The treatment of soft tissue neck and shoulder pain often includes the use of anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve or Naprosyn). Pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) may also be recommended. Depending on the source of pain, drugs like muscle relaxers and even antidepressants might be helpful. Pain also may be treated with a local application of moist heat or ice. Local corticosteroid injections are often helpful for arthritis of the shoulder. For both neck and shoulder pain movement, exercises may help. For cases in which nerve roots or the spinal cord are involved, surgical procedures may be necessary. Your doctor can tell you which is the best course of treatment for you.
This section presents a comprehensive list of somewhat common medical problems that can cause neck pain (and might, conceivably, be confused with an “ordinary” case of neck pain). I’ll give you a quick idea of what they are and what distinguishes them. If you find anything on this list that seems awfully similar to your case, please bring the idea to your doctor like a dog with an interesting bone; and get a referral to a specialist if necessary.
Age, injury, poor posture or diseases such as arthritis can lead to degeneration of the bones or joints of the cervical spine, causing disc herniation or bone spurs to form. Sudden severe injury to the neck may also contribute to disc herniation, whiplash, blood vessel destruction, vertebral injury and, in extreme cases, permanent paralysis. Herniated discs or bone spurs may cause a narrowing of the spinal canal or the small openings through which spinal nerve roots exit. Pressure on a nerve root by a herniated disc or a bone spur may result in:
To be completely honest, I was still a little nervous before my chiropractor performed the spinal manipulation. But I really had nothing to worry about. We discussed the potential side effects, which can include mild soreness (like you might feel after a workout). If you do feel sore, you can use a cold pack to help reduce any temporary soreness you might experience.
Chiropractic works by making carefully placed adjustments to realign your spine. These adjustments allow the muscle tissues to properly support the spine and vital neurological processes that occur within it. When the spine is able to function without interference, the body is better able to facilitate healing, thereby relieving pain and restoring health in a variety of ways.
Chiropractic diagnosis may involve a range of methods including skeletal imaging, observational and tactile assessments, and orthopedic and neurological evaluation.[46] A chiropractor may also refer a patient to an appropriate specialist, or co-manage with another health care provider.[54] Common patient management involves spinal manipulation (SM) and other manual therapies to the joints and soft tissues, rehabilitative exercises, health promotion, electrical modalities, complementary procedures, and lifestyle advice.[3]
Five updates have been logged for this article since publication (2016). All PainScience.com updates are logged to show a long term commitment to quality, accuracy, and currency. more Like good footnotes, update logging sets PainScience.com apart from most other health websites and blogs. It’s fine print, but important fine print, in the same spirit of transparency as the editing history available for Wikipedia pages.
Chiropractors, like other primary care providers, sometimes employ diagnostic imaging techniques such as X-rays and CT scans that rely on ionizing radiation.[156] Although there is no clear evidence for the practice, some chiropractors may still X-ray a patient several times a year.[6] Practice guidelines aim to reduce unnecessary radiation exposure,[156] which increases cancer risk in proportion to the amount of radiation received.[157] Research suggests that radiology instruction given at chiropractic schools worldwide seem to be evidence-based.[48] Although, there seems to be a disparity between some schools and available evidence regarding the aspect of radiography for patients with acute low back pain without an indication of a serious disease, which may contribute to chiropractic overuse of radiography for low back pain.[48]
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 is well established in the United States, Canada, and Australia.[18] It overlaps with other manual-therapy professions such as osteopathy and physical therapy.[19] Most who seek chiropractic care do so for low back pain.[20] Back and neck pain are considered the specialties of chiropractic, but many chiropractors treat ailments other than musculoskeletal issues.[4] Many chiropractors describe themselves as primary care providers,[4][21] but the chiropractic clinical training does not support the requirements to be considered primary care providers,[2] so their role on primary care is limited and disputed.[2][21] Chiropractic has two main groups: "straights", now the minority, emphasize vitalism, "innate intelligence", and consider vertebral subluxations to be the cause of all disease; "mixers", the majority, are more open to mainstream views and conventional medical techniques, such as exercise, massage, and ice therapy.[22]
Neck pain is commonly associated with dull aching. Sometimes pain in the neck is worsened with movement of the neck or turning the head. Other symptoms associated with some forms of neck pain include numbness, tingling, tenderness, sharp shooting pain, fullness, difficulty swallowing, pulsations, swishing sounds in the head, dizziness or lightheadedness, and lymph node (gland) swelling.
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.
Common misconceptions about Chiropractic seems to be that Chiropractors are only good for treating back pain, and that PT or massage is a substitute for an adjustment. While PT and massage are beneficial, they are not the same thing. Chiropractic adjustments are very specific stimulus and movement to very specific parts of the nervous system, which runs through the spinal column.  Adjusting these areas, allows for better communication between the nerves which control every muscle, joint, and organ of the body. People are often surprised to find that chiropractic adjustments not only make their backs feel better, but effectively treats other issues with other parts of their bodies. Having a better functioning nervous system, allows your body to heal itself, maintain a higher immune response, cope with stress, and function without pain. Some benefits experienced by patients of The Chiropractor Whitefish are, relief from sciatic pain, relief of neck pain, better sleep, more mood stability, relief of infant colic, eliminating headaches, and on and on. Come see us and read through our testimonials written by hundreds of ecstatic patients.
Eagle’s syndrome [Medscape] is a rare abnormal elongation of a bizarre little bit of bone at the back of the throat called the styloid process. Even a normal styloid process looks jarring when you first see one: it is so skinny and sharp that it makes one wonder how it can possibly not be stabbing something. Well, it turns out that in some cases it does “stab” you in the neck. This will cause a feeling of a lump in the throat and/or moderate intensity pains throughout the region, possibly including the side of the neck, although pain is more likely to dominate the jaw and throat.15

Physical therapy / exercise: For most neck pain, we recommend a nearly normal schedule from the onset. Physical therapy can help you return to full activity as soon as possible and prevent re-injury. Physical therapists will show proper lifting and walking techniques, and exercises to strengthen and stretch your neck, arms, and abdominal muscles. Massage, ultrasound, diathermy, heat, and traction may also be recommended for short periods. People may also benefit from yoga, chiropractic manipulation, and acupuncture.


Chiropractic adjustment rarely causes discomfort. However, patients may sometimes experience mild soreness or aching following treatment (as with some forms of exercise) that usually resolves within 12 to 48 hours. Compared to other common treatments for pain, such as over-the-counter and prescription pain medications, chiropractic's conservative approach offers a safe and effective option.
Dr. Bruce attended Harvey Mudd College prior to enrolling in Life Chiropractic College.  Following graduation in 1986, he worked as an associate for Dr. James Reed in Tucker, GA and later purchased the practice.  After 20 years as a solo practitioner, he relocated to Columbus, GA to work for Brodwyn and Associates.  After 6 years in Columbus, he joined Arrowhead Clinic in Hinesville in order to be closer to the beach.  Dr. Bruce has postgraduate training in Personal Injury, posture analysis and extremity care.  While in Tucker and Columbus, he was very involved in the community and served as the team chiropractor for numerous sports teams in the area.
Pain located in the neck is a common medical condition. Neck pain can come from a number of disorders and diseases and can involve any of the tissues in the neck. Examples of common conditions causing neck pain are degenerative disc disease, neck strain, neck injury such as in whiplash, a herniated disc, or a pinched nerve. Neck pain can come from common infections, such as virus infection of the throat, leading to lymph node (gland) swelling and neck pain. Neck pain can also come from rare infections, such as tuberculosis of the neck, infection of the spine bones in the neck (osteomyelitis and septic discitis), and meningitis (often accompanied by neck stiffness). Neck pain can also come from conditions directly affecting the muscles of the neck, such as fibromyalgia and polymyalgia rheumatica as well as from uncomfortable positioning of the neck while sleeping with the head on a pillow. Neck pain is also referred to as cervical pain.
Radiculopathy. A 2013 systematic review and meta-analysis found a statistically significant improvement in overall recovery from sciatica following SM, when compared to usual care, and suggested that SM may be considered.[101] There is moderate quality evidence to support the use of SM for the treatment of acute lumbar radiculopathy[102] and acute lumbar disc herniation with associated radiculopathy.[103] There is low or very low evidence supporting SM for chronic lumbar spine-related extremity symptoms and cervical spine-related extremity symptoms of any duration and no evidence exists for the treatment of thoracic radiculopathy.[102]
^ Jump up to: a b Hurwitz EL, Carragee EJ, van der Velde G, Carroll LJ, Nordin M, Guzman J, Peloso PM, Holm LW, Côté P, Hogg-Johnson S, Cassidy JD, Haldeman S (2008). "Treatment of neck pain: noninvasive interventions: results of the Bone and Joint Decade 2000–2010 Task Force on Neck Pain and Its Associated Disorders". Spine. 33 (4 Suppl): S123–52. doi:10.1097/BRS.0b013e3181644b1d. PMID 18204386.
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.
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).

Rarely. Nearly all neck stiffness is minor, diffuse musculoskeletal pain: several mildly irritated structures adding up to uncomfortable, reluctant movement as opposed to physically limited movement. The most common scary neck stiffness is the “nuchal rigidity” of meningitis — which makes it very difficult and uncomfortable to tilt the head forward — but that will be accompanied by other serious warning signs, of course. Like feeling gross otherwise (flu-like malaise).

What's to know about cervical spondylosis? Cervical spondylosis is a type of osteoarthritis. It is very common, and it happens as people get older, and the vertebrae and discs in the neck deteriorate. Minor symptoms include neck pain and stiffness, but numbness and more severe effects are possible. Symptoms often resolve alone, but treatment is available. Read now


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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.
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