Neck pain can effect anyone at anytime. Whether it is the elderly woman who has suffered years with a stiff neck to the young boy who was injured playing football.
The neck has many structures that are enclosed in it. There are seven cervical vertebrae (C1-C7), spinal nerves, many blood vessels, ligaments, tendons, muscles, and intervertebral discs (shock absorbers). All of which help make and maintain the cervical curve (lordosis). The cervical spine also acts as a protector for the spinal cord, which is an extension of the brain stem.
Neck problems arise from a variety of factors. Trauma, subluxation, muscle spasms, or stress are a few such factors. Even simple everyday tasks may cause neck discomfort. Side sleeping and cradling the telephone receiver could cause the neck muscles into spasm, creating a "stiff neck". Degeneration of the structures of the neck may result because of an imbalance in the proper posture and function of the cervical spine. Aches and pains felt in the shoulders, arms, hands, fingers, and face may be from dysfunctional segments in the neck. When the integrity of neck structures is stressed the nerves and muscles refer pain into other areas. In some instances these symptoms are treated leaving the true dysfunction overlooked.
The majority of the population seeks medical help for a quick fix for pain relief. The medications that are prescribed help diminish the pain but do not treat the underlying cause of the dysfunction. The Doctor of Chiropractic looks for these causes.
The Chiropractor will perform an initial consultation and a detailed medical history. After the physical, orthopedic, and chiropractic examinations, radiographs of the area of chief complaint may be warranted for further diagnosis. Based on the findings the chiropractor gives a report of findings and a treatment plan, which will be discussed with the patient. Referrals to other practitioners are made if necessary.