Jump up ^ Coulter ID, Adams AH, Sandefur R (1997). "Chiropractic training" (PDF). In Cherkin DC, Mootz RD. Chiropractic in the United States: Training, Practice, and Research (PDF). Rockville, MD: Agency for Health Care Policy and Research. pp. 17–28. OCLC 39856366. Archived from the original on 2008-06-25. Retrieved 2008-05-11. AHCPR Pub No. 98-N002.
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:
Twenty‐six to 71% of the adult population can recall experiencing an episode of neck pain or stiffness in their lifetime. Neck pain is more common in females than in males, with rates reported as high as 77.8%. The natural history is unclear. Neck pain has a costly impact on society because of visits to healthcare providers, sick leave, disability and loss of productivity. There are a number of treatments available for neck pain, one of which is mechanical traction.
I’ve never really considered going to a chiropractor—I’m healthy, moderately active and I don’t really have much pain on a regular basis. But I work for a health and wellness company that encourages its employees to take an active role in their health, and many of my coworkers swear by their chiropractors. I wasn’t sure what a chiropractor could really do for me, but after a bit of word-of-mouth research, I found out that chiropractic care actually has benefits for your whole body! So I decided to give it a try.
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.
Requirements vary between countries. In the U.S. chiropractors obtain a first professional degree in the field of chiropractic. Chiropractic education in the U.S. have been criticized for failing to meet generally accepted standards of evidence-based medicine. 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. 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. 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. Graduates of the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College (CMCC) are formally recognized to have at least 7–8 years of university level education. 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.
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.
The cervical spine is also surrounded by a thick, tangled web of nerves. In general, those nerves are amazingly difficult to irritate, much harder than people think, but it’s not impossible. Many sharp and shooting neck pains are probably caused by minor neuropathy (pain from nerve irritation) that will ease gradually over several days or a few weeks at the worst, like a bruise healing. It’s unpleasant, but not actually scary, like banging your funny bone (ulnar nerve): that thing can really take a licking and keep on ticking. So can the nerves in your neck.
If your chiropractor does recommend an X-ray, one piece of advice: wear proper clothing! I made the mistake of wearing jeans to the appointment. And that meant had to change into some not-so-attractive disposable medical shorts… NOT a good look. I would recommend wearing loose-fitting clothing you can move in (that helps for the movement assessment too!) and nix the jewelry. I was smarter for my second appointment and wore my workout gear, so the medical shorts didn’t have to make a second appearance.