■Numbness or tingling
■Shoulder pain and stiffness
■Decreased range of neck motion
■Pain, numbness, or tingling extending down an arm
■Injury and Accidents: A sudden forced movement of the head or neck in any direction. The sudden “whipping” motion injures the surrounding and supporting tissues of the neck and head. Muscles react by tightening and contracting, creating muscle fatigue, which can result in pain and stiffness.
■Growing Older: Degenerative disorders such as osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis, and degenerative disc disease directly affect the spine.
■Osteoarthritis, a common joint disorder, causes progressive deterioration of cartilage. The body reacts by forming bone spurs that affect joint motion.
■Spinal stenosis causes the small nerve passageways in the vertebrae to narrow, compressing and trapping nerve roots. Stenosis may cause pain, as well as numbness when these nerves are unable to function normally.
■Degenerative disc disease can cause a reduction in the elasticity and height of intervertebral discs. Over time, a disc may bulge or herniate, causing tingling, numbness, and pain that runs into the arm.
■Daily Life: Poor posture, obesity, and weak abdominal muscles often disrupt spinal balance, causing the neck to bend forward to compensate. Stress and emotional tension can cause muscles to tighten and contract, resulting in pain and stiffness. Postural stress can contribute to chronic neck pain with symptoms extending into the upper back and the arms.
A neck adjustment (also known as cervical manipulation) is a precise procedure applied to the joints of the neck, usually by hand. These are done to improve the mobility of the spine and range of motion. It can also increase the movement of muscles around the neck and reduces pain, soreness, and stiffness. Many studies, (specifically the March/April 2007 issue of the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutic) have shown that patients with chronic neck pain showed improvements after spinal and cervical manipulations.