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Chiropractic Treatment for Neck Pain: What to Expect

Chiropractor adjusting a woman's neck.

If you experience neck pain, stiffness or discomfort, you’re far from alone. In fact, it’s estimated that acute or chronic neck pain affects anywhere from 16 percent up to 75 percent of people in some areas of the world.

In America, the most common neck pain issues stem from our sedentary and technology-heavy lifestyle. Think about it: Most of us sit all day and look at computer screens or mobile devices for the majority of our days. Then we go home and look at television screens or spend more time on phones and tablets.

This lifestyle puts a great deal of stress on our neck, often causing posture issues that contribute even further to neck pain.

What causes neck pain?

Your neck, also called the cervical spine, begins at the base of the skull and contains seven small vertebrae. Your cervical spine supports the full weight of your head, which weighs about 12 pounds on average. Because the neck is very flexible and can move your head in virtually every direction, it is highly susceptible to pain and injury.

Some common causes of neck pain include:

Can chiropractors treat neck pain?

Chiropractic neck adjustments, called cervical manipulation, loosen up the joints of the cervical vertebrae in the neck. This can reduce pain caused by pinched nerves, muscle spasms, strains and other contributing factors.

Most neck pain is associated with poor posture combined with age-related wear and tear.

Chiropractors use their hands to manipulate the neck and place the vertebrae back into alignment, combatting the effects of posture and other factors.

Sometimes, neck pain isn’t just local. Discomfort from causes such as pinched nerves can radiate throughout the shoulder and down the arm. Chiropractors can help relieve these pains by repositioning the bones, relaxing the muscles, and reducing the pressure on nerves.

In conjunction with your chiropractic treatment plan, continual stretching and home exercises can ensure your neck pain stays at bay. Soft tissue massage can also loosen muscle knots in the neck and shoulders to relieve pain.

Is chiropractic safe for neck pain?

Licensed chiropractors can safely administer spinal adjustments to the neck. Routine chiropractic care can provide you with a safe, non-invasive, non-addictive alternative to prescription medications or over-the-counter pain medications (OTCs), which are commonly prescribed to patients to help them manage their pain and swelling.

Chiropractic adjustments reduce joint restrictions or misalignments in the spine and other joints, which can reduce inflammation and improve function of both the affected joint and nervous system. This gives your body the ability to better manage the discomfort in the neck.

Research shows that patients with chronic neck pain enrolled in clinical trials reported significant improvement following chiropractic adjustments. As part of a literature review published in the March/April 2007 issue of the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, researchers reviewed nine previously published trials and found high-quality evidence that patients with chronic neck pain showed significant pain-level improvements following spinal manipulation. Additionally, all groups showed positive changes up to 12 weeks post-treatment.

How long do I need to see a chiropractor for neck pain?

Your chiropractic treatment plan will depend on your particular situation. Patients who experience neck pain due to auto accidents, sports injuries or arthritis may need long-term care, whereas patients who experience neck pain from postural issues or a pinched nerve may only need short-term care.

The best way to determine your length of care is to see a chiropractor for x-rays, palpations and a consultation.

If you experience neck pain, discomfort or stiffness, call us at (805-220-9858) or request an appointment online.

Amanda Capritto

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