Neck Pain

Neck pain affects an estimated two-thirds of adults at some point in their lives and is second only to lower back pain as a reason for seeking chiropractic treatment. The neck, or the cervical spine, is made up of 7 small vertebrae that support the entire weight of your head—around 12 pounds. It’s like carrying a bowling ball. The bones, joints, muscles, ligaments and nerves of the neck all work together, allowing your head to move freely in just about every direction. This flexibility makes the neck more susceptible to injury and damage, so it may not be surprising to hear that neck pain is the fourth largest reason for disability around the world.

Causes of Neck (Cervical) Pain

Neck pain can have a variety of causes. Among them:

Sprain and strains — Overuse of neck muscles and ligaments during daily activities can cause neck pain and stiffness. For example, posture-related neck problems are common among those who look at a computer monitor all day since looking at a screen can keep the neck in an awkward position. Even worse than “tech neck” is “text neck”, caused by an excessive amount of time keeping the head forward and down while looking at a smartphone. This new reason for neck pain is being seen among younger people who would not yet ordinarily have experienced neck pain.

Injury — One common neck injury, whiplash, results when the head is suddenly thrown in one direction and whips back in the opposite direction, as often happens in car accidents. Whiplash can cause injury to the joints, discs, ligaments, muscles and nerves.

Degenerative conditions — Wear and tear can lead to changes in the vertebrae and discs over time. As we age, discs become dried out (desiccated) and shrink, providing less cushion between vertebrae. The cervical spinal canal can narrow (called cervical spinal canal stenosis), putting pressure on the spinal cord. When there are arthritic changes (degeneration) in the neck, cartilage can deteriorate and bone spurs can form, increasing joint inflammation. This may affect joint motion or pinch the nerve root.

Bulging or herniated disc — if a disc bulges outward because of injury or degeneration, it can put pressure on nerve roots and produce inflammation. This can result in neck pain, numbness and tingling, which may radiate down the shoulder, arm or hand.

If your neck pain is accompanied by a fever, vomiting, unexplained weight loss, or loss of bladder or bowel control, seek the care of a physician immediately.

What to Expect at Your First Chiropractic Visit

Chiropractors look at the body as a whole rather than as a collection of individual or separate components, so even when you come in for neck pain, we will look at your entire spine since other areas besides your neck may be affected. During your initial evaluation, we will typically take your health history, assess range of motion, check for tenderness, feel for areas of tightness, examine your posture, check the alignment of your spine and, if necessary, take x-rays or recommend an MRI. It’s important to determine the reason for your neck pain before deciding on a course of treatment. Only after a comprehensive evaluation will a treatment plan will be created for you.

Treatment of Neck Pain

Chiropractic neck adjustment.

Treatment for neck pain may involve a variety of techniques, based on your diagnosis and whether your neck pain is acute or chronic (lasting longer than 3 months) and whether it is localized or radiating. Treatment may include:

  • Gentle spinal manipulation administered by hand or with a specialized instrument
  • Soft tissue therapy using specialized instruments or via therapeutic massage
  • Exercises, stretching and resistance techniques to improve range of motion and help reduce pain
  • Electrical stimulation, which uses a low-frequency electrical current to stimulate neck muscles
  • Therapeutic ultrasound to relieve muscle pain and stiffness through sound waves
  • Heat packs to increase blood flow to the affected areas
  • Cold laser therapy, which may bring anti-inflammatory substances to the affected site

Chiropractic care focuses on treating the whole person, so we may also talk to you about nutrition, stress management and lifestyle changes to help aid in the healing process and overall health.

Why Seek Chiropractic Care for Neck Pain

5 Tips to Prevent Neck Pain.

Research supports chiropractic as a viable treatment option for many people who suffer from neck pain. Here is some of the evidence:

  • A review of 41 research studies concluded that spinal manipulation used in combination with other treatments including exercise and mobilization is effective in treating chronic neck pain.
  • In a study of 183 patients published in the British Medical Journal, manual chiropractic therapy was found to be “less costly and more effective than physiotherapy or general practitioner care” for treating neck pain.

Chiropractic care is sought after by many patients who want to avoid the use of potentially dangerous pain medication or surgery. Chiropractic focuses on treating the source of the pain rather than just trying to alleviate the symptoms—and it has been shown to improve pain, restore mobility and relieve related symptoms for many people who suffer from neck pain.

Reviews By Our Satisfied Patients

  • "I've been coming to see Dr. Bob since 1984 for my back pain. After each visit, the vast improvement lasts about one whole month. Even after all these years, Dr. Bob continues to provide outstanding care for me, my children, and my grandchildren. I've referred several people to HealthWise Chiropractic, so they too can see the results I have. My favorite part of my visits is the friendliness and professionalism of the staff and doctors and, of course, the results I get that improve my daily living."
    Danny S.
  • "About ten years ago I was at the gym, I bent over and couldn't get up, the pain was horrible. I contacted Healthwise and Dr. Mike gave me an emergency appointment that evening. He did a complete physical and x-ray before he started any treatment. After my first treatment I was able to stand up and walk with minimal pain. With a few visits I was back to normal. I continued treatments as needed for the next several years.
    I see Dr. Bob regularly to stay fit and pain-free. He tests my strength and weakness to determine the best treatment. Our open discussion led him to help my acid reflux. I now exercise and walk as is essential for a septuagenarian.
    I told Dr. Bob that I was starting to get knee pain that I thought was arthritis; I didn't think chiropractic care could help. He told me about new equipment to help. I look forward to improvement.
    I was a skeptic of chiropractic care, now I would recommend HealthWise to anyone with chronic/simple pain. It worked for me. It can work for you!"
    Sherry B.
  • "I was very miserable with constant pain in my leg while knowing it had something to do with my back. My friend surprised me with an appointment with Dr. Bob. After being treated by Dr. Bob I knew right away it was exactly what I needed. I learned a lot through my conversations with the doctor. I am really thankful to Dr. Bob and his staff."
    Ed L.
  • "I had a very limited understanding of chiropractic care until I tried it for the first time 12 years ago. I came in with severe pain in my neck, which prohibited me from moving my head. I was greeted by a kind staff, had an exam and x-rays done on my first appointment followed by an adjustment. I felt so much better after my first adjustment and by following the treatment plan my headaches and migraines improved. My overall health has improved because of chiropractic care. Dr. Bob helps make sure that I am taking the right supplements to optimize my health and fitness performance. They have helped me with allergies, knee and shoulder pain, and earaches. I had no idea when I began my chiropractic journey just how much help the doctors and staff at HealthWise would be at improving my quality of life."
    Britt H.
  • "I have been a patient at HealthWise Chiropractic for over 20 years. In the past and currently I am seeing Dr. Bob, however, I have seen all docs at Healthwise. My general issues are usually seasonally related to sinus and allergies. Recently I have been receiving treatment for my hip and lower back. Dr. Bob zeros in on trigger points and quickly relieves my pain. He is a wealth of knowledge and offers help and suggestion on my health issues. The staff is friendly and helpful. I leave feeling better and I believe helps to keep my body aligned and energized. I have also come in after falls, injuries and surgeries. I truly believe my adjustments at the time added to a quicker recovery."
    Liz B.
  • "I have been a patient of Dr. Bob for two and half months. . I see him for an adjustment every two weeks. I started seeing a chiropractor for the first time in January 2021 while working in Florida for my continued lower back pain and chronic bilateral hip bursitis. Because my pain was mostly relieved with continued adjustments, I decided to continue with treatment when returning to Wisconsin. I have been very happy with my continued pain relief/adjustments at HealthWise. I highly recommend anyone with chronic back and neck pain to try chiropractic adjustments here at HealthWise. It will make your life better."
    Marianne V.
  • "Really enjoyed the different things that they can do for you and your pain management. Would highly recommend."
    Rhiannon P.
  • "I enjoy coming, getting readjusted and any additional therapies. It has made my life healthier and less stressful. If I have questions, they are answered at that visit. The staff is very professional, personable and friendly. I always look forward to my next visit with them. I am glad to be part of Healthwise Chiropractic family:)"
    Marcella L.
  • "DR MIKE IS A GREAT CHIROPRACTOR. HE TAKES THE TIME TO GIVE YOU A COMPLETE ADJUSTMENT IS TIME. HE IS ALSO A GOOD CONVERSATIONALIST. THANKS"
    RICHARD R.
  • "Dr. Mike is fantastic! He is very personable….will take time to really to your needs… I enjoy my visits…the maintenance has helped tremendously…..and he is there when the emergency pops up! Excellent Chiropractor!"
    Ann W.


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