Neck Pain! Your neck
consists, in part, of seven vertebrae which are numbered C1 to
C7. These seven vertebrae are called the Cervical vertebrae.
The first cervical vertebra, C1, is called Atlas, named after the
Greek god who was said to hold
the earth on his shoulders. The Atlas vertebra holds the head.
The second cervical vertebra, C2, is called Axis because most of
the rotation, or turning of the head occurs at this level.
Your spinal cord and many major nerve roots pass through the
vertebrae of your neck in route to virtually every part of your
body. These nerves may lead to muscle control, joint position,
blood vessels, or glands. They may be nerve fibers that help
monitor the body’s external environment, or fibers that help
monitor the body’s internal environment. They may be fibers that
allow for temperature sensation, touch, pain or pressure.
Your neck also consists of muscles, tendons, ligaments, and
disc’s which help support the head and work together with the
vertebrae of the neck to allow movement of the head, neck and to
some extent, the shoulders. When all of these components are
working properly the body is able to express health - you feel
When some aspect of the neck is not functioning properly, it
can lead to a loss of health, or pain, or both. Chiropractors
are specifically trained to evaluate your neck, looking for
improper functioning that leads to “Subluxation”. Simply put,
Subluxation in Chiropractic terms means one or more vertebral
levels that is not functioning properly and is therefore
irritating or preventing proper nerve function. This improper
nerve function may be expressed as neck pain; headache; sinus
problems; shoulder, elbow, wrist or hand pain; dizziness;
changes in vision; carpal tunnel syndrome; numbness, and many
other symptoms may be attributed to the neck. Because of a close
relationship with a part of the Brain known as the “Brain Stem”,
the Atlas and Axis vertebra have been shown to influence heart
rate, blood pressure and other bodily functions.
As you can see, the vertebrae and nerves of the neck can have
far-reaching affects on many parts of the body. Their proper
function is a critical part of good health. Certainly things
like whiplash, blunt head trauma or sports injuries could lead
to improper function of the cervical vertebrae. But simple
things like sleeping on your neck wrong; vigorously drying your
hair after a shower; bumping into people in a crowded area;
holding the phone between your head and shoulder while talking;
carrying a book bag or purse over one shoulder; toting a baby,
groceries, sporting good supplies, items at work, etc.
activities of daily life can all lead to Subluxation or improper
function of the cervical vertebrae.
Joints that don’t function properly will likely lead to
deterioration and eventually, arthritis. Once that happens,
proper function may never be fully regained. But even severe
arthritic necks, treated by a trained professional like your
Chiropractor, can be improved. Function can be improved which
will lead to greater mobility, less discomfort and better
health. Of course, the best situation is to have your
Chiropractor monitor your neck and other vertebrae in an effort
to prevent larger problems. Take care of your small problems and
you won’t have any big ones!
Dr. Routley says, “I work to find the specific area of your
neck that is causing your pain or health problem. I fully
explain to you why I believe that is the area, and what we, you
and I, can do about it.” Dr. Routley will try and help you find
the things in your life that are creating those problems. Once
they are identified, he will help you develop new habits to
avoid repeating your problems. As your pain diminishes and/or
your health improves, Dr. Routley will give you an exercise
program to help prevent future problems. “It is my goal to help
you feel as good as you can, and then help you stay that way.
You’ll feel good and you will want your friends and family to
feel that good also. It is a win-win-win situation.”, says Dr.