Neck Pain – Just The Tip Of The Iceberg?
It’s no surprise that every year millions of people suffer from different accidents, injuries, and repetitive trauma from poor posture & working environments that cause neck pain. For most of these people, the symptoms resolve in a reasonable time frame simply from resting or with traditional forms of rehabilitation.
What is often misunderstood is that pain may just be the tip of the iceberg! If a slip ‘n fall, whiplash, or concussion occurs, your pain will often times disappear quickly, but could that injury just have been the beginning of a cascade of effects causing more long-term issues?
When we look at the anatomy of neck pain, the pain-generating tissues will generally be muscles, joints, and often times peripheral nerves. One of the wonderful things about the human body is its ability to adapt. Often times when there has been an injury, the adaptation process takes place in multiple ways.
From a healing perspective, the strained muscles will heal, the nerves that have torn will likely reconnect to regain normal function, and the bone that has been battered will likely repair itself by building new bone.
The postural nature of injury adaption is unfortunately often overlooked. For example, if the boney structures of the spine are shifted and the skull now sits tilted in an abnormal position, the eyes righting reflex (eyes wanting to be fixed on the horizontal plane) will cause the head to angle back towards neutral. The wonderful part about this reflexive adaptation is that now the head will likely sit in in the proper position, however, if the boney structures are still shifted from the original insult – what will happen to them?
Over the long term, continued compensations from the bones being out of normal position may progress. These compensations may include the construction of more bone often called “bone spurs” or “osteophytes” that are meant to stabilize the misaligned & stressed vertebrae. At first, these boney changes may not be a big deal, however, over time the adaptations may become larger. The initial neck pain has long disappeared and been forgotten, however, the degeneration and bone formation has continued. As this degeneration continues the progression of the osteophytes may eventually overstep their boundaries and start compressing other structures within the neck. These compressed structures can include muscles and nerves. From a neurological perspective, if a nerve has stress on it, the end result may be that the nerve signals carried towards a set of muscles, glands or organs may be affected.
Now that the nerve signals traveling towards its end organs or muscles have been affected, what do you think can happen? Similar to a blender not receiving proper electrical currents from the outlet, the end tissues may not properly function.
When people have muscles and organs with a reduction of proper function, what do they usually do? The common American with diminished health will usually seek out short-term relief for their symptoms. How often do you think people relate their long-term symptoms to an accident that happened years ago to their neck?
At Balance Chiropractic in Colorado Springs, our goal is never to focus on the secondary conditions (symptoms) associated with trauma but to directly affect the cause of those symptoms. If you have been experiencing conditions like vertigo, dizziness, TMJ dysfunction, migraines, headaches, trigeminal neuralgia, Post-Concussion Syndrome, or Meniere’s disease and have a history of neck pain or head/neck injury, your neck pain may just be the tip of the iceberg!
To learn more about Foundational Correction in Colorado Springs call 719-265-0115 to schedule your complimentary consultation today.