What Does a Chiropractor Do for Neck and Back Pain
When it comes to problems in your neck or back, a common problem I see in my office is related to one or more of the small joints located between each of the vertebrae or bones of your spine. They are called “facet joints” and are located at the back of each vertebra. These joints, along with a disk and some strong ligaments, are what interlock two neighboring vertebrae together. Due to the fact that the facet joints between each vertebrae allow one vertebrae to move relative to the one next to it, the overall spine can actually be quite flexible.
The facet joints have many nerve endings in them and are therefore highly sensitive to pain. When these joints are injured traumatically, as in a car accident, or mildly stressed for extended periods of time, as in poor posture at school or work, they can become very stiff and acutely painful. Chiropractors are highly trained to use “spinal manipulation” to restore the proper mobility of these joints. Muscle relaxant and painkiller prescription medication may give you some relief temporarily but they will not restore the motion to the affected joints, making you vulnerable to the problem reoccurring in the future.
Once the facet joints have been manipulated a few times, the pain should begin to subside. However, the inflammation within the joint and the surrounding connective tissue may take several weeks to fully settle down. During this time, you should be receiving regular chiropractic manipulation in order to maintain the mobility within the joints as they heal completely and naturally. As well, I would encourage you to do some simple stretching exercises to help speed up the process. When the joints and muscles have healed to the point that you are able to become more physically active, then I would suggest that more vigorous core strengthening exercises be done. A stronger core will offer more support to the joints of the spine and help prevent the injury from happening again.
Finally, it is important to remember that, when you injure yourself, it is YOUR body that does the healing and not your chiropractor, medical doctor, or the prescription drugs. You must be patient during this process because it will take some time. For me, as the chiropractor, my job is to simply make your neck and back function normally. This will allow your body’s ability to heal itself to function at its best, resulting in you getting better as quickly and completely as possible.