Neck Pain, The Process
What Causes Neck Pain?
At any one time a 10% of the world’s population is suffering with neck pain, you know, the “normal” neck pain. While neck pain is very “common” it is not normal. Whether it is due to an injury, our work, sports or too much phone/computer time, a similar process happens.
Let’s talk about whiplash. It is interesting to note that even an impact of 5mph can cause damage to your neck, even if there is no damage to your car. Back in the day bumpers were made of metal and when there was an impact the metal would deform, absorbing the energy from the crash. Today’s cars have plastic bumpers that are designed not to deform, but what happens to the energy from the crash? That energy, instead of being absorbed by the deformation of the bumper, gets transferred to the occupants. Whether you are aware of the impending crash or not this impact causes stretching and tearing of the soft tissues around your spine. Immediately your body starts a process of healing. Inflammation happens, believe it or not that is not a bad thing, it is part of the healing process. As I have said before, we do not want to stop that process with meds, we want to control it with ice. So, we have some inflammation, then scar tissue is laid down to repair, basically cross the bridge, of the injured soft tissues. Again, normal, important process. Most people will suffer some tight muscle as our bodies attempt to splint the injured area. After the first couple days of ice, as the inflammation subsides, we can start to add heat. I like to do an ice/heat combo of 5 min heat then 5 minutes of ice alternating for about 20-30 minutes making sure to end with ice.
What happens to that scar tissue that is laid down? Unfortunately scar tissue is not as strong nor as flexible as the soft tissues it replaces so our joints start to get stuck together. That lack of motion accelerates the rate of degeneration of our joints-arthritis. We need to move every joint in our body every day, that is what keeps them healthy. When we don’t move the vertebra in our spine, our discs dry up, more bone/arthritis is produced and the space between the vertebra gets smaller causing stress on the sensitive nerves.
This is what happens whether due to an acute injury or just bad habits/microtrauma over time.
What we do in our office is we work on those effected joints. We introduce motion back in to those joint so that the scar tissue heals stronger and more flexible. Then we work on strengthening the supporting muscles.
Let’s face it, we are all wearing down. We have yet to find a way to stop the aging process, but we have found a way to slow it down. Adjustments, exercise, nutrition and supplementation are all ways to slow down the aging process – That is what we do!