After treating neck problems for over 30 years as a chiropractor I am still amazed at our body’s ability to heal itself – given the right tools.
This applies to the neck as much as it does to any other part of the body. A combination of rest, neck traction, exercises, stretches, anti-inflammatory nutrients, muscle relaxing nutrients and/or neck adjustments can work wonders.
Neck traction can be extremely beneficial and is not recommended nearly enough by health professionals. An inflatable neck collar is an easy and effective way to get all the benefits of neck traction. If you are suffering from cervical spine problems such as neck pain and stiffness, headaches, shoulder pain or arm pain, don’t lose hope. You can get relief.
The Four Causes of Neck Problems
There are four major causes of neck problems. These are the:
• Spinal joints (zygapophyseal joints)
• Intervertebral discs
• Spinal nerve roots
• Paraspinal muscles
A neck X-ray is a good way to illustrate these four main causes of neck related pain.
This X-ray shows the bones of the neck—the vertebrae and the spinal joints between them. These joints allow your neck to move (flex, extend and rotate). I’ve drawn in where the discs are, where the spinal nerves exit between the vertebrae and how the muscles cover these structures. All of these structures are innervated with pain nerve endings and can cause pain.
How Neck Traction Helps
Pressure on the spinal joints makes them inflamed and painful. When inflamed, the neck joints can also refer pain to the head causing headaches, to the upper back and shoulders, and even into the arms. Many activities of modern life irritate spinal joints daily. Traction of the neck relieves the pressure on the spinal joints.
Spinal nerves from the neck power the muscles of our neck, arms and hands. They also carry the sensations of heat/cold, touch and pain back to the brain. Pressure on these nerves as they exit the spine can cause pain, numbness and weakness in the neck, upper back, shoulders and upper extremities. Neck traction can lessen this pressure and provide relief.
As we age the discs between the neck vertebrae can deteriorate. When they do, they flatten and bulge outward. These bulging discs can become inflamed and painful. Spinal traction has been shown to reduce the bulging of discs and can also relieve the pain this causes. Traction can also promote nutrition and healing of the discs.
The muscles supporting the neck can be strained in the daily activities of life. As a result the muscles become tight and sore. Gentle progressive neck traction with an inflatable traction collar stretches these muscles causing them to relax. When relaxed the muscles feel better and can heal faster.
In this X-ray I have high-lighted how neck traction with an inflatable collar helps the four different causes of neck pain.