Amazing Incredible Neck
The neck is such a vital part of our body that if its functions are interrupted for even a few seconds we lose consciousness and begin to die. (That is why since ancient times decapitation, strangulation, and hanging have become such popular ways of doing people in).
The neck houses blood vessels, nerves, the thyroid and parathyroid glands, the larynx, the oesophagus, the trachea, the brainstem, the spinal cord, the spinal column, and the meninges while at the same time somehow gracefully balancing the head and permitting it to turn, tilt, and bend freely up and down without damaging it's vital "occupants".
The Cervical Spine
Our small neck bones are called cervical vertibrae. All mammals have the same number of cervical vertibrae. This means that a giraffe, the tiny mouse, and you yourself all have seven neck vertebrae and they are numbered C1 to C7. C1 holds the head and is also called the atlas after the ancient god who held the earth on his shoulders.
When stacked up the neck vertabrae form a tube through which the spinal cord travels. Protection of the spinal cord is the spinal column's main job: an injury to the spinal cord can cause instant paralysis or death. The vertebrae are connected to each other by discs that help give the neck its shape or curve, they are also connected by ligaments and tendons. Between the vertabrae are openings (intervertebral foramitza) in which nerves, blood vessels, lymphatic vessels, fat, and connective tissues are found.
With all of the neck's complexity it should come as no surprise that neck problems are common. They may develop suddenly from a trauma like whiplash, a fall, or other accident, or slowly as a result of spinal nerve stress, spinal imbalance, emotional stress or bad work habits.
Damaged or irritated nerves on the neck can cause vision problems, dizziness, ringing in the ears, headaches, nasal problems, facial pain, and tongue and throat problems. Other neck problems can cause pain, discomfort, and reduced movement of the neck, head, shoulder, arm, wrist, hand or fingers. Neck fracture, dislocation, or severe tissue damage can be fatal if not given emergency
medical care, but most other neck problems, although not life threatening, can lead to other health problems if not handled properly.
Pain in the neck can be caused by irritation, inflammation, injury or infection.
Disc Degeneration and Herniation
Disc herniation (or rupture) occurs when the disc between the two vertebrae either breaks
off and irritates nearby tissues or its soft centre oozes into places where it should not
be. Disc herniation is relatively rare.
Disc degeneration. however, is a far more common cause of pain, nerve root, and spinal cord irritation. Although many doctors tell their patients that the cause of disc degeneration is age, age alone cannot be blamed for the condition because it can be found even in young children. However, the most common cause of disc degeneration are years of spinal imbalance; spinal nerve
stress; and physical trauma or emotional stress.
Let us suppose that one day you carried a bowling ball around for the entire day, but instead of carrying it closely at your side you held it a little distance from your body. Vou'd get tired very fast! It's the same with your head. If it's properly balanced that's fine, but if it's held even a little off centre you will start to suffer from fatigue as well as stress on your neck.
The neck has a normal lordotic (forward) curve, but the spinal curve may reduce, become "military" (straight), or even become kyphotic (curved in the wrong direction) if unhealthy. Over time such changes in the spine may be accompanied by arthritic changes in the vertabrae such as lipping or spurring (bony growths); disc thinning or degeneration; or deterioration of muscles,
ligaments, and other structures. In spite of all these changes, however, there may or may
not be pain. In fact, studies show little or no correlation between the degree of pain felt in
the neck and arthritic changes found on X-rays.
The Orthodox Medical Approach
The standard medical approach to neck pain is to prescribe painkillers, muscle relaxants,
and/or tranquilisers. Ifthe pain doesn't subside, an orthopaedic surgeon may be
consulted and more drastic trealment - cortisone or painkiller injections/administered. In some cases neck pillows, collars, or traction may be prescribed and, interestingly enough, these constitute a tacit endorsement of the chiropractic approach of releasing pressure on the nerves, joints, and foramina (openings) through which the nerves, etc, travel. But such devices, though
often helpful, do not address the real cause of the problem. Thus these attempts may represent a poor substitute for an actual chiropractic spinal adjustment.
Clearly, a patient should not consent to anything as drastic as neck surgery without firts consulting another healer - in particular a chiropractor.
The Role of the Chiropractor
It must be emphasised that chiropractic is not a treatment for neck pain. What chiropractic spinal care does is to counter the effect of stress and unateral wear and tear by reducing spinal nerver stress and restoring proper movement to the spinal column. When the spinal bones are off centre, the small openings through which the nerves travel may become narrower causing irritation to the cervical nerve roots, and may also cause pressure upon the spinal cord.
Chiropractic and Neck Injury
The sad fact is that medical doctors and physical therapists are not trained to locate and correct spinal nerve stress and as a result neck problems may continue for years after an accident. In fact, without chiropractic spinal care a neck injury might continue to cause silent damage for decades before the problem is recognised. By that time it may be too late for a complete recovery.
City Chiropractic Clinic
40 Epworth Street,
Tel: 01782 848184