Can Chiropractic help with neck pain?
written by Meriel Davis at Back 2 Balance, an associate chiropractor at their Brighton and Hove clinic.

Many people who come to Back 2 Balance are needlessly suffering some form of joint and muscle related neck pain. After low back pain, it’s the second most common reason for attending our Brighton and Hove chiropractic clinic. For this reason, the blog will, hopefully, educate you on the types and causes of neck pain and some of the physical treatments that can be useful in aiding pain relief and recovery. Come back next time to learn tips on how to help yourself to feel better and prevent neck pain….

The Neck (cervical spine) is a complex structure of bones, nerves, muscles, ligaments and tendons. It houses a large part of the spinal cord that sends and receives messages from the brain to control all aspects of the body whilst also being remarkably strong and flexible, allowing movement in all directions. Our fully trained chiropractors at Back 2 Balance have extensive education in assessing the neck of people from Brighton and Hove thoroughly!

The neck begins at the base of the skull and through a series of seven vertebral segments connects to the thoracic spine (the upper back). With its complex and intricate structure the many stresses that can be placed on it through a trauma or even just daily activities leaves it at risk of developing a number of conditions such as:
• Cervical degenerative disc disease/herniated disc
• Cervical Osteoarthritis (wear and tear in the joints)
• Muscle strain resulting in a painful or stiff neck
• Whiplash associated disorder (as a result of sudden thoracic movement/shunting)
• Headaches/migraines/dizziness

The chiropractors are trained enough to perform specific orthopaedic and neurological tests, together with specific muscle, joint and chiropractic tests to find out the extact cause of your neck pain. We even occassionally advise Brighton and Hove residents to have an x-ray, located onsite, if deeper bone and joint analysis is needed (only ~20% of new clients are x-rayed, per our latest audit).

The cervical spine maintains several roles including:
• Housing and protecting the spinal cord which extends from the brain and runs through the cervical spine and thoracic spine (mid back) prior to ending just before the lumbar spine (lower back), the spinal cord relays messages from the brain to the rest of the body.
• Supporting the head and its movement. The cervical spine literally shoulders a big load, as the head weighs on average between 10 and 13 pounds (the average weight of a bowling ball). In addition to supporting the head, the cervical spine allows for the head’s flexibility resulting in movements on all directions.
• Facilitating flow of blood to the brain. Vertebral openings/holes in the cervical spine provide a passageway for arteries to pass and ensure proper blood flow to the brain. These openings are present only in the cervical spine, and are not in the thoracic or lumbar spine.

Dysfunction of your neck can therefore result in many problems, not just local neck pain, but shoulder and arm pain, headaches and migraines etc. Any of these sort of symptoms can be checked by one of our Back 2 Balance chiropractors, to see if chiropractic care could benefit you.

Treatment of cervical spine disorders should include some, if not all of the following:

• Soft tissue work on the surrounding muscles
• Gentle and precise spinal manipulation (if warranted) of the cervical and thoracic spine
• Western acupuncture aka dry needling
• Unwinding and other myofascial techniques
• Daily range of motion stretches
• Strength programme
• Postural, ergonomic, and driving position advise
• Sleep position and pillow education
• Cranial work
• Look at feet and general alignment issues

What sort of treatment do you find useful in helping you with your neck pain?
What advice do you feel is important for other people to know?
Feel free to comment below 🙂