neck (cervical spine) is composed of vertebrae which begin
in the upper torso and end at the base of the skull. The
bony vertebrae along with the ligaments (like thick rubber
bands) provide stability to the spine. The muscles allow
for support and motion. The neck has a significant amount
of motion and supports the weight of the head. However,
because it is less protected than the rest of the spine,
the neck can be vulnerable to injury and disorders that
produce pain and restrict motion. For many people, neck
pain is a temporary condition that disappears with time.
Others need chiropractic diagnosis and treatment to relieve
Cady specializes in the evaluation and treatment of neck
pain. There are many causes and each one requires a specialized
treatment to help it improve. This page explains some of
the causes of and treatment for neck pain. Ask Dr. Cady
for more detailed information.
causes neck pain?
pain may result from abnormalities in the soft tissues -
the muscles, ligaments, and nerves - as well as in bones
and joints of the spine. The most common causes of neck
pain are soft tissue abnormalities due to injury or prolonged
wear and tear. In rare cases, infection or tumors may cause
neck pain. In some people, neck problems may be the source
of pain in the upper back, shoulders or arms.
Degenerative and inflammatory diseases - Degenerative diseases
that cause neck pain include osteoarthritis and rheumatoid
arthritis. Osteoarthritis usually occurs in older people
as a result of wear of the joints between the bones in the
neck. Rheumatoid arthritis can cause destruction of the
joints of the neck. Both of these major types of arthritis
can cause stiffness and pain.
disk degeneration also can cause neck pain. The disk acts
as a shock absorber between the bones in the neck. In cervical
disk degeneration (typically age 40 onwards), the normal
gelatin-like center of the disk degenerates and the space
between the vertebrae narrows. As the disk space narrows,
added stress is applied to the joints of the spine causing
further wear and degenerative disease. The cervical disk
may also protrude and cause pressure on the spinal cord
or nerve roots when the rim of the disk weakens. This is
known as a herniated cervical disk.
- Because the neck is so flexible and because it supports
the head, it is extremely vulnerable to injury. Motor vehicle
or diving accidents, contact sports, and falls may result
in neck injury. The regular use of safety belts in motor
vehicles can help to prevent or minimize injury. A "rear
end" automobile collision may result in hyperextension,
a backward motion of the neck beyond normal limits, or hyperflexion,
a forward motion of the neck beyond normal limits. Most
common injuries are to the soft tissues, i.e., muscles and
ligaments. Severe injury with fracture or dislocation of
the neck may damage the spinal cord and cause paralysis
less common causes of neck pain include tumors, infections,
or congenital abnormalities of the vertebrae.
should you seek chiropractic care?
severe neck pain occurs following an injury (motor vehicle
accident, diving accident, fall), a trained professional,
such as a paramedic, should immobilize the patient to avoid
the risk of further injury and possible paralysis. Chiropractic
care should be sought as soon as possible. Immediate care
should also be sought when an injury causes pain in the
neck that radiates down the arms and legs. Radiating pain
or numbness in your arms or legs causing weakness in the
arms or legs without significant neck pain should also be
there has not been an injury, you should seek chiropractic
care when neck pain is:
• continuous and persistent
• moderate or severe
• accompanied by pain that radiates down the arms
• accompanied by headaches, numbness, tingling, or
can treat neck pain?
patients seek chiropractic care for neck pain, because chiropractors
are specifically trained in the workings of the musculoskeletal
system, including the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention
of problems involving the muscles, bones, joints, ligaments
and tendons. Dr. Cady treats a wide variety of injuries
and other conditions, including neck pain.
the source of the pain is essential to recommend the right
method of treatment and rehabilitation. Therefore, a comprehensive
examination is required to determine the cause of neck pain.
Cady will take a complete history of the difficulties you
are having with your neck. He or may ask you about other
illnesses, any injury that occurred to your neck and any
complaints you have associated with neck pain. Previous
treatment for your neck condition will also be noted.
He will perform a physical examination. This examination
may include evaluation of neck motion, neck tenderness,
and the function of the nerves and muscles in your arms
studies often will be done to allow Dr. Cady to look closely
at the bones in your neck. These simple diagnostic techniques
often help Dr. Cady to determine the cause of neck pain
and to prescribe effective treatment.
neck pain is treated depends on what the diagnosis reveals.
However, most patients are treated successfully with spinal
manipulation, physical therapy and massage. Which therapies
are used depends on your specific problem.
For example, if pain is caused by inflammation as a result
of stretching muscles and ligaments beyond their limits,
Dr. Cady may prescribe gentle manipulation, electrical muscle
stimulation and ice.
neck pain persists or is chronic, Dr. Cady may recommend
a rehabilitation program that includes an exercise program
and various types of physical therapy, or massage to help
you relieve your pain and prevent it from coming back. Very
few patients require surgery to relieve neck pain. For the
vast majority of patients, a combination of rest, chiropractic
care and physical therapy will relieve neck pain.
Cady is a chiropractic doctor with extensive training in
the diagnosis and nonsurgical treatment of the musculoskeletal
system, including bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles
and nerves. Call us at 408-739-2273 to
make an appointment today.