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.
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.
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.
In 2009, a backlash to the libel suit filed by the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) against Simon Singh, has inspired the filing of formal complaints of false advertising against more than 500 individual chiropractors within one 24-hour period,[199][200] prompting the McTimoney Chiropractic Association to write to its members advising them to remove leaflets that make claims about whiplash and colic from their practice, to be wary of new patients and telephone inquiries, and telling their members: "If you have a website, take it down NOW." and "Finally, we strongly suggest you do NOT discuss this with others, especially patients."[199] An editorial in Nature has suggested that the BCA may be trying to suppress debate and that this use of British libel law is a burden on the right to freedom of expression, which is protected by the European Convention on Human Rights.[201] The libel case ended with the BCA withdrawing its suit in 2010.[202][203]
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.
There are many possible signs of spinal cord trouble in the neck,8 with or without neck pain, mostly affecting the limbs in surprisingly vague ways that can have other causes: poor hand coordination; weakness, “heavy” feelings, and atrophy; diffuse numbness; shooting pains in the limbs (especially when bending the head forward); an awkward gait. Sometimes people have both neck pain and more remote symptoms without realizing they are related.

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.
The percentage of the population that utilizes chiropractic care at any given time generally falls into a range from 6% to 12% in the U.S. and Canada,[207] with a global high of 20% in Alberta in 2006.[208] In 2008, chiropractors were reported to be the most common CAM providers for children and adolescents, consuming up to 14% of all visits to chiropractors.[209] In 2008, there were around 60,000 chiropractors practicing in North America.[4] In 2002–03, the majority of those who sought chiropractic did so for relief from back and neck pain and other neuromusculoskeletal complaints;[20] most do so specifically for low back pain.[20][207] The majority of U.S. chiropractors participate in some form of managed care.[21] Although the majority of U.S. chiropractors view themselves as specialists in neuroleptic malignant syndrome conditions, many also consider chiropractic as a type of primary care.[21] In the majority of cases, the care that chiropractors and physicians provide divides the market, however for some, their care is complementary.[21]
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. 

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.


The percentage of the population that utilizes chiropractic care at any given time generally falls into a range from 6% to 12% in the U.S. and Canada,[207] with a global high of 20% in Alberta in 2006.[208] In 2008, chiropractors were reported to be the most common CAM providers for children and adolescents, consuming up to 14% of all visits to chiropractors.[209] In 2008, there were around 60,000 chiropractors practicing in North America.[4] In 2002–03, the majority of those who sought chiropractic did so for relief from back and neck pain and other neuromusculoskeletal complaints;[20] most do so specifically for low back pain.[20][207] The majority of U.S. chiropractors participate in some form of managed care.[21] Although the majority of U.S. chiropractors view themselves as specialists in neuroleptic malignant syndrome conditions, many also consider chiropractic as a type of primary care.[21] In the majority of cases, the care that chiropractors and physicians provide divides the market, however for some, their care is complementary.[21]
The most common cause of shoulder pain and neck pain is injury to the soft tissues, including the muscles, tendons, and ligaments within these structures. There is nearly double the risk for developing neck pain for people who spend most of their day sitting at work. Neck pain is twice as likely for those sitting in poor posture with the head in a flexed forward position.
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.
Through manual manipulation of the spine delivered to the highest standards by licensed chiropractors, chiropractic care works to restore and maintain proper communication from your brain to your body by relieving what chiropractors refer to as a subluxation, or a misalignment, of the spine. Restoring proper alignment to the spine can assist with pain relief and prevention of:
Figure 1. (side view) The neck region is called the cervical spine. Protected within the bones of the cervical spine are the spinal cord and nerves. The seven cervical bones (vertebrae) are numbered C1 to C7. Each bone is separated and cushioned by shock-absorbing discs. The spinal nerves pass through bony canals to branch out to the neck and arms.

I finally met the chiropractor! We started out by talking a little about the reason for my visit, and what my goals were. Next, he performed a Selective Functional Movement Assessment, which basically helps the chiropractor find the root and cause of any symptoms—they do this by breaking down dysfunctional patterns logically rather than simply finding the obvious source of the pain.

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