Our neck or cervical spine has quite a job to do. It holds our head up and gives us incredible mobility allowing us to look all around. However, with all this mobility comes vulnerability. There are a variety of reasons that the neck becomes painful and stiff. Below are just a few.
Torticollis (Wry Neck) – A person with torticolles typically enters my office with his head tilted to one side and is able to turn his head in one direction but not the other. The pain initially is mild but becomes intense as time passes. This can actually happen at any age. Some people are born with it. Torticollis usually has an insidious onset. Sleeping funny or having your head turned to one side for a prolonged period of time. In fact, initially most people think they just have a crick in their neck.
The problem in the majority of cases begins at the spinal joints or facets. When the spine is put into rotation for a prolonged period of time, this causes the affected spinal joints to separate. This separation causes the capsule to stretch. As the spinal joint surfaces get pulled apart, the surrounding capsule can be pulled into the joint due to a negative pressure. Once this occurs, the joints are now able to “pinch” the capsule. This pinching in turn causes the muscled that cross that joint to go into spasm which causes more pinching. This in turn causes more spasm. This is why the pain tends to spread over time and is always on one side. Warning: Get this treated ASAP.
Whiplash Injuries – It’s surreal… One moment you are stopped at a red light. The next moment you hear screeching tires, you look up into your rearview mirror and immediately feel the impact. You have just been involved in an accident. Within moments a policeman taps on your window to ask if you are okay… You move around a bit and much to your surprise, you feel fine, other than feeling a bit anxious. Two days later however, you cannot lift your head off your pillow and your body feels like it has been beat up. How can this be? You feel okay immediately after the accident but with 48 to 72 hours you feel miserable. I’m always asked this question… Doc, I felt fine right after the accident, why do I hurt so badly now? A quick anatomy lesson will help here. It is all about blood supply. Tissues that have a good blood supply swell quickly after an injury. Tissues that have a poor blood supply swell slowly after an injury. There are several things that are significant about this. Not only does a poor blood supple delay the onset of pain, it also significantly increases healing time and in some cases healing outcomes. Properly treating this type of injury is critical. Left alone, improper healing can occur leaving the individual with chronic pain for the rest of their life. We all know people like this. I have been treating whiplash injuries since 1988. If you live in the greater Cincinnati area and have been in an auto accident, call me and set up an appointment to be examined. The sooner treatment begins the better the outcome.
Poor Workstation Ergonomics – For years I would do Ergonomic walk through and lectures at companies throughout the greater Cincinnati area. I was amazed that companies would spend thousands of dollars on adjustable furniture, yet 99% of the people had the furniture adjusted improperly. A thousand dollar chair is useless unless you know how to properly set it up. So what exactly is the point of ergonomics in the work place? Simply put… a properly set up workstation fits the individual’s body allowing it to stay in a relaxed, low energy consuming neutral position. Unfortunately, what I found was the opposite at most companies I visited. If you feel like your workstation is not set up correctly have it checked or give me a call.
Sleeping Posture – Any posture that is held for a prolonged period of time can cause the spinal segments to misalign or become subluxated… sleeping 4 to 6 hours definitely falls into this category. If you wake up with a stiff painful neck on a regular basis you need to evaluate your sleeping posture(s) and you should also have your spine checked for subluxations.
Slips & Falls – Cause a rapid motion in the neck. This can cause muscular, ligamentous and disc injuries. Just like a whiplash. If you have recently slipped or fallen you should have your spine checked immediately.
Loss of Spinal Curve – All of the above can cause a loss of the curve in your neck or cervical spine. Below are some of the consequences of a loss of curve in your neck:
Spinal Cord Tension – As the neck straightens out the spinal cord gets pulled taunt. This cord tension can cause symptoms throughout the body.
Headaches – Migraine Headaches and Tension Headaches
Cervical Brachial Syndrome – Neck pain that refers into the shoulder and arm.
Degenerative Disc Disease – Also known as Osteoarthritis.
If you are suffering with neck pain or stiffness, give me a call.
Call today… 513-791-81110
Yours in Health, Naturally!