The most worrisome causes of neck pain rarely cause severe pain, and common problems like slipped discs are usually much less serious than people fear. Sharp and stabbing pains are usually false alarms. Only about 1% of neck pain is ominous, and even then it’s often still treatable. Most of the 1% are due to cancer, autoimmune disease, or spinal cord damage.
Chiropractic overlaps with several other forms of manual therapy, including massage therapy, osteopathy, physical therapy, and sports medicine.[19][59] Chiropractic is autonomous from and competitive with mainstream medicine,[60] and osteopathy outside the US remains primarily a manual medical system;[61] physical therapists work alongside and cooperate with mainstream medicine, and osteopathic medicine in the U.S. has merged with the medical profession.[60] Practitioners may distinguish these competing approaches through claims that, compared to other therapists, chiropractors heavily emphasize spinal manipulation, tend to use firmer manipulative techniques, and promote maintenance care; that osteopaths use a wider variety of treatment procedures; and that physical therapists emphasize machinery and exercise.[19]
Licensure takes place at the state level under specific state laws. Licensing and the scope of practice may differ from state to state. Most states require that chiropractors complete the National Chiropractic Board examination before they get their license. Some states also require chiropractors to pass a state examination. All states recognize training from chiropractic schools accredited by the Council of Chiropractic Education (CCE).
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Your neck and shoulders contain muscles, bones, nerves, arteries, and veins, as well as many ligaments and other supporting structures. Many conditions can cause pain in the neck and shoulder area. In fact, neck pain is the third most common type of pain according to the American Pain Foundation. It is estimated that 70% of people will experience neck pain at some point in their lives.
Dr. Daniel Lee Grotzinger was born in St. Marys, PA on July 7, 1948. He grew up with a deep interest in music and aviation. In his senior year he applied to both the Air Force Academy and for a Pitt university music scholarship. Neither came through. A semester was spent at St. Vincent college in Latrobe, PA studying for the Catholic priesthood before deciding to enlist in the USAF during the Viet-Nam war. He specialized in the radar systems for the B-58 and B-52. After four years of service he was discharged with spinal injuries. Several years of severe back pain with sciatica, with no relief from the usual medical methods lead to Dan trying chiropractic upon the advise of a church friend. In three visits the severe bilateral sciatic pain was resolved. Again, he applied to music school but found there was a long waiting list. Because of the tremendous help chiropractic had given him he began to think there must be a lot of others who have gone through what he did and could use the same kind of help. After several prayer sessions he received a very clear witness that this should be his life calling.
In most circumstances, a medical history and physical examination are the key parts of an evaluation required to diagnose neck pain/disorders. In some cases, individuals who do not respond to starting therapy may undergo specialized radiographic tests, such as plain X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or computerized tomography to screen for additional problems of soft tissues, herniated discs, spinal stenosis, tumors, or nerve injuries.
This guideline provides guidance on the assessment and management of major trauma, including resuscitation following major blood loss associated with trauma. For the purposes of this guideline, major trauma is defined as an injury or a combination of injuries that are life-threatening and could be life changing because it may result in long-term disability. This guideline covers both the pre-hospital and immediate hospital care of major trauma patients but does not include any management after definitive lifesaving intervention. It has been developed for health practitioners and professionals, patients and carers and commissioners of health services.

I am a science writer, former massage therapist, and I was the assistant editor at ScienceBasedMedicine.org for several years. I have had my share of injuries and pain challenges as a runner and ultimate player. My wife and I live in downtown Vancouver, Canada. See my full bio and qualifications, or my blog, Writerly. You might run into me on Facebook or Twitter.


A 2010 study by questionnaire presented to UK chiropractors indicated only 45% of chiropractors disclosed with patients the serious risk associated with manipulation of the cervical spine and that 46% believed there was possibility of patient would refuse treatment if risk correctly explained. However 80% acknowledged the ethical/moral responsibility to disclose risk to patient.[206]
The World Health Organization found chiropractic care in general is safe when employed skillfully and appropriately.[46] There is not sufficient data to establish the safety of chiropractic manipulations.[13] Manipulation is regarded as relatively safe but complications can arise, and it has known adverse effects, risks and contraindications.[46] Absolute contraindications to spinal manipulative therapy are conditions that should not be manipulated; these contraindications include rheumatoid arthritis and conditions known to result in unstable joints.[46] Relative contraindications are conditions where increased risk is acceptable in some situations and where low-force and soft-tissue techniques are treatments of choice; these contraindications include osteoporosis.[46] Although most contraindications apply only to manipulation of the affected region, some neurological signs indicate referral to emergency medical services; these include sudden and severe headache or neck pain unlike that previously experienced.[138] Indirect risks of chiropractic involve delayed or missed diagnoses through consulting a chiropractor.[4]
Straight chiropractors adhere to the philosophical principles set forth by D.D. and B.J. Palmer, and retain metaphysical definitions and vitalistic qualities.[37] Straight chiropractors believe that vertebral subluxation leads to interference with an "innate intelligence" exerted via the human nervous system and is a primary underlying risk factor for many diseases.[37] Straights view the medical diagnosis of patient complaints (which they consider to be the "secondary effects" of subluxations) to be unnecessary for chiropractic treatment.[37] Thus, straight chiropractors are concerned primarily with the detection and correction of vertebral subluxation via adjustment and do not "mix" other types of therapies into their practice style.[37] Their philosophy and explanations are metaphysical in nature and they prefer to use traditional chiropractic lexicon terminology (e.g., perform spinal analysis, detect subluxation, correct with adjustment).[22] They prefer to remain separate and distinct from mainstream health care.[22] Although considered the minority group, "they have been able to transform their status as purists and heirs of the lineage into influence dramatically out of proportion to their numbers."[22]

A 2016 study Goertz contributed to showed that about 14 percent of people have seen a chiropractor in the last year. Of those with significant neck or back pain, 33 percent said chiropractic care was safest compared with 12 percent who say pain medications are safer (physical therapy was perceived as safest), according to Gallup data. Also, 29 percent say chiropractic care is more effective than pain medication for those who have neck or back pain, while 22 percent preferred medication over chiropractic care.


Determining a treatment strategy depends mainly on identifying the location and cause of the irritated nerve root. Although neck pain can be quite debilitating and painful, nonsurgical management can alleviate many symptoms. The doctor may prescribe medications to reduce the pain or inflammation and muscle relaxants to allow time for healing to occur. Reducing physical activities or wearing a cervical collar may help provide support for the spine, reduce mobility and decrease pain and irritation. Trigger point injection, including corticosteroids, can temporarily relieve pain. Occasionally, epidural steroids may be recommended. Conservative treatment options may continue for up to six or eight weeks.
One of the most common and well known therapeutic procedures performed by doctors of chiropractic is spinal manipulation (sometimes referred to as a "chiropractic adjustment"). The purpose of spinal manipulation is to restore joint mobility by manually applying a controlled force into joints that have become hypomobile – or restricted in their movement – as a result of a tissue injury. Tissue injury can be caused by a single traumatic event, such as improper lifting of a heavy object, or through repetitive stresses, such as sitting in an awkward position with poor spinal posture for an extended period of time. In either case, injured tissues undergo physical and chemical changes that can cause inflammation, pain, and diminished function for an individual. Manipulation, or adjustment of the affected joint and tissues, restores mobility, thereby alleviating pain and muscle tightness, allowing tissues to heal.
Low back pain. A 2013 Cochrane review found very low to moderate evidence that SMT was no more effective than inert interventions, sham SMT or as an adjunct therapy for acute low back pain.[94] The same review found that SMT appears to be no better than other recommended therapies.[94] A 2016 review found moderate evidence indicating that chiropractic care seems to be effective as physical therapy for low back pain.[95] A 2012 overview of systematic reviews found that collectively, SM failed to show it is an effective intervention for pain.[96] A 2011 Cochrane review found strong evidence that suggests there is no clinically meaningful difference between SMT and other treatments for reducing pain and improving function for chronic low back pain.[97] A 2010 Cochrane review found no current evidence to support or refute a clinically significant difference between the effects of combined chiropractic interventions and other interventions for chronic or mixed duration low back pain.[98] A 2010 systematic review found that most studies suggest SMT achieves equivalent or superior improvement in pain and function when compared with other commonly used interventions for short, intermediate, and long-term follow-up.[99] Specific guidelines concerning the treatment of nonspecific (i.e., unknown cause) low back pain are inconsistent between countries.[100]

Doctors of Chiropractic (DCs) – often referred to as chiropractors or chiropractic physicians – practice a hands-on, drug-free approach to health care that includes patient examination, diagnosis and treatment. Chiropractors have broad diagnostic skills and are also trained to recommend therapeutic and rehabilitative exercises, as well as to provide nutritional, dietary and lifestyle counseling. 
A small number of neck pain patients, particularly those with arm pain or signs of spinal cord compression, require cervical spine surgery. A new option for neck surgery is an artificial disc. This device made of metal and plastic, is the correct choice for a very small number of individuals with neck pain only and no other abnormality in the cervical spine than a worn out disc.
Doctors who treat neck pain can include general medicine physicians, including family medicine doctors and internists, as well as orthopedists, rheumatologists, neurosurgeons, neurologists, ENT specialists, emergency physicians, physiatrists, and chiropractors. Other ancillary health professionals who treat neck pain include physical therapists, massage therapists, and acupuncturists.
If you are lucky enough to have family and friends who regularly visit a chiropractor, ask them for help finding a “chiropractor near me.” A license to practice shows that the doctor is qualified, but a person who has worked with them can tell you about their bedside manner and demeanor. It helps to keep in mind what kind of doctor you generally prefer. Whether you like a warm, caring doctor or a capable but business-like doctor, a recommendation from a family member or friend may be able to help.
The treatment of neck pain depends on its precise cause. Treatment options include rest, heat or cold applications, traction, soft-collar traction, physical therapy (ultrasound, massage, manipulation), local injections of cortisone or anesthetics, topical anesthetic creams, topical pain-relief patches, muscle relaxants, analgesics, and surgical procedures. Home remedies for treatment, such as Jacuzzi treatment, neck pain relief exercises and stretches, and neck pain relief products such as neck pillows for sleep and hot pads can be very beneficial for relief of some forms of neck pain. There are many treatment options, depending on the particular neck problem and past treatment experiences. Alternative treatments that have been used for relief of chronic neck pain include acupuncture.
Maruyama et al: “All but one patient [of seven] with migraine considered the pain to be unique and unusual compared with previously experienced headache or neck pain episodes. Nevertheless, pain was often interpreted initially as migraine or musculoskeletal in nature by the patient or the treating doctor.” Arnold et al: “Pain was different from earlier episodes in all but one case [of 20].” BACK TO TEXT

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There are many benefits of seeing a chiropractor – both well-known and surprising. When most people think of chiropractic care, the spine comes to mind. While it is true that chiropractic care focuses on the spine to promote health, alleviate pain, and achieve balance, when performed by a certified practitioner chiropractic care can also help your skeletal, muscular, digestive, and nervous systems function in harmony. It can also treat many neurological disorders including ADHD, as well as relieve mental stress, pressure headaches, and symptoms associated with PMS and asthma.
Chiropractors, especially in America, have a reputation for unnecessarily treating patients.[6] In many circumstances the focus seems to be put on economics instead of health care.[6] Sustained chiropractic care is promoted as a preventative tool, but unnecessary manipulation could possibly present a risk to patients.[4] Some chiropractors are concerned by the routine unjustified claims chiropractors have made.[4] A 2010 analysis of chiropractic websites found the majority of chiropractors and their associations made claims of effectiveness not supported by scientific evidence, while 28% of chiropractor websites advocate lower back pain care, which has some sound evidence.[197]
Jump up ^ Blanchette, Marc-André; Stochkendahl, Mette Jensen; Borges Da Silva, Roxane; Boruff, Jill; Harrison, Pamela; Bussières, André (2016). "Effectiveness and Economic Evaluation of Chiropractic Care for the Treatment of Low Back Pain: A Systematic Review of Pragmatic Studies". PLoS One. 11 (8): e0160037. Bibcode:2016PLoSO..1160037B. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0160037. ISSN 1932-6203. PMC 4972425. PMID 27487116.
Chiropractic is a form of alternative medicine mostly concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system, especially the spine.[1][2] Proponents claim that such disorders affect general health via the nervous system,[2] through vertebral subluxation, claims which are demonstrably false. The main chiropractic treatment technique involves manual therapy, especially spinal manipulation therapy (SMT), manipulations of other joints and soft tissues.[3] Its foundation is at odds with mainstream medicine, and chiropractic is sustained by pseudoscientific ideas such as subluxation and "innate intelligence" that reject science.[4][5][6][7][8] Chiropractors are not medical doctors.[9]
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