Spinal Manipulation: First-Line Choice for Chronic Neck Pain

The lifetime prevalence of neck pain is estimated to be 48.5 percent with costs for this condition in the United States estimated at $20 billion per year. 

Neck pain can be caused by any number of disorders and diseases. The most common cause is mechanical malfunction, which occurs after years of normal use, overuse and misuse. 

Common misuses are strains (like sleeping on your stomach) or neck injuries (like whiplash). 

Consider that the neck supports the heavy weight of the head while still allowing it to tilt, turn and nod easily. Decades of such use and overuse can cause neck pain for nearly half of all people.   

Neck pain used to be something many patients simply had to learn to live with, but newly published findings provide us with important insights about treating this debilitating condition. 

A team of international researchers assessed a select group of high-quality studies regarding the effective treatment of chronic neck pain. They found that people with chronic neck pain show clinically important short and long-term improvements from a course of spinal manipulation. They also found no serious adverse events from this therapy.  

Spinal manipulation is a therapy used to restore and enhance joint function, with the general goals of resolving joint inflammation and reducing pain. It involves a practitioner using his or her hands to apply a thrust to the spine that usually produces a slight audible “pop.” 

The most common side effects of treatment are generally minor and may include tiredness or temporary soreness. When performed by a trained and licensed practitioner, spinal manipulation is a safe and effective treatment for neck pain.

An obvious question is how to prevent neck pain from returning or from becoming chronic. According to scientific research, spinal rehabilitation is one of the best ways to help prevent recurrence and chronicity. Spinal rehabilitation is the use of specific therapeutic exercises designed to repair and strengthen spinal muscles that are damaged and weak. 

Spinal manipulation should be considered a first-line choice for patients with chronic neck pain and spinal rehabilitation should be a first-line choice to help prevent recurrence or chronicity. 

Overall, these methods are safer and more effective than medications, injections or surgery, and most health and accident insurance plans cover chiropractic care and spinal manipulation. 

Dr. Hari Dass Khalsa is a chiropractor specializing in the non-surgical treatment of spinal conditions with offices in the Hawthorne District. Call 503.238.1032 for information.

Editor’s note: Wellness Word is an informational column which is not meant to replace a healthcare professional’s diagnosis, treatment or medication.

Spinal Manipulation: First-Line Choice for Chronic Neck Pain

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