One of the most common reasons patients visit our office is neck pain. It is estimated that neck pain affects 30-50% of the adult population in a given year, and women are almost 1.5 times more likely to have neck pain than men. It is also becoming more common for children, especially adolescents, to experience neck pain.
While we care for patients with neck pain following an acute injury or trauma, like a whiplash car accident, most of what we see results from accumulated chronic micro-traumas that occur in our daily lives. The neck supports the weight of the head, which weighs 12 pounds on average. For every inch your ear sits in front of your shoulder, your head’s weight will increase by 10 pounds. So if your ear sits in front of your shoulder by two inches, your head effectively weighs 30 pounds! That weight puts a lot of stress on the bones, discs, muscles, and ligaments of the neck that hold your head up all day. Other lifestyle factors such as electronic device use (79% of the population between the ages 18 and 44 have their cell phones with them almost all the time—with only 2 hours of their waking day spent without their cell phone on hand), sleeping positions, and poor biomechanics also increase the stress on the neck. All of these factors accumulate over time to cause neck pain.
As chiropractors, we specialize in finding the root cause of your neck pain. Most neck pain is caused by a lack of motion in the cervical vertebrae, called subluxation. The lifestyle factors mentioned above can all cause subluxations. The chiropractors at Sleigh Family Chiropractic are specifically trained in finding and correcting subluxations to restore normal motion in the spine and get rid of your neck pain naturally.
How Sleigh Family Chiropractic Eliminates Neck Pain
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How We Treat Neck Pain In Arlington Heights, IL
Comprehensive Consultation and Exam
Before doing any treatment in our office, we will first perform a comprehensive consultation and exam. We want to be sure that we know exactly what is causing your neck pain before recommending any treatment. First, you will meet with one of the doctors who will genuinely listen to your concerns and health history. Then your doctor will perform a thorough evaluation that may include: palpation of the spine, posture analysis, orthopedic tests, and computerized neurological scans. Our goal is to uncover the root cause of your neck pain so we can create customized recommendations for you.
Why X-rays Are Critical To Neck Pain Relief
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Your doctor may also recommend digital X-rays. X-rays allow us to see the cervical curve, vertebral alignment, and disc spaces. Our X-ray analysis tells us where to adjust, where not to adjust, which chiropractic adjusting techniques will likely work best for your body, and how long it will likely take for you to feel better. The information gathered from digital X-rays is integral to getting to the bottom of precisely what is causing your neck pain and how to fix it safely.
Custom Neck Pain Treatment Plan
Once we have analyzed the results of your evaluation, we put together a specific treatment plan for your condition. Your treatment plan will include what in-office therapies we recommend, how often, and for how long. Additionally, your doctor will put together a customized home stretching program with images and videos of all the recommended neck pain stretches and exercises. Regular progress evaluations are included so that we can be sure that you are progressing as expected. We also explain all out-of-pocket costs that you can anticipate. Our patients often tell us they have never had such a thorough, well-outlined plan for their care. At Sleigh Family Chiropractic, we feel that it is essential for everyone to be on the same page and know exactly what to expect.
Specific Chiropractic Care in Arlington Heights, IL
In our office, the main focus to alleviate your neck pain is finding and correcting subluxations. Subluxations are areas in the spine that are not in the correct alignment or moving as they should. They affect the function of the spinal nerves that exit between each of the bones of the spine, and pain is commonly the result. Our chiropractors are trained in many safe and gentle adjusting techniques to correct subluxation. We know that every patient will respond differently to our adjustments, so we have studied many different techniques to tailor your treatment to your body. Some patients love manual adjustments with popping and clicking noises, and some are terrified of that style of adjustment. The good news is that no matter which you prefer, we know a chiropractic adjusting technique for you!
Chiropractic Adjustments for Neck Pain Relief
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Common Causes of Neck Pain in Arlington Heights, IL
Cervical subluxation is a common cause of neck pain, which is precisely what chiropractors are trained to identify and correct. A subluxation is an area of the spine that is not aligned or moving properly, affecting the spinal nerve’s function. Subluxations are caused by many things in our everyday lives (looking down at devices, working on a computer, gardening, playing sports, and using poor posture), as well as acute traumas like car accidents and falls. The only way to get rid of a subluxation is to receive a specific chiropractic adjustment from a chiropractor.
Degenerative Disc Disease
Degenerative disc disease is an age-related condition in which spinal discs break down due to increased stress on a spinal joint over time. The spinal discs are found between each vertebra of the spine. Subluxation, obesity, smoking, computer work, and poor posture are common causes of stress on the discs that lead to degenerative disc disease. When that stress accumulates, the disc will wear out and appear thinner than usual. As the disc gets thinner, there is less space for the spinal nerve to exit between the vertebrae. This will create pressure on the spinal nerves, a common cause of neck pain.
Although degenerative disc disease cannot be reversed, it is essential to seek chiropractic care to slow the breakdown of the disc. Chiropractors restore proper alignment and motion into the spinal joints so that there is less stress on the disc.
Bulged Cervical Discs
Bulged cervical discs are caused by many of the same things as degenerative disc disease. Subluxation, repetitive motion, computer work, and poor posture are all common causes. A bulged cervical disc can be caused by an acute trauma such as a car accident or fall, but it is generally caused by the wearing out of the disc over time.
The disc has a tough, fibrous outer layer and a softer, jelly-like inner layer. Damage to the disc causes it to become weaker and bulge out into the spinal canal or foramen, where the nerves exit. If the bulged disc puts pressure on the spinal cord or the spinal nerves, neck pain which may radiate into the arms and hands will result. Addressing a bulged disc as soon as possible is vital, so it doesn’t develop into a more serious problem.
Herniated Cervical Discs
A herniated cervical disc is often the result of continued stress on a bulged cervical disc. However, acute traumas like car accidents and falls can cause a healthy disc to herniate. The difference between a bulged and herniated disc is that a herniated disc is the result of tearing to the fibers of the disc’s outer layer allowing the inner nucleus of the disc to break through. A herniated disc will put more pressure on the nerves and lead to more intense neck, arm, and hand pain. A herniated disc may require surgery, but getting conservative treatment from a chiropractor as soon as possible may help you to avoid surgery.
Tech neck is a condition that arises from the hunched, forward posture most people use when looking down at a device or sitting at a desk working on a computer. This position puts a lot of stress and strain on the neck.
Usually, the cervical spine has a curve when looking at it from the side. This curve allows the neck to hold up the head with the least amount of strain on the bones, discs, muscles, and ligaments. When we use the tech neck posture, we flatten that curve or maybe even cause it to turn in the opposite direction.
Looking down once won’t cause any major problems in the neck, but most people are in a tech neck posture for 4-8 hours per day. The cumulative stress will commonly lead to neck pain.
Osteoarthritis typically arises from lack of motion within the spine that has been present for years. This most commonly occurs from poor posture, poor biomechanics, and repetitive motions. When the joints don’t function as they should, the bones of the neck begin to wear down, causing bone spurs to form. This can create compression on the spinal nerves creating neck pain. Treating neck pain sooner rather than later is vital as we cannot reverse osteoarthritis but can slow its degenerative progress.
Whiplash is a condition that arises when there is forceful rapid back-and-forth motion of the neck. It is most commonly associated with motor vehicle accidents, however, it can be from any forceful movement. Whiplash creates misalignments of the bones of the neck, which compress the nerves leading to neck pain, headaches, blurred vision, memory issues, and difficulty sleeping. If not addressed and left untreated, it can lead to long-term, chronic problems.
3 Stretches for Neck Pain Relief
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Frequently Asked Questions
It is always best to see a chiropractor as soon as possible. Pain is typically the last symptom to show up, however, the problem has been developing for years. For this reason, it is best to come in earlier rather than later so you can have a quicker and smoother recovery.
We highly recommend not popping or cracking your own neck. When you crack your own neck, you are moving joints that can already move and function as they should, which can lead to hypermobility. When we adjust the neck, we are moving joints that are unable to move and work as they should.
Both chiropractic and massage are great for neck pain, however, chiropractic focuses on restoring motion in joints that are not functioning correctly. When the joints are restricted, muscles that connect to the spine can become tight. Chiropractic care ensures joints move as they should, taking pressure off the nerves and allowing muscles that connect to the spine to relax.
Most insurance companies cover chiropractic care, however, when you come for your initial visit, we will make a copy of your insurance card and verify your chiropractic benefits and discuss them with you at the following appointment.
The best sleeping position to relieve neck pain is lying on your back with a pillow that supports the curve of the neck without pushing your head forward. If you are a side sleeper, we recommend sleeping with a pillow that again supports the curve of the neck without pushing your head up and toward the shoulder.