Neck Pain – Your neck helps you to turn your head when you want to respond to your children, or watch them play; observe a sunset, drive a car, and get a good night’s sleep. When it works it’s a pleasure you rarely think about – when it doesn’t it’s a pain that interferes with quality of life. The bottom line is to never take the neck for granted.
The role your neck plays in your life is critical – be kind to it.
The neck, obviously, supports the head; less obvious is that it contains arteries that bring blood to the brain from the heart – this is critical for optimum brain activity because the brain is the motherboard through which the entire body functions, so getting enough blood into this area is significant for performing simple to complex tasks. Important functions that rely on this seamless blood flow include heart rate, breathing, coordination, balance and sleep – all things that happen subconsciously.
The vital part of the brain that controls our heart rate, breathing, immune system, hormones, coordination, balance, and sleep is called the “subconscious,” – all of our automatic movements, and, therefore, everything we do that we take for granted, begins there, and relies on a functioning neck.
Think about how much weight is on your fragile neck – it needs to support the head and move up and down, back and forth, side to side. Such movements, done quickly or in response to an unnatural action – an item falling off of a shelf, perhaps, or reacting in a car accident, can easily cause vertebrae in the neck to get out of alignment or subluxate. Stress, poor posture and the stiffness caused by a day of work at the computer can all plague the neck. Suddenly, it’s no longer fun to turn your head to respond to a loved one. It’s a painful effort.
A skilled chiropractor in Ft. Lauderdale is an expert in getting your neck to work correctly. A chiropractor can manipulate the cervical spine, or neck area, to ease patients of not only neck pain but upper back, shoulder, arm pain and headaches. Chiropractic treatments are the most important for alleviating pain, getting the vertebrae back into alignment and de-stressing joints and tendons. Such manipulations will also improve motion and restore normal function to both the head and neck. Your chiropractor will ask for a complete health history, perform a physical examination and review lifestyle, in addition to performing necessary tests, to determine the best method for restoring your neck to its functioning self again – which means you will be able to once again turn your head without pain.
Besides chiropractic care, however, there are preventative steps patients can take to alleviate pain or stop it from occurring in the first place. An article from Harvard Health (www.health.harvard.edu) offers some tips for preventing neck pain; these include:
Move your head. Don’t stay in one position for too long. If you’re at a computer for eight hours during the day, get up every 20 minutes or so, stretch and move your head. This will prevent your neck from getting stuck in an unnatural or bad position for too long.
Adjust your chair. Make sure you are sitting eye level with your computer, and not craning your neck to look up – or down – at the screen. If you’re using a laptop, prop it on a pillow so that it sits at a 45-degree angle, instead of lying flat on your lap.
Get new eyeglasses. Get to the eye doctor for new glasses and make sure your prescription is adjusted regularly. Hint: If the prescription is right, you will tend to lean back to see better, according to the article.
Get rid of the pillows. The idea of sleeping with a lot of fluffy pillows is nice, in theory, but in reality, the fewer pillows the better. Piling several pillows under your head limits your neck’s range of motion. One quality pillow is all you need.
Know what your neck can do. More importantly, know how strong your neck is – or isn’t. Don’t move a heavy piece of furniture by yourself.
Sleep tight. A good night’s sleep will work wonders not only for the neck but for the entire musculoskeletal system. Having a tough night of sleep is reflected in your joints, from your legs to your neck.
Always seek chiropractic help when suffering neck pain – especially when it interferes with your quality of life. Allow yourself the pleasure, and ability, to play with your children, or to sit comfortably and watch a sunset, or to just live the way you want to live. You’ll be thankful you sought out the treatment – and so will your loved ones.