Your neck supports the weight and movement of your head, quite a job considering that the head of an adult weighs between 10 and 14 pounds. It also contains the majority of the nerves that extend from your brain to the body. With the amount of driving, computer work and TV watching that so many of us now do it’s no surprise that we need a little chiropractic help to keep our necks doing the job properly.
The further we hold something away from our body the heavier it feels. Neck pain can be caused by the long-term effects of poor posture, especially if we regularly hold a weight too far in front of our body. This may include:
The result is a loss of proper movement in the joints of your neck which may cause pain and also interfere with the working of the nerves running through it. It may take days, weeks or months to develop this pain.
Loss of proper joint movement can cause irritation of the nerves that come out of your spine. This, in turn, may lead to pain or other sensations where the nerve ends. A condition similar to the leg pain experienced in sciatica, termed brachialgia (pain in the arm) can occur when the nerves extending into the arm from the neck become irritated and inflamed . The joints and muscles of the neck may also cause pain to radiates into the shoulder, arm and upper back. This is why the chiropractor may treat your neck when you have consulted them for conditions such as:
Chiropractors, unlike painkilling drugs, treat the cause of the pain, not just the pain itself. Your chiropractor will examine you thoroughly and ask you questions about your posture, medical history and lifestyle to help diagnose the cause of your neck, shoulder or arm pain.
Then your treatment will begin, with specific adjustments (manipulation) usually done by hand, to free stiff joints and reduce nerve irritation. This effective treatment is generally painless, although you may feel some short-term discomfort if your neck is very sore.
Yes, 66-69% of visits to a chiropractor include neck adjustments. Recent publications suggest that chiropractic treatment is extremely safe when carried out by a skilled chiropractor.
No. Many people in the past have given neck or head rolling exercises. However, the joints of the neck are really designed for single movements like turning your head left and right or looking up and down, but not all at the same time. It is safer to do each movement individually.
Although in the very early stages a soft collar may be worn for a short period, collars should not be relied upon. If you become reliant on a collar the muscles of your neck weaken as their job is being done by the collar. It is important to have an active treatment plan that involves your chiropractor, ergonomic advice and an exercise programme to help support the muscles and joints of your neck.