Published on August 14, 2013
Chronic Neck Pain – More Common Than You Think
Did you know that neck pain is the second most common complaint of people with muscle and joint pains? There are many people who suffer an episode of neck pain at work, during play or from a car accident. Neck pain can arise because of strain in the muscles of your neck, upper back and shoulders. It can also arise from pain in the joints of these regions, typically the small joints of the spine that are called “facet joints”. Pain that comes from the discs of the spine is less common. In most cases of muscle and joint pain, you can expect this should improve in short order.
How Can You Treat Chronic Neck Pain?
Typical things that people can do to help their chronic neck pain are:
- use ice or heat on the painful site
- do some gentle stretching
- don’t overdo your activities…give your neck a bit of a break!
Consult An Expert
If these self-help measures don’t resolve your neck pain within a few days, you might consider getting help from your doctor or chiropractor. Your chiropractor will do a thorough assessment and will usually recommend some treatment. Chiropractors use a variety of therapies to reduce inflammation and pain, reduce muscle spasm and improve the motion of your joints. Many of these therapies are what we call “manual” therapies…. hands on treatments! There is good evidence that these treatments can be effective for your neck pain episodes.
However, did you know that a substantial proportion of people with neck pain….maybe like you!….continue to have neck pain for many months or even years? It is now recognised, in a major report by the World Health Organization, Bone and Joint Decade Neck Pain Task Force, that neck pain is really a problem that can last for much of one’s life, coming and going in its severity. There can be periods where the neck pain is either gone or very minimal, and then, periods of aggravation due to physical strains or psychological stress. In other words, for long periods of time, neck pain can come and go in your life.
Chronic Neck Pain Should Not Be Ignored
Chronic neck pain is a major health problem and should not be ignored. Your chiropractor, doctor and many other health professionals are well prepared to help you with this problem.
Many of these health professionals are also doing research on chronic neck pain to try to identify the most useful treatments.
A group of researchers at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College (CMCC) in Toronto have recently been awarded a major grant from the US National Institutes of Health to study chronic neck pain. The study currently being conducted at CMCC is investigating the effects of two kinds of chiropractic treatments for chronic neck pain.
This study involves only a short period of time commitment from people with chronic neck pain. Eligible subjects will be required to receive one of two kinds of treatments for three visits over 7-10 days. These treatments will be provided at no cost, and subjects who complete the three treatments will receive an additional $50 in compensation.
This study is currently actively seeking participants. To inquire about this study, please call Ms. Maricelle Dinulos at 416 482 2340, ext 266. If you are not eligible for the study, you will be offered the opportunity to visit the CMCC Campus Clinic where interns and clinicians can address your problem.
Dr. Howard Vernon
Professor, Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, Division of Research
6100 Leslie Street, Toronto, ON