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It's no wonder that neck aches are so common. Imagine walking around all day with a bowling ball balanced on top of seven stacked rings that allow it to move freely from side to side and forward or back. The cervical vertebrae that support the head (roughly the weight of a bowling ball) perform that job admirably most of the time. But, these bony vertebrae, with their cylindrical cushioning discs in between, have a major duty to perform simply to keep the head erect on top of the spine, not to mention allowing the range of movement that is possible.
Topping Off the Spine
The seven vertebrae that top off the human spine are some of the hardest-working bones in the body. Not only do they work in tandem with the tendons, muscles, joints and ligaments that control head movement, but they also tie in to the rest of the spinal cord to facilitate movement of the rest of the body. The upper two vertebrae are unique; small, connected and close to the skull, it is these two that are primarily responsible for neck and head rotation from side to side.
The other five cervical vertebrae are still small, but are similar in appearance and function to the lower spine. They control flexion and extension of the head, the forward and backward movements. When an injury occurs to any one of these bony structures, nerves and other parts of the body can be affected as well. For example, damage to the C1, C2 and C3 vertebrae may cause breathing problems, while a C6 injury can result in loss of hand and wrist function.
At our chiropractic offices in Little Rock and Benton, we are well versed in spinal function and pain treatment. It is important to determine root causes of neck pain. Because the cause can range from sleeping on a pillow that doesn't offer proper support to a bone fracture resulting from a sports injury, treating neck pain may also require additional tests. Our Little Rock and Benton Chiropractor may order X-rays, scans or other assessments to determine what damage must be repaired. If necessary, we will refer you to a specialist or a surgeon for care that is not available through our office.
However, in many cases, the non-invasive, natural approach afforded by chiropractic techniques will restore full function to your cervical spine, and our caring professional will help you prevent such problems from recurring. Cervical manipulation, postural advice and lifestyle recommendations can constitute the basis of a continuing wellness regimen. Our individualized personal treatment plan may also include therapeutic exercise, massage and physical therapy, as well as diet and nutrition advice. Remember that we will partner with you to restore your neck and back to full function.
The most common causes of neck pain are simple ones, because the cervical spine is designed to be a "workhorse." But don't let the pain persist! When your neck hurts, why not contact us to schedule a preliminary examination? We'll get the ball rolling on the path to health. For more information contact our Little Rock office at 501-223-3314 or our Benton office at 501-315-6390.