Chronic neck pain is often accompanied by inflammation. When the soft tissues within the neck become inflamed, increasing amounts of pressure are put on the nerves and blood vessels that travel through the neck and to the head. The brain needs an abundance of freshly oxygenated blood to function efficiently. Without the oxygen and nutrients it needs, the brain can't function at full capacity. When this happens, blood vessels in the brain constrict causing pain and discomfort. Chiropractic adjustments can help to reduce the inflammation within neck tissue, restoring blood flow and providing the brain with the nutrients and oxygen it needs to function efficiently.
Massage therapy can also be used to reduce the pain and inflammation in the neck and head. Massaging both the head and neck can improve blood flow to the area, providing much-needed nutrients and helping to repair damaged tissues. A massage therapist can also manipulate soft tissue in the neck area that doesn't get stretched during exercise. These muscles are usually the first to tighten causing pain and stiffness, especially in the scalp and face. Gentle massage can strengthen and tone those hard-to-reach muscles, reducing stress and allowing a person to relax. When combined with chiropractic adjustments, massage therapy strengthens and supports the effects of the adjustments, which makes them last longer and hasten the healing process.
Chiropractors have different views on how often they should see their patients. Immediately after a severe injury, a patient may need to be seen every 1-2 days to ensure the spinal structure stays in alignment and the inflammation associated with the injury is kept in check. Once the injury begins to heal, a doctor may reduce the number of visits to once or twice a week. Some chiropractors believe that no further treatment is necessary once an injury heals, and a patient only needs to return if they're injured or in pain. Other chiropractors believe that regular adjustments offer a type of maintenance that keeps the body strong and in constant balance, reducing general pain and discomfort.
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