Imagine carrying a bowling ball at your side for a few minutes. You may think that it is not a problem. Easy to do.
But what if you held the same bowling ball a few inches away from your body and were required to keep it there in that exact same spot for a few minutes?
Do you think it would be as easy ?
Do you think your arm would eventually get painful & eventually you would relinquish to the pain & let your arm drop to your side?
Now, your head is about the same size as a bowling ball, weighs about 12 pounds & sits on top of your neck.
What if you did not have perfect alignment of the 7 little bones ( called vertebrae ) that make up your neck? [ And do not think that you don’t. Most everyone does as you will find out later in this article, especially if you are not taking any measures to practice good spinal hygiene.]
Do you think that your neck would get tired?
Do you think that your neck would get sore & painful?
Yes it most definitely would & that is when you would reach for the pill bottle. Well, let’s think about this. Did you know that when your body is expressing symptoms ( of which pain is one type of symptom ), this is the way your body is communicating to you that there is a problem?
Believe me when I tell you that you did not develop neck pain because you did not have enough pain-killers in your diet!
Did you know that over-the-counter (OTC) medication is very harsh on your stomach, kidneys & liver?
Did you know that these are very important vital organs that are essential to your health & well-being?
Did you know that scientific research studies ( that were previously buried ) from the past found that some OTC medications actually caused destruction of cartilage tissue & prevented new cartilage tissue formation?
Consider that there is some degree of cartilage that lines most every joint in your body including the joints of your spine which includes you neck. Cartilage is a slippery smooth surface that allows your joints to move & slide easily & effortlessly. What is going to happen if the cartilage starts to break down & causes joint pain?
Even worse… what if you were then told to take an OTC pain-killer to help this problem you are having ?
Do you think that really is a wise thing to do considering what you have just learned?
Let us learn some more … we already know about the 7 vertebrae. But there is also spinal & cranial nerves, your spinal cord, blood vessels, glands ( thyroid & parathyroid ), your voicebox, esophagus, trachea, brainstem & many muscles & ligaments all within your neck.
And with all that , your neck is able to gracefully balance your head, turn,tilt & bend without damaging its vital occupants. Now this is truly amazing because if your neck’s functions are interrupted for even a few seconds, you would lose consciousness & begin to expire. All of the functions of your neck are dependent upon the alignment of the seven vertebrae that make up your neck.
First, it is important that they are aligned properly so as to not cause irritation of the spinal nerves & / or the joints that hold the vertebrae together.
Second, it is very important that your neck maintains it’s normal forward curve. This is critical to your health & quality of life because if the spinal cord in your neck is stretched due to loss of the normal curve in you neck, then you are at risk because your nerve impulses ( that originate in your brain ) will not be transmitted fully & properly to their destinations throughout your body.
Third, with improper alignment of the vertebrae in your neck, you will certainly start to develop degenerative arthritis (osteo-arthritis) which is going to impair all of the important neck functions of your neck including definite neck pain. And what is sad, is that most people are told to use pain-killers, anti-inflammatory drugs and/or muscle relaxers to get rid of their neck pain.
Here are just a few examples of how…. birth ( epecially if it was a difficult delivery & even more so if forceps or the vacuum extractor were used to assist ), sports injuries ( just look at how many concussions & head injuries are happening now in the NHL & NFL – do you not think that these guys suffer major neck injuries as well ? ), car accidents where you have suffered a whiplash (and don’t think that your neck was not injured just because there was only a little or no dent in your bumper.Some research studies on whiplash suggest that your neck can be injured with an impact as low as 2.5 mph. And, other studies have shown that whiplash victims are more likely to develop other diseases later on such as fibromyalgia.), carrying a school bag, briefcase, tool belt etc. over one shoulder, sitting at a desk/computer all day at school or work then going home & doing more of the same.
These are not to mention all the seemingly incidental falls, bumps & bruises that we all had as kids & teens growing up. And if there was no attention to practicing good spinal hygiene habits, spinal issues are sure to develop.
The first thing would be to have your neck condition fully assessed to make sure your neck pain is not the result of an infection or a tumor which would require immediate medical attention. These are rare circumstances in my experience. The chiropractor is going to examine your neck for misaligned vertebrae, inflamed spinal joints, any areas of degenerative arthritis & overall posture/alignment.
Then a treatment program would be recommended to address the discomfort first & foremost, and eventually any areas within the neck that are degenerating & the overall posture/alignment. Treatments are gentle adjustments to restore proper alignment, joint health & nerve function all within the neck.
Remember that our Burlington chiropractic treatments are proven to be safe & effective & do not involve the use of drugs or other invasive procedures. And it is not uncommon requirement for the patient to do some rehabilitative home exercises to help restore the normal cervical/neck curve especially. And yes, chiropractic treatments are good for children also. With kids sitting at computers, playing video games & watching TV more so now than ever before, their necks are at an increasing risk of developing problems & subsequent pain. It is my firm opinion after almost 25 yrs of practicing chiropractic here in Burlington, Ontario, that the sooner you start practicing good spinal hygiene habits, the better. This will certainly go along way to help preventing neck pain.