The AANS does not endorse any treatments, procedures, products or physicians referenced in these patient fact sheets. This information is provided as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. Anyone seeking specific neurosurgical advice or assistance should consult his or her neurosurgeon, or locate one in your area through the AANS’ Find a Board-certified Neurosurgeon online tool.
Health professionals may know better in theory, but often underestimate how easily patients are alarmed by hard evidence of spinal degeneration. To the average person, if something like that shows up on a scan, it’s like proof: it has got to hurt. But the evidence clearly contradicts that! Pain has many possible minor causes; degeneration is often painless and rarely serious even when it is causing trouble. BACK TO TEXT
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I am a science writer and a former Registered Massage Therapist with a decade of experience treating tough pain cases. I was the Assistant Editor of ScienceBasedMedicine.org for several years. I’ve written hundreds of articles and several books, and I’m known for readable but heavily referenced analysis, with a touch of sass. I am a runner and ultimate player. • more about me • more about PainScience.com
They are mostly good for corroborating what is already obviously a serious problem — for instance, if you already have other red flags and ominous symptoms and there are MRI findings of degeneration that might explain those symptoms. But of course in such case you will already know that you have a big problem! The scan is just clarifying why. Maybe. BACK TO TEXT
A 2012 systematic review concluded that no accurate assessment of risk-benefit exists for cervical manipulation.[15] A 2010 systematic review stated that there is no good evidence to assume that neck manipulation is an effective treatment for any medical condition and suggested a precautionary principle in healthcare for chiropractic intervention even if a causality with vertebral artery dissection after neck manipulation were merely a remote possibility.[17] The same review concluded that the risk of death from manipulations to the neck outweighs the benefits.[17] Chiropractors have criticized this conclusion, claiming that the author did not evaluate the potential benefits of spinal manipulation.[158] Edzard Ernst stated "This detail was not the subject of my review. I do, however, refer to such evaluations and should add that a report recently commissioned by the General Chiropractic Council did not support many of the outlandish claims made by many chiropractors across the world."[158]
The neck has a significant amount of motion and supports the weight of the head. However, because it is less protected than the rest of the spine, the neck can be vulnerable to injury and disorders that produce pain and restrict motion. For many people, neck pain is a temporary condition that disappears with time. Others need medical diagnosis and treatment to relieve their symptoms.

Jump up ^ Jansen MJ, Viechtbauer W, Lenssen AF, Hendriks EJ, de Bie RA (2011). "Strength training alone, exercise therapy alone, and exercise therapy with passive manual mobilisation each reduce pain and disability in people with knee osteoarthritis: a systematic review". J Physiother. 57 (1): 11–20. doi:10.1016/S1836-9553(11)70002-9. PMID 21402325.
Cervical stenosis occurs when the spinal canal narrows and compresses the spinal cord and is most frequently caused by aging. The discs in the spine that separate and cushion vertebrae may dry out. As a result, the space between the vertebrae shrinks, and the discs lose their ability to act as shock absorbers. At the same time, the bones and ligaments that make up the spine become less pliable and thicken. These changes result in a narrowing of the spinal canal. In addition, the degenerative changes associated with cervical stenosis can affect the vertebrae by contributing to the growth of bone spurs that compress the nerve roots. Mild stenosis can be treated conservatively for extended periods of time as long as the symptoms are restricted to neck pain. Severe stenosis requires referral to a neurosurgeon.
Jump up ^ Lewis RA, Williams NH, Sutton AJ, Burton K, Din NU, Matar HE, Hendry M, Phillips CJ, Nafees S, Fitzsimmons D, Rickard I, Wilkinson C (2013). "Comparative clinical effectiveness of management strategies for sciatica: systematic review and network meta-analyses". Spine Journal. 15 (6): 1461–77. doi:10.1016/j.spinee.2013.08.049. PMID 24412033.
A large number of chiropractors fear that if they do not separate themselves from the traditional vitalistic concept of innate intelligence, chiropractic will continue to be seen as a fringe profession.[22] A variant of chiropractic called naprapathy originated in Chicago in the early twentieth century.[35][36] It holds that manual manipulation of soft tissue can reduce "interference" in the body and thus improve health.[36]

Temporal arteritis [healthline] is an inflammation of arteries in the temple, with a lot of symptoms: severe headache, fever, scalp tenderness, jaw pain, vision trouble, and ringing in the ears are all possible symptoms, along with neck pain. It’s almost unheard of in people younger than 50, and it usually occurs in people with other diseases or infections.
“The current study provides the strongest evidence to date that chiropractic care is safe, effective, and results in high levels of patient satisfaction and perceived treatment benefit, thus strengthening our knowledge regarding this conservative nondrug option for low back pain,” Christine M. Goertz, DC, PhD, a chiropractor with the Spine Institute for Quality in Iowa, told Healthline.
Neck pain can also be associated with headache, facial pain, shoulder pain, and arm numbness or tingling (upper extremity paresthesias). These associated symptoms are often a result of nerves becoming pinched in the neck. Depending on the condition, sometimes neck pain is accompanied by upper back and/or lower back pain, as is common in inflammation of the spine from ankylosing spondylitis.
Employment of chiropractors is projected to grow 12 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations. People across all age groups are increasingly becoming interested in integrative or complementary healthcare as a way to treat pain and to improve overall wellness. Chiropractic care is appealing to patients because chiropractors use nonsurgical methods of treatment and do not prescribe drugs.
Vertebral subluxation, a core concept of traditional chiropractic, remains unsubstantiated and largely untested, and a debate about whether to keep it in the chiropractic paradigm has been ongoing for decades.[43] In general, critics of traditional subluxation-based chiropractic (including chiropractors) are skeptical of its clinical value, dogmatic beliefs and metaphysical approach. While straight chiropractic still retains the traditional vitalistic construct espoused by the founders, evidence-based chiropractic suggests that a mechanistic view will allow chiropractic care to become integrated into the wider health care community.[43] This is still a continuing source of debate within the chiropractic profession as well, with some schools of chiropractic still teaching the traditional/straight subluxation-based chiropractic, while others have moved towards an evidence-based chiropractic that rejects metaphysical foundings and limits itself to primarily neuromusculoskeletal conditions.[44][45]
In the U.S., chiropractic schools are accredited through the Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE) while the General Chiropractic Council (GCC) is the statutory governmental body responsible for the regulation of chiropractic in the UK.[176][177] The U.S. CCE requires a mixing curriculum, which means a straight-educated chiropractor may not be eligible for licensing in states requiring CCE accreditation.[65] CCEs in the U.S., Canada, Australia and Europe have joined to form CCE-International (CCE-I) as a model of accreditation standards with the goal of having credentials portable internationally.[178] Today, there are 18 accredited Doctor of Chiropractic programs in the U.S.,[179] 2 in Canada,[180] 6 in Australasia,[181] and 5 in Europe.[182] All but one of the chiropractic colleges in the U.S. are privately funded, but in several other countries they are in government-sponsored universities and colleges.[25] Of the two chiropractic colleges in Canada, one is publicly funded (UQTR) and one is privately funded (CMCC). In 2005, CMCC was granted the privilege of offering a professional health care degree under the Post-secondary Education Choice and Excellence Act, which sets the program within the hierarchy of education in Canada as comparable to that of other primary contact health care professions such as medicine, dentistry and optometry.[169][170]
Most patients don't realize how much education chiropractors in Kansas City have. Chiropractors are held to some of the most intense educational standards of any health field. In fact their education standards are very comparable to that of a medical doctor. After completing a strong emphasis of basic sciences in college, chiropractors attend a four year chiropractic college. This means that chiropractors are primary care physicians. In other words you don't have to have a referral to see a chiropractor.
Regulatory colleges and chiropractic boards in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and Australia are responsible for protecting the public, standards of practice, disciplinary issues, quality assurance and maintenance of competency.[183][184] There are an estimated 49,000 chiropractors in the U.S. (2008),[185] 6,500 in Canada (2010),[186] 2,500 in Australia (2000),[28] and 1,500 in the UK (2000).[187]
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.
The disk acts as a shock absorber between the bones in the neck. In cervical disk degeneration (which typically occurs in people age 40 years and older), the normal gelatin-like center of the disk degenerates and the space between the vertebrae narrows. As the disk space narrows, added stress is applied to the joints of the spine causing further wear and degenerative disease. The cervical disk may also protrude and put pressure on the spinal cord or nerve roots when the rim of the disk weakens. This is known as a herniated cervical disk.

Check all that apply. Most people will not be able to check many of these! But the more you can check, the more worthwhile it is to ask your doctor if it’s possible that there’s something more serious going on than just neck pain. Most people who check off an item or two will turn out not to have an ominous health issue. But red flags are reasons to check… not reasons to worry.
MRI (or magnetic resonance imaging) scan is a radiology technique which uses magnetism, radio waves, and a computer to produce images of body structures. MRI scanning is painless and does not involve X-ray radiation. Patients with heart pacemakers, metal implants, or metal chips or clips in or around the eyes cannot be scanned with MRI because of the effect of the magnet.

There is a wide range of ways to measure treatment outcomes.[91] Chiropractic care, like all medical treatment, benefits from the placebo response.[92] It is difficult to construct a trustworthy placebo for clinical trials of spinal manipulative therapy (SMT), as experts often disagree about whether a proposed placebo actually has no effect.[93] The efficacy of maintenance care in chiropractic is unknown.[12]
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.
A 2010 study describing Belgium chiropractors and their patients found chiropractors in Belgium mostly focus on neuromusculoskeletal complaints in adult patients, with emphasis on the spine.[83] The diversified technique is the most often applied technique at 93%, followed by the Activator mechanical-assisted technique at 41%.[83] A 2009 study assessing chiropractic students giving or receiving spinal manipulations while attending a U.S. chiropractic college found Diversified, Gonstead, and upper cervical manipulations are frequently used methods.[84]
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).
Welcome to The Joint Chiropractic - Fayetteville! As your Fayetteville chiropractor dedicated to family chiropractic and spine health, we invite you to join the millions of Americans who have not only found relief from lower back pain, sciatica pain, and migraines, but also a pathway to wellness with chiropractic's natural, drug-free approach to healthcare.
Our North Wales / Lansdale / Blue Bell PA  Office is here to enhance your quality of life through chiropractic care, and we believe that chiropractic and a proper exercise program can improve your overall health. Chiropractors don't just making the pain disappear. Our team will place you on a plan to help your pain, but also help find the source of the problem, and also goals on how to get better. Dr. Allen Conrad has been a chiropractor for over since 2001, serving the North Wales and Lansdale PA area. His office specializes in spinal decompression therapy, massage therapy, and chiropractic care for many types of injuries. Dr. Conrad se ... View Profile
We have created an environment where eastern medicine meets western medicine in Deville NJ. Our patients enjoy an energetic and pleasent state of the art healing environment with a nearly 100% success rate for more than 25 years ! Dr.David Barrett, Founder Education D.C.     Doctor of Chiropractic, New York Chiropractic College – Graduate, 1989 B.A.      Bachelor of Science (Pre-Med, Biology), William Paterson College – Graduate, 1985 A.A.     Associate Arts (Biology), County College of Morris – Graduate, 1983 Experience •   Denville Medical & Spo ... View Profile

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.

In this video Dr. Justin Bryant discusses neck pain. He talks about the various muscles and ligaments connected to the neck and the numerous causes of neck pain. Dr. Bryant also explains why Airrosti’s approach to treating neck pain differs from traditional healthcare. At Airrosti we treat the issue directly at the source to eliminate pain quickly. Learn more about what to expect at your first Airrosti visit.
Many patients seek orthopaedic care for neck pain because orthopaedists are specifically trained to diagnose, treat, and help prevent problems involving the muscles, bones, joints, ligaments, and tendons. Although some orthopaedists confine their practices to specific areas of the musculoskeletal system, most treat a wide variety of diseases, injuries, and other conditions, including neck pain.
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.
Palmer hypothesized that vertebral joint misalignments, which he termed vertebral subluxations, interfered with the body's function and its inborn ability to heal itself.[5] D. D. Palmer repudiated his earlier theory that vertebral subluxations caused pinched nerves in the intervertebral spaces in favor of subluxations causing altered nerve vibration, either too tense or too slack, affecting the tone (health) of the end organ.[41] D. D. Palmer, using a vitalistic approach, imbued the term subluxation with a metaphysical and philosophical meaning.[41] He qualified this by noting that knowledge of innate intelligence was not essential to the competent practice of chiropractic.[41] This concept was later expanded upon by his son, B. J. Palmer, and was instrumental in providing the legal basis of differentiating chiropractic from conventional medicine. In 1910, D. D. Palmer theorized that the nervous system controlled health:
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