We all know that neck pain can be extremely frustrating and inconvenient. But what many people don’t know is that neck pain is often a symptom of something else going on in the body. In this blog post, we’ll discuss what happens in neck pain and why it’s important to seek a holistic solution. If you’ve got a pain in the neck, it doesn’t have to be as much of a pain in the neck. We’ve got some helpful tricks and tips to be able to help you out. Read on to learn more!
Neck pain anatomy
Neck pain is pain in or around the spine beneath your head, known as the cervical spine. It can sometimes go down the parts of the back of your head. You might have axial neck pain, which is mostly felt in the neck, or radicular neck pain, which causes pain to shoot into other areas such as your shoulders or arms.
Base of the neck
From here, this area, right from here, If you’re having headaches, it might be because of your neck. There’s a spot up your neck where the first two spinal bones are. These two are the areas that are more likely to be a cause of you having neck pain which caused headaches too.
On top of that, if you’ve got a problem from the base of the neck, it could be because of a loose ligament, or maybe because maybe you had a whiplash injury. It means the area may be a little bit too wobbly and titls loosely. You would know that because your neck would pop and click a little bit too much just all the time.
Now, when that starts to happen, you might notice that there is more tension in the back of your head because the rest of the neck is trying to tighten up to try to make the base not move so much. What makes it worse is that there are these suboccipital nerves that are right up at the back of your head. These nerves can compress underneath and cause headaches.
Neck and rib cage intersection
Now here’s another area that’s common for neck pains. Thoracic spine, the rib cage, is where the ribs are. This junction called the cervical-thoracic junction is where this is where the ribs end and the neck begins. The thoracic spine is made stiff because of the ribs, whereas the cervical spine is flexible and mobile. That means that the cervical-thoracic junction is the spot that gets the most torque on it from all the different motions that you do. It can get injured the most.
Now this can have a lot of symptoms associated with it. It can be just right where the junction is. The pain will be a very pinpoint, sharp pain. It can start to radiate out in both directions. If you’ve sprained some, the ligaments over on the side of this joint, that help hold it together.\
Another thing that also often happens is just like up the base of the skull, where if it gets extra loose, the muscles tension, the same thing can happen in the cervical thoracic junction. This tension can cause all sorts of problems because it can not only cause compression on nerves that give neck pain all the way up onto one side. It is also possible for you to have problems moving your shoulder blade which can make your shoulder feel tighter. This can make it difficult for you to move your arm on one side. It is a symptom we must pay attention to.
If you have pain that runs down your arm, you will think it has to be a nerve. That is not always the case, though. If you have pain, that’s going down your neck all the way down your fingers when they form ‘a number 6’, this is usually coming from your sixth cervical vertebrae (sixth neck bone).
Let’s say you’re coming in with reports of pain that runs down your arm, it’s going to be one of our jobs to take a look to see if you in fact have a compressed nerve. The likelihood is probably really not. Maybe a little bit irritated, but compressed is not as common. What often happens is with these different ligaments on either side of neck joints is that they swivel. Every time I turn left and right with my head like back and forth, they’re moving in a side to side motion.
What holds the joints is your intervertebral disc. It is attached to there very strongly, making it difficult to get injured, especially from a lot of day-to-day activities. Now, the things that are more likely or more commonly injured right over here are the facet joints because they are so mobile. The interspinous ligaments which hold the facet joints together and also get injured more. Every time you turn your head, lean back and forth, it’s a tight ligament that tries to hold the joints in place.
If something happened, especially like a whiplash injury, those ligaments get yanked on. Now here’s the thing to think about: Why is it that a ligament can hurt any place in your body?
Most people don’t need surgery for a sprained ankle. We’ve all had them. Yet, what happens from there, it gets tighter and tighter with the healing, but it doesn’t heal completely. Then we walk it off and we’re fine.
Imagine what happens when the soccer player sprains their ankle. They turn their ankle to the side, a ligament holds it. Then suddenly, it’s injured, torn. To a lot of soccer players, what happens is they get their ankle to a stretch beyond their limits and tear. Ligaments in the foot are supposed to send a signal to the brain that says, “Foot, you can stop here!” Instead of the safe spot, it went a little bit too far. Meaning that person’s going to have a “resprain” because it keeps on happening.
Now you’ve got a super loose ligament that makes it so that not only does this hurt more, but it also makes the joints just a little bit sloppy. That happens everywhere in the body, especially the neck whiplash associated disorder. If you have that going on in your neck, then. You can have persistent issues, not only locally going down your arm giving deep aches almost identical to a nerve that gets compressed into there.
That’s a huge deal. Something that just needs to be considered when you are having neck pain is, it’s generally not a squished, compressed nerve that’s going to be paralyzing you, generally speaking. If it’s a little bit higher up in the back. A lot of times, these injured ligaments are the source behind a lot of the neck pains and headaches that you feel. If it’s a little bit lower down, those same ligament issues can be causing pain that goes down your arm.
What could be done
Now, what can we do about that? A lot of times, if you go to your physical therapist like me or a good chiropractor, we’ll do some hands-on work. Maybe we will do a little bit of traction if they find that it relieves it for a little bit and we’ll do some exercises that could strengthen it. Also, if they have the ability to do acupuncture or dry needling, that can also be very helpful to decrease muscle tone and decrease nerve pain.
Nonetheless, what if you have all those and still the neck pain does not go away? This is where Wellward has our specialties. We figure out where exactly the problems are. Through our Pain Mapping Process, we actually figure out exactly the location of the pain. That’s where we test out every little suspected area that could be the problem site. Now we can know exactly where your symptoms are coming from.
Then at that point, we can do a lot of the amazing things that we do at Wellward Regenerative Medicine. It includes therapies like prolotherapy injection, Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy, bone marrow aspirate concentrate (BMAC). All of these are ortho biologics that have the ability to tighten up injured ligaments, start to help out with muscles to regenerate. Capsules, discs, meniscus have the capacity and ability to regenerate if the right organic components are placed near there. I’ve had this done to myself many times. All my family members have had this at one point or another, and it can be very helpful for these people who’ve tried conservative therapy and it’s just not working anymore.
Neck pain can be debilitating and frustrating. The exact location of where the pain is coming from should be something that needs to be considered. At Wellward, we figure out where exactly the problems are. Our Pain Mapping Process allows us to do just that – pinpoint the location of your pain so we can start working on a treatment plan tailored specifically for you. If you’re struggling with neck pain and want to find relief, schedule a free discovery call with one of our experts today! We would love to help.
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DISCLAIMER: The information in this email is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content is for general informational purposes only and does not replace a consultation with your own doctor/health professional