Neck pain affects over half of the population at some point in their life. Neck pain is second only to lower back pain as a cause of lost workdays. One of the most common causes of neck pain comes from a slightly misaligned or restricted joint in your neck.
Your neck is made up of seven bones stacked on top of each other with a soft “disc” between each segment to allow for flexibility. Normally, each joint in your neck should move freely and independently. Our examination of your spine has shown that one or more of the joints in your neck is slightly misaligned and restricted. We call this condition “cervical segmental joint restriction” or more simply a “subluxation.” The term “subluxation” literally means “less than a dislocation.”
To help visualize this, imagine a normal neck functioning like a big spring moving freely in every direction. A neck with a joint restriction is like having a section of that spring welded together. The spring may still move as a whole, but a portion of it is no longer functioning.
Joint restrictions can develop in many ways. Sometimes they are brought on by an accident or an injury. Other times, they develop from repetitive strains or poor posture. Restricted joints give rise to a self-perpetuating cycle of discomfort. Joint restriction causes swelling and inflammation, which triggers muscular guarding leading to more restriction. Since your spine functions as a unit, rather than as isolated pieces, a joint restriction in one area of your spine often causes “compensatory” problems in another. Think of this as a rowboat with multiple oarsmen on each side. When one rower quits, the others are placed under additional stress and can become overworked.
Joint restrictions most commonly cause local tenderness and discomfort. You may notice that your range of motion is limited. Moving your head and neck may increase your discomfort. Pain from a restricted joint often trickles down to your shoulders and upper back. Headaches, light-headedness and/or jaw problems may result from joint restrictions in your upper neck. Be sure to tell your chiropractor if your symptoms include any dizziness, numbness or tingling in your face or arms, any changes in vision, or difficulty speaking, swallowing or walking.
Long-standing restrictions are thought to result in arthritis – much like the way a slightly misaligned wheel on your car causes premature wearing of your tire.
Fortunately, chiropractic care has been shown to be the safest and most effective treatment for joint restrictions. Our office offers several tools to help ease your pain. To speed your recovery, you should avoid carrying heavy bags or purses on your shoulder, as this may aggravate your condition. Be sure to take frequent breaks from sedentary activity.
Our treatment options:
Muscle work and stretching Exercises
Information Organized by ChiroUp.com