Dr. Tracie M. Cusimano
Huntington Beach Chiropractor
Call Today: 714-840-2273
A lot of people don't know how much movement their neck has until one day they are unable to move. The neck has the least amount of muscular stabilization with the most flexibility of the spine. Combine that with the task of supporting the head, which weights approximately 14 to 16 pounds, and it is prone to injury.
Nerve impulses travel up and down the spinal cord through a tunnel formed by the vertebrae. These impulses are sent throughout your entire body via spinal nerves. The nerve impulses are distributed to the upper extremities and torso by the spinal nerves of the neck. Think of the spinal cord like a freeway and the spinal nerves as the freeway's off-ramp. So a problem in the neck may result in shoulder, arm or hand pain. Arm symptoms may include pain, numbness, tingling and a pins and needles sensation.
Neck problems can contribute to headaches, shoulder and upper back muscle spasms, dizziness, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ), reduced range of motion and neck and upper back stiffness. The causes of neck and upper back pain can be a recent or old injury, osteoarthritis, poor posture, segmental dysfunction (aka: subluxation), stress, and disc problems such as degenerative disc disease or disc herniations.
Whiplash is the most common injury to the neck.
A whiplash injury can result from an automobile accident, work-related injury or sports injury. The symptoms of whiplash can take weeks to months to appear and you might feel that you are fine when, in fact, you are injured more that you think.
Again and again individuals don't seek care because they just don't feel injured. A whiplash injury, by far, is the most common neck injury after a car accident. Whiplash is not really a diagnosis but a mechanism of injury. It is when the head suddenly moves forward, backward or sideways in relationship to the torso. As a result, injury to the muscles, ligaments and joints occur in the neck and mid-back.
Sadly, when symptoms develop, the harm may already be done. Several studies have shown that nearly half of those who have a whiplash injury from an automobile accident who settle their insurance claims years after their accident, continue to have symptoms from their injuries.
People who stoop over their computers or look down at their cell phone are susceptible to having a forward head posture. If not taken care of, the excessive stress placed on the neck and related musclulature can lead to some serious problems. Chiropractic care and spinal adjustments can help lessen the effects.
Segmental Dysfunction (AKA: Subluxation)
The mobility of the neck leads to instability of the cervical spine. This instability combined with the task of holding up the head, leads to altered alignment and movement of the spine. Signs of segmental dysfunction include one shoulder being higher than the other or noticing your head tilted to one side when looking in the mirror. Forward head posture is also a sign of segmental dysfunction and can be seen when someone is looking at you from the side. Your head will be forward in relation to the shoulders. The forward head posture is becoming more common with the increased use of computers and smart phones. Segmental dysfunctions can get much worse over time if not taken care of and can lead to early osteoarthritis.
Unconscious muscle contraction is common in people who are stressed. When the body is in survival mode, the muscles contract to protect against injury. The muscles in the neck and upper back are prone to these stress contractions and trigger points, stiffness and tightness can develop over time. The most common muscles affected by stress is the levator scapulae and trapezuis muscle. Breathing exercises and physical exercise are a great way to decrease your stress level. Stress reduction can substantially reduce the pain, stiffness and tightness in your neck and upper back.
Bulging and herniated discs in the cervical spine can irritate the spinal nerves that exit from the spinal column. A common cause of a cervical herniation is from a whiplash injury.
Health and wellness is supported by chiropractic care. Call us today!
Meet Dr. Cusimano
Dr. Cusimano is a native of Huntington Beach, California and graduate from Southern California University of Health Sciences. She received the Dean's List honor as well as the Delta Sigma Scholastic Society award. She worked at Cal State...read more
Tracie M. Cusimano, D.C.
7561 Center Ave., Unit 26
Huntington Beach,CA 92647