Pain in the neck? Hard to turn your head? Grinding or popping sounds?
Your neck has quite a responsibility. Its main job is to keep your head upright and mobile so that you can see and hear in all directions. And your head is heavy! It's the equivalent of a bowling ball.
But your neck also has to provide safe passage for many nerves in your body: the nerves which relay messages from your brain to your body and then back again. A series of seven tiny bones (called vertebrae) have to provide all this motion and protection between your skull and your chest.
These small bones are bound together by a complex network of muscles, ligaments, discs, and joint capsules. If any of these structures is compromised, the precious nerves which flow through the neck are at risk of injury. Your neck therefore monitors its injuries even more closely than other parts of your body, with a very high ratio of pain-sensing nerve fibers. More pain nerves and precarious biomechanics mean that the neck is extra susceptible to pain.
Keeping the right amount of motion in the neck is essential for pain-free function. If there is too little motion between two vertebrae, the disc between them will begin to wither. As the body protects itself against this degeneration by creating extra bone, the other vertebrae will begin to move too much in an attempt to recover the lost motion. But this excessive motion elsewhere will put extra strain on ligaments and joint capsules, causing inflammation and pain.
Neck pain may disappear after taking pain medications. The neck pain will always come back, though, since the cause of your neck pain hasn't been addressed. The joint motion remains compromised, whether the pain signals are present or not. In fact, one significant study comparing chiropractic, acupuncture, and NSAID drugs remarked that the chiropractic adjustment may be the only treatment which provides significant relief for chronic neck pain.
How We Can Help Your Neck Pain
The key ingredient to having a healthy neck is the proper amount of motion. Not too much, and not too little. When the motion is just right, your nerves are protected and able to function just the way they're supposed to.
Dr. Johnson will perform a thorough analysis of your neck on each visit. Is the proper spinal curve present? Do you have a full range of motion? How is your posture? Are your shoulders level? Is your head tilted? Are the nerves to your arms and hands affected by the structures in your neck?
After the analysis, Dr. Johnson may decide that your neck needs a gentle Activator Methods adjustment. The Activator instrument delivers just the right amount of delicate force in just the right direction. This allows the muscles and vertebrae of the neck to regain their proper motion and function. Your need for the chiropractic adjustment will always be based on your body and the available research.
Once the essential Activator adjustment has been delivered, there are many other ways to address the soreness that may still reside in your neck as your neck relearns its proper alignment. Cold packs, massage, cold laser therapy, ultrasound, electric stimulation, and rehabilitative exercises are some of these strategies. Each of these are non-invasive and non-drug ways to restore function and eliminate pain.
If your neck pain is the result of a disc problem, the Activator adjustment can be complemented by cervical spinal decompression, the conservative treatment of choice for disc problems.
- forward head posture
- other forms of poor posture
- muscle aches from viral infections like mono, influenza, or the common cold
- muscle strain
- ligament sprain
- side effect from a wide variety of drugs
- cervical facet syndrome
- radiculopathy (often misnamed a "pinched nerve")
- cervical spinal degeneration and osteoarthritis
- cervical disc herniation
- spinal stenosis
- cervical vertebral dislocation
- neck fracture
- spinal cord tumors
- Text Neck
- place your computer monitor or television at eye level when seated comfortably
- don't remain in one seated position at work for more than fifteen minutes at a time
- perform simple periodic posture breaks
- get a good night's sleep
- if your neck already hurts, refrain from intense physical exercise until visiting a chiropractor
- ask Dr. Johnson for simple neck stretches and exercises