Dustin, a 27 year old male presented to our office with severe neck pain that had been present for 5 days. He stated that he did not injure himself and that the pain “came out of nowhere.” He had been in 3 car accidents (one where the car flipped over) but had not ever severely injured his neck. He would have an occasional “crick” in his neck that would limit his range of motion, but nothing as severe as this. This issue would typically arise when he was lifting things over his head and at the gym with pressing type exercises. He also stated that he had headaches about twice a month and some intermittent right-sided TMJ pain.
Examination revealed pain generating from the lower discs and right-sided facet joints in his neck. Significant patterns of muscle and joint dysfunction were present. X-rays showed moderate disc degeneration at the 5th cervical disc with associated joint degeneration at the same level. They also showed a reversal of the normal curve in the neck. It was determined that although this gentleman had never had a severe episode of neck pain previously, this injury occurred some time in the past. His body had compensated and adapted over time as long as it could.
Initial treatment focused on decreasing inflammation and improving mobility. Joint manipulation and muscle release techniques including trigger point injections were employed, which quickly reduced the severity of the pain. Later, spine decompression and neck strengthening exercises were given to correct the reversed curve and support the new posture. Follow up radiographs were taken which showed a normal cervical curve and improved disc height.
Dustin progressed well through care. As he returned to his normal activities, he noted activities that used to cause him some pain to perform, were now able to be done pain free. He was very pleased and continues to receive maintenance treatments for prevention and to promote wellness.