OFFICE HOUR REMINDER: I will be closed April 14th, Thursday all day (normally only morning hours).
Acute neck pain can be caused by many things. Strains/sprains to the neck from whiplash, sports, or certain sudden movements can result in muscular or ligament pain. Injuries to the muscles take about 4-6 weeks to heal and ligament and tendon injuries take somewhat longer. Mechanical joint pain can also result from sleeping postures, physical activities, repetitive movement injuries, and simply moving wrong. When the joint locks and prevents normal joint motion pain often results. Osteoarthritis/degenerative disc disease can also lead to neck pain. Calcium build up called spurs can sometimes press on sensitive nerve structures resulting in radiating pain and lack of normal movement. Disc injuries (swelling or herniation) can lead to severe neck pain due to disc material pressing on nerves. Vascular problems (heart disease, artery disease) can also cause neck pain as can viral infections, certain cancers, and some diseases.
Chronic neck pain frequently results from years of abuse and the development of degenerative changes in the spine such as decreased disc spaces, calcium spurs, narrowed nerve openings, structural changes, and abnormal muscle and ligament tension. Chronic musculoskeletal problems are generally progressive-i.e., they get worse with time and age.
Thoracic Outlet Syndrome: This is another condition often accompanying neck pain and arm pain or numbness and tingling. Generally, it is caused by mechanical pressure on the bundle of nerves and vessels coming out of the neck. The increased pressure can be caused tight muscles in the neck or chest, an extra rib in the neck, postural problems, blocked arteries, and other causes.
Treatment options abound. Conservative treatment may involve chiropractic manipulation, mobilization, stretching, exercises, structural changes, nutritional support and various physical medicine modalities to relax muscles and speed up healing. LASER therapy also works well with neck pain. Non-responsive cases may require steroid injections or surgical intervention. Doctors of Chiropractic are trained to provide conservative treatment for acute and chronic neck pain. By focusing on the normal structure and function of the neck we have various methods available to us. My clinic focuses on manipulation (low force and traditional), traction, physical medicine modalities (ultrasound, electrical stim, exercises) and the use of low level LASER therapy to help return patients to normal in as short a time as possible. Chronic cases and patients with radiating pain may take longer than normal due to tissue and structure changes and the nature of the condition. Referals are provided in non-responsive cases. Medical treatment may include: medication, injections, or surgery. X-rays may or may not be necessary depending on clinical findings and the patient's response to treatment.
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