Your neck enables you to turn, tilt and bend your head, it also houses many vital anatomical structures.
These structures are:
- 7 cervical vertebrae (neck bones)
- spinal cord and brain stem
- spinal and cranial nerves
- glands (thyroid, parathyroid, etc.)
- voice box, esophagus and trachea
- muscles, ligaments and blood vessels
The job of your neck is to protect the nerves and spinal cord. Even a slight injury to your neck can cause issues on other anatomical structures and affect your overall health.
Losing the natural curve in your neck can reduce your long term quality of life. The neck is complex, it’s know wonder neck pain is so common. A Canadian study reported 2/3 patients studied will experience neck pain in their lifetime. At the time of this study 22% complained of current neck pain. A lot of times neck pain can start from something minor. For instance, you may have slept funny, irritating the neck joints causing pain.
If your neck pain does not go away quickly or it returns regularly it could be more of a concern. It should be investigated to rule out disease, an injury, a congenital malformation, prolonged emotional stress, or other factors. Often our pain is from a spinal dysfunction. Prolonged or re-occuring neck pain is often caused by joint or nerve irritation. Spinal vertebrae can become misaligned causing limited or altered mobility making the sensory or motor nerves irritated or possibly damaged. Other symptoms that can occur are headaches, eye problems and arm and hand pain or numbness.
In order to treat probably you need to discover the cause of your pain. Treating the symptoms alone does not get to the real issues, instead it only masks the pain and rarely corrects the problem. Often there is immediate pain when we injure our necks. The initial pain may subside but the underlying mechanical problems may still be there.
Chiropractors have specialized training to diagnose the cause of your neck problems, especially if it is a structural problem. Chiropractor care can provide a safe and effective treatment plan that allows you to avoid drugs or surgery. A chiropractor will locate and adjust subluxations. This will restore proper movement to your structural system, enabling nutrients to flow allowing for greater energy. When subluxations are corrected they allow the entire body to rebalance.
During your visit with a Chiropractor, they will perform a thorough physical examination to pin point any physical problems, as well as discuss with you your family history. X-rays may be required, especially if this is your first visit. They will also assess and discuss with you, your posture, physical condition, behaviour and your work and home environments. It is important to identify the cause(s) of your pain in order to provide a complete treatment plan that will ultimately fix the reason for your pain.
In addition to spinal adjustments, it might be suggested to make some modifications to your posture, behaviour and lifestyle. Things to consider would be adding regular exercise to your weekly schedule, looking at your pillow and mattress, workplace ergonomics, de-stressing your life and ensuring that your nutritional needs are being met.
Just as we perform periodic dental checkups we also should have a chiropractor checkup to ensure that the nervous system is free from nerve interference. A healthy nervous system allows our bodies to perform with optimal health.
Do you have regular chiropractic checkups?