Chiropractic care is a nonsurgical treatment option for cervical disc problems. This article will discuss what a cervical disc condition is and the chiropractic approach to treating this problem.
Many people experience neck pain. There are many causes for this, but the majority of problems come from the spine. The bones of the neck are called the cervical spine. There are seven of these bones which are called vertebrae. Between the bones of the cervical spine are discs. Discs are like pads or cushions between the cervical vertebrae. It should be said that there is no disc between the skull and the first bone and between the first and second bones.
Discs act as a shock absorber and provide flexibility. They allow the stack of bony vertebrae that make up the spine to be cushioned. They also allow gentle movement of our neck forward and back, side to side and turn right and left.
It is not uncommon for discs to undergo injury. For example, there may be too much stress on a disc due to poor posture or from a sudden trauma like whiplash from a car accident. When this occurs, one may feel an intense pain in the neck, top of the shoulder, shoulder blade and a radiating pain, numbness or tingling into the arm, forearm and hand and fingers.
Typical medical approaches for treating this problem might include prescription medications, injections, physical therapy and surgery.
A chiropractor utilizes a nonpharmaceutical, nonsurgical alternative approach to treating this problem of the cervical spine. A chiropractor will look for several things during an examination of a patient. These would include loss of muscle strength or signs of muscle wasting. Also, loss of sensation along the path of the nerve is checked. Intact reflexes are evaluated to see if the nerves are sending messages correctly (the classic reflex test is when the doctor taps your knee with a small hammer and your leg kicks up).
Many times, an examination will include visualizing the area of the neck by x-rays and MRI.
The examination phase is very important to the chiropractor to determine if a particular cervical disc problem can be helped through chiropractic treatment. Chiropractic care can involve gentle, safe, effective manipulation of misaligned vertebrae and spinal joints. Sometimes physiological therapeutics such as electrical muscle stimulation and cold packs are also applied to the affected areas.
Many times, a doctor of chiropractic will work in conjunction with a medical doctor, who might provide anti-inflammatory pain reducing medications for their patient.
A couple misconceptions may occur and should be addressed. The first is that a chiropractor can “pop a disc back in place” using a forceful manipulation. This definitely is not the case. At times there is a mild “pop” sound when gentle manipulation is used but this comes from the release of gas under pressure within a joint. A second misconception is that a few quick treatments of chiropractic care can “fix” the problem. Most the time it takes a series of treatments which build on each other to produce results.
For anyone suffering from a cervical disc problem it is certainly worthwhile to check with a chiropractor to see if a noninvasive method of chiropractic care can be utilized to help this condition.