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, sitting on a 2 ounce bone, the Atlas. While the cervical spine can move your head in nearly every direction, this flexibility makes the neck very susceptible to pain and injury.
Activities and events that affect cervical (neck) biomechanics include extended sitting, repetitive movement, accidents, falls and blows to the body or head, normal aging, and everyday wear and tear (1). Neck pain occurs when the neck or upper back vertebrae, discs, nerves or the spinal cord itself are disrupted by injury or disease, causing the supportive system to be compromised(4,5). The pain itself can be localized or may be referred to areas down the shoulder and/or the arm(s).
Neck pain can be very bothersome, however the impact on overall health and reduction of the communication between the brain/body junction is what we are most concerned about correcting. With the removal of interference to the nervous system through restoration of normal biomechanics, the body no longer requires the pain signal to alert you that something is wrong.
Injuries or chronic stress to the neck and upper back include strain/sprain, bulges, herniations, whiplash, nerve irritation, muscle spasms, , degenerative disc disease and arthritis.
The chiropractic physician’s goals are to remove nervous system interference and inflammation, restore normal joint function and improve muscle function. Chiropractic care helps the body to heal itself and prevent future injury (2,3,6).
1. M Barry, J R Jenner. Pain in the Neck, Shouulder and Arm. BMJ Volume 310: 183-186
2. Muller R, Giles LG. Long-term Follow-up of a Randomized Clinical Trial Assessing the Efficacy of Medication, Acupuncture, and Spinal Manipulation for Chronic Mechanical Spinal Pain Syndromes J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2005 (Jan);28 (1):3–11
3. Ingeborg B C Korthals-de Bos et al. Cost effectiveness of physiotherapy, manual therapy, and general practitioner care for neck pain: economic evaluation alongside a randomised controlled trial. BMJ 2003; 326
4. Bisgard, J. D.: Arthritis of the Cervical Spine, Some Neurological Manifestations: J. A. M. A. 98: 1961–65, 1932.
5. Davis, Arthur G.: Injuries of the Cervical Spine, J. A. M. A. 127: 149–156.
6. Bronfort et al. (2012), Annals of Internal Medicine