The cervical discs in your neck are muchlike the insides of a pomegranate. As long as they stay insidethere is no problem. However, as soon as you open it up itscontents can corrupt just about everything they touch. Inside eachdisc is something called the nucleus pulposus.
It is a gel-like substance that can leakout of a disc after injury. This can happen from a chronicallydesiccated(dried) or a fresh bulge type injury from lifting heavyobjects. The point is the once extruded the substance can produceimmense amounts of pain.
Cervical Discs are commonplace, in fact,it is estimated that over 325,000 spinal fusions (137,000 cervicaland 162,000 lumbar) are performed yearly in the United States.(1)
By downloading the ChiroWebMD mobile app you can better control your patient portal.
Severe Cervical Discs disease requiressurgery, however, in a moment we will discuss a little-knownprocedure called upper cervical care that is helping people healnaturally avoiding costly and oftentimes complications that canhappen with surgery.
Your cervical spine is composed of sevensmall vertebrae that — along with various muscles and ligaments —form your neck. The most complicated biomechanical and neurologicalarea is located at the CCJ (craniocervical junction). However, thisarea, skull, c-1, and c2 do NOT have discs. These vertebrae protectyour brainstem and the nerves that branch out from the cord andprovide support for your head.
From C-3 to c-7 each vertebra hascervical discs, which are made of a tough flexible outer ring and asoft, gelatinous center. These discs allow for support and cushionyour neck vertebrae from the stresses of daily living.
However, wear and tear as you age, anddamage from car accidents or sports injuries can cause the cervicaldiscs to break down, bulge and rupture (herniate). Damage to thecervical discs can not only cause pain but also can be just one ofmany health issues that are coming from a similar source - NERVEIRRITATION.
Take advantage and get a free consultation with Dr. DrewHall.
How Many SufferFrom Neck Pain?
More than 16 million Americans visitdoctors or hospitals for neck pain treatment in 2014. (2) And whilecervical discs disorders accounted for only 15 percent of thosevisits, the condition was responsible for 33 percent of neck-painrelated hospitalizations.
Two of the most common reasons peoplesuffer from neck pain are pinched nerves in the neck and cervicaldiscs bulges. When a disc herniates, the bulge can impact thespinal nerve or the spinal cord, causing pain and weakness in thatpart of the body it supplies.
In the case of a neck disc herniation,the pain starts in the neck and travels down the arm in the areaserved by the damaged nerve. Symptoms may include:
· electrical or burning pain
· Pain that either increases or decreases depending on thedirection the head and neck is positioned
· loss of strength or coordination in the affected arm
· Loss of sensation
· Paresthesia -Numbness or tingling in the shoulder, arm orhand
Spinal stenosis is a narrowing and stiffing of the spine, causedby degenerative changes that happen as we age or are adaptive toinjury.
As you grow older, the cervical discs inyour spine lose height and begin to bulge. However, as we will talkabout in a minute there are things you can do to halt this processor keep it from happening in the first place by ensuring your spineis functioning properly.
The discs also lose water content, beginto dry out and become stiffer. Over time, the disc can collapse,and the bony vertebrae move closer together.
In response, your body forms more bone —bone spurs — around the disc, called DJD to strengthen it.However, these spurs cause the spine to stiffen and the spinalcanal to narrow, putting pressure on nerves.
May who develops spinal stenosis do nothave pain, however for those that do they may experience thefollowing:
· Neck pain
· Numbness or weakness in the arms, shoulder, hand, and legs
· Trouble with fine motor skills, such as buttoning a shirt orzipping a coat
· Bladder or bowel problems, in severe cases (indicates thenecessity for surgery)
Natural Treatment Options That May Help YouAvoid Surgery And Pain
Most cervical disc disorders can be diagnosed with a physicalexam, X-rays, and MRI.
While X-rays can show any narrowing ofthe spinal canal, an MRI is necessary to show bulging or herniateddiscs and detect damage to the spinal cord or nerve roots.
Once diagnosed, the first line oftreatment for cervical disc disorders typically involves physicaltherapy and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin oribuprofen. In some cases, steroid injections may be recommended tohelp relieve pain and swelling around the nerve.
However, the main thrust of this articleis to explain how an upper cervical spine injury can be at the rootof your suffering. Let us explain. Your neck houses the brainstem.The brainstem controls most of the functions of your body that youdo not think about, including muscle tone regulation.
Imbalances in muscle tone regulationoccur because the center that tells the muscles to be tight orloose is misfiring. How can this occur?
Injuries to the neck from, whiplash,sports injuries, slip and falls and other trauma can dislodge thetop bone in the neck called the atlas. This can occur because ofthe precarious nature of the neck skull junction. The skull weighs10-12 lbs. and the atlas (c-1) weighs 2 ounces.
This most important area is structurallythe weakest in the spine. As a result, injury can displace theatlas out of its normal position, tearing soft tissue, ligaments,and muscles. The injury may heal up however the structural damagehas far-reaching effects not only on the body's postural muscletone but many other body systems.
The upper neck injury causes bodyimbalance. (fig 1.) Neck injury is the UNDERLYING cause of discinjury that predisposes it to happen. When muscles become tighteron one side of the neck than the other, one shoulder higher thanthe other, one pelvis higher than the other, this causes unilateralspinal weakness.
This type of individual can then eitherlift something “too heavy” or the repetitive injury due to theimbalance can over time produce the disc herniation. Once theherniation exists the muscles in that area further spasm as aprotective mechanism. If you suffer from this condition what can anupper cervical chiropractor do that can help?
What Does AnUpper Cervical Chiropractor Do?
An Upper Cervical Chiropractors' solefocus is to release spinal cord tension at the CCJ (craniocervical,skull, c-1, and c-2) to allow the central nervous system tofunction optimally. As discussed, when the upper neck is misalignedit causes the muscles through the spine to becomeimbalanced.
By correcting the underlying cause ofthe spinal imbalance, the body can “straighten” itself out. UpperCervical Doctors take precise x-rays of the upper cervical spine todetermine exactly how your joint anatomy is built (everyone isdifferent) and to determine what direction your atlas hasmisaligned. Once these factors are determined a precise spinalcorrection is made. There is no popping twisting or pulling of theneck.
The goal of the procedure is to “hold”the correction in its normal position so the body can heal itself.Little importance has been placed on the body’s own recuperativepower. Sadly, too much emphasis has been placed on surgeries andthe marketing of pharmaceutical drugs.
While there are ties where both arenecessarily more people would avoid surgeries and a life full ofpain killers if they would correct the underlying cause of not onlyback pain but most chronic health issues.
Dr. Drew Hall has been the President ofthe Blair Upper Cervical Society for 9 years, is a Blair Techniqueinstructor, and has been practicing the Blair Upper CervicalProcedure for the past 16 years. He recovered his health 23 yearsago (listen here) and hislasting purpose is to help as many people as possible live the bestlife they can live.
1.National Center for Health Statistics,Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2003 National HospitalDischarge Survey Rosemont: American Academy of OrthopaedicSurgeons; .
Callaghan JP, McGill SM. Intervertebraldisc herniation: Studies on a porcine model exposed to highlyrepetitive flexion/extension motion with compressive force. ClinBiomech 2001 Jan; 16(1): 28-37.
Adams MA, Freeman BJ, Morrison HP.Mechanical initiation of intervertebral disc degeneration. Spine2000 Jul 1; 25(13): 1625-36.
Dai L, Jia L.Central cord injurycomplicating acute cervical disc herniation in trauma.Spine 2000 Feb 1; 25(3): 331-5; discussion 336.
Kramer J, Wiese M, Haaker R.Intervertebral disk displacement and trauma. Orthopade 200` Feb;30(2): 121-7.
Weisskopf M, Bail H, Mack M. Value ofMRI in traumatic disco-ligament instability of the lower cervicalspine. Unfallchirurg 1999 Dec; 102 (12): 942-8.
Abumi K, Shono Y, Kotani Y. Indirectposterior reduction and fusion of the traumatic herniated disc byusing a cervical pedicle screw system. J Neurosurg 2000 Jan; 92(1Suppl): 30-7.
Katzberg RW, Benedetti PF, Drake CM.Acute cervical spine injuries: prospective MR imaging assessment ata level 1 trauma center. Radiology 1999 Oct; 213(1): 203-12.
Johansson B. Degeneration of thecervical vertebral disk is seldom the only cause of diskherniation. Cause of disk herniation is a common dispute ininsurance cases after whiplash injuries. Lakartidningen 1999 Aug25; 96(34): 3540-1.
Bucciero A, Carangelo B, CerilloA.Myeloradicular damagein traumatic cervical disc herniation. J Neurosurg Sci 1998Dec; 42(4): 203-11.
Keiper MD, Zimmerman RA, Bilaniuk LT.MRI in the assessment of the supportive soft tissues of thecervical spine in acute trauma in children. Neuroradiology 1998Jun; 40(6): 359-63.
Kotilainen EM, Karki T, Satomaa OK.Traumatic cervical disc herniation-tetraparesis in a patient kickedby a horse. Acta Orthop Scand 1997 Apr; 69(2): 176-7.
Makela JP, Hietaniemi K. Neck injuryafter repeated flexions due to parachuting. Aviat Space Environ Med1997 Mar; 68(3): 228-9.
Jensen MV, Tuchsen F, Orhede E.Prolapsed cervical intervertebral disc in male professional driversin Denmark, 1981-1990. A longitudinal study of hospitalizations.Spine 1996 Oct 15; 21(20): 2352-5.
Carreon LY, Ito T, Yamada M. Histologicchanges in the disc after cervical spine trauma: evidence of discabsorption. J Spinal Disord 1996 Aug; 9(4): 313-6.
O'Brien CP. Rugby neck: cervicaldegeneration in two front-row rugby union players. Clin J SportsMed 1996 Jan; 6(1): 56-9.