Neck pain is super common, and still, most people simply carry on with their activities of daily living. However, about 5 to 10 percent of people develop debilitating symptoms. Unfortunately, even among people who have disabling pain, the majority find their neck pain to be stubborn and recurrent to some degree.

The renewed interest in neck disorders has spurred some really interesting studies. In the March/April 08 issue of the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics (JMPT), Canadian scientists have shown that arthritis in the neck might affect balance. This may mean that cases of poor balance or repeated falls among the elderly, treatment of the cervical spine might have value. This could represent a “top down” strategy, which is a bit different from the “bottom up” approach to balance training more commonly utilized in rehabilitation.

In the February 08 issue of JMPT, another study by both New Zealand and Canadian researchers suggested adjusting of the neck can relax muscles in the arms and could be useful in relaxation of the whole body. This implies ANYTHING causing tightness in the neck joints also might cause muscle pain in the arms or elsewhere. Because adjusting and manual therapy are great treatments for neck problems, your Seattle chiropractor should be among the first providers consulted for this type of pain.

So, how fast can a patient with neck pain expect to feel better with chiropractic care? By chance, in the same March issue of JMPT, British authors studied which neck symptoms might respond the quickest to “hands-on” treatment. Overall, considering all possible neck area complaints, about 70 percent of patients reported immediate favorable responses to manipulation. However, if patients complained about more specific things like headaches, shoulder or arm pain, reduced arm or neck movement, neck pain, or upper or middle back pain, the percentage of those who reported immediate improvement in pain rose to an incredible 95 percent! Woo Hoo!

If you’re experiencing neck pain and haven’t scheduled an appointment with a chiropractor, DO IT.