Neck pain is one of the most common ailments that people experience. Neck or cervical pain can significantly impact our work, play and home life. Neck disorders are now recognized as one of the leading causes of disability around the world. While some people dismiss it as simply a ‘sore neck’, to those suffering from acute or long-term neck pain, it is no laughing matter. In many patients, the problem tends to be recurring and chronic. At Brentwood Chiropractic, we offer safe, effective treatment options for your neck pain and associated symptoms.
What does the latest research say?
The World Health Organization designated 2000 to 2010 as the Bone and Joint Decade and has funded significant new research in this area. The recently published ‘Task Force on Neck Pain and its’ Associated Disorders’ is one of the most comprehensive reviews ever conducted on neck pain.
The multidisciplinary panel involving 50 researchers from 9 countries came to some key conclusions regarding treatment:
- Manipulation (adjustments) and mobilization are safe, effective and appropriate treatment approaches for most patients with disabling neck pain (Grade 2) whether traumatic or non-traumatic in origin.
- Personal and psychosocial factors play a prominent role in neck pain and headaches. Patient preference and choice are key to obtaining best results.
- The risk of vertebrobasilar artery stroke is extremely rare. The risk appears to be the same whether the patient consults a doctor of chiropractic or a primary care medical physician. Some people seek care for their neck pain that is actually caused by existing or ongoing artery damage. In all cases of neck pain and headache a complete examination is essential to determine if your case can benefit from a conservative approach or whether it requires referral for other evaluations.
- Care of neck pain should focus on a return to activity and avoid approaches that promote disability.
- Neck pain and stiffness
- Shoulder, arm and hand pain.
- Headaches and migraines.
- Jaw or TMJ problems.
- Mid-back pain.
- Arm and hand numbness, tingling and weakness.
- Pain in the eyes and sinus areas.
- Disturbed sleep.
- Fatigue, irritability, and stress.
- Acute trauma – whiplash, sports injuries, falls, sudden awkward movements.
- Improper posture – this can be at work, sitting, sleeping (stomach sleeping is the worst), or during recreational activities.
- Inactivity and poor physical conditioning.
- Disc herniation, facet damage, and stenosis.
- Emotional stress and tension. Low social support at work and at home.
- Acute trauma. Our initial approach would be to control swelling and inflammation utilizing ice, natural anti-inflammatories and instructions on gradual return to activity. Early movement and hands on treatment, coupled with therapies such as ultrasound and electrotherapies ensure a quick recovery.
- Postural disorders. We would start with hands on treatment to provide early relief and then guide you on an exercise program that would stretch tight muscles and strengthen weak muscles (without addressing tightness and weakness together long term results are unlikely). We would also discuss your work environment, beds and pillows and other factors that may be contributing to your pain.
- Stress and tension. Chiropractic treatments are very effective in helping to ‘break up’ the tension cycle in muscles. Loosening up your muscle and spinal tension and stiffness can help give your body a chance to alter long standing patterns of stress induced muscle tension. Following your chiropractic adjustments with electrotherapy and heat before you return to your busy life can help provide longer lasting results. Breathing exercises are very useful, as are the therapeutic massages that are available at our clinic. For some patients, referral to a psychologist trained in relaxation therapy can be arranged.
- Chronic conditions. Chiropractic adjustments and mobilizations are some of the most effective means of loosening up stiff joints and tissues. Deep soft tissue techniques such as ART and Graston can release longstanding scar tissue and adhesions providing significant relief. In these cases, ultrasound, laser and traction are modalities that are often of great benefit.
- Nutritional factors. Poor diet, excess coffee, alcohol and tobacco can all contribute to poor health and common neck problems. Low blood sugar, lack of minerals, and dehydration can also increase your likelihood of spinal symptoms. In cases such as these, nutritional and lifestyle changes along with your chiropractic care are important to get the best results.
Chiropractic patients report high satisfaction with their treatment for neck pain. The success rate will depend on the particular type of neck problem.
Many people obtain quick relief and wish they had sought care sooner. Patients at our clinic are provided with practical home exercises to stretch and strengthen their neck muscles. They will also be provided with postural and lifestyle tips to avoid future problems.
Some patients with chronic neck pain from prior injuries, arthritis, high stress, or difficult jobs find that they will benefit from periodic treatments to control their symptoms. Similar to how people control their high blood pressure or diabetes with regular medication use, patients find that occasional treatments let them manage their neck pain without relying on potentially harmful medications. Chiropractic treatments help to loosen stiff spinal joints and relax tight muscles so there is less pain and your own exercises and self-treatments become more effective.