(Nov – Dec 2012 Vol 46) – Pain in your neck?
Dr. William Choi is a local chiropractor who specialises in the Gonstead Method, and he practices at Academy Of Chiropractic Clinic, 30 Merchant Road #02-27, Singapore 058282. Here’s his takes on the common aches and pains you are likely to experience.
LW: WHAT ARE SOME COMMON CAUSES OF NECK PAIN?
DR. CHOI: The usual causes of neck pain can be osteoarthritis, disc herniation, slipped disc, disc compression, disc protrusion that can be caused by whiplash in a motor vehicle accident or sports injury.
Postural neck pain or stiffness can be due to poor ergonomics in the work environment. For example in a computer work environment where the forward head position is maintained for prolonged hours, the demands on posterior musculature are dramatically increased by the weight of the head as it moves forward of the body.
The effects of neck pain include numbness, tingling, stiffness, weakness or a combination of these complaints in the arms and hands. Headaches, migraines, vertigo (otovestibular disorders), tinnitus, Temporomandibular complaints (TMJ) and eye pain (ophthalmic disorders) can be also due to disorders of the cervical spine.
Neck pain can also be indicative of disc degeneration, concussion, fracture, high blood pressure, hyper tension, myocardial infarction and epilepsy.
LW: WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO AVOID GETTING NECK PAIN?
DR. CHOI: Postural advice regarding work and everyday posture is considered an important adjunct by many chiropractors. The focus should be to maintain a neutral head position. This often involves a focus on stretching of the short spinal extensors with strengthening of the deep neck flexors.
Supportive to this attempt is correction of the factors contributing to a hyperlordosic lumbar spine or hyperkyphotic thoracic spine when possible.
Exercises should include stretching of the upper trapezius jlevator scapulae, pectorals, lumbar extensors, and hip flexors, followed by strengthening of the middle/lower trapezius, abdominals, and gluteals.
Ergonomically, workstations should be oriented to provided a straight ahead view of a computer screen, shoulder support or a headpiece for long term telephone usage, and arm supports on the chair.
The sequence of prescribed exercises usually begins with mild isometrics, progressive to a more functional approach. Minimal contractions into all six-movement patterns of flexion, extension, lateral bending, and rotation is initiated as soon as pain restriction permits.
An alternative to using resistance against one’s own hands is a pressurised ball. This is essentially a rubber ball that is inflated by a sphygmomanometer bulb. The patient can adjust the pressure and monitor resistance through the use of an attached pressure gauge.
LW: WHAT ARE SOME WAYS TO TREAT NECK PAIN?
DR CHOI: Treatments available for neck pain include Gonstead Chiropractic, Acupuncture, and Myofascial therapy. Postural training and ergonomic advice can be incorporated as preventative tools. Precaution should be taken to any type of movements that use hyperextension and/or rotation.
Livewell, November – December 2012 Vol 46