Most of us are familiar with neck pain and would have experienced it at least several times throughout our lives, some more than the others. Perhaps all that extra hours you’re clocking in for that big project is taking its toll on you, or maybe you’ve slept wrong the night before and woke up with your neck stiff and sore. It is extremely common and is among the top five reasons for chiropractic visits, second only to lower back pain. Characterized by a sharp or dull pain and limited range of motion in the neck, it is also often accompanied by headache, stiffness in the shoulders as well as numbness or a tingling sensation that spreads as far as your arms. While most cases of neck pain eventually resolve themselves, some turn out to be debilitating and persistent. If your neck pain has failed to recede after two weeks, now would be a good time to seek professional help.
Among the most common causes of neck pain are whiplash and poor postures. Whiplash occurs when a sudden force jerks the head backwards and forwards, or from side to side, forcing the neck beyond its normal range of motion. Poor postures, on the other hand, is an example of minor, repetitive stress, the effects of which build slowly and surface gradually over time. Both trauma like whiplash and constant stress like sitting for long hours at a desk cause the vertebrae in our neck to rotate out of their original positions and become stuck. They then press on the intervertebral discs (gel-like cushions between each vertebra), which in turn compress the surrounding nerves. Pinched nerves can lead to pain, numbness and a seemingless endless list of ailments pertaining to impaired nerve functions.
Chiropractors provide a safe, gentle solution to neck pain that does not involve medication – an important consideration for many people. The chiropractic treatment for neck pain includes cervical manipulation, where a gentle force is applied to the abnormal vertebrae, guiding them back into their original positions. This resolves the misalignment, removing pressure from the compressed nerves and restoring mobility in the neck. Patients typically notice an improved range of motion in the neck and a reduction in pain, soreness and stiffness around the previously affected area as normal nerve transmission is allowed to resume and the surrounding tissues begin to heal.