5 Ways Chiropractors Help Relieve Stiff Neck and Shoulder Pain

5 Ways Chiropractors Help Relieve Stiff Neck and Shoulder Pain

Is there anyone in this world that has never fought with stiff neck and upper back pain at some point in their life? It’s very unlikely. Whether you spend a lot of time at your desk, have been extensively studying, or just carry your stress in your shoulders, this is likely something that you deal with. At Knoxville Spine and Sports, our chiropractors have recognized about 40% of our patients are here specifically for neck pain and shoulder pain. In this article, I’ll talk about a few ways that we treat this and get you back to life without pain.

The Chiropractic Adjustment

Man with shoulder pain and stiff neck sees chiropractor in knoxville for treatment

This refers to the snap, crackle, and pop that chiropractors are known for. Restrictions in and around the joint capsule can cause the joint to not move the way that it should. Our body’s natural response to this joint dysfunction is to lock down the muscles around the joint to protect this. Where this may at one time have been an advantageous evolutionary strategy, it now just causes our joints to be unnecessarily stiff.

Nothing is better for breaking up restrictions in joint capsules than the chiropractic adjustment. Stiff Neck and Shoulder Pain do this. It also helps with neurological function by delivering an immense proprioceptive stimulus to the region and therefore allowing more awareness of your brain to this area. I’ll talk about many other helpful techniques and modalities for dealing with neck and shoulder tension but this is by far my favorite and what has been shown to be most effective.

The Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA)

The SFMA isn’t necessarily a hands-on technique for breaking up tissue but is instead a diagnostic tool that can be utilized to determine what specific structures are causing the problem and where to spend most of your time. The SFMA takes the patient through a series of gross movements that check for ranges of motion in multiple regions of the body. If a movement is restricted or painful, that movement is broken out into another series of movements that are more specific to that region.

Ultimately the goal is to determine where specifically the restrictions are and how best to go about treating that area. This strategy gives us an objective way to find the issue and document the progress as we carry on with treatment.

Functional and Kinetic Treatment with Rehab (FAKTR)

This is a big fancy name for a technique that falls under the category of Instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization (another fancy name. Bear with me). With IASTM we use a tool with a dull edge that we strategically, and sometimes forcefully, rub over the skin to free up muscle and fascia that gets adhered and stuck to itself. Fascia is seen all over the body and is now being classified as the largest organ system in the body (formally the skin was thought to be the largest).

The fascia lives under the skin and over the muscles but also surrounds every organ system in the body linking together parts systems that we never thought were connected. Fascia is a type of connective tissue and therefore has qualities that are similar to other types of connective tissue, namely when it is injured it contracts and draws upon itself. The implications here are immense due to the far-reaching aspect of the fascia.

If a muscle is torn or damaged it can be assumed that so too is the fascia that interacts with it. As Fascia heals it pulls tight in that area, which will, therefore, pull on all of the other areas where the fascia connects, therefore, keeping them from functioning as they should. FAKTR addresses these restrictive, fibrotic bundles within the fascia and adds a movement component to retrain the tissue to function within its proper range of motion.

Dry needling

Dry Needles are used to treat shoulder pain and stiff neck at our knoxville chiropractor

Dry needling is essentially the use of acupuncture needles to physically reduce a trigger point or a painful fibrotic bundle within a muscle. With neck pain and upper back pain and stiffness, the trapezius and levator scapulae are commonly riddled with trigger points. Trigger Points can radiate pain up as far as the back of the head and out as far as the shoulders.

The physical action of inserting a needle into the center of the trigger point will overwhelm the tissue and cause it to release. Also, muscles with trigger points are often spastic in nature thus causing a localized decrease in circulation and blood flow to the area. The needle will actually cause a tiny wound in the area causing a controlled inflammatory response that will upregulate circulation to that area, thus helping to carry away toxins from the area.

Deep Soft Tissue Massage

Woman receives a massage at knoxville spine and sports for a stiff neck.

At Knoxville Spine and Sports we are fortunate enough to have 3 massage therapists on staff. Our Massage Therapists’ knowledge and expertise with muscle and soft tissue is the perfect complement to treatment for a stiff neck and Shoulder Pain. DSTM is the perfect compliment to the chiropractic adjustment, arguably more so than the other modalities listed above. Having a therapist that knows exactly how to release out a muscle manually adds such an immense dimension to the clinic and increases our recovery rates by leaps and bounds.

Knoxville Chiropractors for Stiff Neck and Shoulder Pain

If you find that you are experiencing a stiff neck or shoulder pain, let us know.  Our Knoxville Chiropractors, Dr. Matt, and Dr. Bert, will be able to help you using the effective treatments you read above. With years of experience, our chiropractors are sure to utilize methods that truly work. We do not use Drugs or Surgical treatments. Call our office today for a free consultation