Hi, my name is Dr. Zach Shaw, and I am with the Upper Cervical Spine Center here in Charlotte, North Carolina. Did you know that the most common way to “treat” neck and back pain is by popping an Advil, or an Ibuprofen? Ibuprofen is a non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drug, or an NSAID. Chronic use of NSAIDs can cause a lot of problems. Research shows that they increase your risk of fatal peptic ulcers by five-fold! They can also cause acute renal failure, or kidney problems. They can cause problems with your heart, like increasing your risk for heart attacks, stroke, and even heart failure. Research shows that cognitive impairment occurs with chronic NSAID use. NSAIDs can counteract high blood pressure medications. If you are taking a blood pressure medication to keep your blood pressure lower, and then you take an Advil because you have neck pain, the blood pressure medication stops working, causing an array of issues throughout your body.
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We want to try to avoid this use of Advil when we have neck and back pain. When it comes to taking an Advil for your neck and back pain, all it really does is mask the symptoms. It never gets to the cause of that neck and back pain. Think about it: You take an Advil; the neck pain goes away. Is it because you had a deficiency in Advil? Of course not. You have never had a deficiency of a drug, so a drug like Advil is never going to fix the problem. All it does is mask the symptoms. Therefore, we must get to the cause of your neck and back pain, and that is why I do what I do as an upper cervical chiropractor. I get to the cause of your neck and back pain by locating, analyzing, and correcting interference to the nervous system.
How does this interference, or a misalignment in the upper cervical spine, cause neck and back pain? Your brain has its own reflex, called the righting reflex, that forces the brain to always be level. However, a misalignment at the top of the neck in the upper cervical spine, caused by a trauma (birth trauma, a slip and fall, a car accident, a sports injury), throws this bone out of alignment, taking the head with it, and now your brain is not level. The righting reflex kicks in, forcing a chain reaction down the entire spine to compensate for the misalignment. This causes the spine to twist, turn, bend, and rotate in order to balance the head. This allows the brain to balance, but these compensations, over time, form weak spots in the spine. These weak spots are what turn into pain, especially pain in the neck and the back.
Now you know where neck and back pain come from. Popping an Advil, or an Ibuprofen, or whatever else, is only going to mask the symptoms. We must get to the cause of your neck and back pain, so visit an upper cervical chiropractor today! If you are in the Charlotte, North Carolina area, give our office a call at (704) 588-5560. We will be happy to do a consultation, free of charge, to see if maybe your neck and back pain are related to an upper cervical issue. If you are not in the Charlotte, North Carolina area, please give our office a call anyway, and I promise we will find an upper cervical doctor as close to you as possible. I hope you learned something today. I hope you get that atlas, or that upper cervical spine, checked out! Have an amazing day.