Neck Impingement Causes
A neck impingement can be debilitating, hurting a patient’s quality of life and leading such patients to use other muscles to compensate for the pain and further injure themselves in the process. Chiropractic care may be able to resolve the debilitating impingement and help the patient stay in balance to maintain their healthy physical state and prevent future injuries from occurring to the best of their ability.
Neck impingement (cervical radiculopathy) is a pinched nerve in the neck. When a nerve, located between vertebrae in the neck, becomes injured, it can cause weakness, numbness, and pain. The pain may not stay solely in the neck. It can also travel down the arm and from there affect the wrist and fingers. The nerve has too much pressure on it due to compression, injury, spinal stenosis, herniated disk, or a degenerative disk disease. The pain might be minor for some patients, or it can feel like a burning sensation with spasms for others. Every time the patient moves their neck, the pain could travel, causing the patient to become wary of moving certain body parts and reducing their range of motion in the process.1
Home remedies can help resolve pain related to a mild neck impingement. They could be effective even without the direct help of a medical professional. People do not have to turn to the medicine cabinet for what will be only increasingly temporary relief. A hot water bottle or ice pack can work just as well in relieving symptoms from the impingement in the neck and other areas of the body without the side effects of medications.
Self-massage, or massage with assistance provided by someone else, might help to relieve the affected area. At-home massage, both self-applied and performed by another, should be done carefully in order to avoid further hurting the injured areas. If the patient is not confident with their own ability, they could seek help from a massage therapist who knows how to handle neck impingement. There are neck exercises that can also loosen the neck muscles. Neck rolls have been found to be particularly helpful.
If the pain is too great, NSAID medications might be taken as a last resort at home. However, if the pain persists for more than a few days, or gets worse, it is time to seek professional help.2 Chiropractors are specially trained in dealing with pinched nerves, and they can help to restore alignment and health in the patient.
Instead of using medications to mask the pain, chiropractors work at fixing the underlying cause of the problem. Covering the pain with the use of medications is not a sustainable treatment option, as a lot of medications used in the long term increase the chance of the patient experiencing negative effects. Some of the early recommended treatment may include rest. In severe cases, a patient may need to wear a soft neck collar. Chiropractors can then help the patient learn useful exercises to safely aid in recovery and rehabilitation of the injured areas. These often extend through the neck’s influence to other areas of the body. When the issue is resolved, the patient can prevent some future neck impingement issues by using the same exercises on a regular basis.
Other kinds of therapy that may be employed in the chiropractic office include heat and cold therapy and electrical stimulation.3 Subluxations (misalignments in the spine) are often resolved with the help of chiropractic manipulations. This will allow the spine and neck to move freely, “reducing muscle spasms, inflammation, and nerve irritation”.
Heat and Cold Therapy
A chiropractor can also help the patient know whether or not the injury needs heat or ice. Ice controls inflammation and pain. It can help in the healing process, especially “when radicular arm pain accompanies severe neck pain”. If the pain is more of a “sharp, cramping shoulder and back pain”, it will likely respond more to heat. In other words, according to Dr. Nicolas Campos, “ice will feel good on inflammation, and heat will feel good on muscle spasms”. It is important that patients do their best to clearly express what they are feeling in their physical state to help the medical professional to treat them more effectively.
Preventative care is also important. Strengthening the shoulders and rotator cuff muscles will help to provide better support to the neck. This reduces the chances of future injuries, both recurring and new. Patients can also learn about good posture and ergonomic positioning, such as choosing the right pillows and mattress. The physical environments that patients interact with every day have a huge effect on their mind and body state. Chiropractic care focuses largely on the interactions between the mind and the body, and how one affects the other, so the patient should do their best to maintain an ideal environment for their physical and mental states, both inside and in relation to the world around them.4
1, 3 http://www.nysportsmed.com/index.php?/Neck-Pain/nerve-impingement-cervical-radiculopathy.html