Chiropractic Care for Neck Pain

Written by Ron Grassi, DC MS ACFEI
Reviewed by Jason M. Highsmith, MD

Chiropractic care is a nonsurgical treatment option that may help reduce your neck pain and related symptoms. Listed below are some of the different types of neck (cervical) conditions that Doctors of Chiropractic (DC) treat:

How Does a Chiropractor Diagnose Neck Pain?
Your chiropractor will evaluate your spine as a whole because other regions of the neck (cervical), mid back (thoracic) and low back (lumbar) may be affected as well. Along with treating the spine as a whole, chiropractors treat the “whole person,” not just your specific symptoms. He or she may educate you on nutrition, stress management, and lifestyle goals in addition to treating your neck pain.

Before deciding which approach to try for your pain, the chiropractor will do a thorough examination to diagnose the specific cause of your neck pain.

He or she will determine any areas of restricted movement and will look at how you walk as well as your overall posture and spinal alignment. Doing these things can help your chiropractor understand your body mechanics.

In addition to the physical exam, you’ll also go through your past medical history with the chiropractor, and he or she may order imaging tests (eg, an x-ray or MRI) to help him or her diagnose the exact cause of your neck pain.

All these steps in the diagnostic process will give your chiropractor more information about your neck pain, which will help your chiropractor create a treatment plan customized for you.

Your chiropractor will also rule out a neck pain condition that will require surgery—if he or she believes your neck pain would be better treated by surgery, then you’ll be referred to a spine surgeon.

Chiropractic Treatments for Neck Pain
Your chiropractor may use a combination of spinal manipulation, manual therapy, and other techniques as part of your treatment plan for neck pain.

Below are some spinal manipulation techniques your chiropractor may use.

Your chiropractor may also use manual therapies to treat your neck pain.

Other therapies may also be used to ease neck pain symptoms.

Therapeutic exercises may also be recommended—these can help improve overall range of motion in your neck and prevent neck pain from progressing.

The treatments listed above are simply examples of possible chiropractic treatments for neck pain; your actual treatment plan will depend on your diagnosis. Your chiropractor should thoroughly explain your treatment options so that you know what will happen.

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Alternative Treatments for Neck Pain