Causes

 

Neck pain is more common than one may think. A 2012 found that 70% of the population are likely to suffer neck pain at some point of their lives (1). Another study found that of adults aged 45 -75yrs of age, 1 in 4 women and 1 in 5 men has recurrent neck pain. It is something that is common and is becoming an ever increasing occurrence.

By far, the most common cause of neck pain is due to the effects of poor posture. We find that our lifestyles are becoming increasingly more sedentary with more and more hours spent at a desk in front of a computer, on our phones or slouched on a couch watching TV.

In order to understand the link between neck pain and poor posture, we need to understand why spinal alignment is so important.

Our spine is very well designed and has 3 curves that work together to create shock absorptancy and more importantly structural integrity to support our head and limbs. Our neck is made up of 7 vertebra which are aligned in a specific way to help balance and support your head which weighs roughly 5kg. It is vital for our necks to have a proper curve.

If we lose the curvature in our neck, our heads sit more forward in relation to our shoulders and increase the strain to the joints and ligaments of our neck. Studies have shown that for every 5cms out head more forward, it effectively doubles the weight of our head and strain on the neck!

This leads to;

  • Chronic tension in neck and shoulder muscles
  • Increased tension and stretching of the spinal cord
  • Conditions such as headaches, jaw pain (TMJ dysfunction), postural fatigue syndrome, myofascial pain syndrome, thoracic outlet syndrome, disc bulges, osteoarthritis, dizziness/vertigo start to develop
  • Poor balance (2), poor breathing patterns (3), poor self-image and depression (4)

By restoring the essential curve in the neck, we can reverse the symptoms associated with it and ensure they don’t return.

 

References

  1. 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.
  2. Kang J-H, Park R-Y, Lee S-J, Kim J-Y, Yoon S-R, Jung K-I. The Effect of The Forward Head Posture on Postural Balance in Long Time Computer Based Worker.Annals of Rehabilitation Medicine. 2012;36(1):98-104.
  3. Han J, Park S, Kim Y, Choi Y, Lyu H. Effects of forward head posture on forced vital capacity and respiratory muscles activity.Journal of Physical Therapy Science. 2016;28(1):128-131.
  4. Wilkes C et al. Upright Posture Improves Affect and Fatigue in People with Depressive Symptoms. J Behav Ther Exp Psychiatry. 2017 Mar;54:143-149.
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How to Treat It

To effectively treat neck pain, we have to look deeper than just the pain. Pain is generally the “check engine light”. It tells us there is an underlying issue.

At our office we first assess you to see whether we can help. If we determine we can help we ensure no stone is left unturned and get a really clear picture of the condition of your spine. We’ll determine what the best course of treatment if for you. If you could benefit from something else, we’ll get you to the person who can help. We won’t waste your time or your money.

Chiropractic adjustments are an essential part of your treatment. Chiropractic adjustments improve the function of nerves that supply muscles, ligaments and surrounding tissues. Your adjustments restore movement to your spinal joints and restore the healthy curve back to your neck. By improving this we can also restore function to your muscles and relieve them of the need to spasm.

As posture is a fundamental component to address, exercises are an essential part. Rehabilitative stretching and strengthening to help correct the resultant musculoskeletal weakness are key to ensuring long term correction. Also addressing lifestyle stressors like workstation setup and postural advice for your activities.

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FAQ

  • Are Chiropractic adjustments safe?

    In the words of the New Zealand Government’s Inquiry, chiropractic care is “remarkably safe” (1). Chiropractic has an excellent safety record. It is the result of a conservative approach to health that avoids invasive procedures or addictive drugs.

    In relation to the treatment of neck and back pain, studies have shown that a course of chiropractic care was 250 times safer than a course of anti-inflammatory drugs(2).

    The US Governments’ National Centre for Complementary and Alternative Medicine rated Chiropractic treatment effective and relatively safe for the treatment of lower back pain when performed by a trained and licensed practitioner (3). In fact 14 out of the 16 International Clinical Guidelines for the treatment of lower back pain recommend Chiropractic care (4).

    So rest assured, you are in safe hands.

    1. Chiropractic in New Zealand: Report of the Commission of Inquiry. (1979). Hasselberg PD, Government Printer, Wellington, New Zealand
    2. Dabbs,V., & Lauretti,W.J. (1995). A Risk Assessment of Cervical Manipulation vs NSAIDs for the Treatment of Neck Pain. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 18(8), 530-536
    3. Koes BW, van Tulder M, Lin CW, Macedo LG, McAuley J, Maher C. An updated overview of clinical guidelines for the management of non-specific low back pain in primary care. Eur Spine J. 2010 Dec;19(12):2075-94
    4. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/pain/spinemanipulation.htm 2016 Web
  • I think my problem is muscular, can Chiropractic help?

    Of course! Your nerves that exit from your spine connect to many areas including muscles. When nerves are irritated at the spine, there is spasm and tightening of the muscles that are connected to those nerves. As the most common cause of neck pain is due to poor curvature of the neck, the muscles are a result of the strain to the nerves. Many people find that once they get adjusted and the nerves are functioning well, the muscles naturally relax. We use soft tissue techniques to further address the muscles within our treatment plan. We also have a trusted local referral network if further work is needed

  • Will a neck adjustment hurt and is it safe to adjustment my neck?

    Chiropractic adjustments are performed by chiropractors who are expertly trained in assessing and treating the spine. Chiropractors study for 5 years and have extensive experience on how best to treat the spine. So rest assured you are in the best hands possible to be treating your spine and neck. At our office, our chiropractors will determine what is the best form of treatment for you and your spine and will always explain thoroughly why as well as what the treatment will entail. There will be no surprises. There are many ways we can treat your neck, so if you prefer a manual adjustment or a low force adjustment using an activator, our first priority is your comfort and requests. Adjustments are a high velocity, low amplitude force that is specifically applied to the spine. Meaning adjustments are more surprising rather than hurting.

    Chiropractic has a very good safety record. As mentioned above, a Governmental Inquiry in New Zealand deemed chiropractic as remarkably safe. It’s noted as being 250 times safer than a course of anti-inflammatory drugs.

  • How many visits will it take?

    Each person is unique and has their own unique set of circumstances. The same applies to their condition and the most appropriate course of treatment. At our office, we make sure we create a detailed individualized treatment plan and help you answer the questions of what we can do, how long it will take and the best things you can do to get the best result for your goal.

  • What if chiropractic care doesn’t help?

    At My Health Chiro we endeavor to provide the best care possible. If at any point we find that your treatment plan isn’t achieving our intended goals, we will make sure we find out why. If we find at any point we are unable to help you toward your goal, we will find someone who will. We want to make sure you get the care you need, not waste your time or money!

  • Can I refer a family member or a friend?

    Certainly! At My Health Chiro we’re a patient centered chiropractic wellness practice for Maribyrnong, Maidstone, Footscray, Aberfeldie, Essendon, Ascot Vale area. We are more than happy to help or help find a chiropractor closest to them.

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