiropractic manipulation, manual therapy and other techniques to treat neck pain. Some of these include:
- Region-specific or non-region specific spinal manipulation
- Cox Flexion Distraction technique
- Instrument applied cervical manipulation
- Therapeutic massage
- Low-velocity and high-velocity cervical joint mobilization techniques
The course of treatment for a patient suffering from neck pain and the body’s response to therapy will vary from patient to patient. It is best to consult with a professional chiropractor to discuss the best course of action, or if chiropractic is the way to address the neck pain. In severe cases where a patient requires surgery, the chiropractor will refer them to a neurosurgeon or orthopedic surgeon.