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CONDITION OF THE MONTH
DECEMBER 2007: Neck and Arm Pain
 

HOW IT HAPPENS?

There are many causes of neck pain. Two of the most common are having the head in one position for long periods of time and trauma. The chance of  getting neck pain from having the head in one position too long increases if the head is in an awkward position. Some examples of this are watching a movie with the head turned, working at a computer  with the head tilted up to look at the monitor, falling asleep in a chair with the head nodded or sleeping on a very thick pillow. There is an endless list of ways people injure their necks. Some of the more frequent injuries include falls, sports injuries, i.e. trying to raise to that next level of weight, an auto accident where the head "whips" forward and back, strains from walking a dog on a leash, and so forth. Sound familiar to you?

WHAT HAPPENS?

The muscles in the neck tighten when they are overloaded from strain or trauma. After a while, "knots" develop in the neck. The bones in the neck will essentially "lock up." Technically, adhesions develop in the cervical paravertebral musculature and/or  there is hypomobility in the joints of the  cervical spine. Bottom line, you have pain in your neck.

Nerves branch off the spine and  travel to different areas of the body. The nerves that branch from the neck supply the head and the arms. If there is pressure on the nerve as it leaves the neck, it can cause pain or tingling or numbness in the  head or arm. People often refer to this as a "pinched nerve." When the pressure is reduced, the symptoms usually go away. The pressure on the nerve can come from the bones being "locked up" or the muscle "grabbing" the nerve,  technically,  nerve entrapment.

HOW DO WE HELP?

After you give us a detailed history of your neck condition, you will be examined to determine if your neck pain is caused by a condition that we treat. If the neck pain is not coming from a muscle/joint/nerve problem,  we will refer you to the appropriate health care provider.
 
If your neck pain is coming from the joint muscle and/or nerves, we will decide on the best treatment plan for you. God made us all different. We do not believe that one chiropractic technique, one set of exercises or one therapy works for everyone. The chiropractic techniques, therapies, exercises and recommendations we make  are individualized and based on the results of your examination. Our goal is  not only to treat your neck and get rid of the pain, but also to identify anything you may be doing incorrectly that created this problem. For instance, checking your work area to see if it's ergonomically correct and making necessary changes. We also will give you exercises to maintain flexibility and strengthen your neck to help prevent this from becoming an ongoing problem.

We manipulate/adjust the neck vertebrae to get your neck moving, so that you can move your head freely without pain. We "manipulate" or "adjust" your neck. The technique we use for the neck is the "Activator Technique."  To learn more about this technique, visit www.activator.com.

To get rid of the "knots" or adhesions in the muscles, we often use the Active Release Technique (ART®). To learn more about this technique, visit www.activerelease.com

There are a variety of exercises for your neck. We select and teach you the ones to improve your specific condition and prevent it from recurring. Of course, patients sometimes forget to do the exercises when their pain disappears and they need additional treatment. That's okay! We love our patients and it is our privilege to care for them.

 

 
 
 
 
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