Suffering with Neck Pain?
One of the leading locations of pain in people is in the neck or cervical region. Let’s define the location of the "neck". The neck is defined as any skeletal, musculature or nerves above the shoulders but includes the nerves that run out of the brachial plexus and the muscles that they innervate. There are approximately 48 muscles in the cervical and facial region. The reason why we include the facial muscles is because of referred neck pain.
I could list the number of causes of neck pain and that would last for pages and pages. Rather we're going to discuss mode of injury and the structures that it affects. We're also going to discuss why chiropractic care is one of the best options for treating neck pain.
The neck is made of a solid structure, cervical vertebrae, which are anchor points for musculature to help the head turn, bend, and also raise the shoulders. The trapezius, or traps, attach in the neck and at the base of the shoulders. The function of the traps should be that in a secondary role. In today's society because of the rampant increase in forward head posture, or FHP, neck pain has increased at least 50% in the last ten years in those under the age of 21. I can tell you first hand the increases of these cases in our Wentzville and St Charles Chiropractic offices have been even more so. The reason why is because of the increased time that people spend with their head in the forward position, eyes downcast staring into their phones. This has led to more neck pain and injuries because of the weakening of the deep flexor muscles in the neck. Headaches, irritated nerves, increase in arthritis in the neck and decrease in range of motion all are results of this.
Now we look to the extreme other end. Overuse of the muscles in the neck with extreme conditioning and exercise lead to neck pain and injury just as quickly if done in an improper way. A stinger sometimes occurs at the base of the neck, usually around cervical 6 and cervical 7 vertebrae (c6/c7). It’s called a stinger because of the quick nerve overload and sudden pull of the muscle. These stingers can last for seconds to minutes. The real harm is the muscle spasm and tightening that happens with the stinger. When the system gets overloaded, there is a switch to the nervous system that tells it to stop everything and shut it down. The way we treat stingers in our Wentzville and St Charles Chiropractic offices is by adjusting the two vertebrae that are involved in the stinger. As well as looking at the musculature that's involved. Adjustments and ART™ (Active Release Technique) are two of the most common and successful treatment options.
People have always complained about falling asleep and waking up with a "creak" in their neck. As funny as that is, it’s entirely true. Muscles that are held at a certain awkward angle for a long period of time can become "trapped" like that. This leads to torticollis and decrease in the range of motion in all planes. The treatment for torticollis is adjustments and ART™. The structures involved are usually the SCM and scalenes. Located in the front of the neck and down by the scalenes and SCMs are lymph nodes. These lymph nodes can lead to swelling and inflammation within the neck. The neck is a solid structure with only so much room to grow or shrink. When these lymph nodes become swollen and irritated this will actually lead to neck pain because of the feedback from the nerves that live in and around those lymph nodes. The treatment for that is sinus drainage and manual / mechanical stimulation of the lymph nodes along with increased intake of vitamin C and other immune system boosters.
Neck pain has been treated by chiropractors for hundreds of years. Doing a detailed case history and possible recurrence of the neck pain injury is extremely important in making sure that the correct diagnosis is given. After the correct diagnosis, it is important to help the patient doing the correct exercises after the subluxations are reduced and the muscles are correctly treated. Neck pain is treated and corrected with chiropractic on a daily basis.