Your cervical spine, commonly referred to as your neck, is made up of seven vertebrae. Your ?neck? begins at the base of your skull. The vertical spine holds up your head, a heavy ordeal considering it weighs quite a bit (several pounds). Because your neck is very flexible, making you able to move your head to and fro in many directions, it's also more susceptible to injury and pain.
The reason for this vulnerability is attributed to the biomechanics of the cervical spine. Factors that can influence your neck's health include injury, prolonged sitting periods, aging and its attendant issues. Regardless of the reasons, cervical pain can present considerable discomfort.
Do you have a pain in your neck? The contributing factors are?
1. Accidents and Injury: Whiplash results from a sudden, abrupt movement of the neck or head that causes a rebound effect that may damage the tissues supporting the neck and head. The muscles counteract the pain by contracting themselves, causing the ?rebound? phenomenon. This contraction leads to muscle fatigue, stiffness, and pain. Acute whiplash cases are linked with intervertebral joint injury, as well as ailing nerve roots, muscles, ligaments, or discs. Car accidents are commonly associated with causing whiplash.
2. Aging: Disorders of a degenerative nature can take the form of spinal stenosis, osteoarthritis, and age-related disc ailments. They all have a direct influence on the spine.
Spinal stenosis narrows the nerve passageways in the vertebrae, making it contract and block nerve roots and thus, impair the nerves. Along with cervical pain, spinal stenosis may also harm the arm and shoulder, making them numb and painful.
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.
Some regular habits can also worsen issues with the neck. Improper postural habits or obesity, for instance, can shift spinal balance, putting the neck in a position of leaning over to compensate for the imbalance. Causing stiffness and pain, stress and emotional distress tightens muscles, making them compress. The stress on the spine can result in permanent neck pain, which may also end up affecting the arms and upper back.
A chiropractic doctor performs exams and investigates your reported symptoms in an effort to locate the exact source of the pain. Your chiropractic doctor could inquire about the length of time the patient has had the discomfort, the remedial approaches that has been previously tried, whether the discomfort has spread to other bodily parts, and what has helped offset the pain. Neurological and physical tests may also be needed. As well as showing the type of movements that are causing the problems, they help to evaluate your range of motion, general physical shape, and postural habits. 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. There are cases where other tests might be needed in order to properly diagnose your condition. Fractures, bone spurs, and a contracted disc space could be disclosed with an X-ray. Tests like an axial tomography scan, such as a CAT or CT scan, or a magnetic resonance imaging test (a MRI), could highlight the exact place 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. This type of neck adjustments effectively improves the mobility of the spine, restoring range of motion. Neck adjustments may also aid movement of connecting muscles. People who get neck adjustments show greater capacity to move their heads, and tend to report less soreness, pain, and stiffness.
Research findings support the use of chiropractic spinal manipulation for the treatment of patients with chronic neck pain. Extensive trials have attested that people with ongoing neck pain receive significant help from spinal adjustments. All the trial groups responded to treatment, showing improvement for weeks after treatment.
Chiropractic doctors create personalized treatments for the individual needs of each patient. The employment of rehabilitative exercises, massage, and exercises that mobilize the affected region may also be recommended. Contact your chiropractic doctor; it's an invaluable first step to figuring out how to care for your cervical spine.