Neck pain can make it hard to live your life – even turning your head to look at something can be painful. Many patients tell us they had no idea how much they moved their neck until it started hurting.
Unfortunately, for many people, it can be a struggle to find an effective treatment.
What Options for Neck Pain Treatment Are in Hiram?
At Optimum Health Rehab, we have multiple treatment options for neck pain. We will first do a complete evaluation to determine the root cause or causes of your pain, then create a personalized treatment plan for your needs.
The diagnostic process may include imaging, such as an MRI, CT scan, or X-rays, and a physical exam.
What Causes Neck Pain?
There are numerous reasons you might have neck pain. Here are a few of the more common causes:
Car Accident Injuries
Car accident trauma is one of the most frequent reasons for neck injuries. A collision rapidly slows both vehicles, but the people inside the cars continue to move forward at the same speed.
Seatbelts stop this forward motion for most of the body, but the head may snap forward and then back violently, causing small tears in the muscles and ligaments of the neck. This leads to neck strain or whiplash.
ER doctors will take imaging to ensure that your neck pain is not caused by a fracture or another serious condition. Once these issues have been ruled out, they usually diagnose whiplash and send you home with instructions for home treatment.
But these suggestions don’t work for everyone, and your regular doctor might not have many resources for treating your neck pain. An experienced chiropractor may be able to help if you have chronic neck pain following a car accident.
Sometimes people wrench or twist their necks while playing sports. As with car accidents, the injured person may or may not have pain and other symptoms immediately.
In some cases, the pain shows up a few hours or even days later. If you’ve had any kind of neck trauma and develop pain within a few weeks of the injury, please seek medical attention and let the provider know about your injury.
People may also experience neck issues if they repeatedly turn their heads or make another specific movement with their necks. For instance, a person who works a cash register might constantly turn their head to one side to look at customers.
Over time, these motions can stress the muscles and ligaments in the neck, leading to tension and pain.
Anything that causes the vertebrae, or small spinal bones, in the neck to drift out of alignment can lead to neck pain.
Injuries and repetitive use strain can contribute to these misalignments, but so can lifting heavy objects, sleeping in an uncomfortable position, and many other activities.
Some people who are diagnosed with whiplash after a car accident may also have misaligned vertebrae. These are more subtle and difficult to diagnose than an injury like a fracture, and most emergency room doctors are not trained in chiropractic care.
At the same time, you might also have a lingering soft tissue injury contributing to your pain. That’s why we always take care to evaluate your records, run tests as needed, and make a clear diagnosis of all the root causes of your pain before developing a treatment plan.
What Are Some Effective Neck Pain Treatments?
“Effective” varies from one person to another. Some people may respond very well to one treatment, while others may do better with a different therapy. Still, others get the best results from combining several treatments.
At Optimum Health Rehab, we always schedule follow-up appointments to learn how the patient is doing and adjust their treatment plan if needed.
Here are some of the therapies we use to treat neck pain:
Chiropractic Adjustment or Spinal Manipulation
We start by reviewing your records, including any imaging you had done previously. In some cases, we may want to take new imaging, like an X-ray or CT scan, for comparison.
After looking these over, we’ll do a physical examination and adjust any misaligned vertebrae. This is a quick procedure in which we gently realign the vertebrae while you lie on a chiropractic table.
People sometimes ask if a chiropractic adjustment is painful. It should not hurt, and if you do have any discomfort, you should let your chiropractor know right away.
However, most people feel no more than slight pressure or a popping sensation – and many patients say they feel nothing at all. Sometimes they ask if we really adjusted their spine!
You may hear a cracking or popping noise, but this is simply the sound of gas escaping the joints as they move into alignment.
Many people with neck pain benefit from a well-planned physical rehabilitation program. Your physical therapist will begin by reviewing your diagnosis, inquiring about your pain, and evaluating your current neck function.
They may ask you to turn your head from side to side or perform other movements to demonstrate where you’re at in your recovery.
Once the evaluation is complete, your Physical Rehab specialist will work with you on a series of exercises designed to address your difficulties. These exercises will help restore strength and flexibility in your neck muscles, ligaments, and tendons.
Over time, they should help you move your head and neck normally. In some cases, the physical rehab specialist may also recommend other treatments, such as spinal traction or hot and cold therapy, to reduce pain or help with your recovery.
We will schedule rehab sessions once a week or more, depending on your needs. On the days that you don’t have a session, you will still need to work on your exercises at home.
The rehab specialist will provide a list of instructions for doing this “homework,” including how many repetitions of each exercise to do and how often. Your efforts at this homework will contribute the most to your recovery as you may only have a therapy session once or twice a week.
We encourage you to remember that you don’t have to do every exercise exactly right at first. Simply do the best you can, and your ability to do the exercises fully should improve with time.
If you can’t do the assignment because of pain or other reasons, please tell your Physical Rehab specialist right away so they can find an alternative.
Trigger Point Therapy or Myofascial Release
After a neck injury, pain and inflammation can make it hard to move your neck. They can also cause a lot of tension and stress.
For some people, this tension leads to knots or spasms in the neck muscles, which add further pain. You may also have knots in the myofascial tissue, which lines the muscles, ligaments, and bones in the neck.
A trained therapist will gently press on different areas of your neck, searching for these knots, then apply pressure until they relax. For many people, this provides relief after one session, while others see benefits after a few sessions.
If we diagnose a lingering soft tissue injury that hasn’t responded to other treatments, or if a damaged nerve increases your pain, we may consider platelet-rich plasma injections or PRP therapy.
In this procedure, we take a sample of your blood and isolate the plasma, a pale liquid that contains platelets, proteins, and other healing factors. Then we divide the plasma into two samples – platelet-rich and platelet-poor.
The platelet-rich plasma not only has more platelets but also more proteins and other compounds that contribute to healing. When these are spread throughout the blood, their effects are diluted.
But when we inject a concentrated amount of platelet-rich plasma into an injured muscle, tendon, or nerve, these healing factors can have a more substantial effect.
This entire procedure is done in our office during one visit – you don’t need to return later. Because it uses your own plasma, it’s a very safe procedure with few risks, and we use ultrasound to ensure the injection is in precisely the right place.
After your procedure, we recommend you rest for a few days and slowly resume your normal activities, being careful not to overdo it. Many people begin to feel better within a few weeks of their injection, and some benefit from having multiple injections.
How Can You Get Help with Neck Pain in Hiram?
Please contact Optimum Health Rehab at (770)439-6997 for a consultation to learn more about the options for your neck pain treatment.
Our friendly staff members are always available to answer questions about insurance or scheduling, and the sooner you make an appointment, the sooner we can help you feel better.