Spine Cervical

Quest for the Artificial Disc

Doctors sometimes suggest surgery to take out a herniated disc in the cervical spine (the neck). Most times, a graft of bone is placed between the two vertebrae where the disc was removed. The graft connects--or fuses--both vertebrae into one solid bone, a procedure called arthrodesis. This often takes away pain and other symptoms caused by the injured disc. However, the fused part of the neck can no longer move.

For Neck Problems, One Wrong Turn Often Leads to Another

Much of the testing done by physical therapists for their neck patients is based on common sense. Hard scientific evidence to support the tests' conclusions is sometimes lacking. These authors looked at specific tests done for people with neck problems, also called cervical spine disorders (CSD). The authors wanted to see whether tests to measure anatomical problems, functional limitations, and disability had consistent results.

Still Clueless about Whiplash

Whiplash--now that's a diagnosis that's easy to understand, right?

I have pain in my upper arm. Why does my therapist do ultrasound treatments on my neck?

The pain in your arm may be caused by a problem in your neck. This is called referred pain, and it can happen for many reasons, all over your body. Heart problems can cause symptoms in your left arm or the jaw. A problem in the low back can cause pain in the hip or leg. When the problem is deep in the middle of your body, your nervous system has a harder time figuring out exactly where the pain is located.

My arm hurts, but my doctor says the problem is in my neck. How can that be?

This type of pain is called referred pain. When the source of your pain is deep in your body, the nervous system has a hard time pinpointing the exact spot that hurts. The pain is often felt farther away from the source. The worse the original pain, the further away it can be felt. Referred pain is usually deep, burning, or aching.

Neck Burners and Stingers: Getting to the Nerve Root of the Problem

Many football players and wrestlers are familiar with the terms burner and stinger. They describe how nerve pain can "zing" down one arm from a hard hit to the head and neck. This intense sensation of burning pain is thought to be from a pinching of the nerve root where it comes out of the spinal column of the neck.

I'm scheduled for spine fusion in the vertebrae in my neck. Will I be able to turn my neck after surgery?

As long as the fusion isn't between the two joints at the top of the spine, you shouldn't have too many problems. Those two joints control about half of the movement of turning your head. A fusion in the lower part of your neck doesn't dramatically affect your ability to turn your head. 

I drive a forklift, and my neck is really getting sore from always turning my neck to see behind me. What can I do to keep my neck pain from getting worse?

Warm up before you start work by doing some gentle neck, back, and shoulder stretches. Sit with good upright posture while you drive. Keep your chest up and shoulders back. Try to avoid straining your neck when you turn to see behind you. As much as possible, turn your shoulders with your head, so that you aren't just craning your neck. Assess whether rearview mirrors on the forklift could help you see behind you without having to turn your head as often.

Affirmative Nod in Favor of Active Treatments for Chronic Neck Pain

Health providers rely on results of carefully designed research studies to know which types of treatments will best help their patients. Researchers pursuing this quest recently compared the benefits of three types of programs for patients with chronic neck pain.

Neck Postures May Pose Risk of Brain Attack at the Hair Salon

If you're feeling dizzy after having your hair shampooed and styled, there might be an explanation--other than your dazzling new looks. The problem could have to do with a shortage of blood to the brain from having your neck tilted back while getting a hair shampoo, a position commonly used in hairdressing salons.

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