Neck Problems-Disc Degeneration & Herniation
Disc herniation (or rupture) is relatively rare but can be the source of intense pain. Sometimes surgery is needed in this instance, especially when it’s due to trauma. However, in many cases, chiropractic techniques can re-establish the integrity of the disc and prevent the need for neck surgery. These should be explored if possible.
Disc degeneration is a more common cause of pain, nerve root and spinal cord irritation. Although many doctors tell their patients that the cause of disc degeneration is age, age alone cannot be blamed for the condition because it can be found even in young children. The most common cause of disc degeneration are years of spinal imbalance, spinal subluxations, physical trauma or emotional stress.
Spinal Imbalance-Cause of Neck Stress
Let us suppose that one day you carried a bowling ball around for the entire day, but instead of carrying it closely at your side, you held it a little distance from your body. You’d get tired very fast! It’s the same with your head. If it’s properly balanced that’s fine, but if it’s held even a little off center you will start to suffer from fatigue, as well as stress on your neck.
If unhealthy, your neck’s normal forward curve may reduce, become straight or “military” or even reverse its curve. Over time arthritic changes in the vertebrae such as lipping or spurring (bony growths); disc thinning or degeneration; or deterioration of muscles, ligaments and other structures may occur. In spite of all these changes, however, there may or may not be pain. In fact, studies show little or no correlation between the degree of pain felt in the neck and arthritic changes found on X-rays and MRI.
Lipping, spurring and other irregularities (osteoarthritis) do not in themselves constitute a disease but are rather defense mechanisms that arise to stabilize an off-balance spine.
Recent research has shown that chiropractic care can reverse some of the effects of osteoarthritis-something that had previously been considered impossible.