Treating Neck Pain with Chiropractic Care in Chicago, IL
Are you suffering from neck pain? While often times a kink in the neck from sleeping in an awkward position will wear off in a few hours, neck pain that lingers for more than a day should be examined as soon as possible.* Fortunately, chiropractic care can treat many of the causes of neck pain.
Neck Pain Symptoms
This may seem self-evident: the symptom of neck pain is having neck pain! But there may be more subtle signs that your neck is in distress.
- You get frequent headaches.
- You do not have full range of motion of your head. You may be able to turn your head one way, but not as far the other way. Or, you might feel stiffness or pain if you bend your neck back to look up for bend your head forward, as if putting your chin on your chest.
- The muscles in your neck are almost constantly tight and may or may not frequently spasm.
- You experience pain in your neck when you hold your head in the same position for an extended period, such as when you are working at a desk / on a computer or driving.
Causes of Neck Pain
In order to stop pain, we need to know what is causing the pain. Our pain is not caused by a deficiency in ibuprofen; that’s why taking ibuprofen may help our symptoms, but the symptoms come back when the pain medicine stops working. We haven’t treated the underlying condition. Here are a few underlying conditions that can trigger neck pain or any of the neck-pain associated symptoms listed above.
- If you suspect your neck pain is the result of an injury, seek medical advice immediately.
- Muscle strains. The muscles in your neck have to support the entire weight of your head so they need to be strong and flexible. Any damage to your neck muscles can cause not only the muscle to ache, but for the surrounding muscles to have to take up the slack, which can, in turn, overuse and possibly even injure those other muscles.
- Aging joints. As we age, the cartilage between our joints begins to wear down. As this happens, there is less protection between the two moving pieces of bones in our joints. When the bones begin to rub together, it can be quite painful. This is the cause of arthritis pain. The upper vertebrae of your spine run right up the back of your neck and arthritis in these vertebrae can cause pain and stiffness in the neck.
- Compressed nerves. If you have slipped or herniated discs in your upper vertebrae or the bones have begun to grow spurs, these things can press on the many nerves in your neck. This can cause anything from headaches to tingling hands and feet.
*If your neck pain has come on suddenly after a car accident or a fall, seek medical treatment immediately.
How Chiropractic Care Can Treat Neck Pain
Chiropractic care can help slow and in some cases even stop the progression of many of the causes of neck pain. In other cases, chiropractic can help patients feel relief from pain for short or long periods, without the need for over-the-counter pain-killers, narcotics, steroid injections, or surgery. Chiropractic care is one of the safest and least invasive options for treating neck pain.
Our spines are beautiful things and healthy spines come with natural, graceful curvature. Unfortunately, much in our modern world does not support optimum spinal health. For example, sitting for long periods, working on a computer, or even doing any repetitive movement can force the spine to hold a position that is unnatural. While our spines are meant to be flexible, they are not meant to stay in one place for hours on end.
When our spines remain in unnatural positions for extended periods, it puts strains on our spinal muscles, tendons, ligaments, and even the discs between our vertebrae. These strains can build up over time, causing the spine to become permanently misshapen. This can lead to both nagging pain and the likelihood of injury.
Chiropractic care helps your spine find (or re-find, in some cases), its natural shape. As our spines are healed, so are many of our aches and pains because everything is aligned and working the way it is supposed to.
We hear from some of our patients that they were nervous about their first chiropractor appointment because they were afraid the doctor was going to “crack” their neck or back. While many of our patients do find spinal manipulation to be helpful, we have plenty of ways of helping your body to take care of itself. Feel free to discuss any concerns you have about your treatment with your doctor at your initial appointment – we are here to listen and help.
Be Prepared to Talk to Your Doctor About Neck Pain
Your chiropractor will want to know certain things about your neck pain at your first appointment. Be prepared to answer the following questions:
- How does your neck pain manifest itself? You may want to refer to our list of symptoms above if you need help. Some words you may want to use are: stiff, sore, achy, sharp pain, twitching, spasm, burning sensation, lack of movement.
- When did your neck pain begin?
- How often do you experience headaches? Describe how your headaches feel / where you feel the headache.
- Have you ever injured your neck or had a car accident? If so, when?
- Do certain movements or positions make your neck pain worse or better?
- Do you feel any soreness, tingling, or numbness in any other areas of your body?