Treating Neck Pain and Explaining its Source

Treating Neck Pain

Neck pain can be a real pain in the….well, you know…neck. Seriously, it’s no laughing matter. If you’ve ever suffered from consistent neck pain, you know how limiting it is. It effects just about everything you do including both work and leisure activities. It also makes it quite difficult to sleep comfortably.

Besides lower back pain, neck pain is one of the most common complaints chiropractors see in their daily practices. Those with chronic neck pain often seek chiropractic assistance in relieving that pain. Some go a different route, when necessary.

A study conducted at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 2014 identified what they believed to be the most effective treatment for chronic neck pain. This study, which involved 169 men and women with a common form of neck pain, determined that spinal steroid injections and conservative treatment with physical therapy were the best forms of treatment, especially when used together.1

“Experts estimate that up to two-thirds of adults will experience significant neck pain in their lifetimes,” study leader Steven Cohen, MD, pointed out. “Injecting steroids into the space around spinal nerves in the neck to reduce inflammation and pain is the most commonly performed procedure in pain clinics throughout the United States, yet studies on its effectiveness for neck pain have generated mixed results,” Cohen notes. “We designed our study to answer the question that primary care doctors face when they see patients with neck pain: Should I send them for a series of injections, try conservative measures first or do both?” he says.

Other studies have touted the benefits of therapeutic massage in regards to neck pain relief. An NCCIH-funded study conducted in Seattle, Washington, USA, noted that the study group provided with regular massage treatments (others were given self-care manuals) saw significant improvement in function and symptoms after 10 weeks. After 6 months, function was still improved though symptoms hadn’t changed much.2

Other research has shown that spinal manipulation, best performed by chiropractors who have the most training in this technique, can help with neck pain related to cervicogenic headache. This is thought to improve the mobility of the cervical spine and lessen pain related to synovial joints, the intervertebral disc and surrounding structures. Spinal manipulation, for many, can be as effective as the previously mentioned steroid injections, and certainly less invasive.

Remember, however, that neck pain can be both frustrating and frightening for your patients, so it’s appropriate for you to take the time to explain the particulars of each patient’s pain. It may take a few extra minutes, but you’ll find that a patient who understands your treatment is more apt to repeat it and importantly, will understand, with your guidance, which movements to avoid.

cervical spine models

The cervical spine models crafted by Dynamic Disc Designs (ddd) are ideal for explaining neck pain. Models such as the Professional CxH model are helpful in doctor-patient discussions about pain related to problems such as uncovertebral joint, IVF narrowing related to disc and dynamic disc changes related to the facets.

But your patient doesn’t need you to give them all of that medical lingo. With these ddd models, you can simply show them what’s happening–in a load specific way- opening the door to a better understanding of their neck pain and why it’s happening. You can also show them what to do to maintain a pain-free life after they leave your office.

I have been using the lumbar and cervical spine models for over 15 years and still use them almost daily,” says chiropractor Aron Enns about his ddd models. “My aha-moment-producing favorite is the disc model. Fun and amazing. Thank you for providing an excellent line of products.”

 

1http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/study_identifies_best_way_to_treat_neck_pain

2 https://nccih.nih.gov/research/results/spotlight/051809.htm

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