NECK PAIN TREATMENT FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
CAN BEVERLY HILLS SPINE AND REHABILITATION TREAT MY NECK PAIN?
Yes, Beverly Hills Spine & Rehabilitation is able to help with neck pain treatment and can absolutely help to address neck issues and correct them. Most neck issues are stemming from a systematically mechanical etiology, meaning mechanical dysfunction.
Mechanical dysfunction causes repercussions. It causes soft tissue repercussions—meaning when you feel fixated, for example, when you feel kind of locked, it could be because the muscles that are crossing the segments of the spine are tight. The upper trapezius muscle is a very common example of this.
High anxiety people, people who sleep with a pillow that’s too soft so their neck is constricted on one side, people who wake up with stiff necks, people who have consistent headaches, many of these things can be addressed and traced back to the cervical spine and the associated soft tissues that surround the cervical spine. And these are items that we are highly trained in, we specialize in, and we have a very good success rate with.
WHAT CAUSES NECK PAIN?
There’s many different attributes that can cause neck pain. Cervical pain can commonly be a result of mechanical issues, meaning posture, ergonomics, function that’s not properly functioning, movements that are improper, muscle imbalances. It could even come from the feet. When you look at a human being, you have to start from the foundation and move up.
A common example that people can relate to is imagine when a woman wears heels. The first thing you have to do when you wear these heels is you have to extend. You have to lean back. Why? Because this is how you keep your center of gravity. That shift has now accounted for a shift in every joint in your body—at least every major joint in your body. Improper foot position is no different. It’s just on a smaller scale than wearing high heels. So, there are many different factors. The key to resolving that pain is proper diagnosis.
WHAT CAN ONE DO TO PREVENT NECK PAIN?
There are many different ways that people can prevent neck pain or reduce the symptoms of existing neck pain or dysfunction. One of the thing is the way people sleep. If you’re a side sleeper or if you sleep on your back, correct positioning of the head to the shoulders is one way to reduce neck pain or prevent it.
Never sleep on your stomach. I hear there’s some stomach sleeper. Its’ an absolutely horrible way to sleep. Why? Because it induces complete rotation of the cervical spine. You have to hold it in that position which, therefore, rotates the rest of your spine as well.
There are many everyday that people can do to also avoid or reduce neck pain—for example, texting. For example, with the advent of cell phones, what do people do? The second you leave an office, or you have a second, you bring your cell phone out, and you rotate your neck down, you flex your neck down to look at your phone, when in reality, all it really take is to bring your arm up and move your eyes down which doesn’t affect the cervical spine. There are many key things that we can do in our daily life that you don’t think has a significant impact on the cervical spine, but in the long run, it could prevent damage, dysfunction and pain.
CAN YOU TREAT A PINCHED NERVE IN MY NECK?
A pinched nerve in the neck or the cervical spine is absolutely something we can address and we can correct. Pinched nerve in the neck usually is referring to a disc herniation. It could be anywhere from a 2-millimeter to an 8-millimeter herniation that might be pressing upon that nerve, in which case you would have some sort of what’s called radiculopathy or numbness and tingling sensation either going down to the shoulders or all the way to the fingertips.
A common misconception is that numbness in the fingers or in the shoulder region is kind of normal. It’s not normal. This is just your body’s way of warning you that there is a nerve that is being impeded upon if, in fact, the symptoms are numbness or tingling.
The quality of the dysfunction or the pain is very important. Throbbing usually refers to something vascular. Sharp stabbing refers to something different. Numbness/tingling usuallyr refers to a nerve. So it’s important to heed your body’s warnings to you and go to a properly knowledgeable physician to address these issues and explain them to you.
WHAT CAUSES A PINCHED NERVE IN THE NECK?
So, it’s important to understand there’s a series of events that usually happens. A pinched nerve in the neck, in the cervical spine, most commonly is caused by a disc protrusion. The question is what’s causing the disc protrusion, and the severity of the disc protrusion will usually dictate the symptoms—severity and direction, whether it’s going straight back, to the left, to the right. This usually will cause a secondary symptom called radiculopathy.
Radiculopathy is the numbness and tingling some of us feel, and most people have the misconception that radiculopathy is kind of normal; and it’s absolutely not. Radiculopathy is your body’s warning sign that there is a nerve that is, in fact, being impeded on and the quality of your pain is important. If it’s numbness and tingling, there’s usually a nerve involvement. If it’s kind of throbbing or pulsating or warm, it might be a vascular issue.
The real question is what’s causing the disc protrusion, and usually, it’s a result of repetitive use—repetitive use meaning poor posture, people who have forward head carriage, trauma could cause this. The answer, usually, to this kind of cervical neuropathy is decompression of the spine. So compression is causing this. And it’s forcing the disc to go back, impeding on the nerve. Decompression usually reduces those symptoms by relieving the stress upon that nerve.
WHAT ARE COMMON CAUSES OF NECK PAIN??
One common cause of neck pain would be poor posture, forward head carriage. Once an individual’s chin retracts past the sternum, the muscles in the back, including the upper trapezius muscle, has to grab on to our heads a lot harder and has to work essentially overtime. And sometimes, this muscle develops myofacial trigger points and starts to cause pain.
When you understand the anatomy of the upper trapezius muscle, it attaches to the base of the skull all the way down to behind the shoulder, then all the way down to the middle of our spine. When that muscle starts to contract, or if it’s hypertonic (it’s working overtime), in the process, it compresses the spine. It has to compress the spine.
So, these are muscle imbalances—hypertonic muscles, tight muscles, poor posture. These are all interrelated and can account for cervical pain.
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