Spine Cervical

I've been having adjustments for neck and shoulder pain. I've been told it's possible to have a stroke after neck manipulation. How soon would this happen, and how would I know it was happening?

The chances of having a stroke after neck manipulation are very slim (about one in every one million manipulations). In more than 90 percent of cases, symptoms occur within 48 hours of manipulation. At least half of the time, the start of symptoms is immediate. A delay of more than a week is extremely rare and has only been reported once.

I am 70 years old and had a stroke two years ago. Last week I slept too long in one position, and now I have a stiff neck. I would like to see a specialist for a neck adjustment. Is there a chance that neck manipulation will cause another stroke?

It's extremely unlikely. In rare cases (approximately one in every one million cases), neck manipulation is followed by stroke. Causes and risk factors remain unknown. There is no evidence that people at risk for stroke are more likely to have problems after neck manipulation. As a precaution, please make sure the medical provider performing the treatment is aware of your medical history.

Eyes in the Back of Your Neck?

About one in three people in the general population has neck pain at any given time. Neck pain commonly comes from whiplash injury. However, studies show there are just as many people with neck pain who have never had a car accident.

The Link between Work and Neck Pain in Teens

If your teen says work's a pain, he or she may really mean it. A study of 500 high school students suggests that teens who work during the school year are more susceptible to neck and arm pain.

I had a car accident six months ago and suffered whiplash injury. After about six weeks, the painful symptoms went away, and I could move my head and neck normally. My neighbor had a similar accident. Two years later, she is still having trouble with her neck. Why is that?

Whiplash injuries are different depending on the force of impact, the position of the head and neck at the time of injury, and the age of the patient. In normal recovery, symptoms slowly get better. Head and neck function and ability to do daily activities improve gradually during the first six weeks.

Sometimes I see people wearing soft neck collars after car accidents. When should these be used?

Many studies show that these collars are not effective and should not be used. Early movement, exercise, and advice on posture have proven useful in treating whiplash injury. Returning to usual activities is preferable to rest and wearing a collar.

Occasionally, a doctor or physical therapist may advise a patient to use a soft collar for 24 to 48 hours. This is an individual decision based on the particulars of the case.

I had a whiplash injury two months ago. Since I didn't get better with activity and exercise, the doctor sent me to a physical therapist. I still have a lot of pain and stiffness with movement. It seems like the therapist is asking me to do things beyond my abilities. How far should I push through the symptoms of this injury?

The healing time for most soft tissue injuries is about six weeks. Unless you have reinjured yourself during this time, you should be nearly past the time of healing and tissue remodeling. At this point, treatment can help prevent your injury from becoming a chronic problem.

What is "Lhermitte's sign"?

This medical term is named after a French neurologist who lived in the late 1800s and early 1900s. It refers to an electric, shock-like sensation down the arms. It happens when the neck is bent forward, bringing the chin to chest. The underlying cause may signify multiple sclerosis or pressure on the spinal cord in the neck.

My 72-year-old mother was just diagnosed with spinal stenosis of her neck. Is this a common condition in women?

Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal. When it occurs in the neck, it can begin to put pressure on the spinal cord. In the United States, there is no difference in the number of men and women affected by this condition. Older adults are more likely to develop stenosis because of changes in the spine from the aging process.

I have seen some commercials on television about the importance of wearing seat belts. The research for these infomercials always seems to be done on crash dummies. How do they know the results are the same for humans?

Researchers have spent many hours recording and measuring the effects of car crashes on cadavers, crash dummies, and human volunteers. Experts have compared the results to see if they are the same.

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