Thursday, February 12, 2009

What to do About Neck Pain

By Robert Walcher D.C.

The Importance of Your Neck!

The neck region of the body is somewhat of a sacrificial area. The neck is called upon to support the weight of the head and must be flexible and resilient. We are a nation of people who sit at computers for hours at a stretch. Still others stand for long hours doing assembly line work where a great deal of stress of the neck and shoulders comes into play. Repetitive motion is one of the causes of neck pain. Others causes might involve overuse, aging, an accident, a fall, or perhaps a blow to the head.

Neck pain is commonly diagnosed as degenerative disc disease, neck strain, whiplash, a herniated disc, or a pinched nerve. Sometimes it is a combination of two or more of these conditions.

Critical to Good Health

The structure and position of the neck is critical to good health. In this area there are seven vertebrae. Vertebrae are the small bones that surround the spinal cord and canal. Between these vertebrae are discs - discs are soft tissue that act as cushions or small "shock absorbers." In very close proximity to the discs are the nerves of the neck.

If a disc ruptures or herniates; it creates a bulge that forces excessive pressure onto the nerves in the vertebrae. Sometimes a bulged disc may cause pain or inflammation that causes pain in the arm and weakness or tingling in the afflicted part of the body.

This list will emphasize how many different tissues are affected by the nerves and muscles of the neck:

arteries veins lymph glands thyroid gland parathyroid glands esophagus larynx trachea

With so many problems stemming from the neck area it is easy to see how vitally important it is to keep this area of the spine and the nerves and muscles therein healthy and working properly.

A Chiropractor Helps the Body Heal Itself

A doctor of chiropractic is highly trained to diagnosis the different types and causes of neck pain. A chiropractor is essentially a specialist in spinal manipulation. Manipulation works to return motion to the spine. It is the lack of normal motion (restricted motion) that causes the pain in the first place. Once normal motion is restored, the muscles relax and pain lessens. The key is to allow the body to heal itself, and this in turn is the key to relief from the ongoing discomfort of neck pain.

It's important to realize that chiropractors are trained in treating the "whole" person. Your chiropractor will not focus on your neck pain alone, but will also address such related problems as stress, poor posture, unhealthy sitting positions at your work station and will even point out preventative steps that can be taken to ensure a healthy, pain-free future.

Why continue to suffer from neck pain that causes you to be less effective in your day to day activities? The answers could be as near as your chiropractor's office.

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