Should You Go to a Chiropractor for Neck Pain?

Neck pain is an extremely common problem that most people will experience at some point in their lives. While neck pain often resolves on its own with rest, home remedies, and over-the-counter medications, chronic or severe neck pain may require professional treatment. One option for neck pain relief is visiting a chiropractor. But is chiropractic care effective for neck pain and is it the right choice for you? Here is what you need to know about seeing a chiropractor for neck pain.

What Does a Chiropractor Do?

Chiropractors focus on the health of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems, especially the spine. They use noninvasive, hands-on spinal manipulation and other alternative treatments with the goal of realigning the spine and restoring normal functioning. Chiropractic neck adjustments involve applying controlled force to the spinal joints in the neck. This is intended to improve range of motion, decrease muscle tension, and stimulate the body’s natural healing abilities. In addition to spinal manipulation, chiropractors may use adjunct therapies like ice/heat, electric stimulation, and massage.

Benefits of Chiropractic Care for Neck Pain

Research shows chiropractic adjustments can be an effective treatment option for certain types of neck pain. Potential benefits include:

  • Improved range of motion and flexibility in the neck. Gentle stretching and mobilization of the spine through chiropractic adjustments can reduce stiffness.
  • Decreased muscle tension and pain. Chiropractic care targets tense muscles contributing to neck discomfort.
  • Reduced headaches. Musculoskeletal issues in the neck frequently cause tension headaches. Chiropractic treatment aims to alleviate this source of pain.
  • Less need for medication. Hands-on chiropractic therapies offer a drug-free approach to managing neck pain.
  • Faster recovery. Early chiropractic treatment may help prevent acute neck pain from developing into a chronic problem.
  • Whole body wellness. The interconnected structure of the spine means spinal alignment can improve overall health beyond just the neck area.

For neck pain that results from injury, poor posture, stress, or overuse, chiropractic manipulation can often provide noticeable relief by realigning the cervical vertebrae and relaxing the surrounding muscles.

Risks and Considerations

Spinal manipulation does come with some risks. Possible side effects include temporary soreness or discomfort. In rare cases, chiropractic neck adjustments may contribute to stroke or nerve injury. However, the likelihood is extremely low. There is also radiation exposure from occasional x-rays. Finally, chiropractic care can get costly over time since health insurance coverage varies.

Talk to your medical doctor before seeking chiropractic treatment, especially if you have an underlying condition or take blood thinners. Also take time to find an experienced chiropractor you trust. Confirm the chiropractor uses gentle techniques appropriate for your symptoms.

For many individuals suffering from neck pain not caused by an acute injury or fracture, chiropractic manipulation can be a conservative first line of treatment before considering medication or surgery. While results vary from person to person, the gentle stretching and realignment of the cervical vertebrae through chiropractic adjustments may help reduce discomfort and increase range of motion. Along with proper rest, posture, and activity modification, visiting a chiropractor is worth considering for persistent neck pain.