Your neck, also called the cervical spine, begins at the base of the skull and contains seven small vertebrae. Incredibly, the cervical spine supports the full weight of your head, which is on average about 12 pounds. While the cervical spine can move your head in nearly every direction, this flexibility makes the neck very susceptible to pain and injury. The neck’s susceptibility to injury is due in part to biomechanics. Activities and events that affect cervical biomechanics include extended sitting, repetitive movement, accidents, falls and blows to the body or head, and everyday wear and tear. Many treatments for neck pain are ineffective and similar to low back pain. There are many unnecessary surgeries performed every year. Neck fusion surgeries generally have a very poor outcome and can lead to more significant pain and disability. Fortunately, the doctors at Inlet Physical Medicine may have a solution to your neck pain. Once it is determined that you are a candidate for the rehabilitation programs that we offer, you can be on your way to a pain-free life in a relatively short time. Don’t suffer call today to schedule a complimentary consultation.
Here are some of the most typical causes of neck pain:
Injury and Accidents:
A sudden forced movement of the head or neck in any direction and the resulting “rebound” in the opposite direction is known as whiplash. The sudden “whipping” motion injures the surrounding and supporting tissues of the neck and head. This traumatic motion can actually alter the normal shape of the neck, leading to dysfunction sometimes even months after the accident. Muscles react by tightening and contracting, creating muscle fatigue, which can result in pain and stiffness. Severe whiplash can also be associated with injury to the intervertebral joints, discs, ligaments, muscles, and nerve roots. Car accidents are the most common cause of whiplash. Most medical professionals will only look to make sure there is no immediate life-threatening problems such as a fracture. The altered shape of the neck is missed and the patient can have an increased risk of pain and disability over time. At Inlet Physical Medicine our doctors will do a thorough examination to determine the cause of your neck pain.
Degenerative disorders such as osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis, and degenerative disc disease directly affect the spine.
- Osteoarthritis, a common joint disorder, causes progressive deterioration of cartilage. The body reacts by forming bone spurs that affect joint motion. This is often due to an abnormal neck curve, a history of trauma to the head or neck and poor biomechanics.
- Spinal stenosis causes the small nerve passageways in the vertebrae to narrow, compressing and trapping nerve roots. Stenosis may cause neck, shoulder, and arm pain, as well as numbness when these nerves are unable to function normally.
- Degenerative disc disease can cause a reduction in the elasticity and height of intervertebral discs. Over time, a disc may bulge or herniate, causing tingling, numbness, and pain that runs into the arm.
Poor posture, obesity, and weak abdominal muscles often disrupt spinal balance, causing the neck to bend forward to compensate. Stress and emotional tension can cause muscles to tighten and contract, resulting in pain and stiffness. Postural stress can contribute to chronic neck pain with symptoms extending into the upper back and the arms. be the cause of your leg pain. Call today to schedule a complimentary consultation.
HEADACHES & MIGRAINES
For most Americans, over-the-counter painkillers are the first line of defense against headaches. While these analgesics – including aspirin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen – provide temporary relief, they can also cause rebound headaches and increase the frequency and severity of headaches. The same can be said about many prescription painkillers.
The human body uses pain as a warning sign that something is wrong. When pain is masked with medications, the cause of the problem is ignored; the body compensates for this by increasing pain and other symptoms.
Most headaches are not caused by problems related to the head or skull. In fact, the brain itself does not have pain receptors. The vast majority of headaches are caused by problems associated with the muscles, ligament, joints, and nerves of the middle and upper cervical (neck) region.
There are many types of headaches. The following list includes the most prevalent forms:
Tension-Type Headaches: Tension-type headaches are the most common type experienced by adults. These headaches may be the result of spasms in the muscles of the neck, jaw, and face.
Migraine Headaches: Migraine headaches usually occur in conjunction with other neurological symptoms such as sensitivity to light and sound; numbness and tingling; or auditory and visual disturbances. Migraine headaches produce a throbbing pain that is often concentrated on one side of the head.
Cluster Headaches: Cluster headaches occur periodically. They involve cycles of pain followed by remission.
Sinus Headaches: Sinus headaches are caused by inflammation of the sinuses due to allergies or as the result of an infection.
Headaches and Physical Therapy
Physical therapy is used to normalize the musculoskeletal system in order to ease tension and stress on the soft tissues and joints of the spine. Physical therapy for headaches may include any of the following techniques:
- Therapeutic Exercise
- Hot and Cold Therapies
- Chiropractic Care for Headaches
When mis-alignments in the neck (cervical spine) irritate the nerves of the spine that travel to and from the brain, headaches are often the result. This misalignment may also cause some headache sufferers to become more susceptible to chemical imbalances in the brain that cause a headache. Chiropractic works to remove pressure against inflamed nerves and relieve pain by realigning the vertebrae of the spine.
Headache Treatment with Deep Tissue Massage
Deep tissue massage is a healthy, drug-free treatment option for relieving the stress and anxiety that can often lead to headaches. Deep tissue massage is instrumental in the release of muscle tension and chronic knots (known as adhesions) that are a part of the cycle of stress and pain. Studies also suggest that, like acupuncture, deep tissue massage may also enhance levels of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that can be helpful pain management and mood-enhancing tool. Headache Treatment at Inlet Physical Medicine
At our office, we understand that chronic pain conditions can be difficult to treat. Many headache sufferers visit a dizzying array of healthcare practitioners in search of a solution for their headache pain. This often involves visiting multiple offices for physical therapy; massage therapy, and/or chiropractic care. This process can be confusing and (even worse) ineffective when healthcare practitioners do not work cooperatively with each other.
Inlet Physical Medicine offers a different solution. By incorporating all of these disciplines under one roof, headache treatment in our office is more effective and cohesive.