Your neck consists of the seven vertebrae at the top of your spine, along with an intricate network of small tendons, ligaments, and muscles. All of these structures work together to support and move your head in many directions. Neck pain is a common occurrence with a number of possible causes, including:
- The easiest cause of neck pain to identify is traumatic injury, such as whiplash caused by rear end car crashes.
- Normal wear and tear that happens to everyone as we age. Pain from normal wear, as well as osteoarthritis, tends to be more common and more of a problem as we get older.
- Muscle strain can be a particular problem for people who work overhead, such as painters, or in other awkward positions frequently. It can also be a frequent problem among those who spend many hours in front of a computer.
- Nerves can become compressed, most often by a herniated disk or bone spurs that may develop.
- Among the least common causes of neck pain are degenerative diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.
A large study involving more than 19,700 patients conducted in 2007 looked at the effectiveness of chiropractic treatment in alleviating neck pain and such associated problems as headaches, stiffness, and reduced range of motion in the neck, shoulder, upper arm, or upper back.
This study was the first of its kind to look at variables that might predict the effectiveness of treatment on neck pain and associated symptoms. The study found that 95% of those who were experiencing at least four associated symptoms saw immediate relief, while 70% of those who were experiencing only one associated symptom saw immediate relief.
This doesn’t mean that chiropractic care is suitable for every instance of neck pain. Chiropractors are professionals with years of training and the ability to assess each situation to determine the best course of treatment, and refer you to another medical practitioner if indicated. This is likely to be the case if your assessment suggests:
- Your pain could be the result of a spinal cord injury,
- You could have a tumour or other growth,
- Your pain is accompanied by certain other symptoms, including fever, nausea, severe headache, photophobia (light sensitivity). These symptoms could indicate serious, even life-threatening, infection that needs immediate hospitalization.
- Your neck pain is caused by certain conditions such as arthritis or fibromyalgia. In some of these cases, your chiropractor may work in cooperation with your primary care provider to manage your pain.
It can be tempting to take over the counter medications to mask pain, especially when the pain starts out as more of a minor, nagging twinge than intense pain, which is often the case with neck strain or degenerative conditions. While this can offer quick relief, the pain returns in a few hours and you have to take more. This does nothing for the underlying cause, and over time the pain only becomes worse, and the medication can even cause long-term health problems such as liver damage.
Chiropractic offers a gentle, non-pharmaceutical, and non-invasive approach to treating pain that poses little risk of complications or side effects. Chiropractic seeks to treat the underlying causes of pain rather than covering it up, so you get quick relief that lasts.
If you experience frequent neck pain or neck pain that has gradually become more intense, contact Spine Scan now on (08) 9221 0402 to schedule an appointment to find out how we can help.