Neck pain 101: from symptoms to therapy

28 May 2019 - Therapies -
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10% of Italians suffers from this at least once during their lifetime with repercussions on the quality of life due to pain and immobility linked to the onset of the disease: neck pain is one of the most debilitating problems for managing everyday life.

The causes

Its onset is linked to:

  • the presence of disorders of other systems or joints (temporomandibular, shoulder girdle and vestibular apparatus)
  • incorrect postures, sometimes influenced by psycho-affective reactivity
  • life habits
  • the patient's emotional or physical tension

Other problems such as cervical whiplash, osteoarthritis, herniated disc and myofascial syndromes can also determine its onset.

Symptoms

A distinctive feature is the diversified pain based on the area it affects: in arthrosis, discopathy and herniated cervical disc it spreads to the shoulders and upper limbs and is accompanied by tingling with an alteration in sensitivity, while in myofascial syndromes it does not extend to the arms.

Diagnosis

The key role is played by the doctor who, after a visit, arranges the tests to be performed to determine the most suitable therapy.
In particular: in order to confirm the presence of a suspected instability of the vertebrae, an X-ray with standard or flexion/extension view is performed, while a nuclear magnetic resonance is prescribed to ascertain a disk hernia or bone marrow disorder.
 Blood tests with inflammation indexes are used in the case of supposed rheumatic or general diseases.
Only in special cases (verification of the functionality of the nerve roots) an electromyography of the upper limbs is carried out to provide an answer.

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Trattamento laserterapia cervicalgia

Therapy

It is diversified on the basis of the disease’s phase: during the acute phase the analgesic and muscle relaxing treatment requires rest and the administration of analgesics, anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxants for a short time. A correct postural alignment through the use of a low pillow or a cervical collar - useful in case of trauma or in particularly serious situations – is also appropriate as is an exercise and mobility program to be performed in various ways according to the clinical phase. Not recommended: forcing painful movements and carrying out intensive programs without the supervision of trained operators.

And laser therapy?

For analgesic, muscle relaxing and anti-inflammatory purposes it has been confirmed that it is not only beneficial, but also decisive in significantly reducing pain symptoms and improving neck function.

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Trattamento Laserterapia cervicale

The case

Mrs Anna suffered from constant vertigo and tinnitus not caused by labyrinthitis. An x-ray of the neck and the cervical spine showed cervical spondyloarthritis with short posterior marginal osteophytes of the cervical vertebrae and inter-apophyseal osteoarthritis. A subsequent physical medicine and rehabilitation visit revealed a marked cervical pain due to spondyloarthrosis.  To reduce the pain symptoms she underwent a combined treatment of Hilterapia® and gentle massage therapy to the cervical spine and to the upper bundles of the trapezius muscles. After 5 sessions the patient experienced an immediate benefit: the neck was freer, she could rotate her head without needing to turn the whole body, she had no more vertigo when looking upwards, the musculature was no longer contracted, her shoulders felt lighter and the repetition of rotary and inclination gestures was simpler.

(Case reported by Maddalena De Togni, physiotherapist and gym manager for limbs and spine)

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