Neck muscle pain after adjustment

by Ann
(Indiana)


I was told my neck curved the wrong way and that was most likely causing my sinus issues and my left arm twitching. I went for the first adjustment and was a little sore after but not bad. After my second adjustment I got really sore. The muscles between my shoulder blades, all the way up my neck.

I also had lower back pain after the adjustment. I was afraid something was really wrong so I saw my family doctor pre-days after the adjustment. He said he didn't think there was any problem with my spine but my muscles were tight. He prescribed a muscle relaxer and said to take ibuprofen.

My back above the shoulder blades and up the sides of my neck are pulled so tight I can barely turn my head and they switch sides. It will be on the right side and then move over to the middle and then on the left side. It's been 9 days since the last adjustment. I was too sore to even consider going back.

Is this normal? The muscles are extremely stiff and sometimes it's almost a burning/hot feeling. A hot shower usually loosens it up for a little while but it comes back.

Hello Ann,
No, it's not normal. Having said that, some after treatment pain, as you had after the first visit is not unusual, particularly for chronic conditions.

The reversal of the cervical lordosis - curves the wrong way - is in my book a serious problem; you had a significant whiplash injury, perhaps a long time ago; it often leads to pain in the arm. Frankly, I doubt has anything to do with your sinuses, but that's my opinion, so take it for what it's worth.

You have also been to a 'full spine' practitioner. It's a bit controversial; no matter what, they manipulate your whole back. Personally I rarely do that any longer in the early stages of treatment for neck pain, having myself had patients with complaints not unlike yours. But once the neck has settled down, every chiropractor should check all the other joints, including for example the hip, ankle and shoulder.

What I recommend is that you go back to the chiropractor for a consultation, clearly state without treatment; tell him your tale of woe, let him examine you again, and explain things from his point of view; go home, and weigh it, and take it from there. This is especially true if he comes highly recommended by a friend or family member; if you found him because he has the largest advert in the yellow pages, then take that it into account.

I would not recommend you do nothing; give it a few weeks perhaps to let things settle, but you should pursue this, particularly if you have pain in the arm.

Let me know how you get on.

Dr B



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May 16, 2017
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Still no improvement.
by: Ann

I am still having neck pain since the April 13 visit.

I had an MRI of the cervical spine and saw my husband's orthopedic spine specialist. He said the spine is fine other than a small protrusion at C5/C6 that wouldn't be causing any problems. He thinks the chiropractor made my muscles very angry with a too aggressive approach.

They had been in the wrong position possibly for over 30 years due to a bad wreck that involved several flips. I'm full of knots and keep having spasms up the back of my neck and into the back of my head. It's been miserable! He sent me to physiotherapy with a muscle specialist and thinks it will take about 16 visits. The PT wants to try dry needing and says I have some of the tightest muscles she's worked with. Yay me! I'm doing heat, muscle relaxers, ibuprofen and a tens unit.

Hello Ann,
You're on the right track at least for the present until things settle down again.

Meantime work on basics; don't sleep on your tum and try to avoid putting your neck in odd positions. Park where you don't have to crane your neck to reverse.

Ask the PT to show your husband how to do some gentle massage.

I'm afraid old whiplashes leave their mark; that reversal of the curve is very significant.

Give it time.

Dr B

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