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The End of Neck Pain: Chiropractic + Therapeutic Exercise

 The End of Neck Pain: Chiropractic + Therapeutic Exercise

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Neck pain is a common complaint and reason for a visit to the doctor. Neck pain is usually mechanical in nature which means that it is a problem with the muscles, tendons and ligaments. Neck pain can be divided into two categories; traumatic (as in a motor vehicle accident) and non-traumatic (as in when your neck starts hurting with no known cause). This article will deal with the non-traumatic mechanical neck pain.

Most non-traumatic mechanical neck pain is caused by a complex postural distortion which begins in the thoracic region and the shoulders and creates compensations as you move up. People generally will have an increased forward curve in their mid-back area which causes their shoulders to be positioned forward and rotated inward. This causes the neck to be pulled forward and down. To correct this, the head is forced into extension so that you are able to look ahead and not down at the ground. This position is very unnatural, inefficient and over-powering for the muscles of the neck. If not corrected the muscles become weak and tight which puts more strain on the ligaments of the neck like the spinal discs and pain. Over time this can lead to serious conditions like spinal disc herniations, prolapses, bone spurs, spinal arthritis and possibly even nerve conditions affecting the upper extremities and headaches. We have all seen the old man or woman who walks while bent over looking down at the ground. If not corrected, this could be the fate of any of us.

Some of the risk factors associated with this condition are:

1. Working at a computer excessively

2. Excessive reading

3. Poor posture due to emotional issues or poor habits

4. Past injuries to the spine or shoulders

5. Smoking

6. Poor physical conditioning

The good news is that this condition can be treated safely without the need for medications or surgeries if caught early enough. It is important to understand that this condition must be managed, it cannot be cured and it must be managed over your lifetime. The best management for this condition is to combine chiropractic treatment with therapeutic exercises. The Chiropractic treatment improves the mobility of the neck and shoulders and improves the nervous system's ability to communicate with the muscles. Properly chosen therapeutic exercises will improve the strength of the mid-back and neck muscles and stretch the chest muscles. The end result of this treatment will be decreased neck pain, improved posture and decreased risk of further spinal degeneration which could lead to the need for long term medication or surgery.