As a practicing chiropractor in St. Paul, Minnesota I work with people all day long that have neck and back pain. There are many different causes of neck and back pain, and there are many conditions that will lead to neck and back pain. In this blog I will talk about where neck and back pain come from and what you can do to reduce or get rid of your neck and back pain.
Pain is a sensory perception. It is relayed to the brain via the sensory nerve called a nociceptor. When this nerve which is located in your muscles and other soft tissues, and in your joints of your neck and back become irritated, they send a message to your brain of pain. There are many other sensory nerves such as thermoreceptors which sense heat and chiroreceptors that sense cold. These sensory nerves are also located in the tissues of your neck and back. Anytime one experiences pain we no for certain that a nociceptor has been activated.
Lets look at the anatomy of the neck and back, and this will lead us to the different causes of neck and back pain. There are 7 vertebrae in your neck and 17 vertebrae in your mid and lower back. These vertebrae are separated by discs that work as shock absorbers. The discs are in the front of your spine. In the back of your spine are joints called facet joints. These joints are encapsulated and fluid filled, and protect nerves that are exiting and entering your spinal cord which goes up to your brain. There are many muscles, tendons and ligaments that attach to these bones of your neck and back, and these soft tissue also have nociceptors located within the tissues. Neck and back pain occurs when there is a problem in the joints of the neck and back or in the soft tissues of the neck and back. Chiropractors locate the specific problems in your joints and soft tissues and use many techniques to fix these problems.
The most common low back problem is within the discs of the low back. Chiropractic adjustments or manipulations are the best known cure for these problems. If the disc problem is too severe, surgery may be required to fix the problem. In your neck and mid back problems within the facet joints, more commonly known as subluxations, are the most common cause of neck and mid back pain. Chiropractic adjustments along with ergonomic education and exercise is the best cure for these problems. If you should find yourself or someone you know has neck or back pain, your best course of action is to find a local chiropractor.
Author: Dr. Matt Caron