How Chiropractors Uncover Unusual Causes Of Neck Pain
If you develop neck pain, then you may attribute it to sleeping in a cramped position, lifting a heavy object, twisting your neck, or even stress. While these are some of the most common causes of neck pain, other, more unusual causes may be to blame. Here are some ways your chiropractor can determine uncommon sources of neck pain.
Thorough Medical History
Before your chiropractic physician can develop a treatment option for your neck discomfort, he or she will take an oral medical history from you. In addition to inquiring about lifestyle habits such as exercise and dietary choices, you may also be asked if you have allergies or frequent sinus infections.
Allergic reactions and chronic sinusitis can trigger systemic inflammation while releasing pro-inflammatory chemicals known as cytokines into your bloodstream. When this happens, body-wide inflammation can cause pain and inflammation in the joints and muscles, including those in your neck.
Your chiropractor may also ask you if you recently had a dental abscess or other oral infection because the pathogens from bacterial infections can affect your tonsils and lymph nodes in your neck, which can cause pain. Similarly, ear infections can also cause referred neck pain and pain behind your ears.
Visual and Physical Examinations
After your oral medical history has been completed, your chiropractor will perform both a visual examination and a physical examination. He or she will visually inspect your neck for signs of inflammation, deformity, and redness, and may also examine your eyes for signs of swelling, excessive tearing, or redness. These ocular signs and symptoms may mean that you have allergies or a sinus infection, which, as stated above, can cause neck pain.
After a visual examination, your doctor will perform a physical examination. During your physical examination, your chiropractic physician will palpate the muscles and joints of your neck to evaluate them for stiffness, abnormal mobility, and decreased range of motion. He or she may also palpate the lymph nodes in your neck to determine if they are swollen or painful.
If you develop neck pain that does not respond to over-the-counter analgesics such as ibuprofen, make an appointment with your chiropractor. After a comprehensive examination, he or she will develop a treatment plan based on the cause. If your chiropractor believes that your symptoms warrant further investigation, you will be referred back to your primary care doctor for further evaluation and additional treatment.