We all know what it’s like to have neck pain—whether it’s after a long drive, pinching the phone between the head and shoulder, star-gazing, or from talking to someone who is seated off to the side. There are many causes of neck pain, but the question of the month is, how do chiropractic adjustments help neck pain? Let’s take a look!
Chiropractic, when broken down into its fundamental Greek derivatives, means “hand” (cheir) and “action” (praxis). The technique most often associated with chiropractic is spinal manipulation where a “high velocity, low amplitude” thrust is applied to specific vertebrae in the spine, which does several things: 1) It restores mobility in an area with restricted movement; 2) It stimulates the sensory “neuroreceptors” in joint capsules, which has a muscle relaxing reflex effect; 3) It can affect surrounding neurological structures in certain parts of the spine such as the parasympathetic (cranial & sacral regions) and sympathetic (mid-back) nervous systems, which can have beneficial effects on the digestive system, cardiovascular system, and other body systems not typically thought about when seeking chiropractic care.
Joint manipulation is not new, as it can be traced back to as early as 400 BCE. The profession of chiropractic began in the later 1800s and has grown in popularity ever since. There is now an overwhelming body of evidence that supports spinal manipulation as both a safe and highly effective treatment for neck and back pain, headaches, and many other maladies.
It’s important to note that there are many different types of manual therapies that chiropractors utilize when caring for neck pain patients. There are “low-velocity, low amplitude” or non-thrust techniques that do NOT produce the “crack” that is frequently associated with chiropractic adjustments. The term “mobilization” is often used when referencing these non-thrust methods, and this often incorporates a combination of manual traction (pulling of the neck), left to right and front to back “gliding” movements usually starting lightly and gradually increasing the pressure as tolerated. In many cases, a doctor of chiropractic may utilize a combination of manipulation and mobilization as well as “trigger point therapy” (applying sustained pressure over tight “knots” in muscles), depending on a patient’s needs.
Trigger points in the gluteus minimus muscle have a referral pattern that can mimic static type pain. This muscle which is located on the side of the hip can refer pain all the way down the leg to the ankle. This large referral pattern can often be mistaken for pain from the sciatic nerve. I
A treatment with Bryan is very user friendly. And, no, you don’t have to remove any clothing. However, bringing a t-shirt and a pair of shorts or sweats is recommended.
The first time you come for a treatment you will be asked to fill out a Client History form. Bryan will go over the information you provide, asking for more detail and discussing the type of pain you are having and its location.
The treatment itself involves locating the Trigger Points in the muscle or soft tissue and applying a deep focused pressure to the Point. This will reproduce the pain and the referral pattern that is characteristic of that pain.
The treatment will be uncomfortable at first, but as the Trigger Points release, the pain will decrease. The pressure will always be adjusted to your tolerance level. If, at any time, you feel too uncomfortable you can ask Bryan to ease off a bit.
Depending on your specific problem, Bryan may also use some stretching and / or range-of-motion techniques, as needed.
After treatment, it is usually recommended that the client apply moist heat to the area treated.
Trigger Points in muscle and other soft tissue are one of the most common causes of a wide variety of pain and dysfunction, including (but not limited to):
• Achy persistent pain
• Severe local pain
• Arm / leg pain
• Back pain
• Radiating pain
• Pain resulting from a medical condition, such as
– TMJ dysfunctions
– Carpal tunnel syndrome
– Soft tissue injuries
– And more…
The rectus abdominis is you “six pack” muscle. It originates on the pubic bone and inserts on the costal cartilage of ribs 5-7, and the xiphoid process of the sternum. It’s main actions are to flex and rotate the spine, as well as increase the intra-abdominal pressure. Trigger points in this muscle refer pain into the mid and lower back. This muscle is tight in people who slouch and have a posteriorly rotated pelvis. An anteriorly rotated pelvis can be corrected by strengthening this muscle.
The Sternocleidomastoid muscle is a strap like muscle in your neck. It originates on the manubrium and medial clavicle. It inserts on the mastoid process of the temporal bone, and the superior nuchal line. This muscle acts alone to rotate the face to the opposite side and lift it two rod the ceiling. Together they flex the head and neck. Trigger points in sternal division of this muscle refer pain to the cheek and along the supraorbital ridge. The lowest points refer down to the sternum. The highest points refer to the occipital ridge and vertex of the head. Trigger points in the costal division refer to the into the forehead. The most superior trigger points refer into the ear, and can postural dizziness.
The trapezius muscle is a large diamond shaped muscle that travels from the neck to the mid back. It originates on the nuchal ligament, and the spinous processes of C6-T12. It has its insertion on the scapular spine, acromion process, and distal clavicle. The upper fibres of this muscle work to elevate the shoulder, and rotate the glenoid fossa upwards. The lower fibres assist this motion, and the middle fibres are strong adductors of the scapula. This is the number one muscle in the body tp get trigger points. Trigger points in the lateral upper edge refer pain in the lateral neck and temples, a common cause of headaches. Points in the middle and lower fibres refer pain into the posterior neck and shoulder.