Neck pain can be classified in many different ways and to varying degrees. Pain can be sharp, stabbing, dull, achy, hot or cold, or can take the form of a ‘pins & needles’ sensation. Common causes of neck pain include: injury, poor posture, chronic stress, degenerative changes in the spine, muscle strains, and repetitive motions (such as working at a computer). Less common causes of pain include pathology, such as a tumor.
Chiropractors perform a comprehensive medical consultation and history, as well as physical examination of the spine, to determine possible causes of spinal pain. If additional diagnostic information is necessary, plain film x-rays may be taken to reveal the underlying health of the bony structures in the spine. MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) is sometimes utilized to reveal detail about the nerve, spinal cord, and disc structures.
One of the most efficacious forms of treatment for neck pain is spinal manipulation, which is the specialty of chiropractors. Depending on the source of pain, treatment may also include physiotherapies such as muscle stimulation or ultrasound to help reduce inflammation, and local application of moist heat or ice. Movement exercises are typically an important part of the treatment plan, and oftentimes, chiropractors co-treat with physical therapists to achieve maximum benefit and resolution of the cause of the pain.