If you have chronic neck pain due to a lasting condition like arthritis or a bulged disc, you may never be fully free from neck pain. However, there is a lot you can do to keep the neck pain manageable and less severe. Chiropractors, in particular, are good practitioners to see for chronic neck pain. They are experts at dealing with matters of the spine, which is at the heart of most neck problems. Here are some ways a chiropractor might help keep your chronic neck pain under control.
People tend to think of chiropractic adjustments as just putting the spine back in alignment. This is the basic underlying principle of adjustments, but it's not the whole story. By adjusting your spine in a specific way, a chiropractor can create more space between specific vertebrae. This can alleviate the pressure on the intervertebral discs.
In the case of neck pain, your chiropractor will often locate the area where your neck is the most sore. They can then adjust your spine specifically to take pressure and strain off of that area. This should give you a week or two of lower pain levels. When you feel your neck pain beginning to worsen again, that means your spine has shifted slightly, and you're due for another adjustment.
A chiropractor won't spend an hour massaging your whole body — you'll have to go to a massage therapist for that. However, they will often spend a little time massaging a specific part of your body that's sore, especially if that part is your neck. Generally, a chiropractor will massage the neck before the adjustment. This loosens up the muscles, allowing them to more easily adjust the spine that those muscles are attached to. The massage will also alleviate muscle tension in your neck, which can enhance your pain relief.
Your chiropractor may guide you through a series of stretches for your neck, and they may also recommend you do these stretches at home. In some cases, you may be told to do them every morning or periodically throughout the day. Other times, you may be told to stretch when you feel your neck pain starting to worsen. In either case, these stretches give you some control over the pain, which can help you feel empowered.
Chronic neck pain does not have to ruin your life. With the help of a chiropractor, you can manage and minimize it. Contact a chronic neck pain specialist to learn more.