Friday, January 23, 2015

Your Chiropractor May Be Able To Help You With Your Neck Pain

Neck pain is one of the most common musculoskeletal problems found in the United States. In fact, it is second only to lower back pain in its frequency in the general population. Approximately 70% of the population will experience neck pain at some time in their life. At any one time it is estimated that 34% of Americans are suffering from pain in the neck. Slightly more women than men will note a pain in the neck.

There are many causes of neck and including whiplash from auto injuries, sitting too long ta computers, lifting and carrying heavy items or sleeping with the head and neck at an awkward angle or position. Of course, there are many other causes and unfortunately some people find that their discomfort seemingly comes on with no particular provocation.

A person's neck pain can be one-sided or on both sides. Some people's discomfort can shift from one side to the other and back. There are many descriptions regarding the type of pain including a dull ache, a sudden sharp jolt, a prolonged burning sensation or a tingling feeling. The pain can be constant or intermittent. It's not unusual for it to have periods of feeling normal only for it to recur periodically.

At times there may be other types of discomfort associated with neck disorders. These might include pain in the shoulder, shoulder blade or down the arm. Headaches can commonly be a factor that has a component involving the neck. Occasionally feelings of dizziness, called vertigo, have an association with the neck.

Anatomically, the neck is called the cervical spine. There are seven bones in the cervical spine called vertebrae. The very top bone is abbreviated C1 and the bottom bone C7. C1 is also called the Atlas and C2 is called the Axis. Other than the top two vertebrae all the other cervical spinal bones are separated by cervical discs which are cartilaginous pads which act as shock absorbers. Various muscles of the skull, neck and shoulders attach to portions of the cervical bones. There are also ligaments which run from bone to bone and allow a normal limited degree of range of motion in the cervical spine.

The brain sends the spinal cord down through the spinal canal. From there we find openings between each of the cervical vertebrae which allow spinal nerves to go to various areas including back up to the scalp and down into the arms and the rest of the upper extremities.

Problems arise when the cervical vertebrae are misaligned from causes already noted. If the neck bones move out of their normal position it can pinch the spinal nerves and irritate the joints of the cervical spine. When this happens pain can range from a steady annoyance to excruciating.

When faced with neck pain many all are at a quandary as to what to do to find help. Fortunately, there is a safe, effective, non-costly solution. It is called chiropractic care. Chiropractors are doctors who specialize in treating problems of the entire spine, including those of the neck.

Chiropractors will initially meet with the patient to discuss the problem. Then they will evaluate the area to feel for tight muscles, which may be in spasm, swelling, abnormal or limited neck movements in motion, and evidence of possible nerve problems. Sometimes it is wise to obtain an x-ray viewing of the neck. Once a chiropractor has reviewed all the findings of the evaluation he or she can determine if the patient can be helped.

Treatment by a chiropractor for a neck disorder might include gentle manipulation or adjustments to realign the spine and restore normal motion. Also using electrical therapies to relax the muscles and using cold packs to control swelling and inflammation may be useful. Chiropractors are also very interested in looking at the patient's posture to determine if stretching and strengthening exercises can help to hasten healing and be preventative in keeping the condition from returning.

Quite a bit of research points to chiropractic treatment as possibly the best method of treating neck. It is recommended to see a chiropractor in the pursuit of the treatment of pain in the neck.

To learn more about chiropractic care in Pittsburgh please visit Dr. James Schofield's website here: Pittsburgh Chiropractor
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