pain is a very common problem. In fact, 2/3rds of the population will have neck
pain at some point in life. It can arise from stress, lack of sleep, prolonged
postures (such as reading or driving), sports injuries, whiplash injuries,
arthritis, referred pain from upper back problems, or even from sinusitis!
Rarely, it can be caused from dangerous problems including referred pain during
a heart attack, carotid or vertebral artery injuries, or head or neck cancer,
but these, as previously stated, are very uncommon. However, since you don’t
know why your neck hurts, it’s very important to have your neck pain properly
evaluated so the cause can be properly treated and not just covered up from the
use of pain killers!
Barring the dangerous causes of neck
pain listed above, treatment methods vary depending on whom you elect to
consult. Classically, if you see your primary care physician, pharmaceutical
care is usually the approach. Medications can be directed at reducing pain
(Tylenol, or one of many prescription “pain killers”), at reducing inflammation
and pain (Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Aleve, etc.), to reduce muscle spasms (like
muscle relaxers) or, medications may be directed to reduce depression, anxiety,
or the like. When a sinus infection affects the 2 deep sinuses (ethmoid and
sphenoid sinuses which are located deep in the head), the referred pain is
directed to the back of the head and neck. Here, an antibiotic may be needed
and/or something specifically directed at allergies when present. In general,
in cases that do not respond to usual chiropractic care, co-management with the
primary care physician is a good option.
However, the good news is that
chiropractic care usually works well, and the need for medication can be
avoided since the side effects of medication can sometimes be worse than the
benefits. Recently, The Bone and Joint Decade Task Force on Neck Pain published
arguably the best review of research published between 2000 and 2010 regarding
neck pain treatment approaches. They concluded that spinal manipulation and
mobilization are highly effective for many causes of neck pain, especially when
arising from the muscles and joints – the most common cause. Therefore it would
seem logical to consult with a Chiropractor FIRST since manipulation and
mobilization are so effective and safe. When we add neck exercises, the results
are even better, according to some studies. As chiropractors, we will often use
different modalities including electric stimulation, ultrasound, hot and/or
cold (which are usually given as a good home-applied remedy), and others. In
particular, low level laser therapy (LLLT) has been shown, “…to reduce pain
immediately after treatment in acute neck pain and up to 22 weeks after
completion of treatment in patients with chronic neck pain” [Lancet, 2009;
374(9705)]. LLLT is a commonly used modality by chiropractors and when combined
with spinal manipulation, the results can be even faster! We will also evaluate
your posture, body mechanics, and consider “ergonomic” or work station problems
and offer recommendations for improving your work environment. We also
frequently utilize anti-inflammatory nutrients including vitamins, minerals,
herbs, and more to avoid the negative side effects to the stomach, liver, and
kidney negative that can result from using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory
drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin, ibuprofen, or Aleve. Make chiropractic your FIRST
choice when neck pain strikes, NOT last resort!
We realize that you have a choice in
where you choose your health-care services.
If you, a friend or family member requires care for neck pain, we
sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services
and look forward in serving you and your family presently and, in the future.
To schedule an appointment for neck pain relief in San Francisco please call 415-392-2225.
Serving local 94111 downtown and the Financial District since 1992