Surely you have ever noticed tension or discomfort in the neck and shoulders, or some restriction of movement, is one of the most common complaints among chiropractic patients. Whether due to an accident, a whiplash, poor posture or an accumulation of stress,… cervical pain often indicates a weakness of the nervous system and, in fact, very often can hide more serious health problems.
We are not aware of the times we move our necks during the day until we can no longer. The neck is very prone to injury since it has the least muscular stability of the whole body and supports and moves the 4 to 6 kg that the head weighs.
We can imagine the head and neck as a ball tied over a cane by very small and thin elastics. It doesn’t take much force to affect the delicate balance of such a structure! The spinal cord passes through the canal of each vertebra and sends nerve impulses from the brain to every organ, tissue and cell of the body.
Also between each pair of cervical vertebrae, the medulla branches into nerves down to the arms and upper back. That means that if your arm hurts, the problem may have its root in your neck! Symptoms in the arms can include tingling, sensory loss, cold, pain.
Neck problems can also contribute to headaches, dizziness, muscle spasms or contractures in the shoulders or dorsals, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), otitis media (inflammation of the middle ear, often mistaken for an ear infection in children), temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problems, movement restriction and chronic hardness in the neck and upper back.
The neck is associated with the upper back because most of the muscles associated with the neck are tied or are in the upper dorsals. These cervical paraspinal muscles, the scalenes and others.
Most neck pains are caused by a mixture of factors:
The vertebral subluxation
A vertebral subluxation is when a vertebra lacks its normal mobility and can create an interference in the nervous system. This interference prevents information from the brain from traveling and reaching the body’s organs, tissues, and cells. Just as a stone blocks the normal flow of water in a hose, a subluxation blocks the normal flow of nerve impulses.
Vertebral subluxations in the upper cervical and dorsal spine are very common and often due to stress associated with head holding and cervical spine instability.
Signs of subluxations may include looking in a mirror and noticing your head deviated or rotating to one side or one shoulder higher than the other. Women will notice one sleeve shorter than the other or that the necklace does not feel good in the center. Also, if you look at the posture from the side, the head may appear more forward – and not just above – the shoulders. This is very common in people who spend a lot of time in front of the computer.
Whiplash is one of the most common neck injuries. Whiplash has to be taken into account because the symptoms of a whiplash injury may not appear until a few months later. It is therefore easy to think that one is not as bad as one really is. This injury is caused by a sudden movement of the head backwards, forwards or sideways, causing injury to secondary muscles.
Ligaments or other connective tissues in the neck and upper back. Whether it’s a car accident, sport, fall, or work-related accidents. People often don’t ask for help after a car accident or sports injury because they don’t suffer any symptoms. Unfortunately, when more serious complications develop, some of the damage has become permanent.
Poor posture is one of the most common causes of cervical pain, and sometimes headache, dizziness and vertigo. It is very easy to get used to bad postures without realizing it – even an activity as “innocent” as reading in bed can translate into pain, headaches, and other more serious problems.
Some tips to prevent these types of problems are: hold the neck in a neutral position whenever possible, do not bend or bend the neck for extended periods. Try not to sit in the same position for a long time and if you have to, make sure your posture is good: your head in a neutral position, your back and arms well supported and your knees a little lower than your hips.
The intensive use of mobile phones has resulted in an increasingly common injury, “text neck” which encompasses, in addition to the muscles of the neck, head and shoulders. It is characterized by neck stiffness, shoulder pain, and headaches. And everything points to that it is triggered after maintaining for too many hours a day a posture with the neck inclined downwards.
In some cases, the muscles adapt so much to the posture that it is difficult to put them back in place, and the neck loses its natural curvature. The forward and downward position of these parts of our body, which in turn causes strong pressure on the spine, causes intense pain that can be prevented by taking certain precautions.
Such as looking at the mobile with the spine in a neutral position and avoiding spending many hours a day hunched over. If we place the device at eye level, we will not need to bend the neck. The problem is really serious, and this excessive strain on the neck can begin to be noticed at an early age. That is why it is important to take care of the spinal column, carrying out periodic check-ups since childhood.
We unconsciously contract muscles when we are stressed – more specifically the muscles of the back. This mechanism is a mode of protection intended to protect you from injury. Today, when we are exposed to few physical dangers, this mechanism continues to occur when we are under emotional stress.
The most affected areas are the muscles of the neck, upper dorsal and lumbar. And for most people, it is in the trapeze where the greatest number of people are concentrated, which leads to chronic tension in the shoulders and, sometimes, to the “muscular knots”.
How does chiropractic help?
Chiropractors are the only health professionals who know how to detect and correct vertebral subluxations. By means of specific vertebral adjustments, his objective is to eliminate all nervous interferences in order to give back to the body its self-healing powers.
Like a fuse that jumps in an electrical circuit preventing the passage of current, a subluxation blocks the flow of nerve impulses from the brain to the rest of the body, thus facilitating the development of diseases and symptoms. In addition, the chiropractor may advise postural changes, strengthening exercises or stretching and relaxation techniques.
Eighty-five percent of cervical problems are solved with chiropractic treatment, according to different studies conducted in several countries with patients affected by these ailments, which highlight chiropractic as an effective alternative.