If you’re experiencing neck pain, you’re not alone. Neck pain is very common and has been estimated to affect a third to half of all adults each year. Many factors can affect your risk for neck pain such as your genetics, health, past injuries, work, and stress but it is still unclear as to why some people get it. In the working population it tends to develop gradually and those who experience an episode of neck pain once, are likely have recurring episodes throughout their lives. People who work in the office and in front of a computer have higher tendencies to be affected. Fortunately for most, neck pain is usually not serious or due to trauma, although it can be frustrating as it may interfere with activities of daily living. If you’re in the Kirkland, Bellevue, or Redmond area, Integrity Chiropractic provides exceptional treatment to help you get out of neck pain.
What does research say about Chiropractic and Massage for neck pain?
Yes, chiropractic treatment can help. Collective research over the past two decades has produced a large body of evidence that demonstrates cervical spine manipulation, mobilization, and exercise each to be relatively comparable and effective options in treating acute and chronic neck pain. However, the research consistently suggests that manipulation or mobilization combined with exercise produces better results for patients long-term.
The results of research for treating neck pain with massage therapy have been mixed. Much of the reason for this is because there are so many different massage techniques and the techniques used vary from study to study. Other treatment protocols in the research are also varied, such as length and frequency of massage treatments along with what particular structures were worked on. Overall though, most research agrees that massage for acute, or recent onset neck pain, is better than doing nothing and can provide reasonable short-term pain relief. Clinically, we see some patients respond very well to massage therapy for neck pain and others that do not. While we recommend chiropractic treatment for neck pain, it may not be your preference, making massage a reasonable alternative.
What’s treatment like at Integrity Chiropractic for neck pain?
At Integrity Chiropractic, we agree with what the research has shown and recommend the combined approach of cervical spine manipulation and exercise to our patients to give them good results and a degree of control over their neck pain even when out of the office. We also incorporate soft-tissue work to our treatment for neck pain because we find that the problem is rarely due to joints of the neck alone but a combination of trigger points in the neck as well.
What Can You Do About It?
While you shouldn't attempt to adjust your own neck (this should always be left to a chiropractor!), we've taken some time to demonstrate a few methods that you can do both alone and assisted to help ease your symptoms until you are able to schedule an appointment with Dr. Wen or Elizabeth:
Follow-Along Massage and Soft-Tissue Release:
Because patients tend to seek treatment when neck pain is at its worst, more work is initially needed to resolve the pain, restore normal muscle tone, and establish strategies to mitigate further issues. Treatment typically lasts anywhere from 2-4 weeks for the majority of patients with once to twice a week visits. Depending on your response and adherence to the treatment plan, more or less treatment may be indicated afterwards.
As neck pain has a tendency to be episodic and develop into a chronic issue, it is important to upkeep your home exercise program and advice given to you. This is because the external factors that led you here often remain even after you feel better. Continuing to invest in your own care will help give you the best long-term outcome. For patients that find it difficult to maintain a home exercise program they may elect to receive maintenance care at regular intervals to prevent difficult episodes of neck pain from developing.
Is chiropractic safe for neck pain?
The safety of cervical spine manipulation has remained controversial for many years. And while it is a primary treatment technique that chiropractors dedicate tremendous time to mastering and have become associated with, it is a technique utilized by physiotherapists, physical therapists, osteopaths, and some Eastern medicine practitioners around the world. Cervical spine manipulation has been implicated as the cause of strokes due to an embolism caused by damage of arteries that flank the cervical spine and enter through the base of the skull to supply blood to the brain. While this is a very rare event in general (1 in 5.85 million), a study in 2008 was done to answer if a person with neck pain and headaches that goes to a chiropractor more likely to experience a stroke than someone who goes to see the general practitioner? The study showed the risk of having a stroke after going to a chiropractor not greater than after going to a general practitioner, indicating no excess risk in seeing the chiropractor. This suggests that for those people, their stroke was likely eminent, and they were seeking care based on their preferences and what they thought was appropriate for their symptoms. Regardless, this is where a careful and thorough examination is important and that your chiropractor take the time to properly evaluate you to determine if you are suited for treatment or require a referral elsewhere.
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