Neck pain is one of the most common health problems affecting individuals of all ages. Many people who are suffering with neck pain seek out solutions that do more than just temporarily relieve their symptoms. They want more than just a “band-aid” for their problem, they want a solution. In their search for relief, many people consider chiropractic care as a potential solution. However, not all chiropractic techniques are the same, and finding the most effective approach for you can be a challenge.
Traditionally, chiropractic care has been effective in helping reduce pain, improve mobility, and providing lasting relief for individuals with acute or chronic neck pain. This makes chiropractic care a viable option for certain types of mechanical neck pain. Cervical chiropractic is a subset of the chiropractic profession that focuses exclusively on locating and correcting problems related to the upper cervical spine. For many individuals with neck pain, this gentle and effective form of chiropractic care provides the relief the want without the twisting, popping, or cracking of traditional manipulation.
Understanding the cause of your neck pain is the key to understanding if upper cervical care can help you. In circumstances where neck pain is caused by improper alignment and mechanics of the cervical spine, upper cervical chiropractors can provide a natural and conservative option.
The upper neck is the most mobile part of the spine; a fact that makes it susceptible to injury. When the alignment of the upper cervical spine becomes compromised, a displacement of the atlas vertebra can trigger a stress response in the central nervous system. When nerve system and brain stem function are obstructed due to faulty alignment and mechanical motion of the neck, a host of symptoms are likely to develop – including neck pain.
Safety and effectiveness of any treatment for neck pain should be considered. Upper cervical chiropractic care is focused on getting the optimal result with the fewest number of adjustments. This is unique when compared to conventional chiropractic methods that may require frequent adjustments over a long period of time to maintain relief. A concern that many patients express regarding chiropractic care is a forceful twisting of the neck.
The Blair Technique is an upper cervical chiropractic method that does not involve twisting, popping, or cracking of the neck. To effectively fix problems with the neck, Blair chiropractors focus on getting the greatest improvement with the fewest adjustments. This means that a detailed evaluation occurs before any adjustments occur. Doing so eliminates the guesswork associated with conventional chiropractic methods and provides the “blueprint” for how to safely adjust each individual patient.
To understand how chiropractic helps with neck pain, it is important to once again revisit how problems that chiropractors help with cause neck pain.
The human body is full of sensors – just like a gallery full of priceless works of art is full of security cameras. These sensors are constantly scanning the body to detect vulnerable areas, changes in the internal/external environment, etc. The nervous system and brain are like the wiring and the main computer that keep all these cameras operational. If for some reason the transmission along the wiring of this system becomes compromised, the communication feed between the cameras and the computer does not work properly. This may lead to a breach of the system and subsequently a threat that would normally be neutralized is undetected.
In the same way, if communication between the brain and the body becomes compromised by spinal stress, human function in the body drops. Vulnerabilities in the system allows improper function to become a “new normal” and gradually over time symptoms will develop. When it comes to the spine, the weakest and most vulnerable area is the top. Even subtle shifts in the alignment here can trigger a stress response in the body resulting in increased muscle tension, poor movement of the head and neck, and ultimately pain and limitation.
Upper cervical chiropractic helps to reverse this process by providing the detection and correction of the structural problems with the upper neck. Using a detailed approach, both the structural shift and abnormal body response can be measured using objective diagnostic testing. This information allows the upper cervical Doctor to know if, when, and how you should be adjusted. When the alignment, mechanical motion, and brain-body communication improve, it is natural and normal for symptoms to resolve on their own.
There are several qualities of any effective treatment for neck pain:
1. It must be reliable – meaning that often, the treatment achieves the desired result, i.e. reduction or elimination of neck pain
2. It must be reproducible – this means that it works consistently given the same circumstances
3. It must be targeted – the treatment must fit the cause of the pain
Chiropractic care has proven to be one of the most effective options for managing or eliminating mechanical neck pain. Simply speaking, structural problems require structural solutions. If you are experiencing neck pain that is stemming from a mechanical problem with the neck, all attempts to find lasting relief will fall short until the structural problem is corrected.
In today’s day and age, being specific with treatments is an important health care consideration. To get optimal results, an appropriate diagnosis must be made. This allows for a course of care or treatment plan that is tailored to the needs of the patient, rather than a “one-size-fits-all” approach that leaves many patients without the help that they need.
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