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Episode 025 Cervical spine part 1

Episode 025 Cervical spine part 1

By Jurmaine Health

Our first head and neck series, cervical spine part 1. Anatomy, characteristics, differences in structures and habitual patterns. Does your occupation affect your jaw movement and does it result in pain in the jaw or headaches? On this episode, we also share our experience of the neck pains that we have seen. Understand that there are differences between a weak neck and a tight neck. Your rehab should be tailored accordingly.

SHERMAIN [04:50]
That’d be more trauma-based. Wouldn’t it? Anytime that the curve is lost. It’s almost always a trauma type situation. You’re almost always looking at hyperflexion hyperextension injury. So it can be from anything you know from falling off a bike. It can be from someone running really fast at you.

SHERMAIN [10:16]
So when we are using our eyes a lot our suboccipitals will be working very hard. Those are the muscles just under the skull and when those muscles under the skull are working hard, you would expect it to be quite tender to touch.

SHERMAIN [13:33]
Well, why do they do that? Anyway, we need to address the intrinsic muscles that attach to each of the vertebrae in order to give you the best result possible. Some people prefer that some people are okay with good enough. So it depends on what your preference is. ​

Dr Shermain Wong is a seasoned chiropractor with particular expertise in Sports Medicine and a passion for the benefits of in ‘Active Release Technique™ (an advanced Soft Tissue Technique developed by Chiropractors). She is professionally trained in ART and has a Masters in Clinical Chiropractic from RMIT University. Dr Wong has provided chiropractic and movement rehabilitation services at international sporting competitions, and provided rehabilitation and training for professional dancers, professional football players and professional athletes.

Episode 025: Cervical spine part 1

Podcast brought to you by Jurmaine Health

JACKIE [00:11]

This is Jurmaine Health, the center to help you achieve wellness in both your brain and body. We endeavor to encourage cross communication between health professionals for your health and well being. We bring you topics on neuro psychology, neuro behavior, neuro musculoskeletal, neuro gastro, movement is well being, metabolism and microbiome, which are also some of the services that we provide.

And today's podcast is the first in our head and neck series. We'll start by introducing the cervical spine, which is also known as the neck and talk to you about its structure and function, as well as its most common aggravators. I have Dr. Shermain Wong with me today. Say hello Shermain.

SHERMAIN [00:53]


JACKIE [00:54]

So guys, how about we start off with the most basic of things which is the anatomy of the cervical spine, again, talking about the neck here. So the spine, the cervical spine is made up of probably seven direct segments, and then one that we refer to as the occipital. So if we're talking about cervical spine vertebrae themselves, we're looking at seven. So from C1 to C7, but then as part of the neck, the head, you've also got what we call C0 or CO, which is called the occipital, which is if you put place your hand on the back of your head, that pretty much that base of your skull is what we refer to as your occipital. Again, we it's a heavily involved joint in what do we talk about. Yes, no. So if you're nodding your head that C0 C1 joint is pretty much your most important one. Yes?

SHERMAIN [01:57]


JACKIE [01:58]

And then you've got the rest of your C1 to C7, which is involved in all the other movements predominantly, that give you a range of movement when it comes to your neck.

The other part that we'd also like to inform you about with regards to the anatomy of your cervical spine, and this is also a continuation from what we began to talk about with the lumbar spine in our last podcast, I believe in our low back pain series, we touched base on as well mentioning the cervical spine here as well. And in case you guys missed that, we also introduced a little bit of Shermain's cervical spine here in that particular podcast. So please go back to our last low back pain podcast to have a listen to that to get a bit more information out of that one.

But with regard going back to the anatomy and its structure, we're looking at what we call a cervical lordosis. So we brought up the lordosis in low back one because those two areas of the spine are the ones that have naturally curve, the natural curve, which is the lordotic curve. So it's a, if you're looking at it from a back to front, sort of, actually, let's say from a side on view, you would be looking at a concave type of picture. That's the curve of the angle that you ideally want to have in your cervical spine. And that's also the one that we discussed in the lumbar spine, and it's called a cervical lordosis plays an important role and it's something that we commonly see or we commonly have to address, because with a lot of our lifestyle factors and a lot of our work, even our workplace factors and everything in our workplace situations, this particular structure this particular anatomy of the body is heavily affected and heavily impacted in a lot of ways where a lot of the time and again, this is what we discussed in our last low back pain series with Shermain, it can be lost. So the curve itself can be lost, meaning that instead of having a curve, so somebody has it straightened instead. So, if you have an X ray done, it looks like you've got instead of a nice, concave type of situation happening, you've got a bit of diagonal happening. And then you've got the complete opposite, which can happen at least where it starts going in a convex situation so it starts curling in the opposite way.

SHERMAIN [04:41]

or in a diagonal backwards too that can happen. That's right.

JACKIE [04:45]

Yeah. So again, losing the curve, but in your opposite direction.

SHERMAIN [04:50]

That'd be more trauma-based. Wouldn't it? Anytime that the curve is lost. It's almost always a trauma type situation. You're almost always looking at hyperflexion hyperextension injury. So it can be from anything you know from falling off a bike. It can be from someone running really fast at you. It can be from stepping off a curb and falling off a curb, it can be something like falling off a ladder or something from a ladder dropping onto your head. That can work too. It also can be as simple as if you're a smaller frame person, and you're walking , like big massive dogs. That can happen too. Because especially if they are running really fast and you're calling after them. And this happens over and over again as an occupational hazard. That could happen. That's quite well I don't know if it's called occupational hazard. You can describe it that way because that's part and parcel of being in the occupation.

So regardless of the occupation, really, we are quite prone to having different sets of habitual patterns that can come across. And we repeat those movements often. For example, in the neck itself, if you're talking about having neck and jaw issues, people who are working in kitchens can have that and can have that often because they are looking down all the time to cut food to food prep to wash dishes, and they are looking down all the time if they are looking down all the time, the SCM sternocleidomastoid muscles are going to lock down often.

So what people are so concerned about is this upper cross syndrome that they are going to have so we get weak and tight SCM, and hypertonic traps that's what they're going to call it. Then they will be wondering, oh, why do I have jaw pain and TMJ pain and or headaches all at the same time? These are presentations that can happen together because simply because of the way we are working on a daily basis.

JACKIE [07:03]

Also continues on with trainees and desk workers. Again like Shermain was saying that in specific with the shifts where they're looking at tradees, not necessarily just looking at some sparkies looking at half the time, especially if they want to spend time installing light fittings, the whole time that they're standing on a ladder, their head tilted backwards.

SHERMAIN [07:28]


JACKIE [07:29]

You've got a lot of tightening going on through those front muscles they are being stretched, of course, but they're also being tightened because of that stretch position. Bring the neck back forward, that becomes a difficulty for them afterwards, it's going. It's always it becomes easy for them always to bring their head back but then trying to bring that one that little one bit movement forwards. You can see they're definitely struggling with the whole weight of their head.

An activity that shouldn't even I shouldn't even call it an activity, it's a normal movement that we're all able to do. People that work in this case like sparkies, electricians, where they are working on light fittings and continuously have their head tilted backward, that's going to be a position that's going to be, that's going to be a range of motion, that's going to be extremely difficult for them. Painters are another one. If they're again, ceiling painters, and they spend a lot of time looking up at the ceiling, they again will have that same issue with bringing the head back into neutral, from looking backwards to bringing it back up. Even that will be a difficulty in itself.

And the other one is desk workers similar to the chefs themselves with the exception they're not looking down, but they're straining their eyes or they're straining their heads in front of the computer. Even if the computer is most of the time to in some way, shape or form fitted to the desk and everything. So specifically ergonomically fitted for them, even then sitting at a computer for an extended period of time, no matter how greatly ergonomically you have fitted out, that's going to play strain on the neck.

Because as much as you can try and fit something to suit your height and your build, that doesn't mean your positioning itself isn't going to affect that. A lot of people have a tendency to when they're focusing on something, say bring their head closer to what they're looking at, to try and get, to try and see if they come closer, whether their focus will change or whether they'll see something better, in the sense that whether something will make more sense to them, when their physical focus is very close to it.

Again, that puts strain on the eyes because the eyes have to pretty much sort of narrow down hone in on something as well as the neck itself because again, you're trying to you're not bringing your whole body forward with it. When you're trying to do this most of the time. You're pretty much just bringing shifting your neck out forwards, shifting your head out forward. And having a look at whatever you're saying no again keeping your neck in the same position and putting placing all the strain on the traps as well like Shermain said. And then making it seem pretty much weak again, in this case, the similar position as a shift.

SHERMAIN [10:16]

So when we are using our eyes a lot our suboccipitals will be working very hard. Those are the muscles just under the skull and when those muscles under the skull are working hard, you would expect it to be quite tender to touch. That's why people always suggest oh, put a ball under your head or just right under your, under the skull itself, just to get into those areas to help release they eye tension.

It also has a referral pattern to where the orbit of the eyes are. So basically where the circle around your eyes are those muscles it has got a referral pattern that motivates them. When we are typing or in, regardless of where they're standing or sitting, there's quite a bit of research coming out saying that we tend to stop breathing as well. So if we stop breathing for a period of time, and that happens over and over again, we start having what we would say we just have a shoulder pain, but that's not quite as accurate.

What is happening is that or most likely to happen, is that the muscles that are the respiratory muscles such like your scalenes, you can google this scalenes as s c a l e n e s, scalenes would be working very hard. Just holding that position and your breath and the ligaments of the lung is just holding in that position for most of the time for the day that you're doing that or that if you have stress at work or stress that is related as a result of work that can happen.

So those are important factors to remember and not forgetting that we have got muscles that go from the neck from as far as C1, all the way down into your ribs, C1 C2 all the way down into your ribs and those attachments would hold your breath position. So in fact your entire body is just feeling really worse where just because of habitual patterns, like I mentioned before earlier that will affect the way that you are holding your neck or jaw or one on any one of those things. So when you are talking about your neck itself, adjustment in and of itself, sure where it resolves about 50% of the time. Sure it will most of the time. Well, will you feel like you are and you're 100% probably not. How many adjustments do you need to feel a 100% depends on how many times your chiropractor or manipulative physiotherapists. I don't know what they call him manipulative physiotherapist

JACKIE [13:16]

Not all physios manipulate, that's right.

SHERMAIN [13:18]

Right, but it's just a title manipulative physiotherapist it's like

JACKIE [13:21]

I think it's just to emphasize that they are one of the ones that manipulate so in case somebody wants.

Yeah, I know that I think they need to manipulate it. Yeah, I see now. Yeah, that's right I miss the pun.

SHERMAIN [13:33]

Well, why do they do that? Anyway, we need to address the intrinsic muscles that attach to each of the vertebrae in order to give you the best result possible. Some people prefer that some people are okay with good enough. So it depends on what your preference is.

Our preference is always to provide the best result possible. Just so that, it's very sustainable. And we are able to resolve the issue very sustainably and for longevity as compared to having a person come in and we will adjust them, they get adjusted and they get adjusted all the time. So that's not what we are what our preference is.

So if you're talking about musculature itself, we have got heaps of musculature in that area that is easily more than 20 to talk about those muscles. And when once we understand that, then it's not as if you are, you hit one muscle and then we resolve that it doesn't work that way. It doesn't it sometimes doesn't resolve well with just adjustment on its own. So then what then a lot of people will go on we'll just do an exercise, sure. However, if your neck is still weak and you're still trying to strengthen it in a weak position, you're causing it to be weaker and weaker. And the muscles that you think that are weak but they're just tight, then you go you're going to get yourself in a strain, inflammation has got dominant muscles and you�re training it into a dominant position then it starts activating very quickly and unnecessarily as compared to needing it to relax.

The muscle needs to rest or relax or being activated at a later time or earlier time or it's there it becomes a timing thing. These are issues that can affect neck position. Not just that, we need to work the diaphragm that is, the lungs and breathing patterns that affect the neck, affect neck issues too so you cannot look at the neck as one cervical spine and that's it, because our system doesn't just work in isolation.

JACKIE [16:09]

Guys, that's it for our first introduction to the cervical spine, aka the neck. I'll be continuing on with talking about some commonly presenting issues in our next podcast. So guys, If you like what we're presenting, please give us a thumbs up a like or share it with one other person who you think we may be able to help. For those of you who are coaches, dancers or athletes, and may find difficulty with expressing or executing movement patterns. Please do connect with us on our website, www.jurmainehealth.com.au and Jurmaine Health is spelled j u r m a i n e h e a l t h. Or please socialize with us on Facebook, which is Jurmaine Health or Instagram which is Jurmaine Health body. And last but not least, since this podcast is made for you, our clients, patients and fans, please do let us know what else you might like to hear about. Guys. That's us for today. Thanks bye.

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