When someone takes a fall and hits his head, the neck injury may cause great pain. An automobile crash can cause a whiplash injury. It is named for the whipping motion the head goes through in a collision. The head is jerked forward and back causing damage to the neck.
A stiff neck occurs when the muscles contract and tighten up. Damage can be done to joints, ligaments and nerve roots. Intervertebral discs can be herniated. Subluxation is a chiropractic term meaning the spine is misaligned.
On your first visit to the chiropractor your condition will be assessed. You will answer questions about the pain and when it started. Your spine will be examined physically using range of motion tests and viewing posture. Reflexes are tested also.
Most people prefer not to take prescription pain pills because they fear addiction. Chiropractic care is preferred because no invasive procedures are used. Following an evaluation, an individualized care plan is devised.
A series of office appointments will be scheduled for you to receive cervical adjustments. These are done by applying pressure to the joints in a specific way. Massage and exercise programs are added when appropriate.
As joints are loosened and muscles relaxed, the pain is alleviated. Over time flexibility can be restored. Each individual responds at his own rate. As pain is reduced, the exercises should continue at home. It is advised that a chiropractic check-up be done six months later for maintenance purposes.