CHAOSTOCOSMOS

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Neck Pain and Dizziness Part 2

image By Joel Rosen

In part 1 of the article I wrote entitled "Neck Pain and Dizziness", I asked the question on whether or neck pain and dizziness are related to each other.

If indeed they are related, this would help us understand why we often have the two happening at the same time, but more importantly, if we focus on alleviating our neck pain, we can also alleviate our dizziness as well.

This is very important, because if you Google drug treatments for vertigo, you will see a host of pharmaceuticals for this condition, and any time we can avoid taking medication for something we can help naturally, then you've vastly improved your overall health.

Also in part 1 of Neck Pain and Dizziness, we mentioned that the center in the brainstem responsible for balance is called the vestibular nucleus. Four sources for stimulating or sending information to the vestibular nucleus were reviewed: the Inner ear (Labyrinthine), the cerebellum, the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), and the cervical vertebra C1-3. This type of vertigo is called Cervical Vertigo, or Cervicogenic Vertigo, and this is where we left off.

So let's continue.

CERVICAL VERTIGO:

A relationship between cervical spine trauma and the symptoms of vertigo has been researched and documented. Dr. Linda Luxon notes in her chapter titled "posttraumatic vertigo" (1) that this type of vertigo can be explained by 'disruption of cervical proprioceptive input'.

From the Latin word proprius, meaning "one's own" and perception-is one of the human senses. Hence, one's own human sense functions to sense orientation of ones limbs in space. In the case of the neck or cervical spine, we have proprioceptors throughout the anatomy of the neck. They function in the neck to sense stretch or quick movements, and ultimately tell our brain where we are in space and time.

This information of where our head is in space then gets relayed or sent to the vestibular nulcei, the balance centers in our brain. The major source of cervical spine information gets sent from with the joints and capsules in the neck.

That said, whenever a problem with the upper cervical spinal joints exist, or a problem with the neck in general, altered signals get sent to the vestibular nucleus, sending faulty information of where our head is in time and space.

The result?

Try Dizziness and Vertigo.

So why would our neck have a problem with the joints and capsules in the first place, that would result in the faulty relaying of centers to the balance centers in the brain? Trauma for one. Any motor vehicle accident, or jar that we take to the neck. Better yet, postural stress. Postural stress of being in front of a computer, using our cell phones, sleeping awkwardly, driving for a long duration, and a host of other things that we do on a daily basis.

All in all, this is actually great news. If you suffer with neck pain, vertigo, and dizziness, and have not had any relief, then focusing on correcting the neck problems may actually help not only your neck pain, but your dizziness as well.

So, the question becomes, why don't you know about this?

Not to get too political, but, the drug industry is a Multi Billion dollar industry, and they have a stake at promoting their products. Unfortunately, as well, in general, society is looking for a magic pill. One that we go to bed at night with, and wake up in the morning with whatever we took the pill for fixing the problem. That is the "should be world" and unfortunately, we live in the "is world".

The "is" world when it comes to vertigo, dizziness and neck pain, IS to improve the "mechanical function of these joints", fix the faulty signals being sent to the vertigo centers in the brain, and fix the vertigo, dizziness, and neck problems.

I know that If I where you, I would be asking right about now "What the heck is mechanical function of the neck joints???" More importantly, "how do I fix the mechanical function of the neck joints"????

Well great question, funny you should ask. I try to explain things in a simple and easy analogies to understand things that we may not be familiar with. So, think about our joints in the neck like a door hinge.

Now I know that this analogy is a bit crude, but, we all understand how a hinge joint works. With a door, the way the hinge joint was designed allows the door to swing open and swing closed. All we have to do is push the door and viola, it swings open.

Two joints in the body that are called hinge joints are the elbow and knee. These joints can swing open and closed, or flex and extend in one direction, like a hinge joint of a door (more or less). But think about when that hinge joint becomes faulty.

Perhaps it is rusty, or not lubricated properly, the joint stops working properly. When that happens, the door may not open up as much, the joint my grind, and then it really becomes difficult to get through the doorway. If we force the door too much, where the hinge is mounted to the framework, that may begin to loosen up as well. Now you have an even bigger problem.

Well the neck joints are similar in the way they breakdown. The joints in the spine or called facet joints (see above diagram for an illustration). In the case of the facet joints in the neck, when we bend our neck to look downwards, the joints open up or separate. When we look up to the sky, the joints bear down on each other and come together. We also have the ability to turn left and right, and laterally flex each ear to the respected shoulder.

This is what we call "normal joint mechanics" or mechanical function of the neck joints.

So how do we fix this mechanical function in the neck? Well, techniques to improve range of motion, in all directions is the first suggestion. In order to do that, we have to first determine what ranges of motion or what direction we are limited in.

As a quick reference, AMA guidelines for spinal motion are as follows

Flexion= 60 degrees

Extension= 75 degrees

Cervical Right Lateral Flexion= 40 degrees

Cervical Left Lateral Flexion= 40 degrees

Cervical Right Rotation = 80 degrees

Cervical Left Rotation = 80 degrees

So step 1. would be to evaluate your own range of motion with the "eyeball method" and determine if you have a) full ranges in all direction b) pain free movement b) symmetry between left and right motions (that is, left motion is as good as right motion and vice versa).

Once you have determined any "dysfunctions with your range of motion, you are ready to go on to step 2. So keep posted for my 3rd and final installment of "Neck Pain and Dizziness" where I continue to give you valuable information to help to improve your mechanical function of your neck and get rid of your vertigo once and for all.

Till next time, watching your back (and neck)

Reference:

Luxon L. "Posttraumatic Vertigo" in Disorder of the Vestibular System, edited by Robert W. Baloh and G. Michael Halmagyi, Oxford University Press, 1996

Dr Joel Rosen, D.C. BPE, BA (Psych), is a Doctor of Chiroprrtic as well as a lifestyle & conditioning coach in Boca Raton, author of Lose the Neck Pain System, a contributing author to a number of article directories and magazines. Dr. Joel's neck pain elimination system websites feature his best-selling Lose the Neck Pain System for neck pain, upper back pain, headache pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and even lower back pain and his membership site offers access to all of Dr Joel's Lose the Neck Pain System and video clips for men and women and discussion forums.

Dr. Joel Rosen also has an advanced education background, completing a Master's of Science Degree in Exercise Physiology from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada and completing a Psychology from York University in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Dr. Joel Rosen combines both disciplines as well as his doctorate in chiropractic to give his patients the cutting edge rehab strategies and techniques for obtaining optimal health and ending years of pain and suffering. Dr. Joel continues to study the latest training, supplementation, and nutrition research that will help improve client's health and wellness as well as their physical and mental performance.

Check out his website at http://doctorjoelrosen.com/

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