Waterloo Chiropractor- Neck Pain & It’s Causes

Kieran Finnegan: Chiropractor, Myotherpaist (SLM) & Sports Massage Therapist.

This will be a three part blog article, with part one explaining a very common cause and in my opinion, often poorly treated source of neck pain. Part two will be discussing self treatment and the third will be on the role of stress, anxiety, depression, anger etc… on neck pain. Between all three articles you should have all the means of treating your own neck pain, its always best to be proactive which should not mean relying on passive treatment, especially when considering the limited effects of most conventional therapies have on chronic neck pain.

I think before explaining a very common source of chronic neck pain, its important to establish what is unlikely to be causing your neck pain as this seems to be a pervasive myth that most neck pain sufferers and even health professionals fall into the trap of believing. Research has shown things such as degenerative disc disease, degenerative joint disease (arthritis) or other structural abnormalities of the spine are often not associated with chronic neck pain (1,2) or pain in general. Anecdotally I have found this to be the case, the vast majority of people I treat are aged between 30-50, if degeneration was a likely cause I would likely be seeing people between 70-80 when spinal degeneration would be at its worst.

I believe it is vital that this is properly understood as people with chronic pain often become there own diagnosis, even though it is unlikely it is playing a major role. Scans & Xray’s may show your spine has become degenerated, however; this should be considered a normal process of aging rather than having a ‘broke’ and ‘messed up’ spine as this perception leads to increased fear & anxiety of movement or daily activities and therefore pain & increased fear of ‘throwing there back out’ & result in becoming very restrictive in there day to day life & reliant on medication and/or treatment. Perhaps in a future article I will explain what is actually happening when someone “throws there back out”, just a little hint, it is almost impossible to put your spine/vertebra out of place in the absence of severe trauma or pathology & it is defiantly not the case of just putting it back in!

One of the major factors that research had consistently proven to be involved in chronic neck pain, shoulder pain & headaches are myofascial trigger points (TrP’s), which are hyper-irritable spots in the muscles & connective tissue (‘knots’) that cause localised symptoms and generalised musculo-skelatal pain. A study which looked at the presence of trigger points of the neck & shoulder between healthy subjects and subjects with neck pain found a much higher incidence of these TrP’s on the neck pain subject compared to the healthy subjects. (3) Another study found Patients who had TrP’s exhibited worse neck pain, greater disability and worse sleep quality than patients with fewer TrP’s (4).  Trps’ were also found to be higher in people who had suffered whiplash, with those who had more TrP’s demonstaring higher levels of pain & disability (5) as well as those suffering from radiculopathy of the neck (nerve impingement) (6).

In the next article I will explain how to remove these trigger points & the third article will cover psychological factors and how they exacerbate Trp’s and most physical body pains.

Kieran  offers Chiropractic & Myotherapy (SLM) to Waterloo, Zetland, Moore Park, Redfern & surrounding area’s. Contact Waterloo Chiropractic & Myotherapy today for more information.

References

1.) Broghouts, J, Koes, B, Bouter L, The clinical course and prognostic factors of non-specific neck pain: A systematic review. 1998 in Pain 77(1):1-13 ·

2.) Rudy I, Poulos A, Owen L, Batters A, Kieliszek, Willox & Jenkins H. The correlation of radiographic findings and patient symptomatology in cervical degenerative joint disease: a cross-sectional study Chiropractic Manual Therapy 2015 doi:10.1186/s12998-015-0052-0

3.) Fernández-de-Las-Peñas C. Myofascial trigger points, neck mobility, and forward head posture in episodic tension-type headache. Headache. 2007.  May;47(5):662-72.

4.) Castaldo M1, Ge HY, Chiarotto A, Villafane JH, Arendt-Nielsen L. Myofascial trigger points in patients with whiplash-associated disorders and mechanical neck pain. Pain Med. 2014.

5.) Muñoz-Muñoz, Muñoz-García MT, Alburquerque-Sendín F, Arroyo-Morales M, Fernández-de-las-Peñas C.Myofascial trigger points, pain, disability, and sleep quality in individuals with mechanical neck pain.
Muñoz-Muñoz S, et al. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2012.

6.) Sari H. Active myofascial trigger points might be more frequent in patients with cervical radiculopathy.Clinical Trial. Eur J Phys Rehabil Med. 2012.