How To Rid Yourself Of Chronic Neck Pain!

neck pain

Neck pain is a common symptom suffered by the worlds population.  Studies have shown that in general, women suffer neck pain more than men. (1) Literally everyone I know has experienced neck pain in their life at one point or another.  Believe me, they make it known to me at social outings.

However,  this story is about me and a nagging case of pain in the lower left side of my neck of 2 months duration.  Just typing out that sentence brings me back to that uncomfortable feeling.  Every day I woke up with this feeling and it never really went away.  I tried everything from massage to exercises and even multiple chiropractors.  Of all three interventions, I found certain chiropractic adjustments to be the most successful in eliminating the pain.

Daily Routine, Daily Neck Pain

Just like the movie “Groundhog Day” with Bill Murray, I would go to sleep, wake up and go through the pain all over again.  What a nuisance!  It wasn’t debilitating as I could still function rather well.  Anyone, reading this right now who has been in my position knows precisely what I’m writing about.  I’m sure it resonates with many readers.

People assume that since health professionals deal with these musculoskeletal problems daily with their patients, we take heed of the advice we provide.  In this case, I missed a very important question I ask my patients or they ask me during their care.

What Position Do I Sleep In To Avoid Neck Pain?

Typically, most individuals sleep in one of three positions.  On their back, side, or on their stomach.  I’d prefer patients sleep either on their back or on their side as it may cause the least amount of stress on your back.  Stomach sleeping appears to put the most strain on your back and neck so it’s the least desirable of the three sleeping positions. Here is a TV segment I appeared on speaking about sleeping positions.

What Kind Of Pillow Should I Use?

The pillow market is saturated with options.  There is a variety of pillows out there that I could write a whole paper on the topic.  However, I would rather tell you how to choose the right pillow for your sleeping position.

Back Sleep Position

If you are sleeping on your back, you require a very thin pillow or no pillow at all. The reason behind this recommendation is that your spine needs to be in “neutral position.” Using a large pillow or several smaller pillows for example, would move your spine away from neutral into a flexed position and thus may cause strain.

A neutral spine is the natural position of the spine when its three curves (cervical, thoracic, and lumbar) are in proper alignment.  This is a very stable position for the spine to be in.  When it deviates away from neutral it can apply pressures to parts of the spine that may result in pain and discomfort.

Side Sleep Position

If your desired sleeping position is on your side, which happens to be my preferred sleeping position, a proper pillow keeping your neck in neutral position with another pillow in between the knees is ideal.  Here is a video demonstrating this side sleeping position with proper pillow support.

Stomach Sleep Position

Stomach sleeping places the most stress on the spine. However, a number of patients have expressed to me that it is the only position they are able to fall asleep in. Having uninterrupted sleep is important and vital for proper body functioning. I talk about the number of hours you need to achieve that in this TV segment.

Sleep deprivation is a serious problem affecting many people.  If sleeping on your stomach is the only position that allows you to fall and stay asleep, then I recommend placing a pillow under your stomach to minimize the pressure placed on your back.  If you want more tips,  click here to read Bedtime Woe’s? – 5 Simple Tips For Blissful Zzzz’s.

The Solution For Chronic Neck Pain

As chiropractors, we are tasked with finding the cause of a complaint and not necessarily treating the symptom itself.  In my case, I made the mistake of searching for symptom relief thus forgetting the fundamental principle of locating the cause of the problem that you are treating.  Chiropractors as well as manual therapists can help people address problems like this.  If you’ve tried to alleviate the pain on your own with little to no success, seek out help as we may be able to discover the cause of the irritation.

My clinic sells water-based pillows that allows the pillow to adapt to shifting sleeping positions.  Personally, I find this very beneficial for people that move around in their sleep.  Have you ever fallen asleep in one position and woken up in an entirely different position or part of the bed?  This type of pillow may be of help.  Water-based pillows are associated with reduced morning pain intensity, increased pain relief, and improved quality of sleep according to a study. (2) For more information you can visit my website and contact my office.  To watch a video on how to pick the perfect pillow, click here!

What Was The Solution To My Problem?

My pillow was too high for my neck position.  How could I forget! I  had placed too much water in the pillow which had shifted my neck position from neutral to a side-flexed position.  Add 6-8 hours of sleep in an awkward position and of course you will wake up with neck pain every day!  Since correcting for that error and continuing to see my chiropractor regularly the change was almost instantaneous.

I hope you learn from this common and simple solution to waking up with neck pain.  For more information, click here for my top Ten Tricks To Get The Best Sleep EVER!

Reference:

1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3489448/
2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9041902

A Natural Proven Solution To The Opioid Crisis

opioids

The pharmaceutical industry has come under heavy fire in the media recently.  They’re being blamed for the opioid crisis facing many communities.  The irony of it all is that the Company responsible for initiating the opioid crisis is now claiming to offer a solution.  They want to introduce yet another drug to help suffers cope with their addiction.  I don’t have to tell you about the dangerous and unethical practices of this particular company for you to know we cannot place our health in their hands.

Break The Cycle Of Opioid

Pharmaceutical companies are showing time and time again that instead of helping manage peoples pain, they are instead only out to further benefit their investors.  In order to tackle the problem of opioid addiction, which is now a pandemic, we need to look past the big Pharma for help.  Their solution will only place more people under the influence of their drugs.  They will only provide solutions within their capacity creating a vicious cycle of drug dependence as a means of solving a health problem.  It’s important that patients and health professionals look for natural alternatives to put an end to this crisis.  Click here for more facts about the opioid crisis.

Where To Turn To For Help!

In 2017 a new systematic review was published in a medical journal which confirmed an association of spinal manipulative therapy (SMT), with clinical benefit and harm for acute low back pain.  This is the standard treatment method utilized mainly by chiropractors.  The review looked at 26 eligible randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and showed that 15 of the trials (involving 1711 patients) provided evidence that Chiropractic care, in the form of spinal manipulative therapy, recorded improvements with their pain.

Twelve RCTs [1381 patients] produced evidence that SMT has a statistically significant association with improvements in function.  No RCT reported any serious adverse event.  This is important to consider given the multitude of side effects that drugs produce.  High quality studies tended to report larger benefits.  So, the analysis of 26 randomized clinical trials, spinal manipulative therapy was associated with statistically significant benefits in both pain and function of, on average, modest magnitude at up to six weeks [compared with sham or alternative treatments].

The Evidence Is Clear

Chiropractic adjustments reduce pain, increase comfort, and lead to increased functional abilities.  Chiropractic adjustment is not just effective compared to placebo or sham adjustment, it is also more effective than surgery, usual medical care, or physiotherapy.

The key take-home points from the study are that opioid are addictive, deadly, expensive, and ineffective in the long-term.  Introducing more drugs to fix the problem created by opioid does not lead to better results based on lack of evidence for effectiveness and have their proven side effects.  Physiotherapy was also shown to be ineffective for spinal conditions and back pain compared to chiropractic.  There is only one scientific logical conclusion from all this: Chiropractic is the safest, most effective, and most cost-effective choice for patients with spinal health issues if you exclude spinal fractures, spinal infections, and spinal cancer.  To learn more about natural healing click here read about what conventional medicine doesn’t want you to know.

Source:

Paige et al. (2017) Association of Spinal Manipulative Therapy with Clinical Benefit and Harm for Acute Low Back Pain. Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA;317(14):1451-1460
Dr. James Chestnut (2018) Newsletter: New Systematic Review in Medical Journal Confirms Benefits of Manipulation for Low Back Pain