Baltimore Chiropractor >    Acts that Might Create Neck Pain and Chiropractic Treatments that Can Help
Acts that Might Create Neck Pain and Chiropractic Treatments that Can Help
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Baltimore, MD
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Acts that Might Create Neck Pain and Chiropractic Treatments that Can Help

The cervical spine (better known as the neck), which has seven vertebrae, has its origin at the base of the skull. The cervical spine is responsible for holding your head, which is no small feat considering your head weighs several pounds. Your neck is quite flexible, letting you move your head in many directions. This flexibility also comes at a price, for it also makes it more vulnerable.

The reason for this vulnerability is attributed to the biomechanics of the cervical spine. Repetitive movements, injury, sitting for prolonged periods, or merely the natural process of aging and its attendant side-effects can affect your neck's health. Cervical pain is very uncomfortable, no matter what the cause is.

These are what causes neck pain?

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 so-called ?rebound? is a result of muscles reacting to strain by contracting themselves. Contractions provoke pain, stiffness, and muscle fatigue. More severe cases of whiplash may be linked to intervertebral joint injury, or damage to the discs, nerve roots, muscles, or ligaments. Whiplash and car accidents are often connected.

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.

What spinal stenosis does is contract the vertebrae's nerve passageways. This, in turn, also contracts the nerve roots and hinders them. In addition to neck pain, spinal stenosis can also affect the shoulder and arm, bringing numbness and pain to these areas.

Degenerative disc disease also influences the elasticity and height of intervertebral discs. Over the long term, a bulge or a hernia could result in a disc. This could prompt tingling, numbness, and pain in the arm.

Osteoarthritis, a common occurrence, results in progressive degeneration of cartilage. The body's response is to create bone spurs, which in turn, affects the motion of the joints.

There are also daily habits that can aggravate the cervical spine. Maintaining a poor posture and being overweight can cause changes in spinal balance and cues the neck to compensate by leaning over. Strain of an emotional nature, as well as stress, causes muscle tightness and compression, bringing pain and stiffness. The stress on the spine can result in permanent neck pain, which may also end up affecting the arms and upper back.

A thorough evaluation of the experienced symptoms is employed in order to find out the exact source of the pain. The chiropractor may ask questions regarding the amount of time you've had the discomfort, what remedies or tactics you've tried, whether other parts of your body are affected, and what, if anything, helps to alleviate the pain. Your chiropractor may also conduct physical and neurological exams. Physical examinations like these help to reveal your posture, range of motion, and physical shape, as well as isolating the kind of movements that create pain. The spine is examined manually in order to establish its alignment and precise curvature, and learn whether there are spasms in the muscles. The shoulders may also be examined.

In the neurological exam, the emphasis will be on checking your muscle strength, reflexes, and extent of pain and how far it has spread. Some cases may also make it necessary to perform additional tests to diagnose the exact condition. An X-ray, for example, helps reveal fractures, bone spurs, and a contracted disc space. A magnetic resonance imaging test (a MRI), or an axial tomography scan (CAT or CT scan), could establish the spot of a dilated disc. When nerve damage is possibly the cause of pain, an electromyography (aka EMG) could be suggested; this test evaluates nerve responsiveness.

Cervical Adjustments: Cervical manipulation entails, for the most part, manual adjustment of the neck joints. The goal of these neck adjustments is to improve mobility of the spine, and aid its range of motion. In addition, it may also raise the amount of movement of the adjoining muscles. People who undergo cervical adjustments typically report that they are better able to move their heads; they also have less pain, stiffness, and soreness.

Research findings support the use of chiropractic spinal manipulation for the treatment of patients with chronic neck pain. Comprehensive clinical trials reported significant improvement of chronic neck pain as a result of spinal manipulation. Following weeks of treatment, the different trial groups demonstrated improvement of reported symptoms.

Each patient stands to benefit from a personalized line of treatment. The use of massage, rehabilitative exercises, and mobilization of the affected area could complement the treatment regimen. Contact your chiropractic doctor; it's an invaluable first step to figuring out how to care for your cervical spine.

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