Updated: Oct 21, 2020
This is a sensitive subject, pun intended. Spinal issues are serious business. The spine is considered our lifeline with a high functioning, detailed system that includes skeletal, as well as a rich network of nerves that fan from the spinal cord throughout our body to inform our body just what to do, how to move, and function. IF there is an injury in the spine, your body will certainly leave you signs that something is 'disrupted'. Let's go over the most common spinal issues, specifically looking at the cervical spine. This is the top point of the spinal column, consisting of 7 vertebrae. Neck pain is the #1 result of inflictions in this area of the spine, however, referred pain is also extremely common.
Herniated Disc: Also called ruptured disks or slipped disks. The nucleus (inside of the disc) leaks out of the disc's containment. A herniated disk is likely to cause pain because it generally protrudes and irritates nerve roots, causing radiating pain.
Bulging Disc: A condition in which the nucleus (inner portion) of a spinal disc remains contained within the annulus fibrosus (outer portion). This would be considered the pre-stage before a herniation of a disc.
Degenerative Disc Disease/Cervical Spondylosis: The degeneration of the joints of the neck. It most commonly leads to pain and a decreased range of motion. Arthritis is almost always accompanied by this condition.
Cervical Spinal Stenosis: This is a narrowing of the spinal column, causing pressure. Symptoms usually develop gradually over a long period of time and may include stiffness, pain, numbness, or weakness in the neck, shoulders, arms, hands, or legs. Depending on the severity, migraines are common as well.
Cervical Curvature Issues: "Cervical lordosis is when your spine in the neck region doesn't curve as it normally should. This can mean: There's too much of a curve or the curve is running in the wrong direction, also called reverse cervical lordosis." (from www.healthline.com)
Muscle Tension, Trigger Points, and Myofascial Pain: This category is directly muscular related. Tension and constriction in the muscle fibers can cause pain, headaches, nerve pain (tingles, numbness), limited range of motion, shoulder pain, jaw tightness, and overall aching. The best ways to relieve this type of condition is through stretching/yoga, physical therapy, natural muscle relaxants (such as a magnesium supplement), hot & cold therapies, and therapeutic bodywork (massage, trigger point therapy, fascia release).
Being a Therapeutic Bodyworker, I have seen countless clients with these painful conditions. I have learned over the years how to help others manage cervical symptoms. I too have experienced a cervical injury and had to slowly work my way back to healing and full functioning over the period of a year. What did I do (in a nutshell)?
Saw my Chiropractor and ordered X rays
Saw my Primary Care Provider and ordered an MRI
Took Magnesium at night (for tension relief) and Melatonin (to encourage rest)
Took Ibuprofen when needed
Drank ample amounts of water daily
Clean nourishment (lots of herbal teas, smoothies, veggies, omega 3's)
Stretched daily - yoga routines 5 x a week
Saw my Theraptuic Bodyworker (for massage/myofascial release)
Purchased a cervical support pillow
Applied Biofreeze patches (topical pain relief) as well all essential oils
Used Heat Therapy (hot tub, infrared)
Prayed and trusted for healing :-)
Pain is a terrible thing. It can steal energy, motivation, peace of mind, and joy. I hope these few suggestions and tools below can help assist in your recovery, to gain back your functional, healthy living!
What can we do to manage and recover from cervical injuries/conditions?
Target Inflammation: If you've followed my blog, by now you know the basics of keeping inflammation down. Eat clean/whole foods, stay away from refined sugars, hydrate well, rest well, exercise daily, and limit stress. Consider an anti-inflammatory supplement such as Turmeric https://amzn.to/3hyhvTV or Omega 3's https://amzn.to/3kgOhuz
Do regular Cervical Spine Exercises (Yoga Focus) Videos:
- Neck Pillow/Massager https://amzn.to/3ml0KiC
- Massage Ball Set for Pain Relief https://amzn.to/35C7UZN
- Foam Roller https://amzn.to/35DYq0k
- Thera Gun Elite (focuses on trigger points) https://amzn.to/2ZE3Mot
Pillow Support: Based on the state and curvature of your cervical spine, your optimal choice of pillow will be personal. However, spinal support for a healthy sleeping position is crucial. These types of pillows are meant to support, cradle, and relieve pressure points. Check out the following cervical support pillows:
Heat Therapy (Infrared, Ultrasound):
These therapies are in my opinion, optimal for relieving muscular tension and restriction. I have seen positive results from both infrared and ultrasound applications- Mainly, calming pain and inflammation, and increasing range of motion. There are tools on the market you can purchase and use at home, but it may be wise to go to a practitioner who is trained in these technologies. If you are more of a DIY person, one of my favorite companies that offer quality heat-therapy products is https://healthyline.com/
I'd love to hear about your journey! Please share what brought you spinal healing?
To your health,
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