It’s easy to forget that the world of today is full of driving, hunching over screens and plenty of stress, which can in turn influence our cervical spine. It’s no surprise that neck pain has become one of the most common complaint we hear from our patients. By supporting the weight of the head, your neck has tough job. Millions of people experience chronic pains, aches and discomfort at some point in their lives.
Neck pain can be described as diffuse of pinpointed pain in the posterior (back) of the neck ranging from the top of the cervical spine (which is the base of the skull) to the first thoracic spinous process. The pain can either be new onset, acute or greater than 7 days with is classed as sub-acute. If you experience the pain for longer than 3 months, your complaint is considered to be chronic in nature.
Statistically, women are more likely to suffer with neck pain than me, with the mean age of onset being 45 years for women and 60 years for men (1) It has been identified in a study by Kääria S cited in (1), a number of risk factors for the development of chronic neck pain in women to be:
This study also identified risk factors for the development of chronic neck pain in men:
Neck pain presentation is often more complicated than other regions of the spine. This is because the neck is quite complex and can be influenced by many other factors in the kinetic chain. For example, a person who has a rotator cuff tear may also present with chronic neck pain, which is often secondary to the tear itself. There may be a history of whiplash or the person may work at a desk for long hours, resulting in postural related pain.
Our Chiropractors use a number of clinical tests, along with your history to determine a working diagnosis. They construct a comprehensive care plan to help reduce your pain but also to work out how to keep your symptoms at bay. Unfortunately chronic neck pain is not like a cold that goes away, we have to combat the primary cause to the pain in order to see good results. This may also mean doing some specific exercises at home to stretch and strengthen the muscles around the thoracic spine and neck.
We understand that there is a lot of worry for some patients about having their neck manipulated and this is a valid concern of ours also. Research has shown inconclusive evidence that manipulation alone can assist in chronic neck pain. This is why we use this method cautiously.
The good news is, we have many comfortable ways to treat chronic neck pain without cervical manipulation. In practice, we find the combination of Activator Method (a small adjusting instrument) along with dry needling and soft tissue massage, brings positive results in chronic neck pain sufferers. If you would like more information on the activator method, please see their website:
In addition to pain relief care, we also look at lifestyle factors such as pillow choice, stress, postural habits and diet. These can all influence how well you recover from your pain.
If you would like one of our gentle chiropractors to help assess what is causing your neck pain, don’t hesitate and book in today. You can book online or by calling 9203 8313