You know the old saying, “It’s a pain in the neck”? Well, when you live with neck pain long enough, you know it’s important to find the most effective chiropractor in Cape Girardeau.
Neck pain can make even the simplest of movements involving the neck, head, arms, shoulders, and back excruciatingly difficult. It can lead to headaches and difficulty using your body. Immobility resulting from neck pain can cause the muscles to become weak and to degenerate over time. Neck pain is one of the most common musculoskeletal disorders worldwide, with a reported 12-month prevalence ranging from 42 to 67% in adults [1,2,3] and women are almost 1.5 times as likely to have neck pain.
According to the Global Burden of Disease Study, low back and neck pain were the second leading causes of years lived with disability . Furthermore, data from the GBD Study shows that neck pain is a rising problem! . Our lifestyles are big contributors: poor posture, excessive electronic device use (people spend an average of 4 hours a day on their phones), sleeping positions, poor biomechanics, etc. Your neck supports the full weight of your head which on average weighs 12 lbs.30% of neck pain cases develop chronic symptoms which is why you want to address it quickly.
Neck pain can be caused by acute injuries or degeneration over time. Lack of motion is the key cause of degeneration in the cervical spine. This is what we as Chiropractors are looking to address.
Acute vs Chronic
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.
Rapid Decompression and Traction In Cape Girardeau, MO
When there is an injured disc in the neck, one of the best treatments you can do is spinal decompression therapy. Discs can sometimes move backward from between the adjacent neck bones (known as vertebrae) and press on nerves. This is called a disc bulge or herniation. Disc bulges or herniations create inflammation and can cause shooting pain into the arms.
Cervical spinal decompression in Cape Girardeau, MO provides a gentle, sustained stretch on the neck. This stretch alleviates pressure on the disc and the nerves. It also creates negative pressure within the disc, which allows for the disc to be pulled back to its normal position between two vertebrae. Spinal decompression, along with chiropractic adjustments and corrective exercise, can alleviate this type of neck pain. They also provide a stable foundation to prevent the problem from happening again.
Common Causes of Neck Pain in Cape Girardeau, MO
Herniated or Bulged Cervical Discs
Between each of the neck vertebrae are discs, which provide support for our neck joints and allow movement to occur. A vertebral disc contains a jelly-like substance in the middle called a nucleus, which is surrounded by rings of cartilage. Due to postural or repetitive movement stress, the cartilage can be damaged. This causes the nucleus to take the path of least resistance and push into the damaged area. When the nucleus pushes through the last layer of cartilage, the disc has herniated into the space where spinal nerves are located. This causes inflammation, which brings intense neck pain that can radiate down into the arms. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to fix a disc herniation, so it is important to address the problem as quickly as possible if surgery is to be avoided.
One of the most common injuries to result from car accidents in Cape Girardeau, MO is whiplash in the neck. When a vehicle comes to a quick stop during impact, the neck moves back and forth sharply, causing damage to the muscles and ligaments in the neck. This results in neck pain and decreased range of motion in the neck. Whiplash must be addressed as quickly as possible, as it can easily lead to chronic neck problems down the road. It is common for patients in our office to have neck pain years, and sometimes even decades, after car accidents. Chiropractic is a very effective way to treat whiplash and restore normal function and movement in the neck.
Osteoarthritis is a condition that causes narrowing of a joint space, and is commonly seen in the neck. It takes a long time to develop, sometimes even decades, and is usually the long term result of things like poor posture and lack of motion. Our joints need to move in order to stay healthy. When we don’t move our joints enough, or have poor posture, the joints gradually wear down. Osteoarthritis can also cause changes in the bone called bone spurs. These can cause irritation to nerves in the neck and cause neck pain. Chiropractic and exercise are essential for managing osteoarthritis and slowing down its progression.
Tech neck is a term that refers to postural problems that occur due to looking down at our electronic devices or working at desks for too long. As technology has advanced, it has become a more prominent problem. In fact, the average person is now on their phone for around 4 hours per day! Tech neck typically presents with forward head posture, which increases stress on the neck joints and muscles. Forward head posture also reduces – and in some cases, reverses – the natural curve of the neck, which can create chronic neck issues. Elevation Chiropractic specializes in helping people improve their posture and alleviate neck pain that stems from Tech Neck.
Subluxation is the condition that chiropractors are specially trained to identify and correct. When a bone or section of the spine in the neck shifts out of its normal position, it can cause pressure on nearby spinal nerves. This can present with symptoms such as neck pain, headaches, or even numbness and tingling into the arms or hands. Many times neck pain is treated with exercises, stretches, or even medications. However, there is no exercise or drug you can take to fix subluxation. In Cape Girardeau, MO chiropractors are the only doctors who are trained to properly correct subluxation in the spine. Chiropractic adjustments are gentle and specific, and can provide instant relief for neck pain caused by subluxation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a chiropractor In Cape Girardeau, MO good for neck pain?
Absolutely! Chiropractic should be your first call when it comes to neck pain. The Chiropractors at Elevation Chiropractic in Cape Girardeau, MO have helped thousands of people with all different types of neck pain, and would be happy to help you with your neck pain.
When should you see a chiropractor for neck pain?
The best time to see a chiropractor when you have neck pain is as quickly as possible. By the time you are experiencing neck pain, the problem has usually already existed for some time. So, it is important to address the problem now before it turns into a more severe issue later on.
Is it okay to pop my own neck?
It is not recommended that you pop your own neck. Doing so can cause damage to muscles and ligaments in the neck due to excess force being used and can create hyper mobility in the spine, meaning it moves more than it is supposed to. Chiropractors are the only doctors who are trained to specifically and gently adjust the neck to alleviate neck pain.
How should I sleep with neck pain?
The best thing you can do for neck pain while sleeping is keep the spine in a neutral position. Sleeping on your back or side is recommended with adequate pillow support. Sleeping on your stomach is not recommended at all, especially if you are experiencing neck pain.