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Chiropractic Care and Neck Pain

Chiropractic Care And Neck Pain Relief

A stiff and painful neck is a common problem. Some people acquire neck pain from a sudden injury such as a fall, blow to the head, or auto accident. For others, the pain comes on slowly and builds gradually. Then again, another group may just awaken one day with sudden neck pain and stiffness.

People who have immediate neck pain from an accident obviously know its source. Those with neck pain which develops slowly and builds gradually may be able to trace its origin to their daily work activities or perhaps to an abnormal sleeping posture. For instance, work duties that involve sitting at a desk or typing station with one’s neck bent forward and down create continual daily stress on the neck. Likewise, people who sleep on their stomachs or have the wrong type of pillow may also create a problem in the neck over a period of time. Those who suddenly awake one morning with pain may have had previous small single or multiple injuries to the neck which, left untreated, eventually “caught up” with the person.

The Causes of Back and Neck Pain

When dealing with back and neck pain, it is important to have your pain evaluated by a professional. Simply dismissing back or neck pain as typical and unimportant can be a very harmful mistake.

Overuse or under use of the back muscles is by far the most common cause of back pain that manifests as tightening or spasm of the muscles that connect to the spine. Inflammation and swelling often occur in the joints and ligaments, especially in the cervical and lumbar regions, as people age.

Many conditions can cause back and neck pain, ranging from injury to infection to simply twisting the wrong way. Traumatic injuries such as those sustained in an automobile accident or other type of accidents can damage muscles, joints, ligaments, and vertebrae.

A herniated disc occurs when the nuclear pulposus, the inner material of the disc, pushes through a tear in the annulus fibrosis, the outer material of the disc causing nerve root compression. The cervical and lumbar regions of the spine have the most mobility and the discs there are more likely to wear down or be injured. Ninety percent of disc herniations occur in the lower two lumbar vertebrae.

Spinal stenosis, the narrowing of the spinal canal, can cause spinal cord irritation and injury. Conditions that cause spinal stenosis include infection, tumors, trauma, herniated disc, arthritis, thickening of ligaments, growth of bone spurs, and disc degeneration. Spinal stenosis most commonly occurs in older individuals as a result of vertebral degeneration.

A pinched nerve, or radiculopathy, occurs when something rubs or presses against a nerve, creating irritation or inflammation. Radiculopathy can result from a herniated disc, bone spur, tumor growing into the nerves, and vertebral fracture, and many other conditions.

Sciatica is a certain type of radiculopathy that involves inflammation of the sciatic nerve. Pain is experienced along the large sciatic nerve, from the lower back down through the buttocks and along the back of the leg.

A spinal tumor that originates in the spine (primary tumor) or spreads to the spine from another part of the body (metastatic tumor) can compress the spine or nerve roots and cause significant pain. Infections of the vertebrae (e.g., vertebral osteomyelitis), the discs, the meninges (e.g., spinal meningitis), or the cerebrospinal fluid can compress the spinal cord and result in serious neurological deterioration, if it is not diagnosed and treated immediately.

Facet joints allow movement of the spine. The facet joints are formed by two adjacent vertebra and direct or guide movement of the spine.

As facet joints degenerate, they may not align correctly, and the cartilage and fluid that lubricates the joints may deteriorate. Bone then rubs against bone, which can be very painful.

These are just a few of the conditions that can be responsible for back and neck pain. Thankfully, most cases of back and neck pains are related to mechanical causes and can be readily addressed by a trained chiropractor. The point is, however, pain is a warning signal that should not be ignored. The best place to have your back and neck pain evaluated is with a chiropractor.

In most cases, the pain and discomfort are due to problems arising at the joints of the spinal bones in the neck. Doctors refer to the bones of the neck as the “cervical spine.”

What actually occurs is that each bone in the neck forms a joint with the bones both above and below. These joints are called facet joints. The facet joints should move freely to allow normal motion of our necks. However, at times, they can become misaligned and/or move improperly. When this happens, the facet joints commonly irritate or pinch small pain-sensitive nerves in the neck, shoulder, and upper back area.

A study performed at Princess Alexandria Hospital and published in Spine research journal confirmed the role of the neck facet joints. Researchers found that for people suffering from pain in the neck, back of the shoulder, and headaches, 71% proved to have abnormalities involving the facet joints.

Chiropractic Can Help

Chiropractors are trained to find abnormalities associated with the facet joints of the neck. Chiropractors then can manipulate or adjust these bones and joints back into position so they are aligned and move properly.

Adjustments or manipulations usually involve a quick but gentle movement by the chiropractor’s hands to reposition the bones and joints of the neck. Additionally, the Chiropractor may use physical therapy such as ice, heat and electrical muscle stimulation to aid and quicken healing to the damaged area.

In one research study, 364 patients with neck pain had manipulation treatment. Complete relief of pain and symptoms was obtained in 90% of the patients. This study shows chiropractic care is particularly indicated for neck pain!

To determine if chiropractic care is warranted in the treatment of neck pain, a detailed history of the problem must first be taken. Next, a physical examination involving chiropractic, orthopedic, and neurological testing is performed. X-rays may also need to be taken to aid in the diagnosis. The information gained will then tell if the patient is suitable for chiropractic care of neck pain.

Pure Chiropractic Can Help

Anyone with neck pain or discomfort should seek an immediate chiropractic examination not only to eliminate the pain but also to prevent possible long-term arthritic changes from developing. Dr. Hohn at Pure Chiropractic, located in Howell, MI can help! Contact Pure Chiropractic today!