Thursday, August 27, 2009

Cervical spondylosis

With everyday use over many years the discs and the facet joints become worn. This wear from person to person. The discs become thinner and this causes the spaces between the vertebrae to become narrower. Also, 'spurs' of bone, know as osteophytes, from at the edges of the vertebrae and the facet joints. In a way this is a particular from of osteoarthritis (see are booklet ' octeoarthritis) but it is known as ' cervical spondylosis'. These changes may also occur at the bottom of the apine where they are known as ' lumber spondylosis'. These conditions should not be confused with ankylosing spondylitis, where inflammation in the spine can cause the bones of the spine to fuse together (see arc booklet 'ankylosing spondylitis'). The abnormalities found in cervical and lumbar spondylosis can be seen on x-rays(see - figure 2) and are present in almost everyone by the age of 65. However, many people have to neck pain even though quite significant changes can be seen on their x-rays.

When these changes do cause pain it may come either from the lining of worn joints or from stretched ligaments. Occasionally buiging discs or osteophytes pinch the nerve roots and this causes pain or numbness that travels into the arm. If the vertebral artery is pinched, this reduces theblood supply to the area of the brain that controls balance and this may lead to dizziness. Rarely an extra rib ( cervical rib) can cause partial blockage of the blood supply to the arms, resulting in pain and numbness in the hands. Very rarely, in severe apondylosis, the spinal cord can be squeezed, which causes weaknes and numbness in the arms and legs.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Non - specific neck pain

Many people develop a stiff and painful neck for no abvious reason. it many happen after sitting in a draught or after a minor twisting injury, for example while gardening. The underlying cause for this type of neck pain is not fully understood, so it is called non-specific neck pain. Having non - specific neck pain does not mean that your neck is damaged and often it happens in people whose necks would appear completely normal under an x - ray. It s the most common type of neck pain and often disappears after a few days.

Monday, August 10, 2009

What is inside the neck

The neck contains the top end of the spinal column or spine, which supports the head and also protects the spinal cord. The spinal cord is the main nerve which runs from the brain, through the neck and down the back, and connects with nerves to the rest of the body.

The spine is made up of 33 bones called vertebrae (singular: vertebra) stacked one on top of another to form a column. The 7 bones in the neck are known as cervical vertebrae. Between the bones are disces of gristle (cartilage) known as interverbral discs. The sides of the bones are linked by facet joints. Many ligaments and muscles are attached to the apine and fan out from the neck to the shoulder blades and back. The muscles control movements of your head. The spine protects the spinal cord from outside damage while still allowing you to move your head in any direction.

At the level of each dics, nerve roots branch out from the spinal cord passing through an opening in the side of the spine. The nerve roots in the neck join to form the nerve trunks that run into the arms. Impulses travel along these nerves, sending sensations such as touch and pain to the brain and massages from the brain to the muscles.

the vertebral artery carries blood from the heart to the brain. It runs inside the bones of the spine and supplies the part of the brain that controls your balance.