Caused by poor work posture, motor vehicle accidents, arthritis, or even grinding your teeth, neck pain can be a very debilitating condition. Neck pain is not only felt in the neck; it can also cause symptoms down the arm and into the fingers, and contribute to headaches.
A thorough examination is important for those experiencing neck pain, in order to rule out conditions for which a referral is required. After taking a complete history of the complaint, your physical exam would include assessment of cervical range of motion, reflexes, joint and muscle assessment and orthopedic testing. Part of the examination, if indicated, may include diagnostic imaging, such as an x-ray.
It is well-known that a neck adjustment (or cervical manipulation) can result in immediate improvements in neck range of motion and a reduction in pain, stiffness and soreness. Your program of care is likely to combine more than one type of treatment, depending on your personal needs. In addition to manipulation, the treatment plan may include mobilization, massage, changing your pillow, and rehabilitative exercises.
If your neck pain is accompanied by any of these symptoms, seek immediate emergency care: a sudden, severe and unusual headache, trouble speaking, swallowing or walking, blurred vision, loss of balance, or difficulty holding an object.