Do you suffer with neck pain and can't get relief?
What is Neck Pain?
Strong enough to support the weight of the head, but also delicate and susceptible to pain, the neck is a unique and important part of the body. Most cases of neck pain are a result of soft tissue sprain or muscle strain. These types of neck pain can often resolve themselves with time and non-surgical treatment such as medication and chiropractic manipulation.
Neck Pain Symptoms: Neck pain symptoms can vary greatly. Often times the pain can subside on its own within a few days or weeks. Sometimes the pain can become constant or radiate into other body parts, such as the shoulder and arms. Patients with neck pain may experience:
* Stiffness or loss of flexibility
* Sharp pain
* Muscle spasms
* general soreness
* trouble gripping or lifting objects
* radiating pain that can include the shoulders and arms
What causes Neck Pain?
Neck pain causes can include irritation, inflammation, injury, infection, irritation of the cervical nerve roots, encroachment of the vertebral canal's vascular supply, or invasion of the cord into the spinal canal. The disc thinning or disc degeneration and deterioration of muscles and ligaments associated with arthritis can also contribute to neck pain. In addition, illness or injury can cause the curvature of the neck to become too straight or even reverse its curve. In order to address the root issues behind chronic neck pain, it is important to get an accurate diagnosis, so that an effective treatment plan can be devised.
Some associated reasons for neck pain include but are not limited to:
* Sleeping in wrong position
* Sports injury
* Poor posture
* Repetitive Motion
* Holding head in unusual position
* Nerve Root Impingement
* Rheumatoid Arthritis
* Spinal Fractures
* Spinal Stenosis
* Dislocated Shoulders
* Instability/looseness in neck and shoulders
* Arm or collarbone fractures
Neck Pain Treatment:
Neck pain can be treated with medication, therapy and surgery. At Advantage Healthcare of Charleston we use a non-surgical approach to treatment. As a Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinic we combine Chiropractic Adjustments, Physical Rehabilitation, Trigger Point Injections, Cold Laser Therapy and Hydrotherapy to help relieve symptoms of neck pain.
Chiropractic Adjustments: can help relieve neck pain by relaxing the tightened muscles and allowing the spine to retain its natural curve. If the muscles are tight they can pull the spine out of alignment. A misalignment can limit ones range of motion which in turn will create more pain symptoms and eventually the nerves will become damaged. A misalignment can also cause pinched nerves which lowers nerve function. Remember all of your nerves are connected to the spinal column which runs through your spine. The weight of a dime can cause reduced function to muscles, ligaments and more importantly vital organs. Physical Rehabilitation: aids in relaxing the tightened muscles and soft tissues related to neck pain. We use passive and active physical therapies to help the body recover as well as to help aid in holding the chiropractic adjustments in place. Re training the body to be in proper alignment can help reduce and prevent further neck pain. We use passive Physical Rehabilitation for those in severe pain as this type of therapy is done to the patient and requires no effort on their part. Once their body has time to recover and their pain has decreased our providers increase their therapy and begin to add in active therapy to aid in a quicker recovery. Passive Physical Rehabilitation consists of Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) Unit, Heat/Ice Packs, Ultrasound, Hydrotherapy and Stretching. Active Physical Rehabilitation is just that. It consists of the patient taking an active role during their Physical Rehabilitation appointments. Patients begin to utilize therapy machines that require them to train their muscles such as stretching and weight lifting. Active therapy also teaches the patient how to prevent further injury by showing techniques to use when lifting heavy objects, activities of daily living, job requirements that may require constant movement or lifting, etc. We also use Myofascial Release Therapy which uses applied pressure and low load stretching to the affected areas to decrease muscle tightness. This technique helps relax, stretch, soften and increase length of the tissues and muscles. These different types of therapy combined over a patients treatment plan allows a patient to improve quicker than simply swallowing an aspirin and in the long run will potentially prevent any reoccurrence.
Cold Laser Therapy: is to muscles what photosynthesis is to plants. Plants absorb sunlight which is converted to energy so that the plant can grow. With muscles, tissues and fibers the non-thermal photons of light emitted from the laser pass through the different layers (approximately 2 to 5 centimeters) of skin. When the light reaches the target area it is absorbed and interacts with the light sensitive elements in the cell. The energy from the laser light is absorbed and initiates the injured or damaged tissue/muscles to normalize. It also aids in the reduction of pain, inflammation, edema and decreased healing time.
Hydrotherapy: uses water in the treatment of disease. Advantage Healthcare of Charleston utilizes a hydrotherapy bed which combines the use of water, heat and massage. Although water is the main source of the therapy the patient never gets wet. The hydrotherapy bed provides temporary relief of minor aches and pains, it reduces levels of stress and anxiety, increases circulation to the areas massaged and helps relieve muscle soreness, stiffness and tension which in turn should decrease back pain.
Trigger point injections (TPI): A trigger point is a discreet knot or tight, ropy band of muscle that forms when muscle fails to relax. The knot often can be felt under the skin and may twitch involuntarily when touched (called a jump sign). The trigger point can trap or irritate surrounding nerves and cause referred pain - pain felt in another part of the body (e.g., pain from a heart attack that is felt in the jaw or arm). Scar tissue and loss of range of motion and weakness may form over time. Trigger Point Injections (TPI) are used to treat extremely painful, tight and tender areas of muscle. Normal muscle contracts and relaxes when it is active. The cause of your muscle pain or spasms may be one or more trigger points. Your health care provider may decide to inject the painful spots to relax the muscle. This can help relieve your pain and make movement easier. You may then be able to exercise to strengthen the muscle and help it heal.
Durable Medical Equipment: cervical traction devices can be utilized to help recreate a loss of curvature in the neck. The traction device is taken home and used by the patient between their appointments at Advantage Healthcare of Charleston. The device can help manage pain, relax muscle spasms, reduce instability, increase range of motion, improve daily functioning, etc. Neck Pain can have many symptoms and causes. It is imperative that you choose a team of providers who will work to find the root cause(s) of your neck pain. As a physical medicine and Rehabilitation clinic we strive to get you better without surgery. If you are interested in learning more about what services we offer for neck pain please contact us today.
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Testimonial: "As a teller at the local bank, I am currently looking up and down. Over the past few years I have noticed my neck pain becoming more severe. More recently I was finding myself calling out of work due to feeling like I couldn't even lift my head off of my pillow in bed. I knew something wasn't right and began doing research on what I could try to help manage the pain. I ran across Advantage Healthcare of Charleston's website and decided to reach out to them. I was greeted with so much warmth and compassion that I just knew I was in the right place. During the months to follow I attended my appointments exactly as ordered, I received all suggested treatment and I am so very delighted to say that I am no longer in severe pain. Not only did AHC get me out of pain but they taught me how to prevent the pain from recurring. I ordered a proper chair, keyboard, mouse and computer screen so that my body was in proper alignment while at work all day. My colleagues weren't far behind following in my footsteps as they became patients as well." -S. Lawson