Starting at the base of your skull, your cervical spine (also known as your neck) is made of seven vertebrae. Considering your head weighs quite a few pounds, your neck's responsibility of holding it up is a feat. Your flexible neck is prone to injury and pain because of its very flexibility, which allows you to move your head in various directions.
This sensitivity is due to the neck's biomechanics. Some factors that can affect your neck's health are: injury, sitting for long periods, and side effects associated with aging ? to name a few. Neck pain is irksome, regardless of the reasons that are causing it.
The factors that cause neck pain are as follows?
1. Accidents and injuries: Whiplash, for instance, can damage the tissues that are supporting the head and neck due to its abrupt rebound effect. The ?rebound? results from muscles that react to strain by constraining themselves. This contraction induces fatigue, pain, and stiffness. Whiplash cases are related to intervertebral joint injury, and to weakened ligaments, muscles, nerve roots, or discs. Car accidents are often linked with whiplash.
2. Aging Issues: Disorders that have a degenerative origin can present themselves as spinal stenosis, age-linked disc problems, and osteoarthritis. Such conditions negatively affect the spine.
Spinal stenosis narrows the nerve passageways in the vertebrae. This contracts and blocks the nerve roots, impairing them. The attendant pain is just part of the story; spinal stenosis could also affect the shoulders and arms with numbness and pain.
A degenerative disc disease could impact the height and elasticity of intervertebral discs, prompting a bulge or hernia to develop in a disc, which in turn can bring tingling, pain, and numbness in the arm.
Progressive degeneration of cartilage occurs with osteoarthritis, a common condition. The way the body responds is to form bone spurs, and affecting joint motion.
Adherence to a few habits can also aggravate the neck. Obesity or poor posture, for example, affects spinal balance, prompting the cervical spine to compensate; it leans forward to do this. Causing stiffness and pain, stress and emotional distress tightens muscles, making them compress. This type of stress on the spine can create permanent cervical pain, which then impairs the upper back and arms.
A comprehensive assessment of the reported symptoms is made in order to pinpoint the exact source of the pain. Your chiropractor could deem it useful to learn how long you've had the pain, what methods of pain relief you've tried on the affected bodily parts, and what has been helpful so far. It might also be useful to perform physical and neurological exams. Physical exams are helpful in revealing the type of movements that bring pain, as well assessing your posture, range of motion, and overall physical shape. Your chiropractor will employ a hands-on approach to evaluate your spine. This helps determine the spine's alignment and exact curvature, and tell whether there are muscle spasms present. In addition, the shoulders will also be evaluated.
The focus of the neurological exam is to check for reflexes, muscle strength, and the extent and reach of pain. For some patients, more tests may also be helpful to make the right diagnosis. The likes of bone spurs, fractures, and a contracted disc space may be made apparent with the aid of an X-ray. The test commonly known as a MRI, or a CAT or CT scan, could disclose the location of a dilated disc. Nerve damage may also be causing the pain; your chiropractor may recommend an electromyography (EMG) in this case, for this test can test the responsiveness of nerves.
Neck Adjustments: Neck adjustments usually translate into manual adjustments of the joints on the neck. Spinal manipulation may restore mobility of the spine and improve its range of motion. Neck adjustments may also benefit the connecting muscles by raising their amount of movement. Patients say that cervical adjustments help them move their heads more, and alleviate stiffness, soreness, and pain.
Expert opinion encourages the employment of spinal manipulation; it's considered beneficial to patients with chronic neck pain. Thorough clinical tests have shown that patients with chronic neck pain experienced marked improvement of their symptoms as a result of spinal adjustments. Even after many weeks of treatment, all the trial groups showed improvement of their symptoms.
Chiropractors devise treatments to suit each patient's needs. The employment of rehabilitative exercises, massage, and exercises that mobilize the affected region may also be recommended. When you contact your chiropractic doctor; you'll be on your way to receiving solid treatment for your neck issues.