Jane had neck PAIN. It hurt every morning when she woke up at 5:30 and crept into the shower. Over the past months, she began adding more and more time and hotter water. She thought it would make her neck feel better. The pain returned as fast as the steam and condensation on the mirror cleared. After she came home from work in the evening, Jane’s neck felt raw, she experienced a gripping sensation. She looked forward to falling into the couch and resting against the soft cushioned back.
As weeks passed, her pain worsened. It spread into her head and her shoulders. Jane became irritable and concerned. She no longer could escape the pain while asleep. Hours were spent each night tossing and turning. Jane was less productive at work, and people were starting to take notice. Within an hour, sitting in front of her computer, the base of her skull pounded with a pulse-like rhythm. The bright lights emitting from her monitor, the loud sounds from her coworkers and ringing telephones became unbearable. By mid-morning, Jane would be assailed by a throbbing headache that squeezed her scalp like an undersized leather band. The pain showed in her face, prompting coworkers to ask her what was wrong.
Diane, the woman who worked next to Jane for two years, insisted that Jane needed a pill. Diane lifted her wholesale-store-sized bottle from beneath the bowels of her desk. She commented that she could never get through the week without her numbing medication. “I take this for the normal headaches that I get each day,” Diane boasted.
Jane was always concerned about harmful side-effects. The sight of bottled pills incited the memory of her arthritic aunt’s kidney damage. It came as a result of using pain medication throughout the years. But Jane was desperate. She was distressed and knew the pain was affecting her work. She finally relented and reached her hand out to Diane.
Within 20 minutes of swallowing two tablets, Jane’s pain subsided. She felt stiffness but no pain when looking to the right for the computer mouse. Getting on with her day, Jane pushed harder to catch up. That evening, Jane rode home singing along with the car radio. Life felt... normal again! After dinner, things took a different turn. Jane noticed a sharp sensation at the base of her skull. By bedtime, intense pain danced across her skull. A vice-like pressure pulsated with every heartbeat. She was no longer blanketed by the temporary chemical embrace of pain killers.
After a near sleepless night and long, hot shower, Jane limped into work. She slowly sat in her black work chair. At this point, Jane was becoming scared. Her pain, from the night before, was not going away. Diane’s drugs had offered only temporary relief. Scary thoughts flashed through her mind: “Am I going to have to be on medication for the rest of my life? Do I have a blood clot? If this pain doesn’t kill me now, will the medications kill me in 20 years, like they did my aunt?”
She looked for Diane and found she was not at her station. In her place was a brown haired temp with a kind grin who introduced herself as Cara. She was from another department, but was filling in while Diane was out. Cara was very perceptive, and she soon tuned into Jane’s condition. Cara practiced a different way of addressing health issues. She agreed that there is a time and place for drugs, but suggested that finding the cause for Jane’s neck pain and headaches should be considered. Cara revealed that she, too, once suffered from severe neck pain. She had Jane’s full attention.
Cara explained that she had visited a chiropractor the previous year. He discovered that her neck pain was caused by a misalignment in her neck. She recalled her first visit in his office. He went over her history, performed an examination and made several comments. He quipped that neck pain is NEVER caused by a lack of pain killers in the body! He also remarked that in chiropractic, a focus on addressing the underlying issue at hand takes precedent over treating the symptoms... correcting the problem allows the body to heal and function normally again, and the pain vanishes! Cara stated that she felt genuine excitement and was eager to start chiropractic care. She began receiving gentle adjustments to realign the troubled areas of her spine. After 12 visits, she had her first monthly reexamination. It showed that Cara’s spinal function was returning to normal. Best of all, her pain was nearly gone. Her care concluded after several more weeks, and she was pain-free. Smiling, she stated, “I still feel great, have more flexibility and feel younger than I have felt for years.” Jane grabbed the doctor’s number from Cara and scheduled her first chiropractic visit.
Jane felt comfortable with her chiropractic care, and was hopeful for the first time in months. She looked forward to a normal life again and doing what she used to love to do. Although her care was more extensive than Cara’s, it concluded with remarkable results. Jane’s pain was gone! She excelled at work and continues to sing on her drive home each night!
Need-to-know facts regarding neck pain and treatment options:
· Pain that lasts longer (than 6-10 weeks) is usually due to deeper problems, such as injury to the disc or facet joint (spinal column joints), or both.
— North American Spine Society
· At least 16,500 deaths from commonly used medications such as aspirin, naproxen or ibuprofen occur each year among arthritis patients alone.
The American Journal of Medicine 1998 Jul 27;105(1B):31S-38S
· Patients who have chronic mechanical spinal pain syndromes who received chiropractic spinal adjustments gained significant beneficial short-term and long-term outcomes when compared with patients treated with medications (Celebrex, Vioxx and/or acetaminophen).
—Journal of Manipulative Physiological Therapeutics 2005 (Jan); 28 (1): 3–11
· Patients with neck pain who visited a chiropractor had a 94% overall satisfaction rate.
—Journal of Manipulative Physiological Therapeutics 2006 (May); 29 (4): 288–296
When it comes to neck pain, you have several choices. Are you a neck pain Jane? A pain killer Jane? Or, you can run like Jane to the chiropractor and be an I-feel-great Jane. By addressing the underlying cause of your neck pain with the chiropractic approach, you can sing like Jane all the way home!