Posts for category: Neck Pain
Neck pain can be acute (short term) or chronic (recurring or persisting for months and even years), but regardless, when you're in pain, relief is the first thing on your mind. Just as important as relief, of course, is finding the cause and ensuring you avoid the behavior / action that brought the pain on in the first place. Here are five common causes of neck pain – and why doctors of chiropractic are well-suited to relieve the pain and determine the underlying cause.
1. Poor Posture: Leaning over a desk all day or slouching in your office chair? You're bound to develop neck pain eventually, if you haven't already. Do this quick test: In an upright or seated position, round your shoulders and back (poor posture). Does it impact your neck as well? Exactly!
2. Monitor Madness: Staring at the computer screen for hours at a time? That's not good for your health (or sanity), but from a neck pain perspective, it's madness, particularly if the screen height forces you to crane your neck up (too high) or extend it down (too low).
3. Sleep Issues: Ideally, we spend a third of our day sleeping, so your sleep habits – for better or worse – can have a dramatic effect on your health. With regard to neck pain, anytime you sleep in an uncomfortable position, particularly one that stresses your neck musculature (think about side-sleeping while grabbing your pillow tightly, sleeping on your stomach with your arms out in front of you, or even sleeping on your back, but with a pillow that doesn't adequately support your neck), you risk neck pain.
4. Technology Overload: We may spend a third of our day sleeping, but we increasingly spend the other 16 hours typing, texting, tapping and otherwise interacting with our smartphones, tablets, etc. Bottom line: bad for your neck. One doctor has even coined the phrase, "text neck," to describe the neck pain that can result from this constant technology interaction.
5. The Wrong Movement: Twisting, turning, stretching and stressing your neck is an easy way to cause neck pain. While the muscles in the neck are strong, they can be strained, sprained and even torn, just like any other muscle.
It's important to note that beyond these common causes, various other health issues can also contribute to or directly cause neck pain, including fibromyalgia, cervical arthritis or spondylosis (essentially spinal arthritis), spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal), infection of the spine, and even cancer. The good news is that a doctor of chiropractic can help identify which of these or the above causes is to blame.
When neck pain strikes, most people turn to a temporary solution first: pain-relieving medication. But that's not a permanent solution, of course, and it doesn't address the cause of the pain at all, which could be something relatively minor – or more serious. What's more, research suggests chiropractic spinal manipulation is actually more effective than over-the-counter and prescription medication for relieving both acute and subacute neck pain.
Suffering from neck pain? Then give your doctor of chiropractic a call. They'll help you relieve your pain and determine the cause so it doesn't return.
When you're suffering low back pain, shoulder pain or any number of similar musculoskeletal conditions, who gets the call: your medical doctor or your doctor of chiropractic? Your choice of health care provider in those situations could make a big difference, and research is continuing to prove it. According to the latest study, chiropractic care is at least as effective as medical care for certain musculoskeletal conditions, while reducing health care costs and leaving patients more satisfied with the results.
The authors of the study, published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics (JMPT), went so far as to state that for certain musculoskeletal conditions, visiting an MD first instead of a DC may actually be a mistake:
"The findings of this study support first-contact care provided by DCs as an alternative to first-contact care provided by MDs for a select number of musculoskeletal conditions. Restrictive models of care in which patients are required to contact a medical provider before consulting a chiropractic provider may be counterproductive for patients experiencing the musculoskeletal conditions investigated and possibly others."
The study sample included 403 patients who saw medical doctors and 316 patients who saw doctors of chiropractic as the initial health care providers for their spinal, hip or shoulder pain complaint. Four months following care, all patients completed a questionnaire that evaluated pain on that day and four months earlier (11-point scale); satisfaction with care received and the results of that care (5-point scale from "very satisfied" to "very unsatisfied"); and other variables. The researchers evaluated related costs of care by reviewing an insurance claims database.
"Patients initially consulting MDs had significantly less reduction in their numerical pain rating score and were significantly less likely to be satisfied with the care received and the outcome of care." What's more average per-patient costs over the four-month period were significantly lower in patients who initially consulted DCs ($368 difference compared to MD care).
JMPT Editor-in-Chief Claire Johnson, DC, MEd, emphasized the importance of the latest findings: "Comparative studies – in other words, research that compares the outcomes between two different providers or modalities – are rare for chiropractic care," she said. "Thus, this study ... is especially important if payers and policy-makers are to better understand the ‘triple aim' as it relates to chiropractic. Specifically, this study helps us better understand what type of care provides better patient satisfaction, is more cost effective, and improves population health."
The answer, suggests an increasing body of research, is chiropractic care.
With smartphones gaining popularity among South Koreans since 2010, an escalating number of youngsters, mostly in their twenties, are beginning to suffer the consequences.
According to the Korean National Health Insurance Corporation, the number of patients with cervical disc herniation (or slipped disc) has increased from 573,912 in 2007 to 784,121 in 2011. Out of 100,000 patients, 7.6 percent of them are in their twenties.
Most people look down when using their mobile devices. This posture adds a strain to the neck and causes cervical disc herniation. Whilst a human head weighs approximately 10 pounds (4.5kg), staring at a phone with your head tilted forward will feel more akin to a 20 to 30-pound (9kg to 13.6kg) load.
Cervical disc herniation isn't the only problem caused by using smartphones. An article by Chosun Ilboearlier in May highlighted that youngsters also spend less time exercising which has resulted in an increase in obesity.
If you are one of those who like to spend hours chatting or gaming on your smartphone, this latest report from Korea should motivate you to take some time to rest in between and do some light neck stretches. After all, a slipped disc is no joking matter as it requires frequent chirorpactic care and therapy and in some cases, it may even need non surgical spianl decompression and even worse surgery.
Low-back pain affects more than 150 million Americans each year -- that's 56% of the population! And until researchers prove otherwise, it's probably safe to assume that this estimate applies to the rest of the world. Doctors of chiropractic know just how to handle back pain, and fortunately, they're also great at diagnosing and treating many other disabling conditions, including neck pain.
Neck pain may be as frequent as low-back pain, at least according to a recent study that posed two questions to 1,131 Canadians: "In your lifetime, have you ever experienced neck pain?" and "Do you have neck pain at the present time?" Two-thirds of the patients reported experiencing neck pain in their lifetime and 22.2% complained of neck pain at the time of the study.
Whether you live in the United States or Canada, Belgium or Brazil, back and neck pain can strike anyone at anytime. Wherever you are, ask yourself these same two questions about neck pain. If you answer "yes" to one or both, here's a third question for you: When you suffer from neck pain, where should you go? Oh, and here's the answer: your doctor of chiropractic!
Cote P, Cassidy JD, Carroll L. The Saskatchewan Health and Back Pain Survey: the prevalence of neck pain and related disability in Saskatchewan adults. Spine, August 1, 1998: volume 23, number 15, pp1689-1698.
What is neck pain?
Neck pain can be so mild that it is merely annoying and distracting. Or, it can be so severe that it is unbearable and incapacitating.
Fortunately, most minor, posture-induced neck pain episodes clear up on their own after rest and efforts not to repeat the offending stresses on the neck.Most instances of neck pain and stiffness are minor, and commonly caused by something you did. That is, if you keep your head in an awkward position for too long, the joints in your neck can "lock" and the neck muscles can become painfully fatigued. The price you pay for carelessness in how you position your head and neck (for instance, while working, watching TV, using a computer, reading a book, or talking on the phone with the receiver held against your shoulder and under your chin), is a pain in the neck. You may be one of the many unfortunates who, after a long and tiring day, has "harmlessly" fallen asleep in a chair or in bed with your head propped up, only to awake with a stiff and painful neck.
But neck pain that just won't go away after a day or so is a more serious matter. Neck pain that lasts for many days or keeps coming back is a signal that something isn't right.
Disease, an injury (such as whiplash in an auto accident), a congenital malformation, or progressive degeneration that can come with age may be responsible for the more significant pain you experience. An expert must determine the underlying causes of such neck pain. Examination, diagnosis and treatment by a doctor of chiropractic can relieve your mind and may quickly relieve your pain.
Who suffers from neck pain?
Almost everyone experiences some sort of neck pain or stiffness at one time or another. Because you are human and walk upright, your head is "balanced" atop your spinal column. If the muscles that support your head are not kept strong and in good condition, then the upper part of your spinal column is vulnerable to strains and injuries.
Older people, whose joints have been worn by much use over time, are subject to osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease, or DJD. When this form of arthritis hits your back and neck, you feel it as neck pain that gets worse over time. The pain may radiate into your shoulders and arms, and you may feel numbness or tingling in your hands and fingers. Arthritis can also involve symptoms including headaches, dizziness, and even a grating/grinding feeling when you move your head. It is very important for your chiropractor to examine you to rule out osteoarthritis or identify it and see that it is properly treated.
What can chiropractic do?
Doctors of chiropractic have the training and skills to relieve your neck pain, overcome stiffness, and restore the mobility and range of motion of any frozen neck vertebrae. They are devoted to helping you get back to your normal pursuits and start feeling like yourself again.
Perhaps their most important contribution is their ability to bring their specialized diagnostic skills, techniques, and equipment to bear in assessing what is causing your neck problems. Your chiropractor can determine if you have a relatively minor and treatable condition or a more serious underlying condition (from disease, degeneration, or trauma) that may require more intensive, extended treatment or referral to a specialist.
Your chiropractor will ask you for detailed information on your behavior, posture, physical condition, and work and home environment. He or she will obtain x-rays and other diagnostic images to pinpoint which of many possible causes is a responsible for your discomfort. Only then will the appropriate treatment be recommended.
Once your normal feeling and function is restored, your chiropractor will be available to keep the muscles and joints of your neck and back in optimum condition in order to prevent recurrent neck pain and related life-restricting symptoms.
- Cassidy JD, Lopes AA, Yong-Hing K. The immediate effect of manipulation on pain and range of motion in the cervical spine: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 1992; vol. 25, pp570-75.
- Coulter ID, Hurwitz EL, Adams AH, et al. The Appropriateness of Manipulation and Mobilization of the Cervical Spine. Santa Monica, CA: Rand, supported by the Consortium for Chiropractic Research, 1996.
- Hurwitz EL, Aker PD, Adams AH, et al. Manipulation and mobilization of the cervical spine: A systematic review of the literature. Spine, 1996; vol. 21, no. 15, pp1746-60.
- Jackson R. The Cervical Syndrome, 4th ed. Charles C. Thomas Publisher, Springfield, IL: 1978.
- Koes BW, Bouter LM, van Mameren H, et al. A randomized clinical trial of manual therapy and physiotherapy for persistent back and neck complaints: Subgroup analysis and relationship between outcome measures. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 1993; vol. 16, pp211-19.
- Koes BW, Bouter LM, van Mameren H, Essers AHM. The effectiveness of manual therapy, physiotherapy, and treatment by the general practitioner for nonspecific back and neck complaints: A randomized clinical trial. Spine, 1992;17, pp28-35.
- Koes BW, Bouter LM, van Mameren H, et al. Randomized clinical trial of manual therapy and physiotherapy for persistent back and neck complaints: Results of one year follow up. British Medical Journal, 1992;304, pp601-5.
- Zvulun I. Mobilizing the nervous system in cervical cord compression. Manual Therapy, Feb, 1998; vol. 3, no. 1, pp42-7.