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Nearly everyone at some time or other has known a pain in the neck. No, not that kind, an actual pain in the neck! From stiffness to tenderness, pains in the neck are all too common. But is it any wonder. Consider the possibilities: poor posture and stress, abuse and neglect, wear and tear. You force your joints to work incorrectly and stretch and strain the other tissues in your neck. Using "hands-on" care, your chiropractor can help get your neck working again and alleviate the pain and stiffness. So just what kind of problems can you have in your neck?
Stiffness or hypomobility results from poor posture, static posture, tiredness, stress and muscle tightness. If you do not move your neck enough you will feel stiff, tight, achy and eventually pain and probably headache. This is what typically occurs when holding the phone on your shoulder rather than in your hand or using a headset. You have to be careful because it might gradually creep up on you. Left untreated it develops into degeneration of the joints of your neck (osteoarthritis) and tension headaches.
Instability or hypermobility is what occurs in a car accident. The tissues which hold your head up - ligaments - can be stretched or torn causing your head to feel "loose" and generating considerable pain in your neck because it is allowed to move around too much. If this is not treated quickly considerable problems will occur in the way your neck works and feels, including the formation of scar tissue and disc problems.
Degenerative Joint Disease or "old age" or "wear and tear" occurs in response to long term joint dysfunction due to abnormal stress. Over time the compression of the disc causes them to lose their elasticity and they thin out. Your vertebrae develop bone spurs. Both can cause significant irritation to the tender nerves causing neck, arm and head pain. It may even reach down between your shoulders. Left untreated, this condition gradually causes more and more stress to the nerves which results in increasing dysfunction in the nerve which may if left long enough become irreversible.
Nerve Root Problems or neuralgia, neuritis or radiculitis, result from direct irritation of the nerves as they exit from the spinal canal. They can be irritated and inflammed or stretched and pinched triggering shooting pains down your arms and into your hands especially when turning your neck. They may be associated with numbness, pins and needles, tingling, weakness, trigger points and referred pain. The cause may be facet joint problems or disc herniations or severe osteoarthritis. If it is not treated the pain will become excrutiating and intolerable and allow further degenerative changes to take place.
Your neck is made up of the seven vertebrae. Strong yet flexible it supports your head and protects the spinal cord and cervical nerves where they exit the spine. It should be well balanced with a slight forward curve (lordosis) and allows an extensive range of motion. Your neck moves more than any other area of your spine. In turning side to side (rotation), it moves 90° in each direction. In bending ear to shoulder (lateral flexion), 60° to each side. Forward and backward (flexion/extension) totals about 90°. If you have a neck problem it will adversely affect this range of motion, referred to as CROM.
Part of the process of recovery will include spinal adjustments and the use of ice and/or heat as your chiropractor will advise. Your part of the care requires the understanding of how your neck got into this predicament in the first place. Whether you're standing, sitting, lifting, moving or sleeping, your posture is important. Learn the dos and don'ts of good posture and practice them.
Once the acute episode is over, you will be given exercises to do to increase the flexibility and/or strengthen in your neck. These are extremely valuable for they will be the first line of defense in preventing a recurrence of your injury. Do them daily as directed by your chiropractor. Another phase of care will be the analysis of your job to discover what you may do to improve your neck hygiene. Little things like moving regularly if using a computer terminal all day, stretching regularly, using a telephone headset and thinking before acting go a long way to making sure you have a healthy and pain-free neck.
Hello my name is Laura Critten and I first became a patient in June of ’07. In 2005 I became aware of severe pain in my back. Because of this pain I couldn’t stand or walk. I suffered from headaches, I couldn’t sleep and I had no energy. I tried different kinds of treatments such as medications and surgery but the only results from these treatments were severe pain and loss of movement. Within two weeks of starting chiropractic care I had more mobility and less pain. I was able to stand in lines and walk a short distance. The staff is very friendly and helpful. Dr. Maurer is good at explaining treatments and how they work.
Hello! My name is Diana. I started coming to Family Back and Neck Care Centre in November 2011 after I fell. After my fall I began to have headaches, back, and neck pain. I couldn’t even put my own shoes and socks on! After two or three treatments I was already feeling improvement! I’m able to walk without a cane and am able to get back to some of my hobbies like sewing. I feel like I have regained my life back! The staff is very nice and friendly and the doctors are very good at what they do.
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