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What is Wry Neck, and How’s it Treated?

What is Wry Neck, and How’s it Treated?

Also called acute torticollis, wry neck is a painful condition resulting from a tilted or twisted neck. If you find you’re tilting your head to one side to try to get rid of the pain, this is the likely problem.  Fortunately, Gonstead chiropractors have a solution to this challenging and debilitating problem. 

What Are the Symptoms of Wry Neck?

How can you tell if the problems you’re experiencing are due to a wry neck?  The condition has some pretty specific symptoms, including:

·         Neck pain and stiffness

·         One shoulder is higher than the other

·         Tilting or twisting the chin to one side

·         Swollen lymph nodes near or around the neck

·         Swollen neck and/or shoulder muscles

·         Neck muscle spasms

·         Headaches

·         Inflexibility in the neck, making it hard for you to look to either side or behind you

The Different Types of Wry Neck and Their Causes

A twisted neck can happen at any point in life, from birth to death. It can be something you’re born with or something you acquire.  It can go away on its own, but there’s a high chance of relapse.  Based on the cause, which I’ll go over below, the type of wry neck will be different, as will the level and place of your Gonstead spinal adjustment. 

The most common types of a wry neck include:

·         Fixed or acute torticollis is permanent and usually results from problems with bone or muscle structure.

·         Muscular torticollis is a type of fixed torticollis, but the cause isn’t in the structures; it results from scarring or tight muscles on one side. 

·         Temporary torticollis is due to an ear infection, cold, swollen lymph nodes, or injury to the neck and head.

·         Spasmodic torticollis is a rare condition that usually shows up between the ages of 40 and 60.  It’s when the muscles spasm, causing the head to turn or twist painfully to the side. It can also tilt forward or backward, making it even more painful. 

Other Common Culprits of Wry Neck Pain

Many other possible factors are contributing to a painfully tilted or twisted neck, including:

·         Sleeping on your stomach

·         Sleeping in a hot room with a cold breeze on your face and shoulders

·         Sleeping with two or more pillows under your head and neck

·         Genetics—you can inherit the condition

·         It can happen to a baby in utero if the fetus’ head is positioned incorrectly

·         Staring down at your phone for hours at a time

·         Burn injuries

A wry neck can also be secondary to other conditions like:

·         Herniated disc

·         Slipped facets

·         Bacterial or viral infection

How A Gonstead Chiropractor Treats Wry Neck

kinked neck doesn’t always originate from the neck.  A Gonstead chiropractor takes a more specific approach to treating a wry neck. 

·         We’ll start with a thorough history and visual exam, which is me watching you move your neck in different positions. 

·         Next, I’ll palpate (feel) your spinal column to look for and mark abnormalities. 

·         Then, I’ll target the adjustments to those problem areas, usually in the mid-back (thoracic spine). 

·         Once I adjust the problem areas on the spine and neck, I’ll move into your extremities, especially the shoulder. Misalignment here can often make wry neck symptoms worse. 

There’s no telling how many adjustments you’ll need to treat wry neck symptoms.  Every patient is different. Some require just a few; others need many more.  The important thing is that you should start to feel an improvement immediately following the adjustment. If you’re tired of dealing with the wry neck pain and you live near Norwalk, it’s time to make an appointment with Slovin Chiropractic Center. This condition can be treated with the Gonstead technique, so why wait? 

Sources:

Hopkin’s Medicine – Torticollis

Intero Chiropractic: *PAINFUL STUCK NECK* Helped IMMEDIATELY with the Gonstead Technique

Healthline – Wry Neck


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How the Brain Changes in Whiplash Injuries

How the Brain Changes in Whiplash Injuries

Imagine what it would be like to have a fall or accident in your teens, only to suffer from those whiplash symptoms decades later.  That’s what happened to my patient, Bob. 

Bob is a 57-year-old-man who came to me in my Norwalk clinic because he’d been suffering from Bell’s palsy—muscle weakness that causes drooping on one side of the face—for about seven years.  His symptoms were severe, including:

·         Drooling

·         Disordered movements in the facial movements that affected his expressions

·         Headaches

·         Tearing

·         Loss of taste

·         Hypersensitivity to sounds

After reviewing all his X-rays, I’d noticed a severe neck injury that must’ve been many years old. Bob told me about a major accident he’d had decades earlier. He was 17, out for a joy ride with a friend, wearing no seatbelt, and racing towards his youthful adrenaline between the lines on the road.  Sadly, his night was cut short when he was involved in a severe accident that killed his friend and nearly stole his life too.  He wasn’t expected to make it through. 

Whiplash after an accident can lead to serious long-term repercussions if not treated from the beginning.  But the good news is that it’s reversible.  Within just a few visits, Bob saw significant relief in his symptoms.  His whiplash treatment regimen was a critical part of his recovery.  He now lives a full and active life without the pain and discomfort of a long-ago tragedy. 

The Brain at the Onset of Whiplash Injuries

In severe accidents where you lose consciousness for any period, the brain develops lesions in the prefrontal cortex.  This is the area of the brain responsible for executive functions like focus, being able to predict the consequences of your actions, impulse control, and management of emotional reactions.  Lesions can also appear in deeper structures of the brain if the injury is bad enough. 

The Long-Term Effects and Symptoms of Whiplash Injuries

Just because a whiplash injury doesn’t knock you unconscious, doesn’t mean it can’t become problematic.  Symptoms of chronic whiplash injuries include:

·         Severe chronic shoulder and neck pain

·         Ringing in the ears

·         Blurry vision

·         Severe headaches

·         Sleep difficulties

·         Memory problems

·         Difficulty with focus and concentration

In 2016, a study revealed changes in the pain and posture processing part of the brain many years after the accident.  They were looking for a way to help people suffering from chronic whiplash associative disorder—a problem with motor, sensorimotor, and sensory functions.  Whiplash can happen at low speeds, so people don’t always see their doctor right away, often leaving the injury untreated for years.  When they do seek attention, it’s difficult to impossible to see anything on tests.  In the study, researchers identified where the pain is occurring.  There is restricted blood flow from the neck to areas in the brain involved with pain perception and sensory processing from inside the body.     

Treating whiplash injuries quickly is critical to avoid long-term damage to nerves, muscles, tendons, and the brain.  Proper whiplash treatment can reverse symptoms; however, the severity and type of injury will determine the path of your treatment plan.  In all cases, it’s best not to wait.  Contact Slovin Chiropractic Center today for a consultation. 


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Sources:

Medical Life Sciences:  Changes in the pain and posture processing parts of the brain could cause whiplash symptoms.

BC Medical Journal:  Purports Of Brain Damage Following Presumed Whiplash Injury

Science Direct: Whiplash symptoms are caused by actual changes in the brain

Stress Causing Pain? 3 Things Your Doctor CAN’T Do


Stress makes everything—especially pain—worse. Unfortunately, medical science and a doctor’s skill can only take you so far. We can show you the water, but it’s up to you to drink.

How Stress Impacts Health

Stress increases brain activity, making your nervous system more sensitive, and tightens the brain’s blood vessels. It’s often a subtle culprit to chronic pain, but it’s manageable when you’re aware of your stressors.

Chronic stress—physical, mental, or emotional—forces the body into survival mode. Your adrenal glands atop each kidney constantly release stress hormones, which inhibit the gland’s proper functioning. That affects other glands and organs as well.

Anything that runs at full speed for long periods is bound to overheat and eventually break down; your body’s stress response is no different. Even the most minor problems—like a traffic jam or a bad day at work—can affect your physical and mental health. Consistently high levels of big and small stressors lead to:

  • An overworked endocrine system that can’t keep up with high-stress demands
  • Too much effort required of the heart
  • Cravings for unhealthy and damaging foods
  • Higher risk of prediabetes, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome
  • Muscle tension, headaches, and back pain
  • Menstrual irregularities (or your period stops completely)
  • An overwhelmed immune system
  • Increased risk for chronic stomach pains and inflammatory bowel disease
  • Memory loss and cognitive decline

Stress is common in this chaos-driven world. It’s essential to learn ways of coping with stressors, primarily if it’s affecting your health and quality of life. Pain lowers your tolerance and kicks you in the teeth if left unaddressed.

I know it’s tough to change behaviors and find new coping mechanisms, but you don’t have to do it alone. Your doctor can help you find practices that work with your schedule, preferences, goals, and personal situation; however, there are a few things doctors can’t do for you when it comes to treating stress-induced pain.

We Can’t Do the Hardest Work

The hardest part of relieving stress-caused pain is what you do at home and in the privacy of your thoughts. That doesn’t mean your doctor can’t help you discover new coping mechanisms and support to reach your goals. It means we can’t change the way you think about and deal with your troubled teen, wandering spouse, or terrible boss. As a chiropractor, I can help relieve some of the tension in your spine, giving your internal body a fighting chance to regulate stress’s chemical and hormonal response. I’m able to provide you with a wealth of information about coping techniques, and I have dozens of resources at your disposal. The rest is up to you

We Can’t Make Promises About a Cure

Doctors aren’t in the habit of making promises, especially in medical treatments. I can’t and won’t promise spinal manipulation will relieve your neck pain. It probably will if you follow treatment protocols, but that’s not a promise I can keep. As your chiropractor, I can only promise to provide you with all the necessary tools to improve your health and quality of life.

We Can’t Make it Stop Without Time

As much as we wish it were different, doctors know there’s no magic touch or cure-all pill. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for stress-induced pain because, like everything else about you, each case is unique. We’re doctors, but we’re also whole humans bound by Time. Good health doesn’t happen overnight. With patience, perseverance, and commitment, a good doctor can help you through the long-haul journey.

If you’d like to learn more about how we treat chronic pain at Slovin Chiropractic Center, let’s have a chat! Our doctors stand ready to help you take the next step to a healthier life.

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Resources:

Healthline: The Effects of Stress on Your Body

Cleveland Clinic Health Essentials: 7 Strange Things Stress Can Do to Your Body

EXCLI Journal: Experimental and Clinical Sciences: The Impact of Stress on Body Function: A Review

Kinky Neck? 5 Tips to Get Rid of That Neck Pain

Kinky Neck? 5 Tips to Get Rid of That Neck Pain

Is there a kink in your neck you’ve been trying to work out? Looking for a way to relieve neck stiffness without hours of therapy?

It’s winter, and that cold weather isn’t exactly relaxing for your achy neck muscles. In fact, an upcoming storm or significant change in weather can create all sorts of pain in your neck and back.

In this article, I will give you a few tips to get rid of that neck pain and relieve the stiffness at home or work.

How Does a Kink in the Neck Happen?

A crick or kink in the neck happens due to injury to the small vertebral bones in the cervical spine.

The neck is very susceptible to injury because the bones are small, and the joints provide tremendous motion without many supporting structures. These are a few of the reasons why whiplash is so common after a car accident or slip and fall.

A kink in the neck is often caused by one of the following:

· Placing your neck in an awkward position for an extended period, such as while sleeping.

· Sitting slumped in your chair or looking down at your phone for a long time.

· Stretching or lifting abnormally.

· Improper form while weight-lifting or running.

· A pinched nerve, infection, or arthritis.

5 Tips to Get Rid of That Pesky, Kinky Neck Pain

One of the most common reasons you have a kink in the neck is you slept wrong or suffer with poor posture. Here are five things you can do right now to fix the neck pain and relieve stiffness.

1. Try the 60-second fix, which involves kneading away the cramp-like sensation in your neck by following these steps:

a. Identify the exact spot of stiffness or soreness.

b. Firmly push into the spot with your fingers, as hard as you can tolerate. If you feel a sharp pain, stop immediately and call your provider or me. You’ll want to get that checked.

c. While you have pressure on the area, turn your head slightly in the opposite direction of the neck pain. Bend your neck diagonally and point your chin toward your armpit. Hold for 5 seconds.

d. Repeat those steps 20 times in a row, stretching your neck and upper back afterward.

2. Another option is to identify the acupressure points in your neck based on the pain’s location and use those to help massage out the kink.

3. Change your sleep and sitting positions. Invest in ergonomic furniture that will put less pressure on your neck and other muscles.

4. “Text neck” is a massive problem today. Please stop looking down at your phone so often and for so long.

5. Leverage movement. Stretching and exercising will go a long way to keeping your spine strong and healthy.

Can a Chiropractor Help?

Obviously, I’m going to say yes; however, I encourage you to try the tips above first before trekking to an office in the dead of winter (or any time, really).

If you’re having trouble getting past the stiff neck pain, call my office! We’ll set up a safe time for an appointment, and I’ll help you work out the kink in your neck.

Keep Your Brain Moving and Stay Informed

For many, neck pain comes and goes. My monthly newsletter can help you gain control of your whole-body well-being. You’ll learn about specific movements and stretches for different parts of the body, natural healing remedies, and crucial medical science that involves the musculoskeletal system.

Whether you’re on my blog to meet a new chiro or just looking for information, signing up for my newsletter will help you stay up to date on all the latest posts and essential info that’ll keep you moving strong.

Sources:

Healthline – how to get rid of stiff neck

Healthline – Crick in the neck

Kinetic Edge Physical Therapy – Solve that Kink

Body Works Medical Center – Natural treatments for neck pain