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Your neck is the only part of your body responsible for carrying the full weight of your head – on average a full 12 pounds. As part of its duties, it must be flexible enough to move your head in nearly any direction – a feature that sadly also makes it susceptible to pain and injury. Activities that can contribute to this pain include extended sitting, repetitive movement, accidents, falls and blows to the head and normal wear and tear.
Injuries: The most common injury to your neck is a whiplash injury – when the neck moves suddenly in one direction and then “rebounds” back in the other. This whipping motion can cause your muscles to tighten to protect the spine, leading to muscle fatigue and stiffness.
Growing Older: As you get older you can get osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis and degenerative disc disease.
Daily life: Poor posture, obesity and week abdominal muscles contribute to neck pain because the muscles have to bend out of shape to compensate for imbalances elsewhere along the spine. Stress builds up and causes your muscles to tighten, leading to pain and stiffness.
We will start with a few questions – when did the pain start? What have you done to help the pain? Does anything help reduce the pain or make it worse? – Following these questions, you’ll also get a physical exam checking your posture, range of motion and physical condition. Depending on your condition or injury, the doctor may ask for x-rays or other tests to help achieve a thorough diagnosis.
Once a diagnosis has been reached, your chiropractor will use spinal manipulations to help improve the mobility of the spine and restore range of motion. They may also use physical therapies and exercises to improve posture and relax muscles.
Many studies have shown that patients under the care of a chiropractor feel better in the long term than patients who simply treat the symptoms with pain medications and muscle relaxants. Because chiropractors treat the underlying causes of the pain, rather than just the symptoms, the therapy is more complete and effective. Contrary to popular belief, theses adjustments are not painful, and chiropractors are trained to carefully return motion to restricted spinal joints.
In our office neck pain is one of the top 5 most common complaints among patients when they start treatment. Make sure to check out our Success Stories to hear in our patient's own words how we helped them with their neck pain!