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Neck Pain & Injuries

ProActive Chiropractic provides expert chiropractic adjustments for neck pain & injuries. 

Schedule a complimentary consultation or appointment today with our expert chiropractors for neck pain and strain in San Francisco, California. 

Injuries include:

  • Sprains & Strains
  • Arthritis (DJD)
  • Herniated discs
  • Spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal)
  • Facet Syndrome
  • Acute Torticollis
  • Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS)
  • Whiplash (CAD injury)
  • “Tech-neck” or Upper Crossed Syndrome
     

BACKGROUND: 

The adult human head can move in all directions and weighs approximately 10-11 pounds. The cervical column consists of the smallest vertebrae in the spine, but allows for the most movement. Due to this constant weight load, the cervical region of the spine (a.k.a. the neck), carries enormous stress throughout the day. 

This chronic stress can lead to imbalances and tightness in your muscles, especially if you have poor postural habits or bad ergonomics. If left untreated, the symptoms typically get worse and cause more dysfunction to other parts of your body. 

Neck pain is the fourth leading cause of disability, and in half the cases it can lead to chronic discomfort. Most people cannot pinpoint a specific traumatic event that caused their tension or pain, indicating that the cause is likely a habitual biomechanical error. For example, the mechanism of injury for most of our patients in San Francisco is due to a sedentary lifestyle in front of a desk for work. Repetitive or sustained posture can lead to overuse of certain joints, muscles, and ligaments that can lead to muscle spasms and degeneration of discs. This can cause pinched nerves along the cervical spine, creating a sensation of numbness and tingling that travels down to your fingers. This can then lead to worsening posture, which decreases your lung capacity, which can create fatigue.  

Breathing is something that we unconsciously do every second of the day. However, more often than not, we find that our patients are breathing wrong! Our primary breathing muscle is our diaphragm, which is dome shaped and lays across the upper abdomen under each lung. Our secondary respiratory muscles include smaller neck muscles (scalenes and sternocleidomastoids), the pectoralis major, the trapezius, and the external intercostals. These accessory muscles become overworked when we have poor posture or endure any whiplash injuries. When we do not “belly breathe” aka use our diaphragm to breathe, we strain these already tight muscles even more, which results in neck and shoulder pain. We often hear that  “sucking your belly in and plumping your chest out” creates a beautiful silhouette and is the correct posture. However, this is not functional on many levels. Our doctors will assess your breathing patterns and teach you how to efficiently breathe the right way.  

In other cases, trauma, such as a motor vehicle accident or sports collision, causes misalignments, sprains, and strains to tissues in the neck. These types of injuries cause extreme stress to your neck that can range from tension type headaches to cervical radiculopathy and weakness. Regardless of the mechanism of injury, the care at ProActive Chiropractic provides an effective, speedy, non-pharmaceutical, and non-invasive approach to alleviate neck pain by looking at the entire body. When a patient comes in with neck pain, we don’t  just focus on the cervical spine, but we acknowledge all the biomechanical patterns associated with the neck. This means looking at the thoracic spine and shoulders; which means looking at ribs, the low back, and pelvis; which then means we have to look at hips and knees, and so forth. At ProActive Chiropractic, we believe that you cannot fix one problem alone, but that fixing the entire chain is the key to getting patients feeling 100% again. The doctors use Applied Kinesiology to distinguish what structures are specifically affecting the neck, and then use their various sports training to treat. This unique whole-bodied ProActive protocol makes all the difference in our patients’ success.   

ANATOMY: 

The neck or cervical spine consists of seven vertebrae (C1-C7), with the first vertebra (atlas) connecting to one of our skull bones, the occiput. There are six discs between each cervical vertebra, called intervertebral discs, that help absorb load and shock during movement. They also provide a cushion for our nerves to run free and keep neighboring vertebrae from rubbing against one another. Strong, fibrous ligaments hold and stabilize the vertebrae and discs in place. There are two facet joints on the posterior left and right side of each vertebra. They allow us to move our neck, while also providing stability. When these facet joints get misaligned or are inflamed or degenerative, muscle imbalances and pain occur. There are eight cervical nerves that branch out above or below each spinal vertebra that provide sensory and motor functions to our head, jaw, neck, shoulders, arms, fingers, and upper body. Irritation to any of these nerves can cause muscle weakness and/or paresthesia (burning, numbing, prickling sensation). This can also lead to muscle imbalances causing tension, aches, and pain.  

Degenerative Disc Disease 

In Degenerative Disc Disease, the discs between the vertebrae (the bones that make up your spine) shrink and get thinner over time. The discs serve as shock absorbers in our spines and spacers between the vertebrae holding plenty of space for the nerves to exit the spine without interference from other body structures. If the nerves are impeded by a disc bulge or entrapped by a tight muscle; paresthesia, pain, and weakness can occur.  The disc is subject to degeneration over time as a result of constant repetitive stress. 

Degenerative changes can be accelerated by trauma, poor posture, and the stress of repetitive motions. Discs do not receive nutrients through a blood supply like the rest of our body. Instead, they receive nutrients through movement which pulls water and nutrients into the discs allowing them to stay healthy.  

Although nothing can restore the thickness of the discs, chiropractic care can improve the movement of your joints and muscles leading to less wear and tear on the discs. 

After going through a thorough history and examination, our doctors decide if further imaging is necessary to evaluate the area of complaint.  

In many cases, the symptoms of Degenerative Disk Disease can be reduced or eliminated with conservative chiropractic and rehabilitative care. This means no pharmaceuticals and surgeries, which saves patients time and money.   

Degenerative Joint Disease

Degenerative Joint Disease, also known as Osteoarthritis, is a progressive disorder that affects the cartilage surrounding the area of bone that moves inside the joint. Currently affecting over 27 million Americans over the age of 25, the degeneration is typically seen in weight-bearing joints such as the knee or hip. However, it can also occur in joints in the hands and neck.  

Many patients suffering from this disorder express pain, stiffness, and loss of flexibility, especially in the morning.  

At ProActive Chiropractic, we not only educate our patients on ways to take control of their healing process, but also help restore motion in the restricted joints that are causing pain. Our hands-on approach will increase your flexibility, help circulate blood flow and nutrients to the area, and decrease your pain efficiently to get you back doing the things you love.  

Headaches: 

Almost everyone experiences a headache at some point, and it only takes one to realize how awful they are. Headaches can present with a variety of symptoms, usually involving a decrease in energy, difficulty focusing or concentrating, as well as sensitivity to sound and light, just to name a few.  

Headaches can stem from a number of causes: fixations in the jaw or neck, tightness in the neck and shoulder muscles, dehydration, chemical reactions, stress, hormones, and many others. Tension-type headaches are the most common. These headaches happen when the muscles of the neck, jaw, and scalp stay contracted and spasm. Triggers can include stress, teeth grinding, new dental work, working from home, and sleeping in an awkward position.   

Evidence-based research indicates that chiropractic manipulation and techniques are a safe and holistic way to eliminate headaches. The doctors at ProActive Chiropractic will realign the structures of in and around the neck while also providing soft tissue support to release muscle spasms and pain.  

DIAGNOSIS: 

Since the causes of neck pain are numerous, experience counts in making the correct diagnosis. Knowing the difference between diagnosing an infection and neck strain is essential for a fast and complete recovery. It is also important to note whether a pain stays local or is traveling. The doctors at ProActive Chiropractic received their Doctor of Chiropractic from the prestigious Palmer College and are well versed in differential diagnosis of the cervical spine.  

Another important diagnostic tool is to consider your lifestyle patterns. Do you sit at work all day? Have you been in an automobile crash? Finally, a complete exam helps nail down the diagnosis. For instance, properly examining your shoulders and back might give a clue to the exact cause of your neck pain. 

Only by thoroughly evaluating your symptoms and carefully examining your body can an accurate diagnosis be made. Effective treatment depends on diagnostic accuracy. If necessary, x-rays or other imaging tests might be needed.  

Imaging: 

Although we do not have an on-site imaging center, we are partnered with Radnet and SimonMed for all of your X-ray, MRI, CT Scan, and Ultrasound needs. If there are any red flags noted by the doctor, imaging can be necessary before performing any treatment.   

Frustrated by the pain and just want ease of mind to know what is actually going on in your body? The doctors at ProActive Chiropractic can provide you with a prescription to get imagining done if it is within reason with the assessment.  

 Labs: 

Sometimes the root of your condition is not structural. Inflammation, allergies, or deficiencies in our chemical make-up can keep us from recovering fully or quickly. We never want our treatments to plateau until you’ve reached your goals.    

Our office is conveniently partnered with LabCorp and Cyrex Laboratories to help better understand your diagnosis when needed. If our doctors believe that a blood and/or urine analysis will benefit your health, they will order these labs at generally a lower cost than what your insurance can. Our goal is to get you the most affordable and efficient comprehensive assessment possible to save you time and money.    

TREATMENT: 

Whether your neck pain is a result of constant poor posture, repetitive motion during an activity, prolonged computer/phone/tablet use, whiplash, contact sports, or blunt force trauma, our doctors successfully treat all types of neck complaints every day. 

Treatment can include gentle chiropractic adjustments and soft tissue work. Since not all neck pain is the same, your treatment will be specific to your complaint based on your history and exam findings.  

Obviously, you wouldn’t want your neck problem to be treated by inexperienced hands. For this reason, our seasoned doctors, graduates of Palmer College, personally evaluate, examine, and treat your neck discomfort. This means that you will spend the entire duration of your time in our office with hands-on care from our chiropractic clinicians.   

Chiropractic Manipulative Therapy (CMT): 

Scientific evidence proves that chiropractic techniques help patients by restoring joint mobility to provide proper functional movement patterns and balance out the nervous system. This decreases spasms, stiffness, and pain while promoting optimal health. 

We have many options to address the structural components that contribute to your pain. We always consider our patient’s preferences first, so when it comes to corrective adjustments, we provide a variety of methods to achieve this goal. Our specialty is manual adjustments. We are experienced in high velocity, low amplitude manipulations to the joints of the body in order to deliver the most comfortable and effective adjustments.  

Our one-of-a kind chiropractic tables feature an automated drop piece that utilizes an air compressor to address the joint in both directions in a gentle way. It allows the doctors to adjust front to back and back to front. The drop piece is maneuvered by foot so there are no extra knobs at the side of the table allowing patients to move around comfortably. 

Sometimes we discover smaller yet specific adjustments need to be made. For this, we use an innovative device, called the Activator, delivering a small impulse to the appropriate joint. Whether you love or are intimidated by the “cracks,” the doctors at ProActive Chiropractic will adjust to your preference while still administering the adjustments needed.   

Graston Technique and Fibroblaster Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM) Tools :

When joints get stuck, the soft tissue structures around them suffer as well. When the muscles and connective tissues around the joint are not moving and gliding along each other, scar tissue and fascial distortion occurs. We have multiple tools of different sizes and shapes to help address these issues.   

Graston is a patent protected, innovative instrument that assists in soft-tissue mobilization, improving flexibility and decreasing pain by effectively breaking down fascial restrictions and removing scar tissue between muscles. Proactive Chiropractic is Graston certified and a Preferred Provider®.   

Fibroblaster IASTM Tools help our doctors diagnose and treat patients by providing controlled microtrauma to break scar tissue and fascial restrictions to restore full range of motion to keep you in the game.   

Functional Custom Orthotics, Sandals, and Shoes:  

Yes, orthotics can help your neck pain! There are three main arches of the foot: the medial longitudinal arch, the lateral longitudinal arch, and the anterior transverse (metatarsal) arch. These three arches work together as a strong and supportive tripod, called the “plantar vault,” that helps evenly distribute our weight to obtain the maximal shock absorbency throughout our body to protect our bones, nerves, and joints.   

The “righting reflex” or the “labyrinthine righting reflex” automatically corrects the orientation of our bodies so that our eyes are always level. The feet are the foundation in all of our weight-bearing activities so when they are not level, we subconsciously tilt different structures in our bodies to keep our eyes level. This results in overcompensations and under-compensation in various muscle groups. For example, if one arch is collapsed, that knee will internally rotate, which externally rotates the hip, rotating the pelvis, forcing the shoulder to drop on that side, resulting in our head tilting. This domino effect starts at the feet, but directly affects all the other joints of our bodies. This is why leveling out your feet is so essential in overall body health.   

In our office, we have paired up with the world’s leading provider of individually designed custom orthotics to use state-of-the-art technology to analyze the three arches of the feet, making sure the forces you put on them are distributed properly. If the 3-D foot scan detects an unleveling in any of the arches, customized orthotics will be manufactured just for you to rebalance your entire body. They fit a variety of shoes depending on your activity level, how much your feet sweat, and the kind of shoes you want them in.   

We never want to sell you anything that does not serve you. If your custom orthotics need to be tweaked to your liking or you do not like them for any reason after wearing them for 45 days, we will remake your orthotics or give you a full refund. Put your best foot forward and try them out! You have absolutely nothing to lose!     

Custom Pillows: 

Sleep is absolutely crucial in recovery. We do our best healing when we are sleeping. Setting a good nighttime environment to get 7-9 hours of sleep helps to boost your immunity, promote muscle growth, balance hormones, and increase mood. A promising nightly ritual includes turning off anything rectangular (phones, television, tablets, etc…)and dimming lights at least an hour before bed time, choosing the right temperature (usually between 60-67 degrees), reduce noises that have changing tones and replace it with consistent white noise, putting on a diffuser or candle with a relaxing scent, and choosing the right mattress (Youtube link), sheets, and pillows that are comfortable to you.  

At ProActive Chiropractic, we exhaust all techniques to get you feeling better and provide the best products to expedite the process. Are you worried that your pillow is causing your neck pain? We offer customized pillows to provide alignment while you sleep to ensure a best night rest. 

Therapeutic Exercises:   

Our journey to improve your health and wellness does not stop when you leave the office. At ProActive Chiropractic, we honor a mutual collaborative effort by our doctors and you, our patients. While in our office, we believe it is our job to manually correct the underlying source of your pain by adjusting and performing techniques that you would not be able to do on your own. We then encourage you to perform customized rehabilitative exercises at home, in the office, or at the gym to better hold the adjustments made. We believe in a team approach where the doctors will align and balance patients on the table, and patients do their part in building the right habits, muscles, and strength to hold those adjustments. These specific exercises help relax painfully tight muscles and build strength to key muscles groups which are imperative for spinal support.   

We understand that educating our patients on their condition and teaching them how to prevent it is key to success. We want our patients to know when to come into the office and when they can fix ailments on their own. Our goal is always to save you time and money.    

So many people think that if they can keep up with the latest Barry’s Bootcamp, Orange Theory, Rumble, P90X, Barre, Pilates, or Jiu Jitsu workout, that they have the proper strength to be out of pain. “I can deadlift 500lbs, run a 4.6 second 40-meter dash, and kill it in all my workout routines, so why am I in pain?!” The truth is that these people are great at compensating. To complete these workouts, they may be using their muscle groups improperly.  These workouts are often complex and work on the big “show-me” muscles that are usually overcompensated anyways. When the doctors at ProActive Chiropractic break these big muscle groups apart and muscle test each individual muscle, these athletes are often surprised at how “weak” their muscles are when separated from another. 

We constantly want to be a part of the newest workout routines, machines, tools, and fads. But is it good for us? These new trends are made to hype up new training licenses, not necessarily because they have been researched and proven to help improve health.    

The exercises given at ProActive Chiropractic are designed to focus on the smaller, undercompensated muscles that support the joints, ligaments, and deep muscles that help with posture and overall performance. The truth is that new workouts emerge for purposes of more certifications to promote the fitness business. They consist of complex movements that people cannot efficiently achieve without going back to the basics. You crawl before you walk, right? Same concept.   

Sure, you can perform these complicated exercises, but are you using the right muscle groups to perform them, or are you creating more of an imbalance and thus pain? Are you breathing correctly and can your brain connect to all the different muscles of your body so that one muscle group is not taking the brunt of the work for another muscle group? The doctors at ProActive Chiropractic will let you know! They will literally show and teach you the tools to perform these exercises properly, leaving you pain-free and even improve your posture.   

Understand that these are not glamorous, complex exercises you see at your workout class or on the newest feed on your IG or TikTok account. However, they are needed, effective, and present a challenge in that you have to rehabilitate your brain to connect to muscles that it has been neglecting for a long period of time. Check out some of our favorite therapeutic exercises on our YouTube channel!   

We are excited to help you get back to the movement you love, and by performing the prescribed exercises given by our doctors, we will get you there in no time! 

Our YouTube channel! 

We are excited to help you get back to the things you love, and by performing the prescribed exercises given by our doctors, we will get you there in no time! Watch the video on your right to see how we address whiplash.  Go ahead and subscribe today to better understand how we approach injuries differently. 

Kinesiology Tape:  

Kinesio Taping is a rehabilitative taping technique to increase stability around hypermobile joints. Additionally, the tape offers better circulation to the injured area, reduction of swelling and inflammation, speedy recovery of overused muscles, and reduced muscle cramping and spasms in the neck and shoulders.  

We use different types of kinesiology and medical tape to suit your needs. When using tape as a brace, the doctors at ProActive make sure to give you the support you need while also allowing the surrounding muscles to properly engage so that your own muscle and body becomes a natural brace for itself as a result. Depending on allergies, sport, and how much you sweat, the doctors will use their expertise to know which tape and style of taping is needed for you!    

Denneroll Neck Orthotic  

In addition to the hands-on services provided in the office, we also offer clinically proven products shown to reverse the damaging effects of trauma, age, and bad posture. The Denneroll is one of them.  

Normally, your cervical spine should present with a healthy curve (similar to a wide shaped “C”) that points toward the front of your body, called a lordosis. This allows our nerves, ligaments, and muscles to function properly. When we lose that cervical lordosis structure and our necks become more straight, it is considered an abnormal cervical lordosis or reversal of cervical lordosis. This can happen as a result of age, repetitive slouching, spending too much time in front of electronics in a sustained position, trauma, and even stress. It causes unwanted muscle discomfort and degeneration of discs, which can lead to nerve issues. 

The doctors here often get asked which neck hammock, traction devices, braces, supportive clothing, and reminder buzzers are best for pain associated with sitting at a desk all day. Although there are plenty of choices on the market that are said to improve posture and decrease pain, not enough reliable research has shown that these products actually accomplish what you need.    

Numerous evidence-based studies have proven that correcting abnormal cervical lordosis will alleviate pain and muscle tension, while enhancing posture, comfort, and overall health. The Denneroll helps facilitate normal cervical lordosis to help create balance between the nerves, ligaments, muscles, and joints of your upper body. It is a great tool in conjunction with chiropractic care because it helps keep your adjustments longer to keep you feeling pain free and back to work, back to play.   

Posture Pointers:  

“Sit up straight!” “Stop slouching!” “Chin up, chest out, abs in!” We have all heard these cues from our parents, partners, coaches, personal trainers, fitness instructors, and doctors. Being conscious about the way you sit, stand, and perform exercises is a start, but what if the structures of your body simply will not allow you to get in that perfect posture position? What is perfect posture anyway?!    

The doctors at ProActive Chiropractic take the time to educate patients on proper posture and how to achieve it. We analyze patients’ posture and functional movement mechanics, address the under and overcompensated muscles and structures to allow for proper range of motion and movement, and give patients the correct postural exercises to address the deep muscles that support the skeletal system.   

Ergonomics:  

Each new patient in our office will receive a comprehensive posture evaluation and 3-dimensional foot scan, revealing potential hidden problems that could go unnoticed. In addition, we offer virtual ergonomic assessments at a much lower cost than a traditional in-office ergonomic assessment with a full printout of findings and recommendations for you to keep.    

Equally important to diet and exercise, understanding how your body is commonly positioned againsseasoned doctors personally evaluatet gravity can help doctors find the underlying issue with chronic pain.

Proper ergonomics allows for better productivity, promotes great posture, lessens fatigue, and decreases the pain that comes from repeated movements.  

Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT): 

Research on Low-Level Laser Therapy reveals that it is a non-invasive and efficient method to reduce healing time after any sort of injury— with zero side effects.  

At ProActive Chiropractic, we offer laser therapy using devices from the world leader in Low-Level Laser Technology, Erchonia. Multiple studies have deemed these lasers to be safe and successful in pain management and recovery.   

Similarly to how plants use sunlight for energy to grow, the cells in our body convert the non-thermal photons of the laser into energy, which is then used to heal the damaged neck tissues faster. 

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As you can see, we have a wide variety of tools in our toolbelt to get you feeling great again.
Get expert neck pain treatment in the San Francisco Financial District area. Call 415-762-8141 or schedule an appointment online now.

San Francisco SF Chiropractic Chiropractor for neck pain adjustment injury treatment San Francisco SF CA
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