Arthritis and your neck
The cervical (neck) area is the most mobile of any part of the spinal column. There are seven (7) different cervical vertebrae which are linked to each other with a series of joints, ligaments, discs and muscles. Pathological conditions can affect any of these structures. Nevertheless, as a typical procedure of everyday life, there is a specific amount of "wear and tear" that involves any of the moving parts and the structures that connect them. This is most commonly described as "degenerative" joint disease and "Arthritis". It is no uncommon to find this in many individuals over 30 years of age. This does not mean that we are all going to experience significant issues with the discs or bones in our necks. Nonetheless, neck pain and discomfort are very common. In order to comprehend why these areas become problematic and the best way to treat these issues, understanding the anatomy is essential.
Anatomy of the disc and Arthritis
The disc acts, in part, like a shock absorber which are found between each vertebral body from C2-7. The center of the disc (the Nucleus Pulposus) is a soft, gel-like element that is surrounded by strong, dense multi-layered, multi- ringed capsules. These are referred to as the Annulus Fibrosus. The disc is connected to each nearby vertebra and is surrounded by a series of very strong ligaments that also link each vertebra in the Spinal Column. Throughout our daily activities of movement and weight bearing, there can be slow progression of these structures breaking down. We could call it a "wear and tear" process where the soft disc center (Nucleus Pulposus) ends up being less rubbery and more susceptible to breakdown.
What we see in clinical practice is that the amount of Arthritis and degeneration of these structures is directly related to the amount of traumas that have occur to the structures. Things like taking hits to our head and neck due to falls, sports injuries, auto accidents, prolonged abnormal positions like working at computers, reading or watching TV with the neck bent ...... all can set the stage for this degeneration to start occurring or speed up.
So what is arthritis of the neck?
Arthritis of the neck just means that you are experiencing inflammation of the joints of the neck. The degeneration takes place as the results of the neck alignment and function of the neck not being properly established most often as a result of a prior trauma. Medications, massage, Ice, heat, etc can treat the symptoms but do not address the alignment issues or joint dysfunction.
The neck is much like a car with a misaligned front end. It leads to quicker degeneration and loss of life to the tire or in the body the joints and leads to what is called Degenerative Joint Disease. This is a mechanical issue in the spine and as a result, is best treated with a mechanical correction. This is exactly what Chiropractic care provides.
If you have been suffering from neck pain I highly recommend that you seek the care of Chiropractic physician.
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