Neck pain is one of the most common ailments among adults in America, and often leads to a headache or even an entire migraine. Are chiropractors safe? What are some ways they can help?
The neck and shoulder have a wide range of muscles, bones, ligaments, nerves, and other supporting bodybuilders. Different conditions may cause pain in the neck and the shoulder area. The problem can be due to soreness or tenderness in the general area, which can be felt up to a stabbing range.
Chiropractic care can be very beneficial when it comes to chronic neck pain relief. Chiropractors are experts on the musculoskeletal and nervous system and use a holistic approach to determine the cause of the pain and the right treatment.
Causes of Neck Pain
Neck pain is joint among adults, and an estimated eight out of ten individuals will experience it at some point in their life. There are endless reasons why a person develops neck pain. For other people, neck pain results from poor posture, while for some, neck pain is a result of direct trauma from a car crash or other injuries that causes the neck to jolt improperly, which is known as whiplash.
Neck pain can be bothersome, and it can have a variety of causes.
- Abnormalities in the bone or joints
- Poor posture
- Degenerative illnesses
- Muscle strain
Sometimes neck pain is short-lived. It can be due to low sleeping positions or following carrying something weighty. For this reason, you may incur neck pain that will ache for a day or two, but after days or weeks, it will undoubtedly get better when it is gone.
However, there is chronic neck pain. It is a chronic pain developed in the neck, which is commonly the result of injury and does not go away. Most chronic pain issues result from lingering pain that stays indefinitely, which can be frustrating and more painful than the injury itself.
Who Gets Neck Pain?
Anyone can get neck pain, and it can arise at any age, but some people are susceptible to developing neck pain. Here are some risk factors that contribute to neck pain:
- Old age
- Lack of exercise and low fitness level
- Being overweight
- Specific jobs or activities entail heavy lifting, pushing, or pulling, mainly when it involves monotonous movements of the neck or arms.
How is Neck Pain Diagnosed?
Due to its complexity, neck pain should be assessed by a medical professional or pain specialist who is an expert in dealing with the pain story and performing a physical examination before setting up a treatment plan.
Sometimes imaging tests are required, such as X-rays, CT scan, bone scan, MRI scan, or ultrasound. Through x-ray, you will be able to see the narrow disc space, dislocations, bone spurs, or arthritis. A medical professional or pain specialist such as a chiropractor will determine the best treatment plan when a diagnosis is made.
Chronic neck pain treatment occurs when the pain has been around for more than three months, and there is no relief, even several therapies have been tried. Therapy for persistent or chronic neck pain depends on what causes the pain and should be provided by a chiropractor and his expert team.
How Chiropractors Take Care of Neck Pain
Chiropractic neck adjustment is a cervical manipulation to loosen up the cervical vertebrae joints in the neck. It can reduce pain resulting from pinched nerves, muscle seizures, stretches, and other related factors. Most neck pain is linked with bad posture, along with age-related damage and tear.
Chiropractors use their hands to adjust the neck and align the vertebrae to prevent the consequences of poor posture and other contributing factors. Neck pain is not only felt in the neck area, but it can radiate throughout the shoulder, down the arm. Most of these pains can be relieved by the chiropractors by relaxing the muscles, repositioning the bones, and reducing the pressure on nerves.
Together with a chiropractic treatment plan, continuous stretching and exercising at home can guarantee your neck pain to go away. Soft tissue massage can also loosen the muscle knots in the neck and shoulders to treat the pain.
Visiting a chiropractor will help you learn where the pain is coming from by asking you some questions about symptoms and remedies you may already have tried, such as:
- When did the pain start?
- What treatment have you tried for your neck pain?
- Does the pain radiate or travel to other parts of your body?
- Does anything reduce or worsen the pain?
Your chiropractor will do physical and neurological exams. Your doctor will observe your posture, range of motion, physical condition, and movement that cause pain. He will feel your spine, noting the alignment and curvature, and detect muscle spasms. He will check your shoulder area, test your reflexes, muscle strength, and other nerve changes where the pain spreads.
Chiropractic doctors are conservative professionals whose scope of practice does not include drugs, and they do not perform surgeries. So if your chiropractor diagnoses your condition out of their area of expertise, they will refer you to the appropriate specialist who can handle your situation. In this way, chiropractic care and medical care are adequately coordinated.
What Are Neck Adjustments
A chiropractor performs neck adjustments by manipulating the cervical vertebrae to improve mobility in the neck’s joints. It is done while the patient is lying comfortably on his back or in a relaxed position. The chiropractor applies a precise procedure on your neck and rotates your head from side to side at a controlled pace. This type of treatment is for people who have chronic headaches and neck tension.
A neck adjustment is a procedure that will improve mobility of the spine, restore range of motion, and increase the movement of the adjacent muscles. If the treatment works, you will be able to notice an improvement in your ability to turn or tilt your head, reduced pain, soreness, and stiffness. Your chiropractor will create a care program that can be a combination of more than one treatment type, which will depend on your personal needs. Some of the treatment plans include mobilization, massage or rehabilitative exercises, and more.
Musculoskeletal conditions can cause back or neck pain. In a few weeks of a chiropractor visit of 2 to 3 times per week, patients should start to notice symptom relief. Many studies have shown that 12 total treatment sessions with a chiropractor for over six weeks is enough to complete a treatment program for neck pain relief, especially when you are employing combined treatments.
Licensed chiropractors are safe to administer spinal adjustments to the neck. Chiropractic care can provide safe, non-invasive, non-addictive options to prescription medications or over-the-counter medications (OTCs), the commonly prescribed drugs to patients suffering from pain and swelling.
Chiropractic adjustments reduce joint restrictions or misalignments specifically in the vertebrae and other joints, lessen swelling and increase joints’ movement, and improve the nervous system’s function. It enables the body to manage the discomfort in the neck better.
Do Chiropractic Adjustments Hurt?
When your chiropractor advises that you have to receive an adjustment, he will apply pressure in your neck to realign your spine and other joints. The realignment will ease your pain, promote good posture, and improve your body function well physically. Generally, chiropractors use their hands and medical instruments to manipulate the joints quickly but in a controlled motion.
Adjustments are an outpatient treatment that is completed in a short period. There can be little to no pain included in the adjustment. The patient will feel pops and cracks but certainly not feel any intense pain. So, if you were not in pain before the adjustment, you should not feel any pain after, although some patients experience mild soreness or little aches.
How long do you have to see a chiropractor for neck pain?
Your chiropractic treatment plan depends on your situation. If you are experiencing neck pain due to mishaps, sports traumas, or arthritis, you may need long-term care. In contrast, patients who experience neck pain due to posture issues or pinches of nerves may only need short-term chiropractic care. To determine the length of care, you need to see a chiropractor for x-rays and consultation.
Benefits of Visiting a Chiropractor Regularly
Self-care is also a choice when dealing with chronic neck pain by taking precautions, such as lessening the strain on your neck by sitting from time to time, observing proper posture, and trying some home remedies like hot-cold therapy. However, depending on the type or level of pain, visiting a physician or pain specialist will fully address and ensure that you will not cause further injury to yourself.
As a safe and effective way of treating neck pain by realigning your spine, regular chiropractic care visits have many advantages. Chiropractors can help in all spine-related care and management, such as back pain, sports injuries, and issues involving the neck, muscles, nerves, pelves, and other general pain. Regular visits to a chiropractor will benefit adults, children, seniors, athletes, and individuals with specific conditions.