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Neck Pain and Headaches

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Neck Pain, Headaches and Chiropractic

A report on the scientific literature 


William J. Owens DC, DAAMLP
A recent study on chiropractic and conditions concluded that 18.7% of patients present with initial complaints of neck pain, making neck pain the 3rd most common reason for a chiropractic visitation7.  Bogduk and Aprill hypothesized that one of the most common causes of neck pain is related to mechanical dysfunction of the cervical spine”1. Additional reasons can be herniated intervertebral disc or pinched nerves.
It has been found that spinal manipulative therapy is one of the most used therapies in the management of mechanical neck disorders. There is more and more research published that shows that neck pain and headache related to mechanical dysfunction in the neck responds well to chiropractic care. Your doctor of chiropractic has the training to determine whether your pain is coming from a mechanical source. If you have to take pain killers to get through your day, experience headaches and have limited range of motion in your neck or shoulders, chiropractic care is a safe and effective treatment. 
The following studies were recently published on the topic of chiropractic and neck pain treatment.
 “…a single cervical manipulation was more effective in reducing neck pain at rest and in increasing active cervical range of motion than a control mobilization procedure in subjects suffering from mechanical neck pain”1
“Findings give preliminary support for the benefit of larger doses, 9 to 12 treatments, of chiropractic care for the treatment of cervicogenic headache.”2
“According to a recent survey of complementary and alternative therapy use, chiropractic was frequently selected for the relief of head and neck pain,' accounting for 18 to 38 million manipulations performed annually” 2
“The overall results demonstrated improvement in mechanical neck pain and LBP of patients while under chiropractic care”3
“The best evidence indicates that cervical manipulation for neck pain is much safer than the use of NSAIDs, by as much as a factor of several hundred times. There is no evidence that indicates NSAID use is any more effective than cervical manipulation for neck pain”.4
“In patients with chronic spinal pain syndromes, spinal manipulation (chiropractic adjustments,) if not contraindicated, may be the only treatment modality of the assessed regimens that provides broad and significant long-term benefit” 6
1.      Raquel Martinez-Segura, PT, DO, Cesar Femandez-de-las-Penas, PT, Mariana Ruiz-Saez, PT, CO, Cristina Lopez-Jimenez, PT, DO, and Cleofas Rodnguez-Blanco, PT, DO. Immediate effects on neck pain and active range of motion after a single cervical high-velocity low-amplitude manipulation in subjects presenting with mechanical neck pain: a randomized controlled trial. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2006;29:511-517.
2.      McMorland G; Suter E. Chiropractic management of mechanical neck and low-back pain: a retrospective, outcome-based analysis. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2004;27:547-553.
3.      Mitchell Haas, D C Elyse Groupp, PhD, Mikel Aickin, PhD,Alisa Fairweather, MPH, Bonnie Ganger, Michael Attwood, Cathy Gummins, DC,and Laura Baffes, DC. Cevicogenic headache and associated neck pain: A randomized pilot study. Journal of Manipulative & Physiological Therapeutics, 2000 Jun; 23(5)
4.      Dabbs V; Lauretti WJ.A risk assessment of cervical manipulation vs. NSAIDs for the treatment of neck pain. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1995; 18:530-6
5.      Reinhold Muller, PhD,'' and Lynton G.F. Giles, DC,PhD. Long-term follow-up of a randomized clinical trial assessing the efficacy of medication, acupuncture, and spinal manipulation for chronic mechanical spinal pain syndromes. J Manipulative Physiol Ther2005;28;3-ll
6.      Bradley S. Polkinliorn, DC, and Christopher J. Colloca, DCChiropractic Treatment of Postsurgical Neck Syndrome With Mechanical Force, Manually Assisted Short-Lever Spinal Adjustments.J Manipulative Physio Ther Volume 24 • Number 9 • November/December 2001.
7.      Andrew McHardy, MChiro, Wayne Hoskins, MChiro, Henry Pollard, DC, MSportSc, PhD, Rorey Onley, MChiro, and Ross Windsham, MChiro. Chiropractic treatment of upper extremity conditions: a systematic review. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2008;31:146-159

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