Neck Pain Treatment
Why It Happens
While some would believe that neck pain comes from a difficult family member or a bad boss at the office, neck pain actually comes from poor spinal posture in your neck, weakness of the muscles that support your neck, or overactivity of the shoulder blade muscles that attach to your neck. The latter can be derived from improper breathing patterns, where muscles that attach to your neck are always pulling on it in order to raise the ribcage up and down for breathing. (Believe it or not, that God-given diaphragm under your ribcage creates a significantly more effective and deeper breathing mechanism—not to mention one that doesn’t cause neck pain!) Some patients we see have had trauma to their neck, for example, in the form of a whiplash injury, car accident, slip/fall, or a concussion.
Chronic poor posture or “stress posture” can do the same things as a car accident, over many years of it (think microinjury). In all of these cases, we see subluxation, which is a fancy term that means that the bones of your neck are either out of position/alignment, or are stuck and not moving properly—putting pressure on the nerves that come out of your neck, and thereby causing a problem wherever those nerves go.
How We Treat It
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to correcting a neck problem. That is why we first perform a careful evaluation of the neck using spinal motion palpation, to see which of your neck bones are moving and which ones are not. We will also perform functional muscle evaluations of your neck, shoulders, and even your core muscles to determine what is working and what is not. Then, we take motion X-rays to see exactly where those subluxations are, so we can get them corrected as quickly as possible.
Once you begin a treatment plan with us, we will use various forms of spinal manipulation, tailored to fit your needs and desires, to adjust the spine, in order to take pressure off of your nerves. Over time, we release your overactive muscles, while using muscle activation and strengthening techniques for your underactive or inhibited muscles. In the end, we will always seek to provide the means of good ongoing spinal hygiene and a good home exercise program to keep your neck happy and healthy.
How To Prevent It
While you can’t completely prevent an accident or concussion in sports that would lead to neck pain, you can work to improve your posture. Many patients come in on the first day, and when the doctors walk into the exam room, they find the neck pain patient slouched into a C-curve and staring at their phone screen. Good posture is paramount. Additionally, stress relief techniques and abdominal breathing exercises can help the one who is having problems in the neck and upper back/shoulder blade region due to them using the muscles up there to do their breathing and creating chronic muscle strain in the region. But, as stated elsewhere on our website, there is nothing better than coming in for a spinal evaluation and X-rays to find out what is happening, and what, if anything needs to be corrected in your spine before it leads to a crisis or a bigger problem down the road!