Oxford Chiropractor >    Behaviors that Can Cause Neck Discomfort and Chiropractic Care that Can Ease Discomfort
Behaviors that Can Cause Neck Discomfort and Chiropractic Care that Can Ease Discomfort
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Behaviors that Can Cause Neck Discomfort and Chiropractic Care that Can Ease Discomfort

Starting at the base of your skull, your cervical spine (also known as your neck) is made of seven vertebrae. The cervical spine is responsible for holding your head, which is no small feat considering your head weighs several pounds. And while your cervical spine possesses a great deal of flexibility, allowing movement in many directions, this very same flexibility renders it prone to injury and pain.

The reason for this vulnerability is attributed to the biomechanics of the cervical spine. Various issues can affect the health of your neck; among them are injury, aging and its associated issues, and sitting for prolonged periods. Neck pain is irksome, regardless of the reasons that are causing it.

The following are contributing factors to 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 muscles are responding to the strain by contracting; this is ?rebound? effect. This contraction induces fatigue, pain, and stiffness. More severe cases of whiplash may be linked to intervertebral joint injury, or damage to the discs, nerve roots, muscles, or ligaments. Whiplash is commonly associated with car accidents.

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. This contracts and blocks the nerve roots, impairing 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 affects the height and elasticity of intervertebral discs. Ultimately, a hernia or bulge may develop in a disc. This can cause numbness, tingling, and pain along the arm.

Osteoarthritis (a common occurrence) prompts the body to form bone spurs from degenerating cartilage in joints, getting in the way of joint motion.

There are also daily habits that can aggravate the cervical spine. Obesity and poor posture, for example, alters spinal balance and forces the neck to compensate by leaning forward. Emotional strain and stress prompts muscle tightness and compression, causing stiffness and pain. The stress on the spine can result in permanent neck pain, which may also end up affecting the arms and upper back.

A comprehensive assessment of the reported symptoms is made in order to pinpoint 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. Physical and neurological exams will also be conducted. The physical exam will disclose your range of motion, posture, and general physical shape while noting the kind of movements that bring pain. Your spine will be manually examined to determine its alignment and curvature, as well as establish whether there are muscle spasms. Your shoulder will also be looked at.

The neurological exam will look at the strength of the muscles, reflexes, and how far the pain has spread. For some patients, more tests may also be helpful to make the right diagnosis. An X-ray, for example, helps reveal fractures, bone spurs, and a contracted disc space. An axial tomography scan, in the form of CAT or CT scan, or a magnetic resonance imaging test, known as a MRI, shows where a dilated disc may take place. In cases where nerve damage is likely the source of pain, an electromyography (EMG) might be recommended, as it can measure the responsiveness of your nerves.

What Neck Adjustments Do: Chiropractors usually employ hands-on adjustments to the neck joints. Spinal manipulation may restore mobility of the spine and improve its range of motion. In addition, it may also raise the amount of movement of the adjoining muscles. Patients receiving cervical adjustments report an increase in their ability to move their heads, as well as less soreness, stiffness, and overall pain.

Research findings support the use of chiropractic spinal manipulation for the treatment of patients with chronic neck pain. According to different trials, patients with chronic neck pain experience pronounced improvement of their symptoms following spinal manipulation. Even after many weeks of treatment, all the trial groups showed improvement of their symptoms.

Each patient receives an individualized program care that may include different types of treatment. Other recommended approaches might be the use of massage and rehabilitative exercises, and mobilization of the affected area. Contact your chiropractic doctor; it's an invaluable first step to figuring out how to care for your cervical spine.

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