Acute vs Chronic Neck Pain
Plain and simple: physical pain shouldn’t be an accepted part of life, and most neck pain is completely treatable with holistic care. However, in order to get the best and most effective care possible, it’s necessary to identify the origin of your pain. Only then can you truly seek out the correct treatment to make real headway toward relief.
Acute Neck Pain
Acute pain is characterized by a sudden onset, normally in response to some kind of accident or noticeable injury. It is usually sharper in sensation but doesn’t stick around for more than several months. Acute pain can happen after a sudden impact from a car accident, horseback riding, falling, or a collision in contact sports. It can also happen from something as simple as sleeping in the wrong position and awakening with an obnoxious crick in your neck. With proper treatment, acute pain generally subsides after a couple of months. However, when left untreated, it does run the risk of becoming more chronic in nature.
Chronic Neck Pain
Chronic pain can be a bit more tricky, as it progresses slowly over time. What may begin as a slight annoyance one morning can turn into constant aching pain over months…and the longer it lingers, the more difficult it can be to put behind you. Chronic neck pain can arise from something as simple as the results of poor posture over time, but can also signal something more significant, like disc degeneration or herniation.
Muscles, Ligaments, Joints and Discs
The pain usually results from problems with the musculoskeletal system—the spine, including the bones of the spine (backbones, or vertebrae) and the muscles and ligaments that support it. Some disorders cause only neck pain. Other disorders can cause neck and low back pain. Occasionally, neck pain results from a disorder, such as meningitis, that does not involve the musculoskeletal system.
The part of the spine that is in the neck is called the cervical spine. It consists of seven back bones (vertebrae), which are separated by disks made of jelly-like material and cartilage. The cervical spine contains the spinal cord. Along the length of the spinal cord, spinal nerves emerge through spaces between the vertebrae to connect with nerves throughout the body. The part of the spinal nerve nearest the spinal cord is the spinal nerve root. Muscles and ligaments in the neck support the spine.
Neck pain can also involve damage to bones, muscles, disks, or ligaments, but pain can also be caused by damage to nerves or the spinal cord. A spinal nerve root can be compressed when the spine is injured, resulting in pain and sometimes weakness, numbness, and tingling in an arm. Compression of the spinal cord can cause numbness and weakness of both arms and both legs and sometimes loss of bladder control (urinary incontinence) and bowel control (fecal incontinence).
How We Treat Neck Pain at Elevation Chiropractic In Cape Girardeau, MO
Comprehensive Consultation and Exam
Treating neck pain starts with a comprehensive history and consultation with a doctor who’s really going to listen to what’s been going on. At your initial comprehensive consultation, you will have the opportunity to share your health history and get to know us! In your in-depth consultation with our Elevation doctors, they really listen and take a full hour to get to know you, your health, and your goals.
One of the common issues we hear from patients who come into our office is that they feel like they haven’t been heard when they’ve spoken to other doctors. We are going to make sure that we get a full history of what’s been happening so that we can best serve you.
Chiropractic, Functional, Orthopedic and Neurological Exam
At Elevation, our goal is to get to the root cause of the problem, not just mask the pain. Therefore, we do a thorough, comprehensive exam where we administer chiropractic, functional orthopedic, and neurological exams. Our goal with these exams is to find the root cause of the problem. Sometimes pain is more a symptom than the actual root cause. Finding the root cause allows us to permanently fix the situation.
At Elevation, we use X-rays to assess the curve in your cervical spine (stress the importance of a good curve) and look at the alignment and disc spaces. It’s important to know exactly what we are dealing with before starting care.
Specific Chiropractic Care In Cape Girardeau, MO
In our office, specific chiropractic care is the most important thing that we do for patients suffering from neck pain. Most spinal dysfunction is created by something called subluxation – where a single vertebra in the spine has either become misaligned or is not moving properly with the vertebra above and below. When that happens, it irritates the nerves that come out in between the vertebrae and that leads to symptoms like pain down an arm or a leg, tight muscles, even disc issues.
Our goal with specific chiropractic care is to take pressure off of the nerves and restore proper function to your spine. Once that is done, a lot of the symptoms that you may be suffering from will start to go away.
Custom Therapeutic Exercise Plan
Many neck pain cases are due to muscle weakness or imbalance, particularly in the core muscles. At Elevation Chiropractic, we also practice functional fitness where our chiropractic assistants and doctors will customize a plan for you based on your functional assessment. In your exam, we’ll assess how you move and we’ll create exercise plans that address those specific functional deficiencies. Not only will we be helping you in the office, but we’ll also give you a plan to do at home so that function is restored as quickly as possible.