Suffering From Neck Pain?
Neck pain can be quite discomforting for anyone. In more severe cases, such as a pinched nerve, the pain can radiate all the way along the back, causing the muscles to tense up and cause the neck-pain sufferer extreme discomfort and limited mobility.
Therefore, it is quite common for neck pain sufferers to experience pain in the back. A combination of neck pain with back pain can lead to other disturbances and imbalances in the body. Dr. Clark Eckert, in Oak Ridge, TN can help treat neck pain and identify serious problems.
Chiropractic and Neck Pain: Conservative Care of Cervical Pain, Injury
Our neck, also called the cervical spine, is an incredibly enduring and flexible organ. Consisting of just seven small vertebrae, our neck supports the full weight of our head that is on average 12 pounds. Its flexibility allows our head to move in almost every direction. However the same flexibility makes the cervical spine very susceptible to various injuries and, consequently, related pains.
Sudden movements, extended sitting, falls, injuries, accidents, head injuries, aging and everyday life all wear out our neck’s ability to work properly. And unfortunately, neck pain is usually quite bothersome and weary. There are many factors that can contribute to neck pain, but the most typical causes are the following:
1. Injury and Accidents
Whiplash is the most common cause of neck pain. A sudden movement of the head or neck in any direction can potentially result in recoil in the opposite direction. This movement creates injuries to the supporting head and neck tissues, and then leads to muscle tightness and contraction. This causes muscle stiffness and pain.
In some severe whiplash cases one can observe injuries to the intervertebral joints, nerve roots, ligaments, discs and muscles. It’s not surprising that car crashes are one of the leading causes of whiplash.
2. Aging: Degenerative disorders (osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis, and degenerative disc disease)
When we get older, our cervical spine gets more susceptible to various degenerative disorders.
Among the most common age-related disorders I would name three: osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis and degenerative disc disease.
Let me explain briefly how they originate and can affect our bodies.
Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease, is a group of mechanical abnormalities involving degradation of articular cartilage and subchondral bone. It is the leading cause of disability in the United State that affects over 27 million people. When our joints undergo progressive cartilage deterioration, our body forms bone spurs that limit joint motion.
Spinal stenosis is an abnormal narrowing of the vertebrae. This narrowing cause bones to compress and trap the sensitive nerve roots. Stenosis has variety of symptoms, such as numbness, pain irradiating into arm, shoulder and neck due to nerves’ inability to function properly.
Degenerative disc disease, shortly DDD, causes reduction in the height and elasticity of the intervertebral discs. Over a certain period of time a disc can herniate or bulge that can cause numbness, tingling, as well as pain that spread into the arm.
3. Daily Life
It is no news that our lifestyle greatly affects our health. Bad posture, excessive weight, abdominal muscle weakness can easily destroy spinal balance. This causes our neck to bend forward to compensate; our muscles tighten, contract and as a result we feel stiffness and pain. If we live under constant stress and emotional tension, overtime we can experience chronic neck pain that can extend into our upper back and arms.
Chiropractic Care of Neck Pain
Chiropractors are the only doctors who fix health issues using conservative methods, primarily chiropractic manipulation, electro stimulation and deep tissue therapy sessions. In our office we don’t use conventional medicine approaches that involve surgeries and drug usage. We are convinced that many health problems can be eliminated through a series of physical adjustments and simple lifestyle changes.
During your first visit to our office, we will perform several exams to find the source of your pain. Then we will make you answer questions regarding your current symptoms and medication you may take. The most common question can be the following:
- When and how did your pain begin?
- What has been done for neck pain?
- Does your pain stay in one place or “travel” to other parts of your body?
- Is there anything that reduces pain or vice versa causes it to worsen?
If necessary, we will do physical and neurological exams. During your physical examination we will observe your overall physical condition, range of motion, your posture and note movements that cause pain. Additionally, we will examine your spine, its alignment and curvature, check for muscle spasms. During your neurological examination, our doctors will test your body for reflexes, nerve changes, muscle strength and etc.
We may order certain tests, such as an x-ray, CT, CAT, EMG or MRI to diagnose your current condition. If the tests results show the condition outside of our conservative approach, we will refer you to the appropriate medical specialist or physician.
One of the most common chiropractic therapies is a cervical manipulation, or simply speaking a neck adjustment. Your chiropractor will apply gentle movements to the joints in your neck to improve its mobility and restore its range of motion. After just several sessions most patients feel reduction in muscle stiffness, pain and soreness, as well improved ability to tilt and turn their heads. All the procedures are safe for adults, older people and children, as all chiropractors undergo months of training and several years of leaning.
We will develop an individual wellness and treatment program that will satisfy your current needs. Over time the program can be adjusted according to your progress. Usually we combine therapy sessions with rehabilitative exercise, balanced nutrition plan and healthy lifestyle.
Research Supporting Chiropractic Care
Numerous research conducted across the globe find more and more evidence that patients with chronic neck pain experienced significant improvements following chiropractic cervical manipulation. Additionally, it was found that a trial group involved in the 2007 research didn’t have any neck pain two years after the chiropractic therapy.