Starting at the base of your skull, your cervical spine (also known as your neck) is made of seven vertebrae. It's up to your neck to hold your head. Your head, however, weighs several pounds so the task isn't easy. 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. Factors that can influence your neck's health include injury, prolonged sitting periods, aging and its attendant issues. 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 muscles counteract the pain by contracting themselves, causing the ?rebound? phenomenon. This contraction induces fatigue, pain, and stiffness. Whiplash cases, when serious, are known to coincide with intervertebral joint injury, and to damaged muscles, ligaments, 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. In addition to cervical pain, the condition also influences the shoulder and arm (making them numb and painful, for instance).
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.
Osteoarthritis, a common condition, causes gradual degeneration of cartilage, creating bone spurs and affecting joint motion.
Also, a few habitual routines can harm the cervical spine. 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. Questions that could be asked are how long you've lived with the pain, what methods have been tried to deal with the pain and which parts of the body are affected; in addition, your chiropractor may want to know what has helped address the pain. 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 emphasis of the neurological evaluation is to examine your reflexes, muscle strength, as well as the pain's extent and reach. For some patients, more tests may also be helpful to make the right diagnosis. A contracted disc space, bone spurs, and fractures can be revealed with 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.
Adjustments to the Neck: Cervical adjustments typically mean hands-on adjustments to the neck joints. Spinal manipulation may restore mobility of the spine and improve its range of motion. Cervical manipulation could also help restore movement of the adjoining muscles. 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. Extensive trials have attested that people with ongoing neck pain receive significant help from 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.