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.


“When your neck muscles become weak and you try to turn your head, the joint no longer moves smoothly because it’s now out of place,” Dr. Bang says. “Often the joint catches on something, either pulling a muscle or hitting the nerve irregularly, or maybe both. Then you’ll have instant pain and your body has a protective spasm. Your body doesn’t want you to get hurt more, so it will clench, causing you to feel like you can’t even move — and leaving you wondering what you did to injure yourself.”
^ Jump up to: a b Palmer DD (1910). The Chiropractor's Adjuster: Text-book of the Science, Art and Philosophy of Chiropractic for Students and Practitioners. Portland, OR: Portland Printing House Co. OCLC 17205743. A subluxated vertebra ... is the cause of 95 percent of all diseases ... The other five percent is caused by displaced joints other than those of the vertebral column.
Hi Jacqueline — We are so sorry to hear about this. You can find a doctor here: https://paindoctor.com/get-relief-now/, or if there’s not one in your area in that directory, figure out how to find the best one in your area by using the suggestions in this list. Further, one of the worst parts about chronic pain is not having anyone around who truly understands what you face on a day-to-day basis. We highly recommend finding a local or online support group so you can talk to other patients who understand what a life with chronic pain is like. You can find online ones here: https://paindoctor.com/chronic-pain-support-groups.
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.

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Chiropractic was developed by Daniel David Palmer, a self-taught healer in Davenport, Iowa. Palmer wanted to find a cure for disease and illness that did not use drugs. He studied the structure of the spine and the ancient art of moving the body with the hands (manipulation). Palmer started the Palmer School of Chiropractic, which still exists today.
Some of the findings from my tests were things that I could fix at home, and others could be helped with hands-on chiropractic care, like an adjustment. In my case, I didn’t have a normal c-shaped curve in my neck. This can be caused by minor whiplash, sports injuries or even sitting forward all day (I spend a lot of time at work staring at a screen). The chiropractor recommended at-home care in the way of a rolled up towel or ergonomic pillow. These can help restore the curve in your neck.
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]
A 2012 systematic review suggested that the use of spine manipulation in clinical practice is a cost-effective treatment when used alone or in combination with other treatment approaches.[160] A 2011 systematic review found evidence supporting the cost-effectiveness of using spinal manipulation for the treatment of sub-acute or chronic low back pain; the results for acute low back pain were insufficient.[11]
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.

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]

Vertebrobasilar artery stroke (VAS) is statistically associated with chiropractic services in persons under 45 years of age,[147] but it is similarly associated with general practitioner services, suggesting that these associations are likely explained by preexisting conditions.[146][148] Weak to moderately strong evidence supports causation (as opposed to statistical association) between cervical manipulative therapy (CMT) and VAS.[149] There is insufficient evidence to support a strong association or no association between cervical manipulation and stroke.[15] While the biomechanical evidence is not sufficient to support the statement that CMT causes cervical artery dissection (CD), clinical reports suggest that mechanical forces have a part in a substantial number of CDs and the majority of population controlled studies found an association between CMT and VAS in young people.[150] It is strongly recommended that practitioners consider the plausibility of CD as a symptom, and people can be informed of the association between CD and CMT before administrating manipulation of the cervical spine.[150] There is controversy regarding the degree of risk of stroke from cervical manipulation.[15] Many chiropractors state that, the association between chiropractic therapy and vertebral arterial dissection is not proven.[17] However, it has been suggested that the causality between chiropractic cervical manipulation beyond the normal range of motion and vascular accidents is probable[17] or definite.[16] There is very low evidence supporting a small association between internal carotid artery dissection and chiropractic neck manipulation.[151] The incidence of internal carotid artery dissection following cervical spine manipulation is unknown.[152] The literature infrequently reports helpful data to better understand the association between cervical manipulative therapy, cervical artery dissection and stroke.[153] The limited evidence is inconclusive that chiropractic spinal manipulation therapy is not a cause of intracranial hypotension.[154] Cervical intradural disc herniation is very rare following spinal manipulation therapy.[155]
The treatment plan may involve one or more manual adjustments in which the doctor manipulates the joints, using a controlled, sudden force to improve range and quality of motion. Many chiropractors also incorporate nutritional counseling and exercise/rehabilitation into the treatment plan. The goals of chiropractic care include the restoration of function and prevention of injury in addition to back pain relief.
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