In a Split Second, Celina's Life Dramatically Changed for the Worse Causing Chronic Neck Pain
Some may consider Celina fortunate to only have suffered whiplash, a concussion and bruised ribs after being involved in a head-on collision that fateful day in January. Perhaps so, however, constant neck pain and headaches since the accident made it so she could barely get through her day. Her doctor prescribed meds and sent her to a physiotherapist but that treatment wasn’t working. Six months later, she was still experiencing persistent pain that made it hard to get through her workday. Family life suffered and she could no longer do her job properly.
In only 3 short weeks, Celina went from constant neck pain and headaches to pain-free and back to normal!
The Simple Test That Turned Things Around
Celina found out about our Multicervical Unit (MCU) through an online search. She called and booked an Assessment and discovered, after only a thirty-minute test, why her neck pain wasn’t going away.
We call it the Neck Machine – it measures how strong your neck is and compares this to normal. If your neck is weaker than it should be, that weakness can cause ongoing neck pain and headaches. Reduced strength and endurance of the muscles that hold your head up makes it really difficult for you to get through your normal day. Because they are weak, those muscles have to work that much harder to do simple things like hold your head up when you work on a computer or when you are reading something. The same goes for maintaining your posture when sitting and driving. Weakness also makes that area vulnerable to bigger injuries if you experience another trauma such as a slip or fall or another car accident.
Got Chronic Neck Pain? Headaches? You Aren't Alone.
The World Health Organization now considers neck pain in the top 5 leading causes of disability in the world. Combine that with Headaches and back pain and you have 3 of the leading causes of disability in the world. The number of people coping with chronic neck pain and stiffness is staggering.
Is there a cure?
In order to answer that, let’s take a quick look at what causes ongoing neck pain. Once you know what causes it, the fix gets easier.
What Causes Chronic Neck Pain?
The most obvious cause most of us think of is trauma. Maybe you injured your neck a car accident or playing sports?
Perhaps a slip or fall?
Maybe you head-butted someone in a bar fight? 😉
But I Never Injured My Neck!
What about if you weren’t in a car accident or didn’t have a major trauma that caused your neck injury?
Ever heard of a repetitive strain injury (RSI)? This is a situation where there are low amounts of force and strain but done with high repetition. The high repetition is the key because the strain builds up over time until it gets too much for your neck to handle and the injury occurs.
This is exactly what happens from postural strain when you work at a desk or computer for extended periods.
Why Won't the Pain Stop?
Let’s say you hurt your neck in a car accident. We know that even really severe injuries heal within two to three months. So why does research show that more than 50% of people continue to have neck pain well beyond the time it takes to heal?
Undiagnosed Neck Weakness
When you injure something, it is normal for your body to protect the area by not using it. Kind of like how we would put a cast or splint on a bad wrist sprain or fracture. The idea is to stop moving the area so the injured tissues can knit back together and heal.
Problem: Think about how your arm looks when the cast comes off. In only a few short weeks, it has shrivelled up and is very stiff. We call this disuse atrophy. You have to use your body, otherwise, it quickly weakens and seizes up. Remember the phrase “Use it or lose it”? The same thing happens in the neck.
Once you have pain, your body subconsciously avoids using the area. Lack of use sets the stage for weakness (Disuse atrophy). If your neck is weak, it is vulnerable to future injury. Common sense tells us that if you are weaker than you’re supposed to be, it won’t take as much stress or strain to cause further injury and pain. It also means that those weak muscles have to work that much harder just to carry out normal, daily activities such as supporting your head against gravity. Muscles that are working harder fatigue faster and become painful. Think about how your arms and shoulders feel if you have been out doing yard work all day.
The Vicious Cycle
This is where it gets tricky. If you are in pain, your body protects the area by subconsciously not letting you use it properly. Lack of use promotes more weakness. Weakness results in reduced ability to function, which means it takes less activity to create pain. More pain reinforces the body’s protection mechanism so you use the area less and less over time. We call this a deconditioning cycle.
The longer you have pain, the less it becomes about trying to figure out what tissue or tissues are causing the pain and the more it becomes about diagnosing how your body has compensated for the original injury.
Simply trying to get back to normal activities often doesn’t work because as your body compensates, other areas come under additional strain and you may experience new problems. Kind of a chain reaction situation.
This Simple Test May Be the Answer
How would I know if my neck is weak?
This simple test on the neck machine (Multicervical Unit or MCU) will diagnose neck strength and mobility. The neck machine looks scary, but it isn’t. It doesn’t do anything to you. It only measures what you can do. This test takes thirty minutes where we measure your neck strength and mobility and compare that to normal.
Just think, in only thirty minutes, you can find out if undiagnosed neck weakness may be causing your ongoing neck pain and headaches.