Neck pain is one of the most common types of musculoskeletal problems, affecting almost 50% of the population annually. Mild neck pain can be a minor annoyance, but if neck pain becomes chronic and is left untreated, it may progress to debilitating pain, headaches, arm pain, and eventually numbness, tingling and weakness.
In this article we will discuss the causes of neck pain, when you should go to a chiropractor for neck pain, whether chiropractic is safe for neck pain, what a neck adjustment is and how chiropractic care may help your neck pain.
What causes neck pain?
There are many factors associated with neck pain. These may include:
- Chronic postural stress associated with head flexion from prolonged computer and electronic device usage.
- Poor slouched posture and the associated muscle spasm and joint irritation.
- Poor sleeping posture: stomach sleeping with the head twisted to one side for extended periods.
- Trauma from whiplash injuries in car accidents or sports injuries.
- Carrying a heavy bag/purse for prolonged periods of time.
- Inactivity and associated stiffness and increased muscle tension and muscle spasm.
- Wear and tear and degenerative disorders such as osteoarthritis, cervical disc degeneration, spinal stenosis and cervical disc herniations.
When should I be concerned about neck pain?
Consult a health care practitioner if your neck pain has worsened and is accompanied by pain that travels down your arm, numbness or tingling into your arm or hand, or noticeable weakness. This may imply a cervical disc bulge or herniated disc or spinal stenosis, which may necessitate diagnostic imaging (x-rays, MRIs) before starting any treatment.
If you’ve experienced a head or neck injury, can’t lift your head off your pillow on your own, or are suffering dizziness or blurred vision, please consult with your medical doctor or hospital.
Should I go to a chiropractor for neck pain?
Millions of patients consult with a chiropractor for neck pain on a daily basis. Research shows that the chiropractic management of neck pain is one of the most effective treatments, and can provide a safe, non-invasive alternative to prescription medications or over-the-counter pain medications.
Chiropractic neck adjustments help to correct joint restrictions or misalignments in the spine, which can reduce inflammation and improve the function of the affected joint and associated nerve. This improvement in the body mechanics of your neck will help to relieve your neck pain, while also improving the overall mobility and function of your neck and upper back.
Is chiropractic safe for neck pain?
Numerous studies show that chiropractic is a safe and effective treatment for neck pain. It is a holistic form of complementary and alternative medicine that focuses on the spine and its effect on the musculoskeletal and nervous system, and the body’s ability to heal itself. Chiropractic is not a “one size fits all” approach, and is customized for each individual.
Clinical trials have found high-quality evidence that spinal manipulation is both safe and effective for treating chronic neck pain, via reductions in joint restrictions or misalignments.
As part of a literature review, researchers reviewed nine trials and found that patients with neck pain reported significant improvements following chiropractic adjustments.
One study in particular that was part of a larger literature review looked at the effects of chiropractic adjustments on patients with chronic neck pain. Researchers found that participants reported significant improvements following chiropractic care. This suggests that chiropractic is a safe and effective treatment for neck pain relief.
Does chiropractic treatment help neck pain?
Chiropractors are primary health care providers who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of spinal conditions, including the treatment of neck pain. Chiropractors commonly treat headaches, neck pain, back pain and other symptoms stemming from spinal problems.
Chiropractors use hands on spinal manipulation to treat pain by adjusting the spine and joints, effectively repositioning the bones to restore proper movement and range of motion, reducing pressure on the nerves. In conjunction with your chiropractic treatment plan, supportive stretching and home exercises can ensure your neck pain stays at bay.
There is considerable high-quality evidence to show that patients who experience neck pain (both acute and chronic) show statistically significant pain-level improvements following chiropractic spinal manipulation. This type of treatment has been found to be more effective than many other methods, such as medication or physical therapy.
A research study that was conducted to examine the efficacy of chiropractic treatment for neck pain found that all groups showed positive changes in pain for up to 12 weeks post-treatment, the length of the study. This indicates that chiropractic treatment is an effective means for neck pain relief.
When to see a chiropractor for neck pain?
It is most effective to seek chiropractic help as soon as possible when neck pain is first experienced. This will help ensure the fastest recovery, and to prevent the problem from becoming worse, potentially complicating treatment and recovery.
If you are experiencing neck pain combined with arm or hand pain, numbness or tingling or weakness, please consult immediately with a qualified health care practitioner before beginning any type of neck stretches or exercises or home care, to rule out any serious underlying neck conditions. For a more detailed list of underlying causes of neck pain, please refer to our Toronto neck pain page on our website.
Before beginning treatment, a thorough examination including advanced diagnostic testing may be required to determine the best treatment plan for you.
What is a neck adjustment?
A neck chiropractic adjustment is a chiropractic treatment that is used to restore proper joint motion and alignment in the neck area (cervical spine). It is most commonly characterized by a low amplitude high velocity thrust on a misaligned or stuck cervical vertebrae, thereby restoring proper joint and spinal function.
A chiropractic neck adjustment will often relieve pain, reduce tension in the neck muscles, treat headaches, and improve posture. There are multiple chiropractic techniques for neck adjustments, ranging from more manual cervical manipulations to more gentle instrument spinal adjustments.
There are many reasons why you may need a neck adjustment, including, but not limited to: neck pain, shoulder pain, headaches, poor posture, and Upper Crossed Syndrome.
Neck adjustments, and a chiropractic adjustment in general, are often seen as great alternatives to surgery and pharmaceuticals for certain patients. Chiropractors are highly-trained professionals who understand the anatomy and biomechanics of the human body. When a person experiences neck pain or shoulder pain, it is often because there is a misalignment in their spine that is causing tension and inflammation. A chiropractor can restore proper alignment and relieve pain quickly and effectively.
How does a chiropractic adjustment help neck pain?
A Chiropractic adjustment (cervical manipulation) helps to relieve neck pain by correcting misalignments in the spine while improving joint mobility and mechanics, decreasing inflammation, spasm and pain.
Chiropractors may also recommend that people with neck pain incorporate strengthening exercises and stretches for their neck, along with mobilizations and massage.
Chiropractors treat the neck by using a variety of techniques to adjust the spine, incorporating both low force and more manual technique approaches, depending on the individual needs of the patient.
Chiropractic care is often recommended as a first line of treatment for neck pain.
What are the benefits of chiropractic neck adjustments?
Chiropractic care is a form of treatment that focuses on the adjustment and alignment of the spine and nervous system. It is often used to treat neck pain, shoulder pain and tension headaches. There are many benefits to chiropractic neck adjustment, including reduced inflammation, muscle spasm, and discomfort in the neck.
One of the main benefits of chiropractic neck adjustment is its ability to help patients manage their pain and swelling more effectively than prescription medications or over-the-counter pain relievers. Additionally, routine chiropractic care can help improve posture, joint function, increase range of motion, reduce inflammation, and help to slow down cervical spine degeneration.
It is always best to speak with your chiropractor, physician, or other qualified healthcare provider before starting any new health care regimen.
How long do I need to see a chiropractor for neck pain?
In order to determine how long a patient will need chiropractic care, an examination is conducted that may include a consultation, physical assessment and palpation, and x-rays. This will help the chiropractor understand the underlying cause of the neck pain and how best to treat it.
Depending on the cause, chiropractic treatment may be more short term, requiring fewer visits, or more long term in duration. In many cases, people only need to see a chiropractor for a short period of time to achieve relief from their neck pain, often in as few as 5-10 visits. In the case of more complicated or chronic neck pain, a longer duration treatment plan may be required with more frequent visits.
Although chiropractic care is a great way to relieve neck pain and shoulder pain, it is not a cure-all in every case. If patients do not see improvement in their symptoms in a reasonable time following the chiropractor’s treatment protocol, other health care providers may be necessary for a full resolution of symptoms. Consult with your chiropractor about their best recommendations.
Chiropractor for pinched nerve in neck
Neck pain can be caused by a variety of things, including muscle tension, pinched nerves, and herniated discs. Pain that is localized to the neck area is generally more easily treated, becoming more serious and complicated as the pain radiates into other areas.
Neck pain from a pinched nerve can radiate throughout the shoulder and down the arm, and may also be accompanied by sensations of numbness and tingling, and even weakness if it continues to worsen.
Chiropractors are experts in relieving pressure on nerves and restoring proper alignment of the spine and vertebra. They can help reduce inflammation and muscle spasms, which can lead to significant relief from a pinched nerve causing shoulder and neck pain.
There are a few things you can do at home to help ease your neck pain. Consistent stretching and doing the exercises your chiropractor recommends can help to relax tight neck muscles. Soft tissue therapy and massage therapy can also help to loosen muscle knots in the neck and shoulders, providing relief from pain.
As most neck pain is associated with poor posture combined with age-related wear and tear or arthritis, postural and core exercises may also be recommended by your chiropractor.
Chiropractors are one of the most effective treatments for pinched nerves in the neck. Research shows that chiropractic intervention was safe and well-tolerated by patients, with significant pain-level improvements following chiropractic treatment.
Chiropractor or massage for neck pain?
Neck pain can be caused by a variety of factors, such as poor posture, stress, injuries, and even sleeping in the wrong position. Because there are so many potential causes, it is important to seek treatment from a chiropractor or massage therapist who can properly diagnose the root cause of your pain.
Depending on the cause of the neck pain, different treatments may be necessary, such as adjustments from a chiropractor, massage therapy with a registered massage therapist, or physical therapy with a physiotherapist.
Chiropractic care is a form of physical therapy that focuses on the spine. It focuses on the spinal manipulation to correct misalignments and restore proper alignment, and may also include the use of heat, cold, stretches and exercises and electrical stimulation to speed up the healing process.
This can be a very effective treatment option for neck pain, but may not be appropriate for everyone. A thorough history and assessment is required before beginning treatment with a doctor of chiropractic, or any licensed health-care professional.
Massage therapy is a form of physical therapy that focuses on the muscles and soft tissue of the body. The treatment focuses on the release of tension in the muscles and soft tissues, generally involving gentle pressure by the registered massage therapist.
These are two of the different options for people who are looking for relief from neck pain. Each has its own benefits and drawbacks, so it is important to consider all of the information before making a decision.
What is “tech neck”?
Tech neck is a painful condition caused by excessive hours spent in front of a computer, smart phone or other electronic devices. It is caused by the combination of poor posture, poor ergonomics, and the repetitive flexing down of the neck, resulting in muscle strain or spasm and cervical spine misalignment.
Chiropractors can treat “tech neck” by adjusting the neck in order to correct the alignment, and by addressing the poor posture through neck exercises and stretches and improved ergonomics.
What can you do to prevent tech neck?
Chronic neck pain from tech neck is often the result of poor posture and excessive stress on the neck and shoulders. This can be caused by spending too much time looking down at a computer or other device, or by carrying heavy loads regularly. Symptoms include neck pain, headaches, shoulder pain, and fatigue.
In order to prevent tech neck, it is important to maintain good posture throughout the day. This can be done by avoiding leaning forward or keeping your head down for extended periods of time. You can also stretch your neck and shoulder muscles regularly, and use a laptop stand, ergonomic mouse and wear a headset to help keep your posture more upright and in check. Regular exercise and making sure you get enough rest will also help your body to heal properly and reduce the likelihood of developing chronic pain in the future.
Some good exercises to both prevent and treat tech neck that we recommend in our chiropractic clinic include:
- Neck retraction or chin tuck exercise
- Pectoral stretches
- Wall angels exercise
In addition to the above postural and ergonomic considerations, chiropractors are also a good source of treatment for tech neck, and can help to relieve the symptoms of tech neck and prevent future injury.
If you have any questions, or we can help in any other way, please feel free to contact us at our Toronto chiropractic clinic Transform Chiropractic at 416-604-4184.
Dr. Byron Mackay