Milllions of people a year with neck pain are seeking care from a chiropractor. Our Raleigh chiropractic office sees many new patients who come in suffering from neck pain , both chronic and acute. There are countless numbers of published studies in the medical literature about the benefits of chiropractic care to treat back pain. So many that medical doctors often refer patients with back pain to chiropractors. But what do the studies really show?
The studies show in multiple reviews of meta-analysis that chiropractic adjustments for neck pain are just as effective as it is for back pain in decreasing pain and increasing a patient’s ability to function better. Many of the studies show that cervical spinal manipulation is more effective than analgesics, muscle relaxants, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
When exercises were performed and prescribed to patients in conjunction with cervical spinal manipulation, in general the results in decreasing pain and increasing functional capacity were even greater. This is why at my office nearly every patient gets prescribed exercises with their care.
When you consider the recent opioid epidemic and potential harmful side effects of taking these medications then chiropractic care should be strongly considered in the treatment of neck pain.
What are some common causes of neck pain?
- Accidents and injuries: Sudden, traumatic forced movement of the head and neck in any direction which results in “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 respond to tightening and contracting, creating muscle fatigue, which can lead to pain and stiffness. We have successfully treated many patients neck pain related to Whiplash at our local Raleigh chiropractor office.
- Growing Old: Degenerative diseases such as osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis, and degenerative disc disease directly affect the spine and cause neck pain. Sadly, there’s not much we can do about this 🙂
Osteoarthritis, is a generalized articulation disorder which causes a progressive degeneration of the cartilage. The body responds to the shape of the obstructive bone affecting the movement of the joints.The spinal stenosis causes small nervous pathways of the vertebrae to narrow, compress, and capture the nerve roots. This is called spinal stenosis. Stenosis can cause pain in the neck and also nerve pain which then causes radiating pain, numbness and tingling into the arms and hands.
Degenerative disk disease can cause reduced elasticity and height of the intervertebral disc. Over time, the disc may have hernias or swelling, causing the tingling, numbness and pain that passes down the arm.
- Everyday Life: Bad posture, thickness, and weak abdominal muscles often disrupt the balance of the spine, causing the neck to bend forward to compensate. Stress and emotional tension can cause the muscles to contract and tighten, resulting in pain and stiffness. Postural stress can contribute to chronic neck pain with symptoms that stretch in the upper part of the back and arms. It is estimated that many are spending 8 to 10 hours a day at computers now. Overtime this causes many postural imbalances which lead to acute and chronic neck pain.
How a Chiropractor Treats Neck Pain
During your visit to our Raleigh, NC chiropractic office, your chiropractor will perform tests to find the source of your pain and ask questions about the symptoms and the current medications you have already tried. For example:
When did the pain start and what caused the pain to start?
Does the pain radiate or travel to other parts of the body?
What makes the pain feel better or worse?
A physical and neurological exam will be performed. At the physical examination, the doctor will consider the posture, range of motion and physical condition, pointing to the pain-causing movement. Your doctor will palpate and feel the spine, note your tender points, curvature and alignment, and feel for any muscle cramping. Checking your shoulder region is fine. During a neurological examination, your doctor will evaluate your reflexes, muscle strength, other changes in your nerves and pain.
In some cases, your chiropractor can order tests to diagnose the condition. X-rays can show narrow disk spaces, fractures, bone spurs or arthritis. Computed axial tomography (CT or CAT scan) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may show bulging disks and herniations. If you suspect a nerve injury, your doctor may order a special test called electromyography (EMG) to measure how quickly your nerves respond.
Whatever the source of your neck pain, Carolina ChiroCare and Rehab a Chiropractor in Raleigh NC will develop a treatment plan to help you find relief. We’ll be fully committed to getting you out of pain is as few treatments as possible so you can get back to living pain free!
To book an appointment today, contact us here.
Dr. Jeffrey S. Gerdes, D.C.