CHIROPRACTIC CARE AND ACTIVE RELEASE TECHNIQUE FOR NECK PAIN
In the age of computers and smartphones, neck pain is becoming more and more common. Poor posture when bent over a screen or holding the head in the same position for a long time can cause pain, muscle tightness and spasms, decreased range of motion of the head, and even headaches (https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/neck-pain/symptoms-causes/syc-20375581).
Chiropractic care can help treat the underlying causes of neck pain and Active Release Technique is a treatment that can be helpful if the cause of the neck pain is the soft tissue.
What causes neck pain?
There are three main causes of neck pain:
the neck becoming locked in an awkward position while sleeping
injury (e.g. whiplash, from a fall, or sports related)
While all of these causes result in neck pain, their treatments can look quite different.
What is chiropractic care?
Chiropractic care is a technique that uses hands-on manipulation of the spine and joints. The clinician manually applies directed impulses to the joints in the spine and neck. They can also use
movements, as well as gradually moving the joints into different positions and stretching the muscles into different positions.
Chiropractic care is used to treat conditions that have arisen from a misalignment of the joints. Neck pain can be a result of a misalignment in the spine and, if it is, the clinician can use a number of different spinal manipulation techniques that can help to relieve it. For example, chiropractic care can be effective if neck pain is caused by a pinched nerve.
Neck pain is not always due to spinal misalignment, however. It can also be a result of problems with the soft tissue. For example, bad posture can cause a misalignment of the neck joint and it can also cause damage to the soft tissue in the neck. In this case, spinal manipulation in conjunction with treatment of the soft tissue could yield a more complete result. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4563290/). Many chiropractic clinicians now offer active release technique to target the soft tissue.
What is active release technique?
Overuse or injury can cause adhesions scar tissue and inflammation in muscles, ligaments, tendons, and fascia (connective tissue). This scar tissue can cause tightening, pain, and stiffness. In many cases, neck pain can be a result of this scar tissue.
Active Release Technique (ART) aims to redirect the scar tissue and breakup adhesions in the affected area to reduce pain and bring back the full range of motion to the muscles. It is different from classic chiropractic care in that involves active movement on the part of the patient with more focus on the connective tissue, muscles, ligaments, and tendons around the joint (https://www.healthline.com/health/active-release-technique#:~:text=What%20is%20active%20release%20technique,to%20break%20up%20scar%20tissue.).
The clinician, using their hands, will apply tension at the site of the adhesion/scar tissue and the patient is then instructed to move the injury site from a shortened to a lengthened position (https://davieschiropracticcare.co.uk/active-release-technique/).
Studies have shown that patients with neck pain who received ART showed significant changes in their pain scores and the range of movement in their neck (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4563290/).
Neck pain can be caused by a variety of factors and a chiropractic clinician will be able to assess and diagnose what the root cause of the neck pain is before devising a treatment plan. Active Release Technique is an effective treatment that can be offered if the neck pain is due to scar tissue in the neck. Very often, there is also a misalignment of the spine as well. In which case, a treatment plan that combines spinal manipulation and ART can be the most beneficial.