If you suffer from neck pain, you are among millions of people around the world who share the same complaint. The cost associated with neck pain can stretch beyond health care expenses and expand into lost wages, diminished productivity, loss of sleep, and decreased mental health. Many people turn to chiropractic care to identify the source of the problem, decrease the pain, develop a treatment plan, and manage their subsequent care.
To understand how chiropractic care can relieve neck pain, let’s first look at its location, risk factors, and treatment options.
What qualifies as “neck” pain?
The seven small vertebrae that begin just below the base of your skull comprise the area we call the neck. Your neck is responsible to not only hold up the head, which typically weighs around 12 pounds, it is also responsible for the function of positioning it, which leaves this area vulnerable to many risk factors for strain and pain. Sometimes, that pain is compounded by several causal factors at once. This can lead to symptoms such as headaches.
What are some of the common factors for cervical pain?
- Injury or trauma around the neck such as whiplash, a quick acceleration/deceleration movement, and other injuries, accidents, or higher-risk physical activities.
- Work-related behaviors such as sitting at a desk for a prolonged amount of time, lack of physical movement, poor posture, and duration of computer.
- Technology-related factors that occur with flexion of the neck while using tablets, watching TV, using handheld devices, and poor posture.
- Insufficient quality and quantity of sleep.
- Biological factors such as certain neuromusculoskeletal disorders, autoimmune diseases, genetics, age, and possibly gender.
- Psychological factors like stress, anxiety, emotions, and mood.
- Physical weight from handbags, job duties, and backpacks.
As you can see, many of these things are activities associated with daily living which means that the pain can become chronic.
What are my options for treatment?
While many people use medication such as pain relievers and heating pads to deal with the discomfort, this does not address the source of the pain which means the pain sticks around and further impacts all aspects of your life.
Those with chronic neck pain that is not alleviated by less invasive measures may eventually opt for injections of steroids or numbing medications to the localized site or surgery to fix the cervical compression.
How does chiropractic care help?
One of the less-invasive and most-effective options for treatment of neck pain is through chiropractic care as the process includes identifying the source of the pain, alleviating the existing pain, and discussing preventative measures to decrease the likelihood that the pain persists.
At your first appointment, your chiropractor will take time to understand the symptoms that you have and will perform an exam to identify the cause of the pain. It will be helpful to help them by taking account of when the pain started and what you were doing, whether the pain moves to different areas of your body, what you do that lessens the discomfort or increases the pain, what you’re currently doing to deal with the pain, and any other doctors you’ve seen or treatments you’ve tried.
Once they’ve determined the source of the pain, they’ll do an adjustment. Adjustments can be done with the hands by using quick, precise movements, or an activator, which is a tool that is designed to deliver that adjustment without the quick movements, to restore motion to the neck joints. While patients typically experience greater range of motion and decreased pain and stiffness after just one adjustment, additional improvements can be achieved as treatment progresses.
Chiropractors will also help to identify ways that you can prevent further discomfort or injury through changes in the risk factors, exercise, and alternative therapies.
Cervical pain is not just a pain in the neck; it affects all aspects of your life and livelihood. That’s why it’s important to visit a chiropractor who can identify the main cause, administer the appropriate treatment, and help you get back to your best living.