The main neck conditions that I see for older folks relate to arthritis and loss of range of motion. The most common sign is the inability to turn the neck far enough to back the car out of parking places. This becomes dangerous and problematic when in a highly traveled area like a grocery store parking lot. If you are noticing that it is harder to get backed out and is difficult to see because you can’t turn your neck, it’s time for an assessment.
When looking at the cause of the arthritic neck, we look at past history. Some people spent their youth “cracking” their necks and now, the scar tissue has caught up with them. Other causes include past trauma, which can be from car accidents, sports injuries, or work related overuse injuries. Previous history of surgical intervention in the neck can cause additional scar tissue. If you have had a previous surgery involving a fusion, often times this will preclude you from getting a neck adjustment at all. When you come in, if you have had a fusion, please bring x-rays of the post surgery neck so I can see what I’m dealing with. With some fusion cases, it is possible to adjust with the light force instrument adjusting technique and get some relief.
Often times the arthritic neck conditions can be adjusted in the same way as the non-degenerated neck. The forces necessary are very different in these circumstances. I have found, especially with arthritis, it is better to use less force and better technique. There is also potential for using lower force instrument adjusting to relieve the fixations and restore the motion desired. Most often, I combine very specific adjusting by hand with instrument adjusting to get a maximal outcome with each visit. Additionally, I usually will suggest a stretching regime to decrease the fascial restrictions between muscles, increase pliability of scar tissue, and increase muscle length.
Many arthritis types can be dealt with and respond nicely to chiropractic care.