Safe Chiropractic Care For Neck-Related Problems
Your brain emits nerve messages that travel downward along your spinal cord before exiting through tiny holes in your vertebral column. Under ideal circumstances, each of your vertebrae would be perfectly aligned with those that lie above and below them. There would be no conflict that prevents the passage of the brain’s nerve messages through the holes.
Unfortunately, due to strain, physical trauma, and other factors, these vertebrae often move out of alignment. When this happens, the normal path of the nerve messages becomes compromised. You’ll experience headaches, back pain, and related neuromusculoskeletal side effects.
A chiropractor performs adjustments to realign your vertebrae and restore your body’s natural health. One particular area to which these adjustments are made is the neck. In this article, we’ll explain some of the benefits associated with neck adjustments (also called cervical manipulation). You’ll learn how the procedure is done, and whether the risks posed in the media are accurate.
Benefits Of A Neck Adjustment
Much of the pain people experience is the result of misalignments in the region of the neck. Cervical manipulation can help reduce tension and pressure, which in turn often provides relief from headaches, back pain, and of course, neck pain. Adjustments will also minimize – and usually, eliminate – muscle spasms.
The chiropractic doctor will work within your neck’s normal range of motion. The goal is to improve the flexibility within the joints of your neck in order to ease any soreness and rigidity you’re experiencing.
Can Cervical Manipulation Cause A Stroke?
While there is a possibility of a stroke, the likelihood of it occurring as the result of a neck adjustment are infinitesimal. According to the Canadian Medical Association Journal, there was only one incident per 5.85 million adjustments in Canada. Statistically, there is a much greater likelihood that you will die while accidentally choking on a meal or crossing the street. That is to say, the incident rate is tiny.
It’s worth highlighting that patients suffering neck pain are often given nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) by medical doctors. These are prescription medications which pose a much higher risk of serious side effects. In many cases, NSAIDS prove fatal. An alternative to these drugs is surgery, but this, too, poses risks, including partial paralysis.
How Are Neck Adjustments Performed?
Cervical manipulation does not extend your neck beyond its normal range. Despite what many people believe, at no point is your neck “stretched” further than it would otherwise move. An effective adjustment depends on the chiropractor accurately identifying the compromised joints, and manipulating them with precision, as opposed to force.
There seems to be a broadly-held misconception that neck adjustments involve an aggressive jerking motion to realign the patient’s joints. In reality, this is inaccurate.
Putting The “Risk” In Proper Context
Of all types of adjustments performed by doctors of chiropractic, cervical manipulation has, by far, attracted the most attention from the media. To those within the chiropractic industry, this is odd, and has the air of sensationalism. There are a few reasons.
First, as noted earlier, the incident rate of stroke from a neck adjustment is minuscule. Other risks to which people are exposed throughout the course of a normal day are far higher. So, too, can this be said for side effects stemming from any type of joint manipulation. The risk is extremely low. Chiropractic is one of the safest paths toward physical health.
Second, stories regarding the few incidents of stroke obfuscate – even completely ignore – the greater risks associated with alternative treatment methods (e.g. NSAIDS, surgery, etc.).
Third, among the various treatments for neck complaints, outcomes from chiropractic care are superior. Not only is the approach more effective (due to treating the underlying root cause rather than the symptoms), but it is less expensive than conventional medical care.
The takeaway is that cervical manipulation is a safe, effective method for treating neck-related ailments. The risk is exceptionally small, and patients usually enjoy lasting relief.