The neck is an intricate body part that easily aches or gets strained. Among the areas of the spine, the neck has the most freedom when it comes to movement. Due to its wide-ranging mobility, the neck is more prone to pain and injury. Thus, it is common for people to experience neck pain.
Functions of the Cervical Spine
Your neck does a critical job, including the following:
- Supports the head and allows it to move – It supports the head that weighs an average of 12 pounds for adults. Also, the neck is responsible for the head’s range of motion. It allows it to turn left and right, move forward and back, and bend from side to side.
- Protects the spinal cord – Your spinal cord contains intricate bundles of nerves that navigate through the center of your spine. Another critical part of the neck area is the brainstem, which is protected by the atlas (C1) and axis (C2), the upper two vertebrae in the spine.
- Enables proper blood and cerebrospinal fluid flow to the brain – The vertebrae in your neck have openings that give a pathway for arteries that supply normal blood flow to the brain. Correct vertebral positioning in the neck also permits the normal flow of cerebrospinal fluid, which is responsible for nutrient circulation and removal of waste products from the brain.
Neck pain can be a sign that these functions are not running smoothly and optimally. If your neck pain doesn’t go on its own, you may seek the help of a doctor or chiropractor.
Neck Pain Questions During Consultation
Whether you turn to a doctor or a chiropractor for your neck pain, both will most likely ask these questions to learn about your medical history. The answers to these questions can help in explaining where the neck pain might be coming from. During a consultation, they will gather information, evaluate your situation, and then come up with a neck pain management solution.
- Was there a particular incident or activity that led to your neck pain?
Did you fall, get into a car accident, or have a new workout routine? To identify your case and learn the cause of your neck pain, they ask whether you have experienced any injury or trauma, or if your neck pain has developed over time. This gives essential clues as to what is going on.
- How long has the pain been present?
There is a big difference between neck pain that has been experienced for a few days versus pain that has been persistent for several weeks or even months. This helps determine if you have ordinary or chronic neck pain. Chronic neck pain may indicate an underlying condition that you need to address immediately.
- Does the pain radiate into other parts of your body such as your shoulders, arms, or hands?
Neck pain doesn’t only affect the neck. Sometimes it can spread out to other locations of the body, such as the shoulders, arms, or hands. This is because the nerves that branch off from the cervical spine are responsible for providing function and sensation to your upper extremities. Any issues with your neck can impact these nerves and lead to pain in areas beyond the neck.
- What solutions have you tried to ease the neck pain?
Many options are accessible to provide relief from neck pain. Most neck pain sufferers have go-to relief aids that help them get through times when their neck pain arises. Some of the neck pain remedies include the following:
- Massage therapy
- Prescription pain medications
- Over-the-counter medications (anti-inflammatories or pain relievers)
- Pain-relieving creams or lotions
- Chiropractic care
- What worsens or improves the pain?
Some neck pain goes away on its own while some responds positively to ice or heat. Exercises might help some people overcome an achy, stiff neck while others feel their neck pain worsen with any movement. Figuring out what helps your neck pain and what aggravates it can be helpful information when it comes to obtaining relief.
A Lasting Cure for Neck Pain
There is a lesser-known but proven-effective treatment for neck pain that is worth trying – upper cervical chiropractic care. Upper cervical chiropractic is a specialization within the chiropractic practice that focuses on the connection between the head and the neck. The atlas vertebra is the topmost bone of the neck and is also the most freely movable of the entire spinal column. Due to this, it is prone to misaligning.
Any type of injury, accident, or degeneration can lead to an atlas misalignment. When any of these happen, the three functions of the neck that we discussed above can get disrupted. A misaligned atlas can also put a strain on everything else underneath it, resulting in discomfort, pain, muscle spasm, and stiffness through the rest of the neck.
When people come here to Hunter Spinal Care in Calgary, Alberta for their neck pain, we identify the exact nature of their atlas misalignment to get to the root cause of the issue. We use precise measurements and imaging to make accurate adjustments for each of our patients. Once we’ve restored normal alignment of their atlas, the body can start its natural healing process unhindered. The end result is long-lasting relief from neck pain. If you are looking for a reliable Calgary based neck pain doctor, our clinic is at your service. Schedule a no-obligation consultation with us to experience firsthand our natural treatment for neck pain.