Neck pain is second to lower back pain as the most common musculoskeletal condition in the body. The prevalence of neck pain continues to rise as laptops, tablets, and texting become more and more a part of our daily lives. The implications of neck pain in the workplace results in decreased productivity on the job. This happens because employees with neck pain are not likely to take a sick day because of their neck hurts; they are more likely to work through their pain, which results in decreased productivity.
At present, neck pain is treated mainly with analgesics, yet the CAUSES of neck pain are rarely addressed. Surgery remains the final option after all other strategies have failed, but the outcomes are extremely disappointing.
THE 6 SECRETS ABOUT NECK PAIN
1. Neck Pain is a Symptom – Not the Problem or the Diagnosis!
For most bodily conditions, diseases and maladies, we expect a doctor to do a careful and thorough evaluation before determining a diagnosis. Quite often, the diagnosis of neck pain is “neck pain”. This conclusion is often determined following an evaluation that might last 60 seconds and not include even touching the patient or taking an x-ray. Therefore many physicians are literally diagnosing their patients with the very symptom with which their patients present. Sometimes the diagnosis may sound more elaborate such as Cervicalgia, Pinched Nerve, Muscle Spasm, but they all basically mean the same thing.
Without a proper evaluation and without an x-ray, without understanding spinal structure, without keeping up with current spinal biomechanical research, without analyzing the spine as a whole to determine ROOT CAUSE of the pain, the “neck ache” diagnosis falls very short.
2. Medicine Does Not Address the CAUSE
Now that you have a symptom-based diagnosis, your physician will recommend medicine. Whether over-the-counter or prescribed, these medicines don’t have brains. They don’t know where or why you hurt. All the doctor is hoping for is that it makes you feel better and you are satisfied. These medicines all have side effects which put thousands in the hospital each year. Reasons include heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, liver failure, internal bleeding, stomach ulcers, high blood pressure and degenerated spinal discs.
These medicines don’t heal in any way. They mask the pain if you’re lucky. However, when you don’t feel neck pain, you can do more harm than good by pushing yourself further than you should. Pain is your body’s way of letting you know something is not right. Taking medication is your way of telling your neck to “shut up” and stop communicating. When the meds don’t do the trick, you will most likely return to your doctor. He/she will prescribe the next treatment in their “doctor bag”.
3. Steroid/Cortisone Injections
At least these target the areas that hurt. However, site specificity certainly doesn’t mean that your outcome will be any better. These shots are usually painful and have numerous side effects as well. These include an increase in pain, headaches, anxiety, sleeplessness, fever, elevated blood sugar, weakening of your immune system, ulcers, cataracts, and can lead to a collapsing of a vertebra. Death has also occurred as an unfortunate side effect.
In my over 25 years of professional practice, I have rarely seen cortisone/steroid injections work long-term. Don’t get me wrong, when you are in pain, you’ll try anything. But with the side effect risks, it logically makes sense to pursue more effective, less invasive solutions.
4. Physical Therapy (PT) Can Have Bad Outcomes with Neck Pain
When you return to the doctor with the same or worse pain, the next stop will be a doctor physical therapy (DPT). In many cases, physicians have a financial stake in the very physical therapy clinics to which they refer patients. PT often makes neck pain worse. PT does not address neck pain stemming from a biomechanical structural problem, yet most neck pain is rooted in poor spinal structure/biomechanics. In addition, it makes no scientific or logical sense to have someone in a great deal of neck pain do strenuous neck exercises. That’s treating the symptom.
It just makes no scientific or logical sense to have someone with a great deal of neck pain do strenuous neck exercises. DPT’s do not address improper structure before prescribing exercises. Improper structure leads to improper function and pain. Fix the structure, fix the pain. Ignore structure, stress it with exercise, creates more problems. Thus the patient will most likely return to the doctor worse than before. The doctor will say, “We’ve tried everything. It’s time for a surgical consultation.”
5. Surgery is Usually NOT the Answer
Most neck surgery doesn’t take into account ideal neck structure. If physicians haven’t x-rayed the rest of your spine, they cannot know, in a detailed way what your neck curve and neck position should ideally be. The spine below the neck must be considered when evaluating or treating a mechanical neck problem contributing to disc degeneration, disc bulges, “pinched” or “inflamed” nerves as well as a host of other neck conditions. Surgical outcomes clearly link to neck/spine structure.
Before and after structural rehabilitation is critical for good surgical outcomes. If your surgeon hasn’t considered these factors, unless your situation isn’t currently life threatening, run, don’t walk out of their office to find someone who knows their stuff.
6. Our UNIQUE & Highly Successful Solution to this Problem
Most health practitioners tend to divide the examination of the spine into regions: neck, mid back, and lower back clinical studies. This is a mistake. John Bland, MD says it very clearly: “The three units are closely interrelated, structurally and functionally – a whole person with a whole spine.” He goes on to explain that the neck may be painful or symptomatic because of a problem in another region of the spine and vice-versa. He then adds, “Sometimes treating the lower back will relieve neck pain, or proper management of the neck will relieve lower backache.”
We establish a proper diagnosis BEFORE recommending treatment – this means that we will perform a most thorough evaluation of your entire spine. Why your entire spine if only your neck hurts? Remember that each part of the spine affects other parts and should be viewed as a whole structure, not in fragments. Our evaluation consists of a comprehensive health history, digital postural assessment, orthopedic, neurologic, range of motion analysis as well as full-spine, digital radiographic studies, analyzed by state of the art spinal biomechanical analysis software. From all this data, we determine if your neck pain is biomechanical in nature.
Can We Improve Your Biomechanics?
To determine if we can improve your spinal structure and to what degree, we test your structure. We do this using scientifically proven methods. If we determine that there is a great possibility of success. Then we set measurable goals and map out a custom treatment protocol. Our treatments typically last between 13 and 26 weeks. This makes proven, permanent, measurable, precise changes.
This is necessary to give you immediate relief and a brighter, healthier, pain-free-future. A future that will allow you to reach your health goals and change your life going forward in ways you never thought possible. This treatment protocol consists of painless adjustments to the spine and proven targeted stretching and strengthening exercises to restore proper biomechanics.
There is really no question as to the cause of most neck pain: Mechanics rule the body. If your mechanics are off, your spine and your health will suffer. To argue this principle is to argue with gravity. Fix the neck structure (the CAUSE), and the neck pain (the SYMPTOM), are eliminated not temporarily, but long term. The good news is that once you begin spinal correction, the body responds quickly and the pain begins to dissipate. Let’s start on the next chapter of your life. I invite you in for a no obligation, FREE consultation with the doctor to discuss your specific situation. Call our Tucker or Brookhaven locations at 770-938-4606 to schedule your appointment time.