Neck Pain Chiropractor
Neck Pain can be a common complaint for millions of Americans. With varying causes including aging, auto-accidents, and injury, if you’re experiencing moderate to severe neck pain and are interested in seeking neck pain relief, your friendly team of chiropractic specialists at Affordable Chiropractic Care in Killeen are ready to help.
Neck Pain Chiropractors
Millions of people suffer from neck pain every year in the United States. Chiropractic care provides an all-natural solution to treatment and pain relief. People seek out chiropractic care for its therapeutic approach that addresses the body’s functioning from head to toe and doesn’t rely on strong pain medications with uncomfortable side effects. In fact, chiropractors take a drug-free approach to treating your pain by helping your body fight off infections, heal from injuries, and manage pain naturally. Chiropractors specialize in treating the neck, spine and issues, injuries, and conditions of the musculoskeletal system. Whether your neck pain is caused by a recent injury, a health condition, or general wear and tear on the body, chiropractors at Affordable Chiropractic Killeen are here to help.
Causes of Neck Pain
Car accidents are one of the most common causes of neck pain and neck injuries. Even if you have been in a minor accident or have already been checked out by an emergency room doctor, you might still experience neck pain later on as a result of a minor accident. This is because any jerking movement that causes your head to lurch forward and then swing back – a movement that leads to what is commonly known as whiplash – can cause damage to the tissue around your neck. Your neck muscles’ natural response to whiplash is to tense up, which can cause you to have neck pain, have a stiff neck, or both.
Spinal injuries or misalignments are another common cause of neck pain. Spinal misalignments can stem from problematic habits like bad posture or poor core and back strength. Obesity and lack of movement can also contribute to neck pain. In addition to daily lifestyle habits that significantly impact your risk of neck pain, spinal injuries to joints, discs, muscles, and ligaments can also cause neck pain. These injuries could be sports-related or from overuse or underuse of specific muscle groups. Some neck pain can stem from degenerative issues relating to discs.
One other common culprit of neck pain is aging and some of the unpleasantness that can be associated with aging. Many things can affect your spine as you age, which can result in unpleasant neck pain. Osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis, and degenerative disc disease are among the most common age-related afflictions that cause neck pain. Osteoarthritis is a disease that destroys the cartilage in your spinal column and can also lead to the growth of bone spurs, which interfere with your normal spinal movement. Spinal stenosis affects the nerve pathways in your spine, constricting these pathways and causing numbness and tingling in your shoulders, arms, and neck. Lastly, degenerative disc disease causes the discs in your spinal column to shrink, minimizing their cushioning ability, and causing, among other things, neck pain.
Symptoms of Neck Pain
Your neck, which is also referred to as the cervical spine, contains seven vertebrae and begins at the base of your skull. These few vertebrae support the entirety of your skull and head, which can weigh, on average, 12 pounds. These few vertebrae create an incredibly flexible base for your head to swivel, turn, and move about in just about any direction. But, this flexibility does come at a cost: your neck is very susceptible to injury and pain.
Because of the varying underlying conditions that can contribute to neck pain, the symptoms of neck pain can also vary in their intensity and in their duration. It’s important to take note of when you have neck pain. In some cases, acute neck pain can last only a few days, while chronic neck pain can subsist for weeks, months, or years. Similarly, your pain may be intense and interfere with daily life, or it may be mild and a slight annoyance. No matter the duration or intensity, when people complain of neck pain, they are often referring to the following symptoms:
Whether you feel truly stuck or your neck just feels more difficult to move, a decreased range of motion is the key marker of a stiff neck.
Pain when you move
This occurs when you try to move your head from side to side, up and down, or when you turn your head from left to right and experience pain. Note which motion seems to trigger increased pain.
Stabbing or Sharp Pain
This is a sharp pain that is typically localized to one area of your neck, either with or without motion or movement.
Depending on the cause of your neck pain, you may also experience some numbness or tingling in your shoulders, arms, or hands. If you are experiencing prolonged or chronic numbness or tingling, call your doctor right away.
Similar to feeling numbness in your extremities, you may feel radiating or shooting pain through your neck, shoulders, back, or arms. This pain can be burning or sharp, and if you experience either, you should call your doctor right away.
Unsurprisingly, if you are experiencing neck pain, depending on the cause, this can cause you to experience varying types of headaches as well. Some headaches that are associated with underlying neck pain issues are cervicogenic headaches and migraines. Cervicogenic headaches are usually duller in pain and localized to one side of the head, neck, or face. Migraines can take many shapes and forms, but the pain is often throbbing and often confined to one side as well. Nausea, as well as sensitivity to light and sound, are common markers of migraine headaches.
Pain to the touch
You may experience soreness or pain to the touch when someone touches your neck, shoulders, back, or spinal area.
Diagnosing Neck Pain
When you come to Affordable Chiropractic in Killeen, you’ll be met with friendly, helpful service as we assess your neck pain. Through our consultation, we’ll ask you about your medical history, and we’ll do several examinations to attempt to diagnose the cause of your neck pain.
Some questions you can expect for us to ask you are:
- When did the pain start?
- What at-home treatment have you tried to alleviate your neck pain?
- Do you have pain elsewhere in your body?
- Does the pain radiate from your neck or back?
- Does anything help reduce the pain? Or make it worse?
During the course of our time together, the examinations we perform may be both physical and neurological. We’ll spend time observing your posture, range of motion, general physical condition, your ability to do specific movements or tasks, and we’ll note any movement that causes you pain. We’ll do a spinal examination in which we’ll take notes and measurements of the curve of your spine. We will note any misalignment of your spine, and we’ll note if any touching causes you muscle spasms. These alignment calculations may also be performed on your shoulders, arms, hips, and legs.
To make neurological assessments, our specialists will do special exams to assess your muscle strength, reflexes, and any nerve changes.
There will be some instances in which your consultation may lead your chiropractor to recommend additional testing or diagnostics. At Affordable Chiropractic in Killeen, we have on-site X-Ray capabilities to keep things easy and convenient for you. X-rays are helpful in showing any changes or abnormalities in bone structure, disc space, or fractures. X-rays can also help indicate whether arthritis is at play. Occasionally, additional tests like CT-Scans or MRIs may be ordered. These two scans give us more indication to whether or not nerve damage or injury like a bulging disc has occurred. Other tests like an EMG can measure the responsiveness of your nerves to different stimulants. All of these tests work together to give us a comprehensive picture of your condition so we can recommend the appropriate course of treatment for you.
Chiropractors are preventative and restorative care practitioners. Our scope of practice does not involve the use of drugs or surgery; therefore, if we suspect a diagnosis or make a diagnosis that would need treatment that includes surgery or drugs, we will refer you to an external specialist to seek appropriate care.
What You Can Expect from an Adjustment
After our specialists have met with you for a consultation and recommended a course of treatment, our chiropractors may recommend a spinal or cervical adjustment. These adjustments, or manipulations, are very precise procedures where pressure, via a hand, finger, or small instrument, is applied to a specific location on your neck. The goal of these manipulations is to maintain or restore the proper function of the nervous system, to improve the mobility of the neck and spine, and to restore the full range of motion. You may notice a popping or cracking sound when the chiropractor applies this pressure. This is perfectly normal and just the result of a gas bubble forming between your joints as a result of the pressure on the joints.
There can be minor side effects from a neck adjustment that typically resolve within a matter of hours. Some side effects that people can experience include fatigue, minor headaches, or some residual soreness in parts of the body where you’ve experienced treatment.
Most people feel immediate relief after a chiropractic adjustment and continue to feel improvement with continued care. Most soreness around the adjustment site fades as the muscles get used to the adjustments being performed.
In addition to providing spinal adjustments, chiropractors may also recommend exercises, stretches, or some soft-tissue therapy as part of a treatment plan. These additional treatment recommendations will be based on your individual needs and diagnosis.
Things You Can Do at Home to Relieve Neck Pain
While we’re here to help with any neck pain you may be experiencing, there are basic things you can do at home to help alleviate neck pain.
- At the first instance of neck pain, try applying cold compresses or ice packs for 20 to 30 minutes at a time, up to 3 times per day. After this, apply a heating pad, hot compress, or take a hot shower.
- Rest. Make sure you’re taking a break from any sports or exercise activity. Give yourself a break from any heavy lifting or straining.
- Take an over-the-counter pain killer such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
- Try slow stretches every day, moving your head up and down and side to side.
- Practice good posture- it’s been said that sitting is the new smoking. Most of us sit for prolonged periods of time for work, and mostly in front of a computer. Make sure your back is supported, your computer is at eye level, and your feet are flat on the floor. Doing these things will help immensely when it comes to keeping proper posture.
- Try to avoid staring down at your phone.
- Don’t sit or stand in the same position for too long; move about every 30 minutes or so.
- Use a firm neck pillow for sleeping.
What Can I Expect with Neck Pain?
Most cases of neck pain are non-serious and resolve on their own or with mild treatment. Resting, practicing good posture, and seeking chiropractic care for restoration and maintenance can all contribute to a healthy recovery and lifestyle. Most bouts of neck pain last a matter of weeks.
Because your neck is made up of a few vertebrae giving you lots of flexibility, you’re susceptible to injury and pain. Most neck pain is caused by car accidents, misalignments, or simply aging. Affordable Chiropractic in Killeen can help you address all three of these issues. The most common symptoms of neck pain are a stiff neck, pain when you move, and headaches. You should make an appointment to have these symptoms checked out if they persist for longer than a week and do not respond to any home remedies.
You should call a doctor immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms
- Severe neck pain with no apparent cause
- A lump in your neck
- Nausea or vomiting
- Trouble swallowing or breathing
- Inability to move your hands or neck
- Inability to touch your head to your chest
- Inability to control your bladder or bowels.
Neck Pain Treatment at Affordable Chiropractic
Affordable Chiropractic in Killeen has been serving the greater Bell County area for over 25 years. Our trusted team is ready to help you resolve your neck pain issues with safe, effective, and affordable chiropractic treatment options. If you’ve been in a car accident or are suffering from neck pain, book an appointment today to start your journey towards being pain-free.