Otherwise known as the cervical spine, the neck has seven small vertebrae and starts at the base of the skull. Amazingly, the full weight (mostly averaging around 5-6 kg) of the head is supported by the cervical spine and surrounding tissues.
The cervical spine makes it possible for the head to move in nearly every direction. Unfortunately, this flexibility also makes the neck more prone to injury and pain in many cases.
The susceptibility of the neck to injury can be attributed to a combination of factors. Of course accidents or falls with blows to the head or body can lead to injury and dysfunction of the cervical spine or nearby tissues.
Car accidents or sports injuries with fast, jerking head or neck movements may also lead to whiplash that may lead to chronic issues of the spinal joints and soft tissues (muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascia).
However, the vast majority of patients we see with neck pain are often suffering from poor biomechanics brought on by our everyday lives. Our body slowly accumulates stress from our daily repetitive movements, prolonged sitting, poor posture, and too much time on our handphones as primary examples.
In essence, chiropractic care is an excellent non-surgical treatment alternative that can be used to treat neck pain and its related symptoms. Doctors of Chiropractic (DC) treat different kinds of cervical (neck) conditions including:
- Cervical strain/sprain injuries
- Degenerative arthritis (spondylosis) of the neck
- Cervical intervertebral disc injuries (bulging or “slipped disc”)
- Facet joint syndrome
- Numbness or tingling in the arms or hands due to cervical degeneration
- Forward head posture
- And more!
Prior to providing neck pain treatment the spine as a whole will be evaluated. This is done to assess if other regions of the neck (cervical), low back (lumbar), and mid back (thoracic) are affected. In addition to treating the spine as a whole, chiropractors will treat the “whole person” as opposed to just the specific symptoms.
That means in addition to providing effective neck pain treatment, patients may be educated on stress management, nutrition, and lifestyle goals and modification strategies.
Before the right treatment approach to neck pain is determined, a thorough examination is done to identify the specific cause(s) of your pain. Areas of restricted movement will also be taken into account. The spinal alignment, mechanics and the overall posture will assessed as well. The exams will give our chiropractor a better understanding of the patient’s body mechanics and most likely contributing factors to their condition.
In addition to the physical exam, the patient’s past medical history will also be looked into. An imaging test (i.e. MRI or X-ray) may also be ordered to accurately pinpoint the exact cause of the neck pain and to help determine the extent of damage which has accumulated.
Moreover, proper imaging may reveal postural deviations which may predispose you to higher likelihood of future wear and tear that could be avoided with the right strategies in place.
A thorough and proper diagnostic process will help to give us all the information needed so a customised treatment plan can be created for you. If a patient’s neck pain condition is unlikely to be helped by our methods or requires surgery, patients will be referred out for an orthopaedic evaluation.
Chiropractic treatment for neck pain may involve a combination of manual therapy, spinal manipulation, and other techniques.
- Manual joint stretching and resistance techniques. Has been known to help minimise neck pain and other symptoms.
- Instrument-assisted soft tissue therapy (IASTM). Our chiropractor makes use of special instruments to diagnose and treat muscle tension and scar tissue.
- Trigger point therapy. Used to relieve those painful and tight points within a muscle or near muscle insertion points.
- Specific spinal manipulation. This gentle thrusting technique (often with associated “popping” or “clicking” sounds) has been known to effectively restore joint movement and reduce pain.
- Instrument-assisted manipulation. A handheld instrument is used to help the chiropractor apply sufficient force to mobilise joints without thrusting into the patient’s spine.
- Flexion-distraction technique. A hands-on and gentle spinal manipulation that will involve pumping action on the intervertebral disc rather than applying direct force.
- Rehabilitative exercise. Critical to restoring proper long-term movement patterns, posture and reducing the likelihood of relapse.
- Electro-myotherapy. A low frequency electrical current is used to stimulate the neck muscles for pain relief or muscle activation in some cases.
- Low-level laser therapy (LLLT). Also known as cold laser therapy, LLLT has been shown to reduce inflammation, help minimise pain, and accelerate the body’s natural healing process.
- Radial shockwave therapy (RSWT). FDA-approved and non-invasive, this treatment makes use of abrupt pulses of mechanical energy. Apart from treating injuries to the bones, soft tissues, and joints, shockwave therapy has also been used to ease certain symptoms like muscle cramps, loss of range of motion, loss of flexibility, and muscle spasms.
- Non-surgical spinal decompression (NSSD). Our modern generation decompression machines use state-of-the-art algorithms to gently, safely, and effectively reduce pain caused by degenerative disc disease (bulging or “slipped disc”) and aid in the rehabilitation of these issues.
At Elite Spine Centres, we don’t just want to help our patients get out of pain, but we want to teach them how to retain long lasting results and optimise their health which goes well beyond pain relief.
Therefore, all of our patients will receive simple but effective daily exercises and lifestyle advice to minimise further aggravation of their condition and increase their strength and flexibility of the affected areas over time. In short, our patients progress from passive treatments to a more active role which is crucial to their long-term success.
Our caring and compassionate doctors and staff are here to help guide you along every step of the way towards decreased pain and symptoms, improved function, and optimum quality of life for you moving forward!