Chiropractors/Neck and back issues
Hi Dr. Biggs,
Over the past couple weeks I've had a fair bit of pain in the lower part of the left part of my neck, left upper back, left shoulder and also radiating into the left arm.
I went to my family doctor and he sent me for an xray of my neck which did not show any issues, but suggested going to a physio.
I've since gone to a physio, who believes I may have some type of disc injury to C6, C7 area. He is treating my conservatively, so that nothing gets flared up too much, but so far most of the treatment has involved some ice, some manual therapy by him, and various stretches and exercises.
In the past week, I think I've seen some mild improvement, but I still feel an intense pain into my arm a lot of the time. I will continue with physio once per week as his suggestion.
I'm wondering if you think chiropractic may be beneficial along with physio to expedite the process. Any advice would be helpful. Thanks.
It does sound like you are suffering potentially from radiculopathy, or nerve pain at the nerve root as it exits the cervical spine or neck. This could be caused by a number of things, the most common of which is the combination of disc injuries and/or spinal degenerative changes. The good news is that even though the nerves at the neck are currently irritated, it is possible that the inflammation and irritation can subside, and you can get back to how you felt before this flair up. You do have to take some care as to avoid things that might cause further irritation. Sometimes chiropractic manipulation can be beneficial, and at times, it can cause some irritation. You don't know until you try. Discs can, to a certain degree heal, but they typically do not re-generate and you don't grow new ones once they are worn out, no matter whether you choose therapy, chiropractic, acupuncture, nutrition, or heaven forbid (last ditch effort), spinal surgery. You have heard in the past that patience is a virtue. This holds true in your current situation as well. Continue with therapy, try chiropractic and/or acupuncture if you like, and give your body some time to heal. Many of these types of flair ups can resolve with conservative therapy and time. If you do respond well to care, continue with your exercises as instructed by your PT or chiro. Be careful in that some chiropractors might wish to tell you that they can treat the cause and fix you in 2-3 dozen visits. There is no way that they can be so certain. You are better off with a chiropractor that gives you some short term goals and works towards those, then adding additional goals as you improve, or discontinues or changes care methods if you do not respond positively to treatment.
I hope that this gives you some thoughts. Happy holidays, and I hope that you respond well to care.