• By: Dr. John Stenberg
  • Date: Jun 05, 2018
Neck Pain FAQ: Ligaments - The Often Overlooked Cause

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I meet people all of the time who are experiencing various secondary conditions, and they want to know if I can help them. One of the more common conditions people experience is neck pain. Understanding the source of your upper neck pain or discomfort is essential for achieving maximal recovery and relief. If trauma such as slips, falls, jars, or jolts bombard the body, a complex series of mechanisms activate to absorb and dissipate those forces. The structural disruption of spinal joints can occur as a result of these traumas and hold the key to reversing the process and achieving lasting relief.

Muscular activation is one way for the body to efficiently protect against damage to the tissues at deeper layers. Under extreme circumstances, the force of trauma is enough to tear or rupture a muscle. Often, the micro-traumas that we experience because of day-to-day activities are not sufficient to strain or tear muscle tissue. If the muscles surrounding and supporting the upper neck are inadequate in tone, contraction, or timing of activation a significant amount of force can be transmitted to the deeper tissue layers including the ligaments of the upper neck.

The ligaments of the neck provide structural support and hold the bones of the cervical spine in place. They also have receptors that constantly send information to the brain about the position of the spinal bones and joints, information which is transmitted to the neck muscles to produce smooth and controlled movements. A lesser known function of the neck ligaments includes pain sensors that alarm the body when the structures that they support become displaced or damaged. The presence of abnormal structural alignment, as in the case of Atlas Displacement, the weight of the head is transmitted unevenly to the joints and ligaments of the neck. This stress results in a deforming or reshaping of the ligaments to support those abnormal stresses – a process called “hysteresis” or “creep.”

Structural problems require structural solutions, and the reasonable approach to slow the progression of these issues is to correct the structural displacement that began the process. At the deepest level, spinal joint misalignment initiates stress and strain on neck ligaments following slips, falls, jolts, or trauma and provides the “first domino” in a series of events that leads to instability, degeneration (decay), and eventually pain. Attempts made to alleviate effects of this cause will be short-lived if the underlying problem remains uncorrected.

Several options exist for addressing issues related to ligament induced neck pain. Conventional chiropractic care, physical therapy, and massage therapy offer procedures focused on pain relief or management and are frequently successful. If these approaches are unsuccessful, over the counter or prescription medications are used to block the chemical reaction associated with pain signals. If all of these approaches fail, more invasive procedures enter the picture including spinal joint injections and surgical stabilization in advanced and serious cases.

NeuroStructural chiropractic care focuses on detecting and correcting a condition called Atlas Displacement Complex, also know as upper cervical subluxation. For individuals experiencing symptoms or secondary conditions related to ligament stress or damage, a comprehensive NeuroStructural examination process will reveal any abnormal structural alignment or instability. Based on diagnostic testing, a customized plan is developed to direct the body back toward normal structural alignment – where it heals and functions best.

Consult with Colorado Springs chiropractor Dr. John Stenberg to determine if you’re a good fit for NeuroStructural care. A consultation is a conversation - not a commitment.

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