People experiencing neck pain often turn to chiropractic care for help. Some swear by chiropractic physicians, saying the work they perform not only relieves pain, but also addresses the source of their pain rather than covering it up with drugs. There are more than 60,000 licensed chiropractic physicians in the United States today, and about 8 percent of American adults and 3 percent of children have had chiropractic care to treat their pain, according to a recent survey. That’s a higher percentage than those who use other alternative therapies like yoga, massage, and acupuncture.
Chiropractic: How Neck Pain Is Treated
The word chiropractic is from the Greek words for hand (
For neck pain in particular, chiropractic neck adjustments, called cervical manipulation, loosen up the joints of the cervical vertebrae in the neck, and this can reduce pain caused by pinched nerves and muscle spasms. Chiropractic physicians use their hands to twist the neck sharply and snap the vertebrae back into alignment.
Chiropractic: Finding a Practitioner
Chiropractic physicians are trained to diagnose patients through physical exams, x-rays if needed as well diagnostic tests. Treatment plans may include neck exercises to do on your own and suggestions for a healthier lifestyle; chiropractic physicians do not prescribe medication as part of their treatment. Practicing chiropractic physicians in the United States are required to receive a Doctor of Chiropractic degree from a properly accredited college. Admission to a chiropractic college requires three years of undergraduate work. Chiropractic College is a four-year, year round program, during which the chiropractic physicians-in-training will learn in the classroom and provide hands-on care to patients. For specialized training, chiropractic physicians undertake an additional two- or three-year residency.
When evaluating a chiropractic physician, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine suggests asking about the professional’s licensing and training, and whether that training included the specific problem you’re experiencing.
By restoring mobility in your joints, chiropractic offers neck pain treatment that aims to fix the source of the pain rather than just treat its symptoms. This no-drug, no-surgery approach may be the answer you’ve been looking for.
Because each individual case is different, the appropriate chiropractic treatment is unique to each patient and is directed at the primary dysfunctions detected during the chiropractic exam. However, chiropractors commonly employ different treatments often including: gentle relaxing manipulation often followed by muscle relaxation and/or gentle stimulation and various exercises
The primary treatment for joint dysfunction, relaxing spinal manipulation involves the chiropractor gently moving the involved joint into the direction in which it is restricted. Also known as a chiropractic adjustment, spinal manipulation may involve the application of a short thrust in that direction. In many cases, instead of a thrust, a slow relaxing mobilizing movement is used. This can be done for any joint in the body.
Although their main method of treatment is the spinal manipulation, many chiropractic doctors also use other therapies to treat their patients. The following is a brief description of some of the most common therapies chiropractic doctors offer.
Muscle relaxation and/or stimulation consist of gentle stretches to the muscle that has excessive tension or repeated contractions of the muscle that is inhibited may also be used. If the muscle is very tight, a more vigorous stretch may be applied by the chiropractor. Gentle finger pressure techniques may be applied to trigger points to relieve the pain associated with the tight muscles.
Cryotherapy is also often used. Gel ice packs are wrapped in towels and applied to the affected area. This helps reduce swelling and pain and helps with pain control. These ice packs are often placed over massaging pads at the same time.
Ice and Heat Therapy
Ice and heat have long been used to treat many painful conditions. Ice therapy is often used to reduce swelling and help control pain immediately after an injury. Heat therapy is used to relax the muscles, increase circulation, and can provide relief to patients with chronic pain. Depending on the patient’s condition, a combination of ice and heat can be used. Your chiropractor will advise you on what is best for your condition.
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