The neck contains the upper spinal column (cervical or neck) which consists of 7 typical vertebrae (C1 to C7). At the front (see photo left) the vertebrae have a dish like shape. At the rear (see picture right) facet joints lie tiled up. The upper cervical vertebrae (atlas and axis) are the most typical. The typical shape of the cervical spine enables rotating movement and sideward tilting without causing excessive tension in the surrounding structures.
Cause of complaints
A fall or car accident may cause the neck vertebrae to become (slightly) dislocated or locked. In addition, wrong seating or working position can force the upper spine into a preferential position. If, for example, your head is in a downward position all the time (preferential position) it will become increasingly difficult to stretch your neck. This does not lead to complaints immediately since there are 7 vertebrae which can compensate for each other until a certain limit. However, eventually stiffness, local pain on palpation will occur or rotating and tilting movements will become increasingly difficult. nek b.
Nerves from the neck
The nerve roots from the cervival spine (see yellow ends in picture) supply information to and from the muscles, skin, blood vessels and bones of the neck, head and arms. In addition, nerves from the cervical spine run along the inner side of the thorax and regulate blood circulation in the lungs and heart rate.
Type of complaints
The following complaints may be caused by a problem in the cervical spine, even if there are no obvious complaints in the neck itself (!):
- Neck pain, torticollis or stiff neck
- Facial pain
- Dizziness or vertigo
- Shoulder pain or ‘frozen shoulder’
- Pins and needles in arm or hand, cold hands
- Loss of strength in arm or hand
- Palpitations of the heart
- Shortness of breath
How can chiropractic help?
The chiropractor in particular can analyse as to whether or not complaints arise from the neck. For this reason chiropractors are often consulted for a second opinion. The chiropractor is trained to recognize as to whether chiropractic treatment is indicated or referral to a GP or specialist is needed for further medical examination. If complaints are caused by a neck problem chiropractic treatment is likely to achieve full recovery. In our practice we treat both acute neck pain (eg torticollis) and chronic neck pain. Chronic neck pain typically coincides with shoulder and arm syndromes. Should have queries or require further information, please do not hesitate our practice at +31 (0)70 3941157 (see contact details)