The Best Way to Manage Neck Pain

Dr. Taves’ 5th podcast discusses neck pain, the association it has with migraines, and how best to manage it. Neck pain tends to be more common in men, and especially with veterans who have experienced previous trauma or whiplash.

While chiropractors tend to focus on the

alignment of the neck, joints, and spine,

physical therapists focus on restoring movement

and mobility to the body in order to reduce pain.

Dr. Taves explains how the neck is often the most

overlooked cause for head pain. There is a single

joint in the neck that is responsible for giving the

neck 45 degrees of rotation and also allows the

head to make a nodding motion. What often

happens is that patients will lose that motion in the

first and second joints of the neck. This doubles the

amount of stress placed on the lower joints of the

neck. Because the work load is doubled on the

upper joints of the neck, the joints have to work

twice as hard to move the head.

As a result, the upper joints of the neck become

worn and could possibly tear.

An MRI or x-ray scan can often pick up on the

degenerative changes made on the lower joints

of the neck. The bone structure may be shortened

or malformed. However, MRI scans or x-rays are

unable to identify the reason why there are bone

deformations. The joints are worn because they

have lost mobility and are straining to move the


Dr. Taves explains that because the joints aren’t

working as well, the muscles in the neck, shoulders,

and upper back have to work harder. Many patients

experience muscle tension or aching in their back

and neck. They can also experience pain radiating

into their shoulders, a numbness, tingling, or sharp

pain. Massages aren’t always affective in eradicating

this pain, because tense muscles aren’t the problem.

The root problem is the joints, which need to be


Dr. Taves works with various patients who suffer

from different kinds of neck tension or back pain.

For example, many people hold their heads in a

forward position which creates tension in the CTG

junction, which is where the neck and upper back

come together.

Also, Dr. Taves addresses carpal tunnel syndrome,

which he says does not have to be treated surgically.

He says that the numbness and tingling which

accompanies carpal tunnel syndrome is connected to

a nerve which can be traced up to the shoulder and

cervical spine. If the source of the pain is dealt with,

by restoring mobility and releasing the tension in the

nerve, then carpal tunnel syndrome can be resolved

without surgery.

Neck pain is often the most overlooked cause of

migraines, but Dr. Taves believes that by focusing on

neck pain we can resolve headaches. He works so

that his patients can live independently, free from pain

and medication.

Click here to listen to this episode of The Headache Doctor Podcast.

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