Neck Pain

Our neck, also called the cervical spine, begins at the base of the skull and contains seven
small vertebrae.

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What’s Neck Pain?

Your neck is made up of vertebrae that extend from the skull to the upper torso. Cervical discs absorb shock between the bones.

The bones, ligaments, and muscles of your neck support your head and allow for motion. Any abnormalities, inflammation, or injury can cause neck pain or stiffness.

Many people experience neck pain or stiffness. In many cases, it’s due to poor posture or overuse. Sometimes, neck pain is caused by injury from an automobile accident, a fall, contact sports, or whiplash related injuries.

If you have neck pain, call Dr. DeMaio at United Joint and Spine Center and schedule your appointment today!

Did You Know

Incredibly, the cervical spine supports the full weight of your head, which is on average about 12 pounds. While the cervical spine can move your head in nearly every direction, this flexibility makes the neck very susceptible to pain and injury. The neck’s susceptibility to injury is due in part to biomechanics. Activities and events that affect cervical biomechanics include extended sitting, repetitive movement, accidents, falls and blows to the body or head, normal aging, and everyday wear and tear. Neck pain can be very bothersome, and it can have a variety of causes.

Common causes of neck pain:

  • Injury and Accidents: A sudden forced movement of the head or neck in any direction and the
    resulting “rebound” in the opposite direction is known as whiplash. The sudden “whipping” motion
    injures the surrounding and supporting tissues of the neck and head. Muscles react by tightening
    and contracting, creating muscle fatigue, which can result in pain and stiffness. Severe whiplash
    can also be associated with injury to the intervertebral joints, discs, ligaments, muscles, and
    nerve roots. Car accidents are the most common cause of whiplash and United Joint and Spine
    Center is here to help you.
  • Growing Older: Degenerative disorders such as osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis, and degenerative
    disc disease directly affect the spine.
  • Osteoarthritis, a common joint disorder, causes progressive deterioration of cartilage. The body
    reacts by forming bone spurs that affect joint motion.
  • Spinal stenosis causes the small nerve passageways in the vertebrae to narrow, compressing
    and trapping nerve roots. Stenosis may cause neck, shoulder, and arm pain, as well as
    numbness, when these nerves are unable to function normally.
  • Degenerative disc disease can cause reduction in the elasticity and height of intervertebral discs.
    Over time, a disc may bulge or herniate, causing tingling, numbness, and pain that runs into the
    arm.
  • Daily Life: Poor posture, obesity, and weak abdominal muscles often disrupt spinal balance,
    causing the neck to bend forward to compensate. Stress and emotional tension can cause
    muscles to tighten and contract, resulting in pain and stiffness. Postural stress can contribute to
    chronic neck pain with symptoms extending into the upper back and the arms.

Causes of neck pain.

Neck pain or stiffness can happen for a variety of reasons.

Muscle tension and strain

This is usually due to activities and behaviors such as:

  • poor posture
  • working at a desk for too long without changing position
  • sleeping with your neck in a bad position
  • jerking your neck during exercise

United Joint & Spine Center has mastered treatment protocols for all causes of neck pain and stiffness. 

Injury

The neck is particularly vulnerable to injury, especially in auto accidents, falls,  and sports, where the muscles and ligaments of the neck are forced to move outside of their normal range of motion.

Neck injury due to sudden jerking of the head is commonly known as whiplash. Call United Joint and Spine Center if you have been in an auto accident, fall or sports related accident that has caused your neck pain. Dr. DeMaio has had over 10 years of experience dealing with accident patients.  

Other causes

Other causes include the following:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) causes pain, swelling of the joints, and bone spurs. When these occur in the neck area, neck pain can result.  Dr. DeMaio uses specific chiropractic treatments tailored to patients that are suffering with RA.  
  • Osteoporosis weakens bones and can lead to small fractures. This condition often happens in hands or knees, but it can also occur in the neck.  There are many chiropractic treatment options that are utilized to help patients deal with osteoporosis.  The approach at United Joint & Spine Center is to utilize stretch and exercise protocols in addition to other treatment options.  
  • Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes muscle pain throughout the body, especially in the neck and shoulder region. There are different forms of Fibromyalgia and Dr. DeMaio has experience dealing with multiple forms.  
  • As you age, the cervical discs can degenerate. This is known as spondylosis, or osteoarthritis of the neck. This can narrow the space between the vertebrae. It also adds stress to your joints.  At United Joint & Spine Center Dr. DeMaio will exam and determine if any imaging is necessary as well as what type of imaging is needed.  Dr.  DeMaio will review the results and create the best treatment plan and protocol for you specifically.  
  • When a disk protrudes, as from a trauma or injury caused by an auto accident, fall, or sports it may add pressure on the spinal cord or nerve roots. This is called a herniated cervical disk, also known as a ruptured or slipped disk.  Chiropractic treatment is different for everyone.   At United Joint & Spine Center the treatment is comprehensive and tailored to your specific diagnosis. 

Spinal stenosis occurs when the spinal column narrows and causes pressure on the spinal cord or the nerve roots as it exits the vertebrae. This can be due to long-term inflammation caused by arthritis or other conditions.  Spinal stenosis is a chronic condition and the need for chiropractic care to help keep you out of pain and increase your ability to have a better quality of life is our top priority when treating patients with stenosis.  Schedule a consultation today with Dr. DeMaio for her to determine the best treatment plan for you.

How neck pain is treated

Dr. DeMaio will perform a detailed physical exam and take your complete medical history. Be prepared to discuss the specifics of your symptoms. You should also let Dr. DeMaio know about all prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications and supplements you’ve been taking.

Even if it doesn’t seem related, you should also let Dr. DeMaio know about any recent injuries or accidents you’ve had.

Treatment for neck pain depends on your diagnosis. In addition to a thorough history and physical exam performed at United Joint & Spine Center, you may also need one or more of the following imaging studies and tests to help your doctor determine the cause of your neck pain: Dr. DeMaio will be able to determine if imaging is necessary.  The imaging most utilized in Chiropractic to determine the above diagnoses are X-rays, CT scans,  or MRI scans.  

Dr. DeMaio will recommend the best treatment protocol for your neck pain which may include:

  • Chiropractic treatments
  • Ice and Heat Therapy
  • Exercise & Stretching 
  • Traction
  • Graston
  • Laser Therapy
  • and other modalities…

Alternative therapies include:

  • Massage
  • Electrical Nerve Stimulation

Call Dr. DeMaio at United Joint and Spine Center today to schedule your appointment. Nobody wants a “Pain in the neck” on their shoulders.

Chiropractic Care of Neck Pain

During your visit at United Joint & Spine Center, Dr. DeMaio will perform an examination to locate the source of your pain and will ask you questions about your current symptoms and remedies you may have already tried.

Dr. DeMaio will also do physical and neurological exams. In the physical exam, Dr. DeMaio will observe your posture, range of motion, and physical condition, noting movement that causes pain. Dr DeMaio will feel your spine, note its curvature and alignment, and feel for muscle spasm. A check of your shoulder area is also in order. During the neurological exam, Dr. DeMaio will test your reflexes, muscle strength, other nerve changes, and pain spread.

Neck Adjustments at United Joint and Spine Center

A neck adjustment (also known as cervical manipulation) is a precise procedure applied to the joints of the neck, usually by hand. A neck adjustment works to improve the mobility of the spine and to restore range of motion; it can also increase movement of the adjoining muscles. Patients at United Joint and Spine Center have notice an improved ability to turn and tilt the head, and a reduction of pain, soreness, and stiffness a short time after their visit with Dr. DeMaio.

Of course, Dr. DeMaio will develop a program of care that may combine more than one type of treatment, depending on your personal needs. In addition to manipulation, the treatment plan may include mobilization, massage or rehabilitative exercises.

What Research Shows

A review of scientific literature found evidence that patients with chronic neck pain enrolled in clinical trials reported significant improvement following chiropractic spinal manipulation. As part of the literature review, published in the March/April 2007 issue of the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, the researchers reviewed nine previously published trials and found “high-quality evidence” that patients with chronic neck pain showed significant pain-level improvements following spinal manipulation. No trial group was reported as having remained unchanged, and all groups showed positive changes up to 12 weeks post-treatment. Another study, funded by the National Institutes of Health and published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in 2012, tested the effectiveness of different approaches for treating mechanical neck pain:  272 participants were divided into three groups that received either spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) from a doctor of chiropractic, pain medication (over-the-counter pain relievers, narcotics and muscle relaxants) or exercise recommendations. After 12 weeks, about 57 percent of those who met with chiropractors and 48 percent who exercised reported at least a 75 percent reduction in pain, compared to 33 percent of the people in the medication group. After one year, approximately 53 percent of the drug-free groups continued to report at least a 75 percent reduction in pain, compared to just 38 percent pain reduction among those who took medication. Also, in 2012, research published in the Spine journal analyzed the prevalence, patterns and predictors of chiropractic utilization in the U.S. general population. The researchers found that, “Back pain and neck pain were the most prevalent health problems for chiropractic consultations and the majority of users reported chiropractic helping a great deal with their health problem and improving overall health or well-being.”

all in love with taking care of yourself

Headaches could be a symptom of other issues that are caused by spinal misalignments or subluxations. These structural problems are typically located in the neck and mid back area of the spinal column. Our spine is made up of a series of joints that are connected by a discs and is a
passageway for nerves to go through. A chiropractic adjustment can relieve your pain by aligning any misaligned joint in the spine. This will correct the nerve interference that maybe causing your headaches. No medication, No massage and No exercise can take the place of a chiropractic
adjustment.

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