Chiropractic Care for Neck Pain
Most people experience occasional pain in the neck, whether it’s from sleeping in an awkward position, psychological stress, poor posture, or even accidents and injuries. Occasional bouts of neck pain are rarely serious and are often managed with over-the-counter or prescription medications until they resolve on their own within a few days.
But what can you do to relieve neck pain and stiffness that has stuck around for a while? More and more chronic neck pain sufferers are turning to holistic treatments from chiropractors, physical therapists, and even massage therapists for relief. But do these forms of alternative medicine actually relieve neck pain? The answer is yes, and below, we break down the specifics of how a chiropractic neck adjustment can improve your quality of life.
If you’re experiencing neck pain, stiffness, inflammation, poor range of motion, and headaches, you may benefit from regular chiropractic care at the Colorado Muscle & Joint Clinic. Dr. Huebner is a board-certified doctor of chiropractic medicine with years of experience in helping his patients manage their pain through various types of manual therapy. His goal is to help his patients live a better quality of life without the help of daily over-the-counter medications. Call 970-744-6499 to schedule an appointment today.
What is Neck Pain?
Neck pain – also known as cervicalgia – can describe a dull, achy, burning, or shooting pain in the neck. The pain can originate from the cervical spine, the neck muscles, or the cervical nerve roots.
There are many types of neck pain that can mean different things. You can have pain that’s mostly in your neck (axial neck pain) or you can have pain that starts at the neck and spreads to your arms and hands (radicular neck pain). Neck pain can also create or accompany other symptoms such as headaches, loss of range of motion in the neck, numbness or tingling, and/or general neck stiffness. Additionally, neck pain can last for a few days or weeks (acute) or it can last for months or years (chronic).
Regardless of the specifics of the pain, it can greatly decrease your quality of life and make the completion of normal daily tasks a massive challenge.
How Common Is Neck Pain?
As many as 1 in 3 people experience neck pain at least once per year, with women suffering from this ailment more often than men. In most cases, neck pain is temporary, mild, and resolves on its own without much medical intervention.
Common Causes of Neck Pain
Both back and neck pain can be caused by a variety of lifestyle factors and injuries, including:
- Physical Strain of the Neck Muscles: Activities like intense exercise and poor posture from sitting in the same position at a desk all day is enough to cause stiffness and pain in the neck. Additionally, having excess abdominal fat or weak abdominal muscles can inadvertently put a strain on the neck because your entire lower spine is thrown out of alignment.
- Sleeping Wrong: Have you ever woken up with a “crick” in your neck? It’s probably because you slept with your head or neck in an unnatural position. A crick in the neck is definitely painful and uncomfortable, but usually, it resolves itself within a few days.
- Psychological Stress can lead to all sorts of physical ailments such as tension headaches and pain or stiffness in the neck. That’s because you’re probably tensing neck muscles without even realizing it, which can lead to neck soreness and even headaches.
- Aging: As you get older, parts of your body are going to start weakening and breaking down. This includes the spine. Elderly people commonly suffer from a variety of degenerative disorders such as spinal stenosis, osteoarthritis, and even bulging discs. Conditions like these can definitely lead to chronic neck pain and back pain.
- Accidents and Injuries: Car accidents, sports injuries, or even violent attacks can definitely cause a neck injury. Common injuries from accidents like this can include whiplash injuries, herniated discs, pinched nerves, and even a spinal cord injury.
- Growths in the Neck like bone spurs, tumors, and cysts can definitely lead to severe pain.
When Should I Be Concerned About Neck Pain?
Most of the time, neck pain is relatively harmless and will gradually resolve on its own with at-home care. You should only be concerned about your neck pain if you’re experiencing:
- Shooting pain down the shoulders, arms, or hands
- Numbness or tingling down the shoulders, arms, and hands
- Blurred vision
- Chronic pain that doesn’t improve with muscle relaxants or pain medications
- Nausea or vomiting
- Bladder or bowel incontinence
- Loss of coordination in the limbs
- Noticeable muscle weakness or muscle spasms in the limbs
These symptoms may be associated with more serious injuries or conditions, such as a herniated disc, a pinched nerve, whiplash, or a spinal cord injury. In cases like this, you should definitely seek treatment and a diagnosis from a medical doctor.
Is Chiropractic Treatment Safe for Neck Pain?
Many people who have neck pain that isn’t associated with a major injury or medical condition may seek holistic care from chiropractors, massage therapists, or even physical therapists.
But is chiropractic care safe for neck pain? The answer is yes, as long as you see an experienced and properly licensed chiropractor. Chiropractic care is a form of holistic, alternative medicine that emphasizes the body’s ability to heal itself. Chiropractic treatment can involve spinal manipulation, muscle scraping, myofascial release, and more to relieve pain from various parts of the body. Your specific treatment plan will depend on your body and your symptoms.
There has been a widespread debate among health care providers about whether cervical manipulation is safe or effective for neck pain. However, numerous studies and clinical trials support both the safety and efficacy of chiropractic adjustments in the cervical spine. In fact, this study claims that the majority of chiropractic patients with acute neck pain (ANP) experienced pain relief and no adverse reactions from their care.
When Should I See a Chiropractor for Neck Pain?
You should seek chiropractic care if you’re experiencing general pain or stiffness in the neck that doesn’t resolve after a few days or weeks. Additionally, if you’re experiencing headaches or arm pain alongside your neck pain, you may benefit from chiropractic spinal manipulation.
If you’re experiencing nerve pain from herniated discs in the neck or upper back, you should receive a physical exam, diagnosis, and treatment suggestions from other health care providers (such as a medical doctor) first. Neck adjustments could potentially worsen these conditions.
Chiropractic Treatments for Neck Pain Relief
At the Colorado Muscle & Joint Clinic, Dr. Huebner offers a couple of treatments that can relieve neck pain and tension, including:
- Myofascial Release is a physical therapy technique that is designed to relieve tension and pain in the myofascial tissues. During this treatment, Dr. Huebner will massage contracted muscles and other soft tissues throughout the body. Myofascial release can relieve neck pain caused by stress, physical strain, and past injuries.
- Spinal Manipulation is possibly the most well-known chiropractic treatment out there. During this treatment, Dr. Huebner will use his hands or a device to physically push a spinal joint back into its proper position. Back and neck adjustments can relieve pain and tightness in the body as well as improve range of motion.
Benefits of Chiropractic Treatment for Neck Pain
Chiropractic spinal manipulation and myofascial release may lead to the following health benefits:
- Proper neck alignment
- Accelerated healing from a neck injury
- Reduction in pain, stiffness, inflammation, and/or muscle spasm in the neck
- Less painful or less frequent headaches
- Improved range of motion in the head or neck
Home Remedies for Neck Pain
After your chiropractic adjustment, Dr. Huebner may send you home with “homework.” In other words, he may suggest a few back or neck exercises and stretches to prevent your pain from returning.
- Neck Retraction: This exercise can help counteract poor posture from staring at a computer or phone all day. All you have to do is tuck your chin in and back 8 to 10 times.
- Scapular Squeezes: This exercise can help strengthen the muscles in your upper back, which may prevent daily physical strain on the neck. All you have to do is squeeze your shoulder blades together 8 to 10 times.
- Basic Neck Stretches: Tilt your head towards each shoulder and gently pull your head with your hand. You will feel a nice stretch on each side of your neck.
- Maintain Good Posture: Most of us have 9 to 5 jobs that involve slouching in front of a computer screen all day. After our jobs, many of us continue to slouch in front of our phones or TVs. Doing this for long periods of time will inevitably lead to neck pain and even tension headaches. So practice sitting up straight with your shoulders rolled back and your head level. Don’t push your neck forward, and don’t allow your head to droop down.
Call the Colorado Muscle & Joint Clinic Today
If you’re experiencing neck pain day in and day out, a chiropractic adjustment may provide you with more relief than over-the-counter medications. The Colorado Muscle & Joint Clinic offers a wide variety of manual therapy for all sorts of injuries and ailments, including neck and back pain, arm and leg pain, headaches, and so much more. Call 970-744-6499 to schedule an appointment at our clinic today.