Spine Cervical

I've had a pinched nerve off and on in my neck for several years. I'm trying to avoid having surgery, so I've been seeing a physical therapist. It seems to be helping. I really like the traction treatments. That seems to help the most. Since this is an ongoing problem, should I look into getting a traction machine for myself at home?

You wouldn't really be able to purchase a traction machine for home use like you use in the physical therapist's clinic. But home traction units with a head harness or halter that hang over the door are available and seem to help some people manage their symptoms.




My physical therapist was doing joint mobilizations and traction on me for a pinched nerve on the left side of my neck. But a new study showed that it didn't really help, so we've stopped using it. I definitely feel a difference without it. Should I say something?

Yes! Although the study you mentioned showed no difference in results for patients receiving manual therapy with and without traction, there were quite a few yes buts expressed by the authors.

First, they used 15 minutes of intermittent (on/off) traction. They started with a traction force (generated by the machine) of 10 per cent of the person's body weight. The treatment was delivered twice a week for four weeks.




Treatment for Cervical Radiculopathy: Skip the Traction

Physical therapists often treat patients with neck and arm pain from cervical radiculopathy. A variety of modalities are used. Modalities are treatment tools. For cervical radiculopathy these modalities include traction, postural education, exercise, or manual therapy. In this study, physical therapists attempts to find out if manual therapy and exercise work better when cervical traction is part of the treatment plan.




When I had my neck fused, I developed a problem called dysphagia. I couldn't swallow anything that wasn't blended first and even then some things just wouldn't go down. I thought this was a major problem but the surgeon didn't blink an eye. Shouldn't they take this stuff more seriously than they do?

Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing) is not uncommon after anterior cervical spine fusion. In the process of cutting through skin and soft tissue around the throat, damage can be done to some of the nerves in that area. The nerves are tiny and not always visible.

Your surgeon may not have communicated his or her knowledge and understanding of dysphagia as a postoperative complication in a way that would have made a better connection with you as the patient.




Have you ever heard of chocolate triggering headaches? My husband is sure he has a chocolate-loving brain tumor causing his headaches. I think I've heard there's something in chocolate that can give some people headaches. Should he see a doctor?

Many people suffer from headaches triggered by various food substances. Sometimes the reaction is a delayed food intolerance with a variety of symptoms including headache, joint pain, fatigue, skin rashes, acne, and so on. In other cases, a full-blown migraine can begin.




I have had migraine headaches since I was eight years old. I've heard that these might go away when I'm pregnant. I am trying to conceive, so I thought I'd check this out. What can you tell me?

Migraine headaches can occur in children. Usually these migraines are inherited. Studies show that migraines tend to drop off for men and women after midlife. Pregnancy is a unique time of life for many women. Some who have never had migraines develop them as a result of the increased estrogen in the system.




My 23-year-old daughter is living with me for a month while she gets used to wearing a halo vest for a cervical spine fracture. We are wracking our brains for ways to help her get more comfortable. The sheepskin lining the vest is supposed to make it more comfortable but she say its itchy. They showed us how to clean the screws and pins, but how do you take a bath or shower? Any tips you can offer would be a great help.

Fractures of the upper cervical spine (C1-C2) can be stabilized without surgery by using a special apparatus called a halo vest. The vest is made of durable plastic that fits over the chest with a supportive collar around the neck. Four long, vertical metal rods attach the vest to a crown around the entire head. Metal screws hold the halo portion to the skull.




Mother fell down the stairs and broke her neck right at the top of the spine. Because she has diabetes and other health complications, they put her in a halo vest instead of attempting to do surgery to fuse the spine. What are her chances for recovery? She's not that old (63) but she seems more fragile now than she used to.

Upper cervical spine fractures (C1-C2) are treated using a halo vest when surgery isn't an option or when the patient wants to avoid surgery. Many patients seem to do quite well with this treatment and have good results. There is some thought that older adults take longer to heal and have more complications. But a recent study from Germany reported no real difference between patients older than 65 and younger than 65.




Use of Halo Vest for Neck Injuries Based on Age

Fractures of the upper cervical spine (C1-C2) can be stabilized without surgery by using a special apparatus called a halo vest. The vest is made of durable plastic that fits over the chest with a supportive collar around the neck. Four long, vertical metal rods attach the vest to a crown around the entire head. Metal screws hold the halo portion to the skull.




How To Reduce Frequency and Severity of Migraine Headaches

Anyone who suffers from migraine headaches or knows someone who does will be interested in the information presented in this article. The authors (two physicians from The New York Headache Center) review the known or suspected pathology behind this painful condition. And they discuss the role of foods as triggers and supplements as treatment for migraines.




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