Chiropractic Care of the Lower Neck Improves Neck and Shoulder Pain

As neuromuscular specialists, chiropractic physicians treat many health conditions, placing particular emphasis on the vertebral column and nervous system. Chiropractors evaluate each patient’s postural and backbone health to determine areas of irritation that require treatment to ensure good nerve function and to reduce back pain and other conditions. They recognize that nerves emanating from the spine have the potential to affect health in many ways, and that individual spinal segments affect posture and back pain. Chiropractic physicians evaluate the spine and whole body to determine the best method and place of treatment. Each nerve and vertebral segment is important and has a particular function that affects health in vital ways.

For instance, the fifth cervical spinal nerve is the nerve that exits the spinal column in the lower mid neck region just above the fifth cervical vertebrae. This nerve is part of several larger peripheral nerves that travel to crucial muscles and other areas in the shoulder and neck. Irritation of the fifth cervical vertebra puts pressure on this cervical spinal nerve and impede function of those regions and cause changes in skin sensation related to the nerve. Neck pain, shoulder irritation or headache can indicate irritation of the fifth cervical spinal nerve.  A chiropractor can diagnosis the cause of the neck and shoulder pain and whether there is spinal involvement and provide effective gentle treatment.

There are several peripheral nerves made up of parts of the fifth cervical spinal nerve. These include: the long thoracic nerve, the phrenic nerve the dorsal scapular nerve, , the upper trunk of the brachial plexus and the musculocutaneous nerve. Muscles innervated by these nerves include: the middle scalene muscle that lifts the top ribs, the levator scapalue that elevates the shoulder blade, and the rhomboid muscles that hold the scapula toward the spine. Other muscles include the serratus anterior muscle which is a muscle that attaches the first eight ribs to the scapula, as well as the muscles on the anterior compartment of the arm that flex the arm such as the flexor carpi radialis and palmaris longus muscles, and that flex the wrist and fingers such as the flexor carpi ulnaris and flexor digitorum superficialis muscles. Importantly, the fifth cervical spinal nerve also contributes fibers to the phrenic nerve, involved with breathing.  

Irritation of the mid neck in the region of the fifth cervical spinal nerve has the capacity to affect many areas as described. When there is irritation to the mid neck either from injury or chronic degeneration, the spinal nerve suffers and connected muscles and ligament suffer, as well. Patients may notice symptoms such as headache, shoulder bursitis and imbalance, back muscle tightness, neck pain, arm and hand weakness or problems with the fingers. Chiropractors treat problem areas using a combination of supportive techniques.

Uniquely, chiropractors adjust spinal misalignment using mobilization techniques that are both gentle and effective. Some emphasize hands-on mobilization and others use Activator technique to improve vertebral position and stability. Additionally, many chiropractors use massage helps to relax tight muscles and other beneficial therapies. 

The fifth cervical spinal nerve is just one of the spinal segments that benefits from chiropractic care. Whenever you or a loved one suffers from pain and other health problem, contact a chiropractic and acupuncture office for an appointment with a chiropractor, like a chiropractor from Acupractic Natural Healing Center at Eastowne, for more information.