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"In the Neck of Time": Proper Treatment and Prevention of Neck Pain

 The neck is one of the most commonly treated areas in chiropractic. One estimate puts the incidence rate in the last 3 months at almost 14% for adults. (Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2006 Nov 1;31(23):2724-7.   However, there are many cases of neck pain that are either not treated until further, "harder to treat" pain ensues or are treated with less effective means of treatment.  This lack of proper treatment may be due to a lack of awareness of proper neck function as well as an underestimation of the long-term consequences of a minor neck injury.  This is unfortunate, as a healthy and mobile neck is essential for a healthy and mobile life.  Part 1 of this article will explain the causes and categories of neck injury.  In Part 2, the proper diagnosis, treatment and prevention of the most common neck conditions will be discussed, so that you can manage your neck pain proactively, instead of "in the neck of time", when more severe conditions may already have developed.

First of all, let’s start with a little discussion of neck function and anatomy.  The "neck" actually refers to the cervical spine and the structures that both pass through and attach to it.  This includes the 7 cervical vertebrae, which are bony structures, and the fascia (connective tissue), ligaments, tendons, arteries, nerves, veins and glands attached to them. And as the neck also includes the spinal cord and nerve roots passing through and letting the brain communicate with the rest of the body, one can not underestimate the importance of a properly functioning cervical spine. There are both deep and superficial layers of neck muscles:


Superficial Neck Muscles