Three Interesting Facts About The Neck
If your neck is often sore, you probably think about this part of your body a lot. How much do you really know about the structure that supports your head? Understanding a little more about how your neck is built and how it functions can help you prevent and treat problems ranging from neck stiffness to migraines. To start your neck education off on the right foot, here are three important facts about your neck.
Your neck contains seven vertebrae.
Known as the cervical vertebrae, these seven are the smallest vertebrae in the spinal column. The way they're arranged allows you to move your head in every direction. Their delicate nature, however, makes the neck quite prone to injuries and soreness. For example, if you're in a car accident, the jolt of the collision may pull the muscles in your neck. These sore muscles contract, putting excess pressure on the small, delicate vertebrae in your neck. This often leads to increased and ongoing soreness. Luckily, soreness of this type can generally be corrected with a chiropractic adjustment.
Stress, neck stiffness, and headaches are often related.
When you're stressed, the muscles in your neck tighten and put pressure on the cervical vertebrae. Even if you don't feel the stiffness in your neck, it can contribute to migraines. Recent studies suggest that muscle contractions in the neck contribute to many cases of recurring migraines and tension headaches. One study conducted in New Zealand found that many migraine sufferers who had their cervical vertebrae adjusted by a chiropractor remained headache-free for at least two years following the treatment.
On rare occasions, people are born with extra or malformed vertebrae in their necks.
A genetic condition known as congenital scoliosis causes people to be born with deformed or extra vertebrae in their necks. The disease does not seem to run in families, but rather occurs due to random generic mutation. The disease can present itself in numerous ways. Sometimes, partially formed vertebrae are wedged between the normal, healthy vertebrae. Other times, there may be an extra, fully formed vertebra present.
While the congenital scoliosis is usually detected when a child is young, mild cases may sometimes go undetected until adulthood, when they begin causing pain and soreness. Special exercises and heat therapy can often be used to manage symptoms, and severe cases sometimes require surgical repair.
Your neck may seem rather insignificant, wedged between your shoulders and your head, but it actually plays a very important role in your body by allowing you to turn your head in all directions. If your neck becomes sore, treat it well by visiting your chiropractor for an adjustment, and by taking a break from activities like staring at the computer screen, which tend to put pressure on your neck muscles. Neck pain is a common ailment, but with some care and attention, you can rid yourself of this discomfort.
For more information, contact an experienced chiropractor like Eric Schmetterling DC.