When it comes to neck pain, many patients seek out chiropractic care. Neck pain can come from a variety of causes including poor posture and tight muscles. It could have non-specific causes, too. Neck pain can also come from injuries related to sports, car accidents (also known as whiplash), and falls. Research demonstrates that manual therapies performed by doctors of chiropractic can offer significant benefits for mechanical neck pain. What are some of these manual therapies?
Spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) involves moving the head and neck to a firm end-range of movement followed by a fast thrust aimed at specific joints that are fixed (not gliding properly) and tender. The thrust is described as a “high-velocity, low amplitude” (HVLA) movement, and it’s also called “an adjustment”, which is more unique to the chiropractic profession. Joint cavitation (the ‘cracking’ or ‘popping’ sound) often occurs as gas (nitrogen, oxygen, and carbon dioxide) forms within or is released from the joint.
Spinal mobilization (SM) is a low-velocity, low amplitude movement that is typically slow and rhythmic, gradually increasing the depth of a back-and-forth movement, often combined with manual traction. Here, joint cavitation is less common.
Exercise training focuses on strengthening the deep neck flexor muscles, as well as other exercises that are specifically designed for each individual patient based on their specific needs. This form of specific rehabilitation results in better treatment outcomes compared to a generalized, non-specific exercise program. Studies in which spinal manipulation (adjustments) and exercise are combined report better long-term outcomes than exercise therapy alone!
Physical therapy modalities (PTM) can include ultrasound, interferential, low and high volt, hot/cold, and more.
Muscle release techniques (MRTs) include massage therapy, myofascial release, trigger point therapy, active release therapy, gua sha, and many more.
Which approaches are used in the course of care depend on the preference of the patient as well as the treating chiropractor. It’s important to discuss your preferences with your chiropractor when seeking care. A chiropractor is well-equipped to be able to take care of your neck pain in a safe, comfortable environment. Give us a call to let us help you with your neck pain!