Neck pain: it’s one of the most common chronic conditions out there. In fact, an estimated 16-75% of the global population experiences neck pain at some point.
Additionally, neck pain ranks as one of the top 5 pain disorders in the U.S. and contributes annually to thousands of days of missed work, compensation claims, and doctor’s office visits. As if all that weren’t enough, neck pain just makes daily life hard – impacting our moods, our comfort, and our willingness to do the things we love.
If you’re one of the many people suffering from neck pain, there is hope for relief. Chiropractic treatment is a non-invasive, effective way to treat and resolve neck pain and help you live a more comfortable life.
Here’s what you need to know.
Neck Pain, by the Numbers
If you’re suffering from neck pain, you are not alone. These numbers illustrate exactly how prevalent neck pain is in the U.S. and global populations alike:
- Up to 50% of neck pain cases in people older than 50 are the result of osteoarthritis
- In cases of neck pain in people between 55-64, men have a higher percentage of disc problems (40%) than women (28%)
- Sometimes, neck pain is the result of cancers, including lung cancer that has moved into the shoulders, neck and lower back
- Chronic neck pain causes discomfort that lasts for an extended period of days or weeks. This type of neck pain is common and generally responds well to treatment
What Causes Neck Pain?
Like back or leg pain, the causes of neck pain are varied. Common causes of neck pain include issues with the cervical disk, strains to muscles and tendons, osteoarthritis, herniated discs, degenerative disc disease, old injuries, poor posture, excessive physical activity or repetitive movements, diet, dehydration, illness, and obesity.
While neck pain is inconvenient and uncomfortable, it’s not always a sign of a critical issue. According to the Mayo Clinic,
“Rarely, neck pain can be a symptom of a more serious problem. Seek medical care if your neck pain is accompanied by numbness or loss of strength in your arms or hands or if you have shooting pain into your shoulder or down your arm.”
Remember that neck pain comes in all shapes and sizes. While no two conditions are the same, it’s always important to pay attention to your symptoms, your pain, and your unique situation.
How Chiropractors Treat Neck Pain
If you’ve ever been to a chiropractor before, you know that chiropractic practitioners use their hands and adjusting tools to treat pain in the muscles, joints, and nerves. Using controlled yet sudden force, chiropractors manipulate joints beyond their normal range, loosening the joints, increasing freedom of movement, and re-aligning problem areas gradually and gently. Over time, this decreases discomfort and restores normal quality of life.
When it comes to the treatment of neck pain, in particular, chiropractors generally focus on cervical manipulation. Cervical manipulation targets the joints in the cervical vertebrae, which serves to reduce pain and tightness in the areas below the joint.
If the cause of your neck pain is not immediately apparent, your chiropractor may use a combination of x-rays, CT scans, or physical screenings to identify issues and propose a treatment plan.
What to Expect From Your First Chiropractic Visit
If your neck pain has finally driven you to the chiropractor, here’s what you can expect during your initial office visit:
1. A Comprehensive Patient History
Unless you’re already an established patient at a chiropractic office, the first order of business will be for the chiropractic staff to take a full patient history. You’ll fill out a form, either digitally or on paper, to answer background questions about your health and any old injuries. Questions may include the following:
- When did the pain start?
- How bad is the pain, on a scale of 1-10?
- Is the pain sharp, dull, shooting, etc.?
- Where is the pain located?
- Have you had any previous injuries or surgeries?
- Does the pain lessen with rest, ice, chiropractic care, etc.?
- Is the pain constant, or does it come and go?
2. A Chiropractic Exam
Once the doctor has taken your full health history, you’ll undergo a chiropractic exam. This may include general health tests, including blood pressure, respiration rate, reflexes, and more. The chiropractor will also likely look at the range of motion in your affected area, your overall muscle tone and strength, and more. If the chiropractor sees fit, he or she may also order x-rays or scans to uncover injuries and formulate a treatment plan.
3. The Adjustment
Next comes the part you’ve been waiting for – the chiropractic adjustment! During this part of the appointment, the chiropractor will manually adjust your neck and the areas around it, seeking to resolve the pain and provide relief. Keep in mind that, while you’ll likely experience a measure of comfort after your adjustment, it may take several sessions for the condition to resolve entirely.
4. The Follow-up Plan
Unless your doctor sees your condition as acute and easy to treat, he or she will likely develop a treatment plan to continue providing relief. In most cases, you’ll plan to see the chiropractor once a week, or a few times a month, until x-rays or other scans prove your condition is resolving.
You Don’t Have to Live With Neck Pain
If you’ve been fighting your way through neck pain, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. By seeing a skilled chiropractor with experience resolving neck pain, you can identify the cause, banish the discomfort, and get back to enjoying your life.
While many people find themselves nervous about their first chiropractic visit, it’s important to remember that chiropractors offer a holistic, effective, non-invasive treatment for neck pain. For most people, even a few visits to a chiropractic office results in a dramatic reduction of neck pain symptoms.
So, what are you waiting for? Contact us to book your first appointment today.