Mark: Hi, it’s Mark Bossert here with Dr. Harold Meinzer of Evolution Wellness in Vancouver and North Langley here in beautiful, rainy BC. How are you doing this morning, Dr. Harold?

Dr Harold: Doing great. How are you this morning, Mark?

Mark: Good. A little bit chilly. It’s actually been more of a spring in the summer so far. So today we’re gonna talk about neck pain. People have called me a pain in the neck, and of course I really tried to do that. But what’s going on with neck pain? You see a lot of this?

Dr Harold: Yeah, it’s probably in the top three problems that people list on their intake forms. And if you look statistically, I guess they’re saying that approximately between 10% and 25% of the population are going to be affected by some kind of neck pain.

So I thought today we’ll take a quick look at it. I mean, it’s such a broad topic to talk about, but we’ll kinda touch on a bunch of different aspects of it, and I thought maybe we’d start with some of the common causes of neck pain. And then people kind of aware of the basic things, like arthritis and obviously injuries that can happen. That’d be trauma from a car accident or it’s summertime here in BC, so obviously trampoline injuries, that’s one of the things I see in the office all the time that’s kind of interesting.

Also like osteoporosis, that’s a common one. Repetitive overuse, we’ll talk about that in a second, along with degenerative changes in the neck. That’s as we age, we’re all aging so we can get that. And repetitive overuse and I kind of clump that together with posture, muscle strain and stress. And so, repetitive overuse would be, right now I see a lot of it people are talking on their phones and texting. Text, text, text, text with their head down in that forward position, and it’s calling people like text neck and all sorts of different little acronyms that are getting.

But when you add that with stress, and stress kind of increases, our shoulders kind of pop up towards our ears and that gives us sort of these muscle strains, and that all can cause pain.

Mark: So, what’s the typical procedure that you follow in the office to start treating this, diagnosing it?

Dr Harold: Yeah, I think typical treatment patterns would be, obviously we want to identify what’s the underlying cause, and if you’re doing something repetitively or some postural strain, then we want to correct that as soon as possible. And then the basics, ice/heat at home, any kind of stretching. Stretching routines can be beneficial. We kind of forget about our neck when we stretch. We always think about our low back or legs, right? Hamstrings are tight, glutes are tight, but you know, the neck can cause some of that or need some of that stretching as well.

Reduction in stress. Yeah, that’s a broad topic. I want to send everybody to Hawaii for three weeks. That’ll help them. And then the home treatment would kind of end there, and then treatment in the office would be a little bit different.

Mark: So, explain about what makes it different in the office? What are you doing to actual diagnose and then dig deeper? I guess, what treatment you’re going to do.

Dr Harold: Yeah, and it would depend on the problem underlying. We’ll go through a history exam and then we’ll arrive at a diagnosis, and then treatment will follow that course. I mean, we always want to check the underlying structure, what’s happening in the neck, the vertebral segments, and then also the muscle system. What’s taut, what’s tender? If there’s trigger point therapy that’s needed, and I do some of that myofascial release in the office, but if it’s even beyond what I can do within my limited time, then we’ll refer to one of the massage therapists in the office and they can get an hour of treatment, usually it’s going to be once a week for the next six weeks, to really work on the muscular system. And that will be very synergistic together with what work I do with structure. And, then obviously my favourite topic, the laser.

Mark: So how does the laser play into this? I imagine it’s pretty effective because the muscles are pretty close to the surface there.

Dr Harold: Yeah, treating in the neck, I always sort of start around where the nerve roots are exiting and will branch out depending on on the problem. But yeah, the muscle system is pretty superficial, and then as we go through, we really want to increase the blood flow. We increase blood flow to all that, especially the muscle system when you have all these knots, which are like metabolic waste and lactic acid trigger points, we can roll through that and create a lot of energy into those points and that will help disseminate and dissolve those trigger points. And then also, it works as a bit of an anti-inflammatory, and then pain relief, as well.

Mark: So basically the laser, again is just stimulating the body’s natural way of dealing with these things. It’s just stimulating it and speeding up the natural process the body might take a few months or even years to resolve, it’s going to do in a few days because it’s stimulation. Is that fair?

Dr Harold: Yeah, it’s pretty accurate. It’s going to stimulate that cell to turn over quicker. A lot of times these cells, I tell patients they kind of limp along. They don’t have enough energy to heal. They don’t have enough energy to cause a reaction. So then, when we give it that boost of energy, then everything turns over quicker, then that cell will be able to heal at a faster rate, and it is the natural process.

And really with lasers, there’s no risk. There’s maybe operator error if I fall asleep while I’m treating somebody, but really there’s no risk to treatment, and that’s one of the reasons I love using it in the office. It doesn’t exacerbate anything. It’s not an x-ray or a microwave, or it doesn’t destroy any or damage any tissue, it’s just a stimulatory effect to the cell. And so, I love that because there’s little to no risk and a big upside.

Mark: So, how does that compare to the wobblers? The things that sort of pound away, and I’ve seen some of that advertised. What’s that doing, and how’s that compared to laser?

Dr Harold: Some of those like shockwave treatments and things, that really is sort of like a mechanical repetitive. I guess it’s sort of pounds into the tissue, and that’s in a way trying to stimulate blood flow as well. But I think with the laser it’s less invasive and it can have a longstanding reaction into that tissue. So, I like things that feel a little bit easier, a little bit lighter and doesn’t really cause any pain. So, my first choice is always the least invasive therapy and I think laser fulfills that.

Mark: And in the course of treatments, what have patients been telling you as far as the reduction in pain and inflammation, and how quickly are they getting back to more normal functioning?

Dr Harold: Yeah, that happens pretty quick. I found all my outcomes get better when I combine therapies. So, with some structural work, soft tissue work and laser, we really can get rid of that inflammation fast, and then if there’s any structural underlying work that needs to be done, then that will make things easier and quicker as well.

So usually I say to patients, we kind of look at a six treatment protocol in the beginning. Each time, we’re always monitoring how things are changing and if we need to change or alter our treatment, but usually within those treatments we can get some pretty good results. Decreased pain, that’s always the first thing, and then usually an increase in mobility in those areas as well.

Mark: So there you go. If you’ve got a pain in the neck and it’s not your husband, the guy to see is Dr. Harold Meinzer at Evolution Chiropractic. You can reach him at (604) 881-2404 to book your appointment. You have to call and book ahead, they’re busy. Or check out the website, vancouverchiroevolution.com. They’re located both in Vancouver and North Langley for your convenience. And get that laser on there. You’ll feel a lot better, a lot quicker. Thanks Harold.

Dr Harold: All right, thanks Mark. Have a great day.