I know so many people who have been shocked to learn that their neck can cause so many issues. In fact, it’s believed that my TMJ disorder came from a terrible misalignment in my neck. I had a huge fall when I was kid and, as I got older, my doctors believe that my body compensated until it just couldn’t anymore. Add stress and other life circumstances, and I ended up with a really bad case of TMJ. In fact, my first chiropractor said it I was one his top 5 worst patients. Not the kind of ranking I ever wanted to have!
3 suggestions for neck pain
If you’re dealing with headaches, face/eye pain, vertigo, it may just be your neck. If you’re looking for a professional to work on those muscles, here are a few things I tried and recommend (depending on the severity of your symptoms).
Osteopathic manipulative treatment OMT – My first bout of neck related TMJ happened in 2004. At that time, I went to an Doctor of Osteopath aka D.O. and got treatment. It worked really well for me back then, as my neck was not as bad as it got in 2014. They use a very simple hands-on technique focusing on the joints, spine and muscles designed to get movement going in areas that are restricted. If you have moderate neck pain, I recommend it.
Related: My TMJD story
NUCCA – When my neck issue hit the fan in 2014, I tried OMT, massage and acupuncture to no avail. My c1 and c2 (atlas and axis) was so bad I needed something very specific. I heard about NUCCA but was afraid to try it because of all the horror stories I heard about neck cracking chiropractors. However, this was totally not like what I expected at all. In fact, this technique is so gentle you don’t even feel anything. Treatment includes low radiation X-Rays to track where your bones are aligned and customized adjustments based on your scans.
QSM3 – I did NUCCA for two years and plateaud. But please do not use this as a basis for you. Like I said, my neck was bad due to childhood trauma exacerbated by a few stressful life events. Some people go to NUCCA and see results within weeks. Everyone is different.
After so much progress, my neck just decided it was going to be stubborn. My muscles did not want to hold my alignments anymore so I decided to try a new technique QSM3, which focuses on loosening the fascia (a thin interwoven sheath of fibrous tissue that runs from head to toe enclosing muscle and organs). The theory is that if this is softened, the muscles will loosen up and the c1 and c2 will go back to their cozy place.
I’ve also been working with a physical therapist as well to help me get a good stretch. Once those muscles kink up, it’s so hard to get them to relax.
Most people run to get a massage when their neck gets bad, and I have nothing against that. However, in some cases, it can make you worse and it may have nothing to do with the practioner. Some people just need more specific care for very stubborn muscles (NUCCA offers up X-Rays, QSM3 shows you scans, OMT carefully examines the muscles, joints and bones through tough). I’m very careful about who I go to for masages and I make sure to communicate my sensitivities.
If you’re suffering with neck chronic pain (or other symptoms related to your neck and spine), I hope this helps!