Neck pain is one of the hardest injuries to tolerate due to the weight of your head that it is always carrying. The degree of flexibility of the neck, along with the fact that it has the least amount of muscular stabilization and it has to support and move your 14 – 16 pound head, means that the neck is very susceptible to injury.
The spinal cord runs through a space in the vertebrae to send nerve impulses to every part of the body. Between each pair of cervical vertebrae, the spinal cord sends off large bundles of nerves that run down the arms and to some degree, the upper back. This means that if your arm is hurting, it may actually be a problem in the neck! Problems in the neck can also contribute to headaches, muscle spasms in the shoulders and upper back, ringing in the ears, otitis media (inflammation in the middle ear, often mistaken for an ear infection in children), temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ), restricted range of motion and chronic tightness in the neck and upper back.
We associate the neck and upper back together, because most of the muscles that are associated with the neck either attach to, or are located in the upper back.
The most common injury to the neck is a whiplash injury. Whiplash is caused by an unexpected movement of the head that results in damage to the supporting muscles, ligaments and other connective tissues in the neck and upper back. Whiplash can occur from car accidents, sports injuries, or an accident at work. No matter how the injury was sustained whiplash injuries need to be taken very seriously. Symptoms of a whiplash injury can even take weeks or months to surface.
The effects of whiplash usually don’t get treated immediately due to the lack of people seeking treatment because they do not feel it as soon as other injuries. More serious complications can develop by ignoring the pain. So no matter the size of the injury be sure to get checked out by the experienced doctors at Tarpon Spine & Join to get the proper treatments and prevent long term damage.
Poor posture is one of the most common causes of neck pain and sometimes headaches. Keeping your neck in a neutral position whenever possible can help prevent these injuries.
By reducing the amounts of times that you bend or hunch your neck forward for long periods can help prevent future aches an pains. Sitting in one position for a long period of time can cause discomfort and bad posture habits. If you must sit for an extended period, make sure your posture is good: Keep your head in a neutral position, make sure your back is supported, keep your knees slightly lower than your hips, and rest your arms as much as you can.
The stress that your neck deals with on a daily basis can cause sublixations which is very common due to the weight of holding up your head and the instability in the spine.
The majority of subluxations are centered around four areas: The top of the cervical spine where it meets the skull, the middle of the spine where mechanical stresses from the head are the greatest, where the cervical and thoracic areas of the spine meet, and the middle of the thoracic spine where the mechanical stress from the weight of the upper body is greatest.
Signs of subluxation include seeing your head tilted or one shoulder higher than the other in the mirror. From the side doctors may notice that your head sits forward from your shoulders. This is known as FHP – forward head posture – and is common for people who are hunched over their computers all day long. Subluxations are a debt to the body. If not taken care of soon after they occur, then they can get much worse over time due to the accumulation of compounding stresses to the body.
When the majority of people become stressed they involuntarily contract their muscles. This strain is mostly the muscles in their back. This form of ‘muscle guarding’ is your bodies survival response developed over time of the human race designed to guard against injury. Even now on the average day where we are not exposed to physical danger most of our muscle guarding effects still kick in whenever we become emotionally stressed. The most affected areas are the muscles of the neck, upper back and lower back. The particular muscles affected by stress are trapezius muscle, where daily stress usually leads to chronic tightness and the development of trigger points. The two most effective ways you can lower the physical effects of stress on your own are to increase your activity level—exercise—and by deep breathing exercises. When you decrease the physical effects of stress, you can substantially lower the amount of tightness and pain in your upper back and neck.
The discs in your spine can herniate or bulge and put pressure on the nerves that exit from the spine. Although cervical discs do not herniate nearly as often as lumbar discs do, they occasionally can herniate when the discs sustain damage from a whiplash injury. The recovery can be a long term process to being pain free and having the right treatment plan is extremely important.
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29 N Pinellas Ave
Tarpon Springs, FL 34689
Tel: (727) 934-7246
Fax: (727) 934-7245
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