Trying to avoid the experience of neck pain over the course of your life, may seem impossible. With the amount of moving parts that are a part of the necks use and function, it can become more obvious as to why this would be a difficult goal to achieve. The neck and cervical spine alone are comprised of seven vertebrae, all requiring a certain amount of strength and flexibility to function optimally. The top to vertebrae are responsible not only for bearing the entire 10 to 12 pounds of weight of the head, but allowing it the free movement you enjoy on a daily basis. It is normal for this range of movement to be unimpeded by pain, whether turning side to side, tilting the head either way and so on.
The design of the neck is partly the reason for it being so vulnerable to injury and pain. Repeated movements, a sudden fall, or an accident can all be a part of the wear and tear leading up to neck pain. In order to find the best way to treat neck pain, it is important to understand more about the neck and the parts involved in its functionality.
Common Causes of Back Pain
Most cases of neck pain originate in some common areas:
- Accidents or injury – neck trauma can happen for multiple reasons. Among the most common reasons for injury to the neck are car accidents and sports injuries. Head trauma of any kind can injure the bones and soft tissues of the neck. To promote the most restorative healing, the corrective treatment as immediately as possible following the injury.
- Osteoarthritis – over time, the spine’s many joints can degrade. This means that the cartilage that normally prevents bones from rubbing into each other wears thin causing symptoms to develop as the joint wears down more and more over time.
- Disc degeneration –between each vertebra, there are discs set in your spine that provide cushion for any movement. These discs actually absorb much of the force that our body experiences during daily activity. If improper movement is repeated over time and the person lacks certain nutrients, the discs will begin to wear, and the center of the disc (the nucleus pulposis) can start to push through the outer fibrous rings. This can be the cause of excruciating pain as it irritates the nerve root.
- Spinal stenosis – stenosis occurs when the canal that the spinal cord passes through, narrows, compressing the nerves. Sometimes this is associated with and follows onset of degenerative disc disease, arthritis of the joints, and formation of bone spurs. Other causes of narrowing of the spinal canal is a spinal misalignment.
- Spinal misalignments – spinal misalignments, or subluxation, often result from injury or simple wear and tear. If the vertebrae of your spine misalign, it can irritate the surrounding tissues which can cause muscle spasm, pain, and nerve compromise.
While every possible kind of accident that could cause a trauma to the head is unavoidable, there are other reasons for neck pain that could reduce or even prevent it using natural methods.
The Difference of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care
It takes a systematic and in depth approach to find the cause of your neck pain, involving a historical record that illuminates where and when the pain first began. This also involves learning about what measures have been taken to find relief, ad whether the pain is central to the neck or radiates outwards from there, and knowing if there are certain things that improve or worsen the pain.
The upper cervical chiropractic approach is different than other practices, as it focuses on the part of the neck just below the skull. The two uppermost vertebrae here are called the atlas, which the weight of the head rests upon, and the axis, which allows the head its range of motion. The bones in this pat fo the neck are unique in their shape as well as their function, however these unique qualities actually make the neck susceptible to injury. The fact that there is so much mobility permitted here, make it more vulnerable than the rest of the spine where the joints are restricted and interlocked together.
The head shifts out of its neutral position when the atlas misaligns, putting unusual amounts of stress on the soft tissues of the neck. This causes a domino effect, requiring the ligaments, tendons, and muscles to compensate for the spinal misalignment. This can result in other joints in the neck to lock up or move improperly, leading to additional issues.
An upper cervical misalignment could lead to more severe problems. The atlas (C1) and the axis (C2) of the upper neck, have the vital role of protecting the brainstem. The brainstem is like a control center many of the body’s life-sustaining functions that are an integral part of the body’s central nervous system (CNS). The pressure of an upper cervical misalignment on the brainstem could distort normal brain-body signals travelling over the CNS, sending inaccurate messages. Mnay health conditions could onset as a result, including migraines, headaches, TMJ dysfunction, and vertigo. Not surprisingly, most of these conditions are accompanied with neck pain as a symptom.
A Natural Neck Pain Solution
Your doctor will be able to locate the root cause of your neck pain using specialized upper cervical chiropractic approach. Your upper cervical chiropractor will discuss your health history and your current condition thoroughly with you. Specific and accurate diagnostic tests will be used, including x-rays that will help to identify the underlying reason for the problem. Every chiropractic adjustment is customized to meet the needs of each individual, since everyone’s bone structure is unique, and no two misalignments are the same.
Upper cervical chiropractic adjustments are extremely gentle and precise. These types of adjustments are different because the purpose is to adjust the area as slightly as possible while still initiating the restoration process toward normal spinal function. This promotes the most effective amount of healing to take place. Measurements will be taken before and after the adjustment has taken place to ensure that the spinal misalignment was corrected. Checking the spine afterwards, brings assurance to the doctor and patient so they can feel confident that the process of healing and long-term relief has begun.
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