Chiropractors that specialize in thetreatment of neck pain attempt to improve the function of the joints and the nervous system by adjusting vertebral subluxations. Manual spinal adjustments are the key to chiropractic treatment, and, in fact, the word "chiropractic" is derived from the two Greek words "cheiros" and "praktikos," which together mean, "done by hand." Chiropractic adjustments are very popular in the United States, with as many as 40 million Americans receiving regular treatments. Because there are major philosophical and theoretical differences between the ways in which chiropractors and medical doctors treat neck pain, there has always been a rift between these two groups. Recently, the chasm between chiropractors and medical doctors has started to narrow as they have begun to share information and provide each other with more insight into their respective methodologies, practices, and treatments.
Chiropractors today are more likely to refer a patient to a medical doctor when they suspect that an underlying condition may be responsible for neck pain, and some chiropractors insist that their patients have a primary care physician that they can communicate with in order to ensure that the patient is receiving the best quality care. In this sense, Chiropractors are becoming part of the broader spectrum of providers that treat neck pain.
Chiropractors frequently have different methods of making spinal adjustment, but the basic theory behind the success of chiropractic treatment is that realigning the spine relieves pressure on the spinal nerves, which can help to restore natural nerve function throughout the body. As such, chiropractors believe that a "well-aligned" body is more likely to be in a state of natural balance and the patient will experience less pain and disability. Many chiropractors today have incorporated electrical stimulation, diathermy, ultrasound, and a variety of other therapies, but the mainstay remains manual spinal manipulation or adjustment.
When you visit a chiropractor for the first time, you will probably be asked for a general medical history and also asked to complete a questionnaire about the type of neck pain that you are experiencing. A hands-on examination typically will be performed, which involves moving your neck and limbs around to determine your limitations. Sometimes the chiropractor will take x-rays of your back to determine which vertebrae are misaligned. The diagnosis and treatment of vertebral subluxations is one of the sticking points between medical doctors and chiropractors, since there is often some disagreement between these two groups about what constitutes a spine that is out of alignment. The final treatment phase of a visit to a chiropractor typically involves manipulation of the spine in an attempt to correct subluxations and misalignments. Some chiropractors also use vitamins, massage, and electrical therapies as part of their treatment.
The materials on this Web site are for your general educational information only. Information you read on this Web site cannot replace the relationship that you have with your health care professional. We do not practice medicine or provide medical services or advice as a part of this Web site. You should always talk to your health care professional for diagnosis and treatment.