Are You Suffering From Neck Pain?
We all know what it’s like to have neck pain—whether it’s after a long drive, pinching the phone between the head and shoulder, star-gazing, or from talking to someone who is seated off to the side. There are many causes of neck pain, but how do chiropractic adjustments help neck pain? Let’s take a look!
The technique most often associated with chiropractic is spinal manipulation where a “high velocity, low amplitude” thrust is applied to specific vertebrae in the spine, which does several things: 1) It restores mobility in an area with restricted movement; 2) It stimulates the sensory “neuroreceptors” in joint capsules, which has a muscle relaxing reflex effect; 3) It can affect surrounding neurological structures in certain parts of the spine, which can have beneficial effects on the digestive system, cardiovascular system, and other body systems not typically thought about when seeking chiropractic care.
Joint manipulation is not new, as it can be traced back to as early as 400 BCE. The profession of chiropractic began in the later 1800s and has grown in popularity ever since. There is now an overwhelming body of evidence that supports spinal manipulation as both a safe and highly effective treatment for neck and back pain, headaches, and many other maladies.
It’s important to note that there are many different types of manual therapies that chiropractors utilize when caring for neck pain patients. At Halberg Chiropractic Clinic, we sometimes use non-thrust techniques that do NOT produce the “crack” that is frequently associated with chiropractic adjustments. This often incorporates a combination of massage, stretching, manual traction (pulling of the neck), and left to right and front to back “gliding” movements. In many cases, Dr. Halberg may utilize a combination of manipulation and mobilization as well as “trigger point therapy” (applying sustained pressure over tight “knots” in muscles), depending on a patient’s needs. He also sometimes uses kinesio taping techniques to stabilize the area and to improve circulation.
Although it’s becoming increasingly common to have a PCP refer a neck pain patient for chiropractic care, this still does not happen for all neck pain patients in spite of strong research supporting the significant benefits of spinal manipulation to treat neck pain. One such study compared spinal manipulation, acupuncture, and anti-inflammatory medication with the objective of assessing the long-term benefits (at one year) of these three approaches in patients with chronic (>13 weeks) neck pain. The study randomly divided 115 patients into one of three groups that were all treated for nine weeks. Comparison at the one-year point showed that ONLY those who received spinal manipulation had maintained long-term benefits based on a review of seven main outcome measures. The study concludes that for patients with chronic neck pain, spinal manipulation was the ONLY treatment that maintained a significant long-term (one-year) benefit after nine weeks of treatment!
In a 2012 study published in medical journal The Annals of Internal Medicine, 272 acute or sub-acute neck pain patients received one of three treatment approaches: medication, exercise with advice from a health care practitioner, or chiropractic care. Participants were treated for twelve weeks, with outcomes assessed at 2, 4, 8, 12, 26, and 52 weeks. The patients in the chiropractic care and exercise groups significantly outperformed the medication group at the 26-week point AND had more than DOUBLE the likelihood of complete neck pain relief. However, at the one-year point, ONLY the chiropractic group continued to demonstrate long-term benefits! The significant benefits achieved from both exercise and chiropractic treatments when compared with medication make sense as both address the cause of neck pain as opposed to only masking the symptoms.
With results of these studies showing acute, subacute, as well as chronic neck pain responding BEST to chiropractic care, it only makes sense to TRY THIS FIRST!
For more information on neck pain and other conditions commonly seen by Dr. Halberg, check out his blog at drjameshalbergblog.com.