How is your neck?
Neck and upper back movement is a daily occurrence and as the saying goes, “you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone”. Your head weighs between 15 and 20 pounds and because it’s basically a bowling ball on a stick supported by elastic bands, the stability of your neck can be challenging and can leave you susceptible to injury with relatively little infarction. The bones in your neck and back are separated by springing, flexible discs that allow your bowling ball to bounce up and down when you move. The curve in your neck and back (yes it needs a curve) coupled with the flexible disc allows you to distribute the natural gravitational forces that generate when your move. The spinal cord itself travels down through your spine (the bony part) and between these disc segments there are openings or foramen that allow off shoots of the spinal cord (peripheral nerves) to exit the cord and move out to control every part of your body. Well maintained disc space and movement allow these nerves to exit unencumbered and reach their final destination without interference. However, when these spaces are not well maintained, stuck, or improperly aligned you feel it. You feel it in neck pain, numbness, tingling, shoulder pain, wrist pain, muscle atrophy, pins and needles, TMJ, lack of motion. The list goes on and on. If the nerve or the pathway established by your body so that your brain can tell everything what to do is impinged in any way the signals cannot and will not provide the influence and instruction to the end target thus resulting in dysfunction and pain. Now when your body perceives a malfunction the first thing it wants to do is shut down the area so you can’t injure it any further. This is done by locking up the muscles and causing you pain or stiffness. Pain or discomfort is your body’s way of getting your attention and saying“Hey! Pay attention this is not working!” So what do you do? You stop moving it and this makes the symptoms worse. This is the ugly cycle of pain, you can’t move it because it hurts, and it hurts because you can’t move it...
What Causes neck pain?
Most neck pain is caused by the misalignment of the vertebra in your neck and their influence on the muscles, nerves and vascularity. Disc issues both slight and advanced degeneration, traumatic injury, poor posture, stress, hormonal influence cause your body to search for a solution of realignment. This cannot be done on its own so your body compensates, causing changes it can achieve. However, most of the time these compensations are only short term fixes and after a while they begin to cause other problems like degenerative disc disease, arthritis, osteophytes, stenosis and fusion of vertebrae.
Acceleration / deceleration injuries are one of the most common neck injuries. Another name for this is Whiplash injury. Through the snap of the whip a myriad of injuries can occur. Soft tissue, osseous (bone) ligaments, disc, and alignment. At first individuals may not seek medical help because this kind of injury sort of sneaks up on you. Like not going to get checked following an automobile accident or sports injury. Again, the body compensates until it can’t. Sometimes the appearance of symptoms can come much later, however the fact remains that due to this misalignment problem will show up. Not all whiplash injuries have to be at high velocity, you can get an acceleration/deceleration injury with very little impact. If you are relaxed and a force is introduced to you when you are not prepared you may have problems, I see it every day.
Oh my gosh what a scary word. Relax, subluxation just means the misalignment of spinal segments and osseous structures (bones). The scary part is how severe these subluxations can get. From little bitty ones causing nagging issues to major subluxation causing major issues. These can happen anywhere and the causes of subluxation can be as numerous as the affects they have on your body. Your body is a well-tuned machine and needs to be treated like one to achieve maximum potential. The subluxation causes interference of brain signal to end organs, muscles etc. Think of a garden hose. Turn on the water and it gushes out full blast in a nice stream. Now put your thumb over the opening, what happens? The stream from the hose is altered, spraying in any number of patterns, or stopping. That is the same thing with brain signals. Affect the signal in any way and you have issues. Often serious issues, and over the course of time there can be dire consequences. Stay aligned and avoid the consequences.
Every body has it, everybody know what it does. Emotional, environmental, chemical, physical. Stress comes in different ways for different people. But make no mistake; stress influences your body in devastating ways. For example, if you are stressed out of your mind for weeks, months, years on end from a job, your body stays in “fight or flight” mode for as long as it can. This means your body is on high alert ready to fight for your survival or run away at top speed. Hormones, hormones, hormones. I’ll give you the brief version. Your adrenal glands keep pumping adrenaline into you to keep you on your toes, this in turn gets your muscles ready to run (causing spasm trigger points etc because you don’t) Strong muscles pull bone out of alignment, yes the subluxation. But back to your adrenal glands, they pump and pump but there is no result and no remedy so they eventually say, this isn’t working and shut down…adrenal fatigue. Tired, burnt out, no amount of coffee can boost you, so your heart has to pump harder to keep you going and get more oxygen into your system, increasing your respiration causing more work and stress on vital organs…get it? It’s a vicious circle. So what does the adjustment do for stress? It removes the subluxation allowing your brain to better regulate your bodily systems, pours endorphins into you making you feel better, more relaxed. It has been proven that the chiropractic adjustment raises your immunity by increasing T-Cell production. Better immunity, less stressors on your body when fighting invasion from illness. Less stress equals better life.
The discs in the neck and back can herniate, bulge or become swollen causing pressure on the nerves exiting the spinal cord. This is painful and can cause numbness, tingling and stabbing pain, pain that radiates to shoulders, arms or hands. Disc swelling can also be from infection, trauma, degeneration and subluxation.