Sharp, shooting pains are mostly neurological false alarms about relatively trivial musculoskeletal troubles: your brain reacting over-protectively to real-but-trivial irritations in and around the spine. The brain takes these much more seriously than it really needs to, but evolution has honed us to be oversensitive in this way. That’s not to say that the brain is always over-reacting, but it usually is. Most of the time, a sharp pain is a warning you can ignore.
Studies have not confirmed the effectiveness of prolotherapy or sclerotherapy for pain relief, used by some chiropractors, osteopaths, and medical doctors, to treat chronic back pain, the type of pain that may come on suddenly or gradually and lasts more than three months. The therapy involves injections such as sugar water or anesthetic in hopes of strengthening the ligaments in the back.
Dr. Sheridan Jones is also a graduate of Northwestern Health Sciences University, finishing his Doctorate of Chiropractic degree in 2007. Before attending Northwestern, he was enrolled in Carroll College where he studied Biology and was a member of the Fighting Saints football team. He is a certified Titleist Performance Institute medical professional which focuses on the evaluation and treatment of golf related injuries and performance issues. Dr. Jones is also a certified Graston Technique provider that implements a unique, instrument assisted soft tissue therapy for muscular injuries and chronic conditions that are traditionally difficult to treat or have failed with other treatment options. He lives in Helena with his wife, Tara, and enjoys everything outdoors - especially football, golf, hunting, boating and skiing.
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.
Your neck is a complex interlocking structure consisting of bones, joints, nerves, muscles, tendons and ligaments. Its main job is to hold up the weight of your head which, at around 5 kilograms, is no mean task. Add to this the requirement that the head must be able to move from side to side and up and down (and do these simultaneously), plus the fact that the neck has to form a conduit for the spinal cord, carry blood vessels to and from the head, and contain passageways for air and food, and you have quite a complex feat of engineering. No wonder then that our necks cause us pain and discomfort, not only on occasion, but for some people in an ongoing fashion.The main physical structures in the neck are the seven interlocking vertebrae. They are called the cervical vertebrae, numbered C1 through to C7. C1, also known as the atlas, is the closest one to your head, followed by C2, which is also known as the axis. Each vertebra is connected to the next by facet joints, and between the vertebrae are intervertebral discs — rubbery cushions made mostly of cartilage that act as shock-absorbers.When should I seek immediate medical treatment for neck pain?Severe neck pain that occurs after a neck injury can be a serious problem, and you should see your doctor immediately. Also, if you have problems with neck pain and experience symptoms such as loss of bladder or bowel control, shooting pains, numbness, tingling, or weakness in the arms or legs, especially if these symptoms come on suddenly or get worse quickly, you should see your doctor straight away.Neck pain and stiffness that’s associated with headache and fever can be a sign of meningitis (an infection of the membranes surrounding your brain and spinal cord). Meningitis is a serious disease, and you should seek immediate medical treatment if you or your child are experiencing these symptoms.Symptoms of neck painSymptoms of neck pain and the sensations you feel can help your doctor to diagnose the cause. Here are some symptoms.Muscle spasmA spasm is a sudden, powerful, involuntary contraction of muscles. The muscles feel painful, stiff and knotted. If you have neck muscle spasms, you may not be able to move your neck — sometimes people call it a crick in the neck. Your doctor or physiotherapist may call it acute torticollis or wry neck.Muscle acheThe neck muscles are sore and may have hard knots (trigger points) that are tender to touch. Pain is often felt up the middle of the back of the neck, or it may ache on one side only.StiffnessThe neck muscles are tight and if you spend too long in one position they feel even tighter. Neck stiffness can make it difficult or painful to move your neck.Nerve painPain from the neck can radiate down the arms, and sometimes, the legs. You may feel a sensation of pins and needles or tingling in your arms, which can be accompanied by numbness, burning or weakness. This pain is typically worse at night.HeadachesHeadaches are common in conjunction with neck problems. They are usually a dull aching type of headache, rather than sharp pain. While the headaches are often felt at the back of the head, the pain may also radiate to the sides, and even the front of the head.Reduced range of motionIf you can’t turn your head to the side to the same degree towards each shoulder, or you feel limited in how far forward you can lower your head to your chest, or how far you can tilt your head back, you may have reduced range of motion. Your doctor will be able to test this.Common causes of neck painWhiplashThis commonly follows a car accident in which the person’s car is hit from behind while it is stationary or slowing down. The person’s head is first thrown backwards and then when their body stops moving, the head is thrust forward. This type of injury can strain your neck muscles and cause ligaments in the neck to stretch or tear.The pain from whiplash, which is usually worse with movement, does not always start immediately — it may take several days to come on. Neck pain and stiffness may be accompanied by muscle spasm, dizziness, headaches, nerve pain and shoulder pain.Muscle strainOngoing overuse of your neck muscles (which can be caused by a poor neck position during everyday activities, particularly computer work) can trigger neck muscle strain, causing chronic neck pain and stiffness. The pain is often worse with movement and may be associated with headaches, muscle spasms and restriction of neck movements.Degenerative disc diseaseAs we grow older, the soft gelatinous centre of the shock-absorbing discs in our spines dries out. This causes the discs to become narrowed, and the distance between the vertebrae to decrease.Herniated discIf the tough outside layer of one of the cervical discs tears, the soft gelatinous centre may bulge outwards — this is known as a herniated disc. Herniated discs can put pressure on nerve roots as they leave the spinal cord, causing pain in the neck as well as pain, numbness and weakness in the arms.Cervical spondylosisThis degenerative condition of the cervical spine is due to normal ageing and wear and tear on the cervical discs and the vertebrae. It is also known as cervical osteoarthritis, and is more common among older people.The development of bone spurs often accompanies this degeneration of the spine. Bone spurs, also known as osteophytes, are small outgrowths of bone tissue that are formed when the cartilage covering bone is worn away and bone starts to rub on adjacent bone. The bone spur is the body’s attempt to protect the bone surface. Unfortunately, the bone spur can sometimes pinch or press upon the nerve roots as they leave the spinal canal.Symptoms associated with cervical spondylosis include neck pain and stiffness that often improves with rest. The pain may radiate to the shoulders or between the shoulder blades. If there is nerve root compression, there may be numbness, pain or weakness in the arms.Cervical spinal canal stenosisDegenerative changes in the vertebrae can lead to narrowing of the canal in which your spinal cord lies — this is known as cervical spinal canal stenosis. As the canal becomes narrower, it can put pressure on the spinal cord. The associated neck pain is usually worse with activity, and may radiate to the arms or legs. Arm or leg weakness can also occur. Sometimes people with cervical spinal canal stenosis have no symptoms. Occasionally, it may give rise to Lhermitte's sign — an electric shock-like feeling down the body when the neck is bent forward.Tests and diagnosisYour doctor may be able to determine the cause of your neck pain from your history and physical examination, but sometimes tests such as X-rays, MRI scans and CT scans are required to find the exact cause of your symptoms. These scans can assess the spine and be used to show disc problems, spinal cord problems or compression of your nerve roots.Sometimes doctors will order electromyography (EMG) or nerve conduction studies — tests that evaluate the electrical activity in nerves and muscles to help determine if there is any nerve damage related to your neck problems.It can be difficult to identify the precise source of neck pain even after investigations. Generally, X-ray abnormalities do not correlate well with pain. Some people have severe spondylosis on X-rays, but have no pain. The key thing that your doctor should be able to tell is if the pain is involving pressure on the nerve roots or spinal cord. Last Reviewed: 18 December 2012
Five to 10-minute ice massages applied to a painful area within the first 48 hours of the start of pain can help relieve pain as can heat, which relaxes the muscles. Heat should be applied for pain of duration greater than 48 hours. Over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), including aspirin, frequently are enough to control episodes of neck pain, and muscle relaxants may help those with limited motion secondary to muscle tightness.
Although a wide diversity of ideas exist among chiropractors,[30] they share the belief that the spine and health are related in a fundamental way, and that this relationship is mediated through the nervous system.[33] Some chiropractors claim spinal manipulation can have an effect of a variety of ailments such as irritable bowel syndrome and asthma.[7]
Neck pain can have a number of causes, for example: simple muscle strain; injuries as a result of accidents or sports; repetitive or unusual movements; and degenerative conditions such as osteoporosis and arthritis. If you experience neck pain that persists for more than a few days, it would be advisable to consult you medical doctor or health professional.

^ Jump up to: a b Joseph C. Keating, Jr., Cleveland CS III, Menke M (2005). "Chiropractic history: a primer" (PDF). Association for the History of Chiropractic. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 June 2013. Retrieved 2008-06-16. A significant and continuing barrier to scientific progress within chiropractic are the anti-scientific and pseudo-scientific ideas (Keating 1997b) which have sustained the profession throughout a century of intense struggle with political medicine. Chiropractors' tendency to assert the meaningfulness of various theories and methods as a counterpoint to allopathic charges of quackery has created a defensiveness which can make critical examination of chiropractic concepts difficult (Keating and Mootz 1989). One example of this conundrum is the continuing controversy about the presumptive target of DCs' adjustive interventions: subluxation (Gatterman 1995; Leach 1994).

We achieve these results not with potent drugs or harmful muscle relaxers but with spinal decompression therapy that uses intermittent spinal traction to take stress off injured vertebral joints while concurrently hydrating your discs, Chiropractic Adjustments to facilitate proper motion in the joints, electrical stimulation to reduce muscular and nerve pain in localized areas and much more.
Parsonage-Turner syndrome, [RareDiseases.org] inflammation of the brachial plexus. For no known reason, sometimes the web of nerves that exit the cervical spine, the brachial plexus, becomes rapidly inflamed. This condition may sometimes occur along with neck pain. Strong pain in the shoulder and arm develops quickly, weakens the limb, and even atrophies the muscles over several months. There is no cure, but most people make a complete recovery.

Whiplash: What you need to know Whiplash is a series of neck injuries that occur as a result of the sudden distortion of the neck, often due to being struck from behind in an automobile accident. It can cause dizziness, lower back pain, and muscle spasms. In this article, find out more about why whiplash occurs, and how to prevent and treat it. Read now


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.
Requirements vary between countries. In the U.S. chiropractors obtain a first professional degree in the field of chiropractic.[164] Chiropractic education in the U.S. have been criticized for failing to meet generally accepted standards of evidence-based medicine.[165] The curriculum content of North American chiropractic and medical colleges with regard to basic and clinical sciences has been more similar than not, both in the kinds of subjects offered and in the time assigned to each subject.[166] Accredited chiropractic programs in the U.S. require that applicants have 90 semester hours of undergraduate education with a grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Many programs require at least three years of undergraduate education, and more are requiring a bachelor's degree.[167] Canada requires a minimum three years of undergraduate education for applicants, and at least 4200 instructional hours (or the equivalent) of full‐time chiropractic education for matriculation through an accredited chiropractic program.[168] Graduates of the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College (CMCC) are formally recognized to have at least 7–8 years of university level education.[169][170] The World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines suggest three major full-time educational paths culminating in either a DC, DCM, BSc, or MSc degree. Besides the full-time paths, they also suggest a conversion program for people with other health care education and limited training programs for regions where no legislation governs chiropractic.[46]
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.
A 2008 commentary proposed that the chiropractic profession actively regulate itself to combat abuse, fraud, and quackery, which are more prevalent in chiropractic than in other health care professions, violating the social contract between patients and physicians.[32] According to a 2015 Gallup poll of U.S. adults, the perception of chiropractors is generally favourable; two-thirds of American adults agree that chiropractors have their patient's best interest in mind and more than half also agree that most chiropractors are trustworthy. Less than 10% of US adults disagreed with the statement that chiropractors were trustworthy.[193][194]
Spinal manipulation, which chiropractors call "spinal adjustment" or "chiropractic adjustment", is the most common treatment used in chiropractic care.[73] Spinal manipulation is a passive manual maneuver during which a three-joint complex is taken past the normal range of movement, but not so far as to dislocate or damage the joint.[74] Its defining factor is a dynamic thrust, which is a sudden force that causes an audible release and attempts to increase a joint's range of motion.[74] High-velocity, low-amplitude spinal manipulation (HVLA-SM) thrusts have physiological effects that signal neural discharge from paraspinal muscle tissues, depending on duration and amplitude of the thrust are factors of the degree in paraspinal muscle spindles activation.[75] Clinical skill in employing HVLA-SM thrusts depends on the ability of the practitioner to handle the duration and magnitude of the load.[75] More generally, spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) describes techniques where the hands are used to manipulate, massage, mobilize, adjust, stimulate, apply traction to, or otherwise influence the spine and related tissues.[74]
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]
“First of all, make sure your chiropractor is teaching you along with treating you,” says Dr. Jake LaVere, LaVere Performance Labs and Chiropractic. You want to make sure you’re educated and proactive in your treatment plan, working alongside your chiropractor to find a solution that will work for you. This will help you from both a preventative standpoint, as well as identifying when you’re in pain and what to do about it.
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