Stenosis is a narrowing of the small holes that the peripheral nerves pass through as they leave the spine, These small holes on the vertebrae guide the nerves in the direction they need to go and protect them from injury. When stenosis occurs in the neck area of the spine, the name of the condition is cervical stenosis. The cervical vertebrae of the spine are the five bones of the spinal column that lead from the base of the skull to the thoracic section of the spinal column. As a person ages, the small holes or foramen can begin to narrow, putting pressure on the peripheral nerves and causing both pain and inflammation. Over time, numbness and tingling may occur as well.
Neck pain can cause headaches and migraine pain. if the neck is injured or under excessive amounts of strain, the muscles can become so tight and inflamed that they put pressure on the blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients to the brain. The longer the blood flow is restricted, the more likely a person is to have a headache. The tightened muscles of the neck can also pull on the muscles that cover the scalp. This pressure can cause what is referred to as a "tension headache". The tension and stress of a neck injury can radiate into the shoulders as well as upward into the scalp and face causing discomfort that ranges from a dull ache to intense migraine pain.
The structure of the neck is very vulnerable to injury. It is the sole support for the head and is responsible for the head being able to move in almost every known direction. It's because of this extreme flexibility that the neck can take longer to heal than other areas of the body. A neck injury can take anywhere from eight to ten weeks to heal. After an injury has occurred, it can be difficult holding the neck in one position so as not to reinjure the area. Even if a neck brace or cervical collar is worn, a quick jerk or sudden movement can prolong the healing process. If a person has a neck injury of any kind, it is important that they follow their doctor's orders to the letter. Chiropractic adjustments can help to strengthen the injured area and keep the bones in their natural position allowing for faster healing.
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