The Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research published a case study on December 21, 2017, documenting the correction of cervicalgia, more commonly known as neck pain, under chiropractic. Neck pain is one of the more common pain complaints that people will experience in their lifetime.
The authors of this study note that, although neck pain is very common, scientific studies on neck pain vary as there is no uniformity on the studies done on neck pain. This results in difficulty putting together the data from the studies done world-wide on this subject. However, it is estimated that in a given year between 10.4% and 21.3% of the population will suffer from neck pain. Unlike other types of musculoskeletal pain, neck pain is more common in people who work in office or computer types of employment.
Somewhere between 33% and 65% of musculoskeletal neck pain will self resolve within one year. However, the study reports that relapses are common, with about 25% having neck pain again within a year. Neck pain is more common in women than in men, and it is more common in high income nations and in urban areas. The risk of neck pain increases up untill between 35-49 years of age, after which the prevalence of the problem seems to decrease.
In this case, a 55-year-old woman with a chief complaint of long term neck pain went to the chiropractor. She described her neck pain as a dull and stiff ache that was made worse by long periods of sitting or standing. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the worst, she described her neck pain as a 5.
During a chiropractic examination, it was noted that the woman had difficulty bending her neck to either the right or the left side. A postural analysis also showed deviations from a normal balance posture with one shoulder being higher than the other. Palpation of the woman’s neck showed muscle spasm and tenderness of the paraspinal muscles with restricted motion of the top four bones in her neck.
A thermal study of the woman’s spine showed temperature differences from one side to the other as well as one level of her spine to the other. X-rays of her neck showed a reversal of the normal neck curve along with degeneration in her mid-neck spinal bones.
With a determination of the presence of subluxation, specific chiropractic adjustments were started. In this study, the patient was seen for one month and was reassessed at two-week intervals. At the first two-week assessment, she rated her pain as having been reduced from a 5 out of 10, down to a 3 out of 10. The thermals scans performed at this time showed an improvement as well.
After another two weeks, a second assessment was done. At this time, the woman related a complete resolution of her pain in the neck. This was verified with the thermal scans that also had returned to normal at that time.