Don’t you hate it when you wake up with neck pain? You feel sore and sometimes even sharp pain. Finding relief can be difficult. Using a couple techniques chiropractors are capable of loosening neck muscles to provide relief.

Combination of heat or ice and an adjustment will have you feeling back to normal.

However if your neck is feeling particularly tender for a regular adjustment you can ask for different techniques.

The three most common alternatives are cervical mobilization, cervical manual traction, and the cervical “drop” technique. Spine-health gives a great description into the three gentle adjustments:

Cervical mobilization: The patient is usually lying on his or her back and is relaxed while the chiropractor manually moves the vertebra in the neck left to right, and vice versa, alternating between the side to side motion and a figure 8 movement, applied at varying degrees of moving the head forward, backward, and to the side and in rotation. This is a smooth, non-thrust type of stretch, with the goal of reducing fixations or areas where motion is restricted between the cervical spinal segments. An oscillatory movement with the hands is also frequently utilized during cervical spine mobilization.

Cervical manual traction: The patient is usually lying face up or sitting, or less commonly prone (lying face down, on the stomach). The chiropractor gently pulls on the neck, stretching the cervical spine often varying the angle between flexion (forward) and extension (backward), based on comfort and searching for the correct angle to most efficiently reduce the tightness. This technique is often combined with mobilization, switching between the two and/or doing both simultaneously.

Cervical “drop” technique: The patient is either prone (lying on the stomach) or side lying on a special type of table where the head drop-piece is lifted into a “set” or locked position. The chiropractor then places his or her hand and/or finger over the spinal segment requiring the adjustment. A medium to high velocity, low amplitude thrust or, a non-thrust gradual increasing downward pressure is applied until the drop section / head piece of the table releases and drops a short distance. The goal is to reduce the fixation or restricted motion of the cervical vertebra assisted by the special table. There is usually no rotation or twisting of the head/neck often utilized in the traditional chiropractic adjustment and the typical “crack” (joint cavitation) may or may not occur with this method.

So next time you’re feeling sore or stiff after a weird night’s sleep, come in and have an adjustment!

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