The neck, or cervical spine, is a coordinated network of nerves, bones, joints and muscles, designed for strength, stability and nerve communication - but like with all things, certain conditions can cause tension and pain in this vital part of the body. Many instances of neck pain go away after a few days or weeks, but when the pain persists, known as Chronic Neck Pain, there is mostly likely an underlying medical cause that should be addressed.
Symptoms of Neck Pain include:
- Stiff neck that makes turning the head difficult
- Sharp or stabbing pain in one spot
- Soreness or tenderness in a general area
- Pain that radiates down into the shoulders, arms, or fingers; or radiates up into the head
In some cases, though it is less common, the following, more problematic, symptoms can occur:
- Tingling, numbness, or weakness that radiates into the shoulder, arms, or fingers
- Trouble with gripping or lifting objects
- Problems with walking, balance, or coordination
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
Neck ache and soreness are, most oftentimes, a minor inconvenience and can be caused by common occurrences such as:
- sleeping in the wrong position
- poor posture
- repetitive motions
- holding the head in an unusual way
- emotional stress
However, in more serious cases, neck pain and chronic neck pain can symptoms of bigger issues including, but not limited to:
- Sports Injury
- Degenerative Disc Disease
- Herniated Disc
- Spinal Stenosis with Myelopathy
- Foraminal Stenosis
- Spinal Tumor
Two of the above conditions that we at Vital focus heavily on are Disc Herniations and Arthritis.
Discs are pads that serve as "cushions" between the vertebral bodies to minimize the impact of movement on the spinal column. Each disc is designed like a jelly donut with a soft center and an abnormal rupture of the central portion of a disc is referred to as a disc herniation.
Disc Herniations occur when the exterior of a disc becomes weak and torn which often happens with age. Certain motions such as a sharp twist or lifting heavy objects can also cause a herniated disc.
Arthritis is the inflammation of one or more of your joints, causing joint pain and stiffness, which worsens with age. Rick factors for arthritis include family history, age, your sex (women are more likely to develop arthritis), previous joint injury and obesity.
How can a Brain-Based Approach help me?
The basic background of the head and neck junction is essential to understand. The lower 2/3 of your neck is fairly stable. However, the upper 1/3 of your neck is much more mobile and complex. It also has major influence relating to brain communication, as it functions similar to a relay station, so it’s incredibly important.
When you have any type of injury, even if it’s a minor fall or accident form years ago, it can cause damage to the ligaments (the ‘glue’) that support your neck alignment. If this occurs, your head and neck can become slightly misaligned as shown in the picture above. This causes 3 main problems:
- A shift of the head and neck stresses the neck similarly to a car that is out of alignment. This causes increased wear and tear, which increases the stress on the discs.
- The muscles become imbalanced, causing neck stiffness and pain. In this example, the muscles on the right become tight, and the muscles on the left will be stretched trying to compensate - both of which can cause discomfort.
- Inflammation and irritation near the brainstem can interfere with the information signaling between your brain and body, so the body remains imbalanced until a specific correction is obtained.
A specific exam from a NUCCA doctor can tell you whether this type of minor misalignment is contributing to your neck pain. If it is, a precise, gentle correction to the neck based on biomechanical calculations can restore head and neck alignment to:
- decrease wear and tear
- balance muscle tone
- decrease inflammation
"My daughter told me I needed to go see a NUCCA chiropractor. She told me they barely even touch you...there's no cracking or anything like it. Normally, I probably wouldn't believe that from someone else, but I trust my daughter. And she was right!
I've been seeing Dr. Julia Radwanski twice a week for four weeks now and I'm no longer in pain. I'm happier and, until now, I didn't realize how much the constant neck/shoulder/arm pain had been negatively affecting my life. I never wanted to go anywhere or do anything after work and my weekends were just as pathetic.
On your first visit, they'll take x-rays from different angles and measure you. After studying those x-rays and measurements, they'll devise a plan specific for you and your injury.
I didn't get a treatment on my first visit, but Dr. Radwanski knows the spine so well that, her just feeling the bones in my neck, gave me relief. At my second appointment, I told her I felt better after that one visit and she told me it was merely accidental and she must have manipulated the right area when she was just feeling my spine. Aside from my kids, that was the best accident I've ever had!!
Don't waste another minute hurting. Life's short and I know it's affecting your quality of life.
Call now and make an appointment."
- Rhonda W.