Neck pain can begin as slight stiffness and mild soreness at the end of the day. Some people notice a slow development of tightness and limitation when looking over their shoulders. Other people wake up with sharp stabbing neck pain and cannot move their neck.
There are multiple causes of neck pain and soreness. Most people are affected with mild sprains and strains to the neck joints and ligaments. Either acute trauma or poor posture has created mild damage to the tendons and ligaments surrounding the joint complexes, which leads to muscle spasms and inflammation.The muscles are contracting to protect the joint and limit further damage with movements.
Other causes of neck pain include cervical disc bulges and herniations. Damage to the cervical vertebral disc can cause severe pain in the neck and shoulders, which radiates down the arm. People with cervical disc herniations may experience weakness and loss of sensation in their arms. Likewise, the nerve can also be compressed from severe arthritic changes or joint degeneration that results from impressing the nerves running down the arm.
Some mild cases of neck pain are the result of severe muscle spasms and damage to the muscles and tendons. Pain sensors in the muscle are sending pain signals to the brain, and the brain responds by contracting additional muscles to relieve strain on the injured muscle.
Home treatment for neck pain includes ice, heat, electric, light stretching, and pain-free neck exercises. These treatments can be safely performed at home for several days. If the pain continues to worsen or neurologic signs develop, additional help should be sought from a trained provider.
Your chiropractor will perform an evaluation on your neck to determine the location of the injury and which tissues have been damaged. Specific exercises or stretches for your condition may be given. Therapeutic applications such as ice, heat, electric, acupuncture, ultrasound, massage therapy, or cold laser might be used to decrease pain, inflammation, and muscle spasms.
Several different types of adjustment techniques can be utilized by the chiropractor to increase pain-free joint range of motion. Chiropractic care involves increasing and restoring normal joint motion and movement. There are different types of chiropractic digestive or manipulative techniques to increase neck joint motion. Activator technique utilizes a spring-loaded device to gently tap the joints. Thompson Drop Technique uses specific tables that drop to give the chiropractor a mechanical advantage to adjust the joints without straining or rotating the neck. Most people are familiar with manual manipulation, in which the chiropractor will use his hands to gently adjust the joint with a controlled push. Manual manipulation uses a controlled and skilled thrust to "open the joint back up." Learn more and see examples of Chiropractic Adjustive Techniques.
Multiple studies have shown the effectiveness of chiropractic adjustments for decreasing neck pain. Chiropractic treatments are also one of the most cost effective treatments for decreasing neck pain and the overall recovery time. Millions of people utilize chiropractors every year to manage and decrease neck pain because it is safe and effective.
Chiropractic treatments for stiff and sore necks are often complemented with physical therapy exercises and stretches. Therapeutic exercises are performed the same day, in a pain-free manner, to increase joint range of motion.
Chiropractic helps neck pain by quickly improving neck joint range of motion and flexibility, blocking pain signals traveling to the brain, and decreasing muscle spasms.