How Chiropractic Treatments Can Relieve Neck Pain

Neck pain is one of the most common reasons that people seek help from a medical professional. While a mainstream healthcare provider might recommend medication or even surgery to relieve the pain, there is a drug-free, surgery-free alternative that can alleviate pain, restore range of motion, and improve the quality of your life.

Chiropractors work with their hands to adjust their patients’ bodies. By properly aligning their spines and other joints, they can minimize or even eliminate pain without prescribing dangerous opioid medications.

Chiropractic Treatments for Neck Pain

The word ‘chiropractor’ comes from two Greek words. The first word is cheir, which is Greek for hand. The second word is praxis, which is Greek for action. Put together, they tell us that chiropractors use their hands to act upon their patients’ bodies.

You may have heard chiropractic treatments referred to as adjustments. When a patient comes to them with neck pain, chiropractors evaluate the patient to try to determine the cause of the pain. Neck pain can be caused by a variety of issues.

Traumatic injuries can cause pain that can linger if it’s not treated properly. One example of a traumatic injury that can result in neck pain is whiplash, which can occur from an automobile collision when the neck is whipped forward and then back by the impact.

The other kind of neck pain that chiropractors treat is a repetitive stress injury. A repetitive stress injury can be caused by consistently poor posture or by engaging in an activity that puts stress on the neck over time, such as sleeping in a position that’s not beneficial to your neck.

Chiropractic adjustments to the neck involve the chiropractor applying a controlled amount of force to the neck, which pushes the joint beyond its normal range of motion. Properly done, an adjustment can loosen up joints that aren’t moving properly.

Cervical manipulation can loosen up the vertebrae of the neck and reduce pain caused by muscle spasms or pinched nerves. Treating neck pain typically requires a series of chiropractic adjustments. Whether the pain is caused by a trauma or by repetitive stress, it’s rare that it can be resolved in a single appointment. Fortunately, many insurance plans now cover chiropractic care.

How to Find a Chiropractor Near You

Finding a chiropractor in most areas of the United States is fairly easy. There are two ways:

  1. Ask your primary care physician for a recommendation. Many medical doctors collaborate with chiropractors and other alternative healthcare providers to treat their patients. Your doctor may do that and be able to refer you to someone they trust.
  2. Check with the American Chiropractic Association to find a chiropractor. You can click this link to provide information about where you are, and they’ll provide you with a list of names in your area.

A chiropractor can be an important part of your wellness team. It’s a chiropractor’s job to provide you with drug-free, non-invasive care to reduce neck pain and help you lead a healthy life.

Can Chiropractors Write Prescriptions for Medication?

People who are dealing with serious pain, whether it’s the result of a chronic condition or an acute injury, sometimes choose to visit a chiropractor instead of a doctor for relief. While chiropractors can do a great deal to relieve pain, there’s one thing they can’t do: prescribe medication.

A Natural Healing Profession

Chiropractors practicing in the United States are not permitted to prescribe drugs or perform surgery. That might sound like a restriction; however, it lines up with the way chiropractors think of themselves and their profession.

Chiropractic medicine is sometimes referred to as natural medicine or alternative medicine. As practitioners who believe that the human body can heal itself in most situations, chiropractors view the tendency to prescribe drugs for pain with some skepticism and alarm.

The majority of the prescriptions written for pain are for opioid medications. The issue of over-prescribing opioids has led to a national health crisis and a sharp increase in the number of overdoses.

The National Chiropractic Association describes chiropractic medicine as a “drug-free, non-surgical science.” Chiropractic practitioners can often help their patients through a series of non-surgical, physical adjustments that:

  • Relieve pain
  • Reduce the physical and emotional stress of pain
  • Improve function, stamina, and flexibility

While chiropractors do not typically prescribe medication, they are not anti-medication. Some people with severe pain may benefit from the use of medication. Many chiropractors work closely with their patients’ primary care physicians to develop a pain management plan that includes both chiropractic treatments and prescription drugs as needed.

In addition to working with primary care physicians, chiropractors may also recommend alternative treatments like naturopathy, homeopathy, physical therapy, and massage in their efforts to help their patients.

New Mexico’s Law

While most chiropractors in the United States are not permitted to prescribe drugs, the state of New Mexico has enacted legislation that makes it possible for some highly-trained chiropractors to prescribe medication.

The history of the law is convoluted. While the law was passed, it was later tabled by the New Mexico Senate’s Public Affairs Committee. However, the tabling did not impact the ability of designated chiropractors in the state to prescribe medication.

The law says that certain chiropractors, referred to as advanced chiropractors, can prescribe medication within a strict formula provided that they meet the state’s educational requirements. Traditionally, chiropractors are not trained or educated in how to prescribe medication.

The law has been met with some opposition in New Mexico and around the country. Traditional chiropractors object because they feel that prescribing medication is contrary to the stated objectives of the chiropractic profession.

Wellness vs. Crisis

Perhaps the biggest difference between mainstream medicine and chiropractic care is that mainstream medicine is best equipped to deal with crisis care while chiropractors consider themselves wellness practitioners. People can and often do visit their chiropractors for regular adjustments even when they’re not in pain.

Ultimately, the goal of chiropractors is to optimize the performance of the human body without the use of prescription drugs or surgery. Most chiropractors believe strongly that this philosophy gives their patients the best chance of living productive and pain-free lives.

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