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Re: Neck Arthritis
Aug 22, 2011
Hi Turrrra....I've been watching this thread and decided it was time to come back and perhaps do a little anatomy lesson so you can try to figure out what is causing your pain. So much "speculation" on what causes what is leading down a bad path.

First, just so that you know how dangerous a chiropractor can be for the neck, here in the state of Connecticut, you have to sign a waiver stating that you know having an "adjustment " of your neck can result in a major stroke and/or death before a chiropractor can touch your neck. That should tell you enough as to how dangerous it is. You have to sign that you are fully aware a neck adjustment can kill you.

And the reason why is that 2 major arteries to your brain go up through the bones of C6 up to C1 and then into the back of your brain. One bad move and your brain is toast.

When it comes to C1 and 2, they actually hook together and there is no disc in between then so you can't herniate a disc there. Damage to the ligaments there or the vertebrae can be fatal so don't mess around if you think there is a problem there. You dislocate those 2 vertebrae and your head will slide off your neck and with it, taking those 2 arteries...and you die. So when I suggested an MRI because the PT seemed to think it was a problem at C1-2, I was really worried. I have RA in those vertebrae and I have to have yearly MRI's to watch for erosion of the bone that hooks the 2 vertebrae together. If it looks like it might break, I have to have my head fused to my spine, stopping all head movement. If I don't, I'll suffer an internal decapitation and it will most likely be fatal.

RA pain is a deep burning, bone eating pain unlike anything you've had before. It is a unique pain and I'm sure you would know something is very wrong when you feel it. You can't think straight and the pain is overwhelming. Think 10 out of 10 on the pain scale.

From C2 down, you have a pair of spinal nerves that exits the bone at each vertebra. The have a specific skin area they affect and you can see where the skin areas are by searching for a Dermatome chart. But I'll list them here so you can see how they identify what is what.

So any swelling from things such as a torn ligament or a herniated disk or arthritic bone spurs can put pressure on the nerves. That pressure gets translated into pain anywhere along the nerve. If the pressure is sufficient, it can show signs of dying such as numbness and tingling. In terms of spine problems, when the pain goes away and is replaced with numbness, that is when they worry as numbness can mean the nerve is dying and that can cause paralysis.

So the C2 nerve goes to the back and top of the head/scalp and wraps around the neck. C3 covers the area of the neck that you would cover with a scarf....not quite the neck but the area just below and spread out to the part of the shoulder area and down to the "notch" in the neck. C4 covers the shoulders, front and back. C5 affects the outer part of the upper arms...mostly the area of the biceps muscles. The inner aspects of the arms are covered by the thoracic nerves, below the neck. C6 extends the C5 area and keeps going down the arm to the thumb and index finger on both sides. starting just below the elbow. C7 shows up with problems with the middle finger and the C8 nerve(between the C7 and T1 vertebrae) serves the ring and pinky fingers. And both go up the hand to above the wrist.

So a neck injury to the C7 nerve may show up as pain in your middle finger but it can also cause pain along the way with deep nerve pain inside the arm. What the docs really look for is a change in your reflexes to see if it is involved. A change in reflexes(not enough of a reaction to too much of a reaction) can tell them what is going on better than your description of pain.

However, what causes the most pain in the neck is muscles. The muscles of the upper back and neck are there to keep your head in place. If you have any problems going on in your neck, the muscles go into overdrive trying to hold you head on. That puts the muscles into spasms and that hurts more than anything else. I am 4 years out from a 6 level fusion and I still get muscle spasms and they HURT. And they hurt for a reason...the body knows if you head falls off your shoulders, you are dead so it works to keep your head on. And these spasms can go up into the head and cause spasms of the scalp muscles and all the way down your back as well. Chances are the pain you are experiencing is from muscle spasms...but what is triggering the spasms?

That is where an MRI comes in. You are wrong that MRI's don't show the minor stuff...they's a CT that doesn't show the minor stuff. CT's concentrate on bones whereas MRI's can show the ligaments and tendons and disks and arteries and all the features of the neck that matter. If your problem doesn't show, it may be an injury that is healing. A pulled ligament may not show but a torn one would.

So here is where you need to sit down and figure out where your pain is, what kind of pain and is there different pains in different areas. One pain could be from spasms and one could be from a nerve and they feel different. Then ask your doc about an MRI so they can see if it's anything that might do harm or is it something that is healing.

Don't mess around with pain at the base of your head. It's too important of an area to take guesses. And DO NOT go to a chiropractor until you've had an MRI and diagnosis. We have someone here who kept blacking out when she moved her head the wrong way and sure enough, the artery to her brain had "kinked" and certain movements stopped the flow of blood to her brain on one side and made her faint instantly. A chiropractic adjustment would have killed her.

You need to find out what is wrong and stop guessing.


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