The neck, we all have one, but it’s actually more important than just acting as a bridge between our shoulders and our head. The neck houses what are called “cervical vertebrae”, which are lock blocks stacked throughout our back on top of one another, their main purpose is to support the rest of our body, and our heads!
Vertebrae also allow for motion in our back and have hundreds of muscular attachments throughout our spine. Besides the vertebrae in our neck, our spinal cord travels through to make connections with the rest of our body, everything, communicating with all of our organs, heart, lungs, pancreas, liver, everything. Blood vessels- arteries and veins also travel through our neck, transporting oxygen-rich blood to our brain, and taking oxygen deprived blood back to our lungs to refill with the O2 necessary to lives, pretty cool right?
Now with a little background story on the neck, let’s talk about some injuries that occur in that region, and what to do about it :)
Whiplash is caused by a quick motion that occurs in the neck, most commonly caused by rear-ending car accidents, but also can occur in sports or accidents. It is characterized by stretched or sometimes torn tissues in the spine, including muscles, ligaments, tendon, and nerves.
If you suffer an accident it is best to come to get checked by your chiropractor or MD to see the extent of the injury. Gentle mobilization, stretching, and chiropractic adjustments are some of the main options a chiropractor may explain to you, and often times chiropractors have x-ray equipment to look at the tissues in detail to look for signs of injury. Recommendations for you at home include: rest, ice, immobilize, and refrain from any heavy (or even light or moderate) activity until your pain starts to improve.
2. Pinched Nerve
Our nerves serve as roads that transmit signals throughout our body, and they can at times become irritated or pinched, which typically does not feel good and can lead to pain. The nerves can become pinched in a variety of ways, but common causes are a herniated or bulging disc, spinal misalignments, or tight muscles squeezing down on them. Symptoms may include: numbness, tingling, loss of strength, pain, and an electrical shock-like feeling to name a few.
If you think you have a pinched nerve, please call your chiropractor so they can do an assessment and start helping you out. Treatment for pinches nerves typically revolves around decompression, creating more space where the nerve lives so it is feeling “pinched” anymore. Chiropractic adjustments tend to work very well, as well as manual therapies to release tight muscles and restore balance to the irritated nerve. Your doctor may also recommend anti-inflammatories, rest, and ice as well.
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Sprains and strains occur when muscles or connective tissues get stretched, torn, or irritated. They can occur in an acute setting, like pulling a muscle during jumping, getting tackled in football, or the above-mentioned car accident. They can actually occur slowly and over time as well, especially if put our body is less than ideal positions on a regular basis, like slouching at the computer, having poor posture in general, sleeping incorrectly, lifting with your back and not your knees, even using the wrong pillows for our bodies, the list goes on.
The obvious way to prevent acute strains is to avoid traumas or situations where you could become injured, and preventing the insidious and slow progressing ones revolve around making sure you are using the correct body mechanics on a daily basis – lifting correctly, having a safe computer/workstation set-up, sleeping on your back with proper neck support, etc.
For more details, please call the office or make an appointment and we can go over your unique situation in detail to make sure you are living your healthiest life possible!
Disclaimer: This blog is for information purposes, please consult your doctor or the doctors at San Pedro Chiropractic Clinic before trying anything you may read about on our blog or website.