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At each vertebral level, a pair of spinal nerves exit through small openings called foramina (one to the left and one to the right). These nerves serve the muscles, skin and tissues of the body and thus provide sensation and movement to all parts of the body. The delicate spinal cord and nerves are further supported by strong muscles and ligaments that are attached to the vertebrae.
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Health professionals may know better in theory, but often underestimate how easily patients are alarmed by hard evidence of spinal degeneration. To the average person, if something like that shows up on a scan, it’s like proof: it has got to hurt. But the evidence clearly contradicts that! Pain has many possible minor causes; degeneration is often painless and rarely serious even when it is causing trouble. BACK TO TEXT

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Maruyama et al: “All but one patient [of seven] with migraine considered the pain to be unique and unusual compared with previously experienced headache or neck pain episodes. Nevertheless, pain was often interpreted initially as migraine or musculoskeletal in nature by the patient or the treating doctor.” Arnold et al: “Pain was different from earlier episodes in all but one case [of 20].” BACK TO TEXT
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.
Neck pain is just that – pain in the neck. Pain can be localized to the cervical spine or may travel down an arm (radiculopathy). All age groups are at risk of developing neck pain. People who sit in one location staring at computer screens for long periods of time may be at an increased risk. About 30% of the population has an episode of neck pain each year. Neck pain may occur slightly more frequently in women than men.
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.
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]
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).
“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.”
The chiropractic oath is a modern variation of the classical Hippocratic Oath historically taken by physicians and other healthcare professionals swearing to practice their professions ethically.[190] The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) has an ethical code "based upon the acknowledgement that the social contract dictates the profession's responsibilities to the patient, the public, and the profession; and upholds the fundamental principle that the paramount purpose of the chiropractic doctor's professional services shall be to benefit the patient."[191] The International Chiropractor's Association (ICA) also has a set of professional canons.[192]

We integrate Chiropractic, Physical Therapy and Functional Medicine to find the cause of your problem and help remove it. Dr. Knight's unique method combines a system of traditional Chiropractic adjustments along with a customized exercise or daily activities program designed to enhance the adjustments for greater overall effectiveness. Creating for you specialized techniques to provide relief from your worst symptoms and discover the root cause of your concerns. His initial program is intensified to derive the greatest potential for improvement within the shortest amount of time. By targeting specific areas of your spine, chiropractic care h ... View Profile
Chiropractic has seen considerable controversy and criticism.[25][26] Although D.D. and B.J. were "straight" and disdained the use of instruments, some early chiropractors, whom B.J. scornfully called "mixers", advocated the use of instruments.[23] In 1910, B.J. changed course and endorsed X-rays as necessary for diagnosis; this resulted in a significant exodus from the Palmer School of the more conservative faculty and students.[23] The mixer camp grew until by 1924 B.J. estimated that only 3,000 of the U.S.'s 25,000 chiropractors remained straight.[23] That year, B.J.'s invention and promotion of the neurocalometer, a temperature-sensing device, was highly controversial among B.J.'s fellow straights. By the 1930s, chiropractic was the largest alternative healing profession in the U.S.[23]
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.
D.D. Palmer opened the first chiropractic school two years later, and in the century since, chiropractic professionals have used spinal adjustments to help people prevent and cope with back pain, carpal tunnel, muscle strain, headaches and migraines, and a variety of other physical ailments. Millions of people benefit from the work of Dr. Palmer today.
Research suggests that not just sleep position, but sleep itself, can play a role in musculoskeletal pain, including neck and shoulder pain. In one study, researchers compared musculoskeletal pain in 4,140 healthy men and women with and without sleeping problems. Sleeping problems included difficulty falling asleep, trouble staying asleep, waking early in the mornings, and non-restorative sleep. They found that people who reported moderate to severe problems in at least three of these four categories were significantly more likely to develop chronic musculoskeletal pain after one year than those who reported little or no problem with sleep. One possible explanation is that sleep disturbances disrupt the muscle relaxation and healing that normally occur during sleep. Additionally, it is well established that pain can disrupt sleep, contributing to a vicious cycle of pain disrupting sleep, and sleep problems contributing to pain.
Chiropractic treatment of the back, neck, limbs, and involved joints has become more accepted as a result of research and changing attitudes about additional approaches to healthcare. As a result, chiropractors are increasingly working with other healthcare workers, such as physicians and physical therapists, through referrals and complementary care.
Dr. Alexandra (Alex) Robins holds both BS and DC degrees, graduating from National College of Chiropractic in 1991. She practiced in Chicago for a couple of years before buying a practice in Indianapolis in1993, which focused on neuromusculoskeletal conditions as well as acupuncture. After 21 years of practice in Indianapolis, Dr. Robins closed her office and became involved with The Joint in 2016. As Dr. Robins states, “Being with The Joint has provided me with a wonderful opportunity to once again treat patients.”
Chiropractors faced heavy opposition from organized medicine.[37] DD Palmer was jailed in 1907 for practicing medicine without a licence.[217] Thousands of chiropractors were prosecuted for practicing medicine without a license, and D.D. and many other chiropractors were jailed.[37] To defend against medical statutes, B.J. argued that chiropractic was separate and distinct from medicine, asserting that chiropractors "analyzed" rather than "diagnosed", and "adjusted" subluxations rather than "treated" disease.[37] B.J. cofounded the Universal Chiropractors' Association (UCA) to provide legal services to arrested chiropractors.[37] Although the UCA won their first test case in Wisconsin in 1907, prosecutions instigated by state medical boards became increasingly common and in many cases were successful. In response, chiropractors conducted political campaigns to secure separate licensing statutes, eventually succeeding in all fifty states, from Kansas in 1913 through Louisiana in 1974.[37] The longstanding feud between chiropractors and medical doctors continued for decades. The AMA labeled chiropractic an "unscientific cult" in 1966,[29] and until 1980 advised its members that it was unethical for medical doctors to associate with "unscientific practitioners".[218] This culminated in a landmark 1987 decision, Wilk v. AMA, in which the court found that the AMA had engaged in unreasonable restraint of trade and conspiracy, and which ended the AMA's de facto boycott of chiropractic.[21]
DCs may assess patients through clinical examination, laboratory testing, diagnostic imaging and other diagnostic interventions to determine when chiropractic treatment is appropriate or when it is not appropriate. Chiropractors will readily refer patients to the appropriate health care provider when chiropractic care is not suitable for the patient’s condition, or the condition warrants co-management in conjunction with other health care providers. 
DCs may assess patients through clinical examination, laboratory testing, diagnostic imaging and other diagnostic interventions to determine when chiropractic treatment is appropriate or when it is not appropriate. Chiropractors will readily refer patients to the appropriate health care provider when chiropractic care is not suitable for the patient’s condition, or the condition warrants co-management in conjunction with other health care providers. 

I am a science writer, former massage therapist, and I was the assistant editor at ScienceBasedMedicine.org for several years. I have had my share of injuries and pain challenges as a runner and ultimate player. My wife and I live in downtown Vancouver, Canada. See my full bio and qualifications, or my blog, Writerly. You might run into me on Facebook or Twitter.
Beyond Chiropractic, a health and wellness center on the border of Conshohocken and Plymouth Meeting, minutes from Norristown and Lafayette Hill. The mission of Beyond Chiropractic is to provide the members of the community with highly individualized, affordable health care to promote well-being in a comfortable environment for all patients. We aim to support our patients and their families to achieve and maintain the highest quality of life. www.ConshyChiro.com ... View Profile
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.

The chiropractic oath is a modern variation of the classical Hippocratic Oath historically taken by physicians and other healthcare professionals swearing to practice their professions ethically.[190] The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) has an ethical code "based upon the acknowledgement that the social contract dictates the profession's responsibilities to the patient, the public, and the profession; and upholds the fundamental principle that the paramount purpose of the chiropractic doctor's professional services shall be to benefit the patient."[191] The International Chiropractor's Association (ICA) also has a set of professional canons.[192]
The next area we tackled was my pelvis. I suffer from pelvic torsion, which means that one side of my hip is more rotated than the other. This can be caused by driving (one foot is in front of the other) or even the way you sit (I sit cross-legged a lot). Because my joints are misaligned and stiff, that can cause the nerve impulse not to get to my glute muscles quick enough.
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