Neck and Shoulder Pain Can Be Successfully Treated with Chiropractic Care

Neck and Shoulder Pain Can Be Successfully Treated with Chiropractic Care
Estimates suggest over 70% of people in the U. S. are affected by neck pain at some time in their lives. Neck pain can be severe enough to negatively impact quality of life and the ability to work.
— G. Bronfort, Spinal Manipulation, Medication, or Home Exercise With Advice for Acute and Subacute Neck Pain: A Randomized Trial.

Since a majority of people experience neck, shoulder, and arm pain, it is important to know what your options are. One of the most prevalent types of pain we treat in our office at Wagner Chiropractic is neck, shoulder and arm pain because it is so common. Technically referred to as radicular symptoms, this kind of pain is also commonly referred to as pinched nerve. This condition refers to a set of conditions in which one or more nerves are affected and do not work properly (neuropathy). Neuropathy can result in radicular pain (pinching of the nerve)(1), weakness, numbness, or even difficulty controlling specific muscles.

In a radiculopathy, the problem occurs at or near the root of the nerve shortly after its exit from the spinal cord, however the pain or other symptoms often radiate to the part of the body served by that nerve.

Understanding the human neck

Seven bones make up the human neck all of which are interconnected by delicate joints. When one or more of these delicate joints locks out of position, in turn causing pressure on nearby nerves, injury and pain result.

Pain spreading to the shoulders is one of the most common types of neck pain and is usually caused by pressure on the joints and nerves at the base of the neck.

Keep in mind that not only does the neck support the ten to eleven pound weight of the head, it helps to maintain a forward gentle curve, allows rotation of the head and the unimpeded flow of nerve impulses to the head, face, hands and remainder of the body. When you begin to experience chronic neck pain, it is a sign that something is wrong.

Causes of neck pain

This temporary pain results from everyday activities like sports, carrying groceries, engaging in gym activities, watching television and using a laptop computer. Often minor neck stiffness and pain will usually resolve on its own. If it doesn’t or it continues to recur a more serious underlying problem may be indicated.

Functional distortion: The most common cause of neck pain results from misalignment of the vertebrae (vertebral subluxation). We see subluxations in cases of reverse cervical curve often called ‘text neck,’ whiplash and joint instability. The body will immediately respond by tightening muscles in the neck to protect the joint from further insult.

Improper joint motion: Most of the pain-sensing nerves in the neck are located in pairs of facet joints on the back side of each vertebra which allow rotation and bending of the head. If these joints become locked or fixated neck pain can result.

Neglect: A more challenging problem to correct is degeneration of the neck and spine after years of letting spinal problems go uncared for. Such neglect may cause bone spurs, thinning of discs and spinal decay. Chiropractic treatment can assist and the course of treatment will probably be ongoing.

Stress: Simply put, how we respond to the life’s rigors and people we encounter in daily life can have an effect on our vulnerable necks. In addition to hectic schedules, rush hour traffic, overwhelm, overcommitting, customer complaints, family obligations, we often are faced with dealing with people who are literally a “pain in the neck.” Believe it or not, the phrase has its roots in reality. When we are too affected by the actions of other people, it can actually show up in the body as episodes of neck pain.

Pain spreading to the shoulders

Inflamed joints and nerves in the neck also relate to the nerves that travel into the shoulders and arms. This explains why neck pain can radiate into the shoulders.

How chiropractic can help

When the problem results from abnormal motion or position of spinal bones in the neck, your chiropractor may perform effective cervical adjustments. Safe, effective and painless spinal adjustments may also be in order and relatively quick improvement can be realized although care should probably not be discontinued altogether to prevent relapse from insufficient healing time for muscles and soft tissues.

Millions of people all over the world enjoy neck and shoulder pain relief and overall better health and well-being simply by restoring the integrity of their spines and nervous systems through safe and natural chiropractic care.

"As for neck pain, a study of 181 people published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that getting regular chiropractic care (about once per week for 12 weeks) could lessen discomfort better than acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.” —Do acupuncture, massage and chiropractic work for neck or back pain? Consumer Reports Magazine, Dec. 3, 2016

“Chiropractic treatment and home exercise with professional instruction groups were both more effective at treating neck pain than prescription medication in both the short and long term.” —Effective Strategies for Patients with Uncomplicated Neck Pain, Research Summary Series, Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research

Don’t let neck pain get the best of you. Driving, cooking, sports, sitting at the computer, and many other everyday activities are affected by neck pain. Get your life back with safe and natural chiropractic care.

  1. a rootlike subdivision of a nerve or vein

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Endnotes:

Consumer Reports. “Do Acupuncture, Massage and Chiropractic Work for Neck or Back Pain?” The Washington Post, WP Company, 3 Dec. 2016, www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/do-acupuncture-massage-and-chiropractic-work-for-neck-or-back-pain/2016/12/02/700dc502-695a-11e6-ba32-5a4bf5aad4fa_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.550be7e8e8d4.

Bronfort G, Evans R, Anderson AV, Svendsen KH, Bracha Y, Grimm RH. Spinal Manipulation, Medication, or Home Exercise With Advice for Acute and Subacute Neck Pain: A Randomized Trial. Ann Intern Med. 2012;156:1-10.

Effective Strategies for Patients with Uncomplicated Neck Pain. Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research. http://www.palmer.edu/uploadedFiles/Pages/Research/Press_Room/Research_Factsheets/Bronfort-Evidence-Summary-FINAL-RV.pdf