(Canadian Memorial Chiropractic college, Canada)

 Boedekerstr. 31, 30161 Hanover
Tel: +49 511 31 31 31
Fax: +49 511 388 41 91
email: praxis@chiropraktik.ihmsen.de


Neck and Arm Pain

    The Cervical Spine

      In the Cervical Spine there are 7 vertebrae. They are connected by joints, muscles and ligaments. 

      Between the vertebral bodies the intervertebral discs are situated. They consist of a cartilage-like substance and act as shock absorbers. They keep the vertebrae apart. 

      The spinal column encloses and protects the spinal cord. Between two vertebrae is the intervertebral foramen, from which on each side a nerve exits, supplying muscles, skin or organs. 

      Each area of the spinal column has a particular role: The cervical spine has to support and move the head and for this has strong musculature.   

      With respect to the cervical spine two areas can be differentiated:  

    • the top with two vertebrae - Atlas and Axis (see diagram 1)
    • the lower section with the next 5 vertebrae
postcerv Diagram 1    Cervical Spine -View from the rear

Since the head weighs generally about 10kgs, muscles and joints, to balance the head on the column, must work finely tuned, front to back and sideways. To balance the weight of the head correctly, the vertebrae are arranged in a curve with a forward bent called Kyphosis (see diagram 1.). Muscles attaching to the back can be compared to the ropes, that support the mast of a sailing boat. If this balance between muscles and joints is disturbed, it comes inevitably in the course of the time to head, neck and/or arm pain

latcerv        Diagram 2    Cervical column - side view
The main causes for neck pain are sudden, heavy overloading or bad posture over a long period of time. Sudden overloading can happen by a fall down- stairs, or slipping on a smooth soil or while doing sports. Also a whiplash trauma after a car accident can be the cause. If the neck already has blockages of vertebrae (subluxations), possibly from old injuries or bad posture, something quite normal like sneezing or turning in bed at night or a draft of cold wind can be the trigger of pain. 

Posture changes occur during a longer period and not suddenly, e.g. the neck of a student or a desk worker, bent for hours over the desk, can lose its normal curve, stretch itself and the normal curve even can reverse in the course of the time. 

rölatcer´    lateral. Picture of the Cervical Spine - Reversal of the normal curve
Long continuous emotional stress, during which the muscles are continuously strained, can change the posture of the neck and thus eventually change its function. No matter whether the cause is sudden or long lasting overloading, the vertebral joints do not function correctly, they block and the result is neck pain. 

Even worse, vertebral joints, that are blocked, are particularly susceptible to degeneration, same are the intervertebral discs. Arthrosis starts and does not only lead to further movement restriction and pain, but also causes pressure on nerves, which finally leads to shoulder and arm pain. Even if there is no Arthrosis yet, nervous irritations can occur  with pain radiating down the arm, as well as tension headache, or even migrane. Also complaints such as Dizzyness, (so-called "circulatory  disturbances"), Tinnitus (ear noises) and Visual Disturbances can be traced to the cervical spine. 

rölat2 Arthrose of the vertebral joints, decrease of intervertebral disk height

Neck and Arm pains can be treated in various ways. Under medical treatment usually Painkillers, Tranquilizers, or Musclerelaxants are given.. 

The goal of Chiropractic is to restore the normal mobility and function of the joints of the Cervical Spine in a natural manner as far as possible and thus reach rekief of pain

The patient is examined and it is determined exactly, where the movement of the joints is reduced and how the tightened musculature behaves. If necessary radiographs are made. Finally, after the problem is analyzed, precise chiropractic manipulations are applied with the aim to release the blocked (subluxated) joints from their blocking. 

Usually these manipulations are repeated several times to ensure that the joints actually remain freely mobile against each other. The frequency depends on the age of the patient, on the age of the problem and on the status of the joints. 

Further the advice is possibly given to the patient, depending upon problem, to special exercises or behaviorial measures. Possibly he must modify certain habits of lifting and carrying or strive for a new sleeping posture. 

Every time the patient takes an active part in the therapy, the chances are best for permanent relief.

To prevent relapses of his problem the patient should have himself examined chiropractically 1 - 2 times per year. After renewed injuries, falls or accidents the patient should seek a chiropractic appointment as qick as possible.

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  letzte Änderung: 23.05.2018(©Hans Ihmsen)

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