Chronic neck pain can prevent you from fully enjoying your everyday life. Even if an injury or ailment of the cervical spine or its supporting structures leaves you in constant agony, however, you may hesitate to schedule delicate, invasive neck surgery or grow dependent on heavy painkillers.
Chiropractic care may come to your rescue by offering drug-free, surgery-free treatment options for your debilitated neck. Take a look at three methods your chiropractor might employ to ease your discomfort, improve nerve communication, and improve your neck's pain-free range of motion.
1. Cervical Spinal Adjustments
Neck pain and stiffness often stem from a misalignment in the cervical spine. An accident injury can push vertebrae and spinal discs out of place, or degenerative changes such as arthritis can affect the position and alignment of cervical spinal joints. Chiropractors can correct alignment issues by adjusting the vertebrae.
A skilled chiropractor can perform these adjustments by hand, applying quick, gentle thrusts to nudge spinal components back into position. Some chiropractors opt to use a mechanical instrument capable of delivering even smaller, finer neck adjustments.
Other adjustment techniques include the cervical drop technique and manual traction. In the cervical drop technique, you'll lie back on a treatment table as the chiropractor drops the table's headrest to adjust your vertebral alignment. In manual traction, the chiropractor shifts your upright head firmly from side to side.
2. Spinal Decompression Therapy
Spinal decompression therapy can prove highly useful if you suffer from a herniated disc in your neck. Herniated discs bulge out of their normal place in the spinal column, pressing painfully against nerves. Spinal decompression therapy aims to relieve your symptoms by moving the herniated part of the disc back into its proper position.
If you undergo spinal decompression therapy, you'll lie comfortably harnessed to a computer-controlled table. The chiropractor uses the table to apply a gentle stretching force, creating negative pressure to suck the herniated disc back into place. This vacuum force also draws healing nutrients to the damaged disc.
3. Soft Tissue Therapies
Neck pain can stem from tight, strained muscles and connective tissues as well as joint problems. In fact, a painful joint problem or spinal alignment error can cause or worsen painful stiffness in the muscles. If you struggle with these challenges, your chiropractor may recommend therapeutic massage to complement adjustment sessions.
Ultrasound therapy may also play a role in treating neck pain and stiffness. If you have tightness, inflammation, or stiffness related to scar tissue within the neck, your chiropractor may apply an instrument that delivers sound waves to the tissues. The sound waves can loosen scar tissue and reduce inflammation.
Modern chiropractors have access to many safe, effective techniques for treating neck pain, back pain, and other musculoskeletal issues without surgery or drugs.
For more information, contact a local professional, like Eric Schmetterling DC.