CHRONIC NECK PAIN
WHERE IS IT COMING FROM AND WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT?
You already know that CHRONIC NECK PAIN can come from any number of tissues or situations arising in the neck. Today I'm going to reveal a couple things you don't know about Chroinc Neck Pain. Stick with this short post because I promise you that it will provide something new --- an approach that you may never have heard of, but will make total sense. Neck pain can come from........
- HERNIATED DISCS: Although Herniated Discs can be a huge problem, they often get more credit than they deserve (HERE).
- DEGENERATIVE DISCS: To learn about the DEGENERATIVE PROCESS, just click the link. Again, while certainly a problem, this bullet point undoubtedly gets far more credit than it deserves (HERE).
- ARTHRITIS: Although there are any number of different kinds of ARTHRITIS, in most cases, this is really another way to talk about degeneration above. HERE is another type of Arthritis. BTW, the last link of the last bullet point pertains to arthritis as well.
- PINCHED NERVE / RADICULOPATHY: RADICULOPATHY is what happens when the nerves get irritated / pinched to the point it causes pain, numbness, tingling, etc, down the arm and into the hand. Extremely common, and not usually the result of a disc issue.
- PSYCHOSOMATIC: This is the whole "it's all in your head" thing. Rest assured that if you are trying to cope with chronic neck pain, your doctor will try to link it to DEPRESSION in some form or fashion. It is also heavily associated with the points below. In other words, doctors are not going to tell you that you have Subluxations or Fascial Adhesions in your cervical spine (neck), they are probably going to view you as either "crazy" or a drug seeker.
- SUBLUXATION: Any time the vertebrae of the neck or upper back are out of place or "locked up" in relationship to one another, this is known as SUBLUXATION. Subluxations are not only extremely common, but can lead to a whole host of other sometimes seemingly unrelated problems (HERE and HERE are examples of this).
- MUSCLES & FASCIA: This point (sometimes referred to as "MYOFASCIAL") is hugely important, and mostly misunderstood or ignored outright. It is where we are going to spend most of our time today.
Not only can Chronic Neck Pain come from any number of tissues, these tissues can be injured in an infinite number of ways. So, if the Myofascial System comes into play as a potential source for CHRONIC PAIN, the question now becomes, "Which specific tissue is injured / adhesed, and where exactly is the injury / adhesion?" The truth is, it could be coming from just about anywhere. Take a look at the pictures throughout this page and notice how many fascia connections there are to the neck, including the SKULL & FACE. There is, however, a muscle that you have likely never heard of that can be a significant source of Chronic Pain and chronic restriction.
The Platysma is a wide sheet of thin muscle whose lower attachment points cross below the collar bone and include the Fascia that covers both the Pectoralis Major (chest muscle) and Deltoid (shoulder muscle. At the top of the Platysma, it attaches to the lower aspect of the jaw, as well as the muscles in the lower cheek and around the mouth. But it also anchors itself to the cheek bones, and believe it or not, around the eyes as well (not shown in these pics). This is a big reason I have seen people with injured necks who cannot smile or squint without significant pain.
People dealing with Chronic Neck Pain will commonly have problems with Scar Tissue in their Trapezius, Rhomboids, Levator, ROTATOR CUFF MUSCLES, Latisimus, and even at times, the muscles of the upper arms. It is critical to understand that because of the way that the Fascial System is INTER-CONNECTED, a restriction in your upper back could easily cause pain and restricted movement in your neck. In fact, I see this all day every day (HERE is a good example midway down the page).
My approach to dealing with patients with Chronic Neck Pain is simple --- make every attempt to deal with underlying causes instead of playing the part of the "Candy Man" and merely handing out drugs like PAIN PILLS, MUSCLE RELAXERS, NSAIDS, and CORTICOSTEROIDS (and as I mentioned earlier, ANTIDEPRESSANTS). Here are the specific steps I use to help you solve your Chronic Neck Pain after determining where the restriction is.
- CONTROL INFLAMMATION: If you really want to know how to do this, HERE is a post on the topic. Although a degree of LOCAL INFLAMMATION is vital for healing the damage to the soft tissues of your neck, a failure to address SYSTEMIC INFLAMMATION can be a deal breaker. While it does not necessarily doom you to failure, it certainly lessens your chances of solving the pain in your neck. By the way, this is something that you will have to do on your own because the drugs given to do this for you (HERE) have some nasty side effects (see previous paragraph).
- DEAL WITH SCAR TISSUE / ADHESED FASCIA: FASCIA is arguably the single most pain-sensitive tissue in your entire body. Now add that to the fact that it does not image will with our current array of advanced diagnostic imaging techniques (HERE), and you can see a PERFECT STORM of Chronic Pain brewing on the horizon. Numerous people never get the results they would otherwise get with Chiropractic Adjustments simply because they are loaded with SCAR TISSUE --- Scar Tissue that has the potential to be over one thousand times more sensitive to pain than normal tissue (HERE).
- DEAL WITH SUBLUXATION: If you don't deal with Subluxation (see the earlier links near the top of the page), there is almost no way you can get better. Alignment and a normal RANGE OF MOTION are critical to your health and well being. Fail to achieve normal ROM and THIS is the result. However, you also need to be aware that most people dealing with Chronic Neck Pain do not respond to Chiropractic Adjustments like they should because of this next bullet point.
- DON'T PUT THE CART IN FRONT OF THE HORSE: Person after person after person struggling with Chronic Neck Pain is told to stretch. Stretching is of critical importance, but only if the Subluxation and Scar Tissue are dealt with first (HERE). Furthermore, it is important to deal with ABNORMAL CURVES (read that, "lack of proper curvature") of the cervical spine. If you are not sure what I mean, just take a moment to READ THIS. COLD LASER and the PROPER SUPPLEMENTATION are then used to boost the healing process. As I have said previously, there is a PHASE I for dealing with Chronic Neck Pain, and a PHASE II. If you reverse the two (extremely common), your results will be compromised.
No games. No wild promises. No long, drawn out treatment schedules. No bait-and-switch. No trying to sell you who-knows-what. Other than the fact that I would never charge my family for treatment, I will treat you like I would treat MY OWN PARENTS. OR MY CHILDREN. Why not take a moment to TAKE A LOOK at what some of the people who have already taken the plunge and traveled to see us have to say?