When you have a challenge that is a “pain in the neck” for you, it is often a heavy cross to bear. Such is the medical pain in the neck which may warrant the wearing of a neck collar, or even surgery. As a young sub editor in the newsroom of THE DAILY TIMES, I developed such a medical pain in the neck, and had to wear a neck collar for many months. Sub editing in those days was a tasking job. The sub editor was the last bridge between the newspaper and the reader. That is, the quality of the newspaper depended on the quality of its sub editing. We ran up to three or four editions of the Daily Times.

In those days, Alhaji Babatunde Jose, (Chairman/Managing Director) or Mr. Henry Odukomaiya (Editor) could fire you on the spot if a spelling or tense error found in the newspaper was linked to you.

Our heads were always bent forward on the copy. Mr. Glad Anson Diri often wore a neck collar, and so did our boss Mr. George Okoro. Soon, I developed a tingling pain in the index left finger, and before you could call Jack Robinson, as they say, my arms and neck were, literally speaking, on fire. The doctor was to place me on some drugs, which must be anti-inflamating, and gave me a neck collar.

The pains subsided, and I soon forgot the experience. But, in later years, at THE GAURDIAN newspaper, they returned. In those formative years of that newspaper, there was hardly time to look after one’s health. But I was soon reminded of the neck collar by the side of Sunmi Smart-Cole, photo editor, and later, editor of Lagos Life, now defunct, who wore a neck collar regularly. An x-ray of my neck bones showed that some of them were wearing. Doctors give this condition a huge and scary name… Cervical spondylosis. They say it is age-related, which means bones must wear, and the pain must come as we grow old. But I was only Twenty something when the x-ray report suggested an onset of this condition. Yet there are many old people who have not experience this condition.

Cervical Spondylosis

lso called Cervical osteoarthritis or neck arthritis, this condition simply means bone joints in the neck are wearing and are probably pinching on the nerves which jot out from nerve outlets in these bones. The bones are arranged in a well-aligned structure where two bones are separated and are not permitted to touch each other. There are seven cervical bones. Each is covered by a cartilage. The cartilage is one of the structures which prevent bone-and-bone contact to prevent surface wearing and pain. The cartilage is maintained by glucosamine and Chondroitin sulfate among other nutrients. Its surface is lubricated by a fluid called Synovial fluid which is separated from the other by a disc. Each disc is a load bearer. All neck bones are saved from the pressure the weight of the neck impact on the spine. Between Ten and Fifteen Pounds would have impacted directly on them, probably crushing them. When the neck structure is not well maintained with good diet which furnishes the right amounts and quality of Calcium, Magnesium, Manganese, Zinc and other bone-structure minerals, and when the neck structure is not well exercised to prevent the muscles in the joint capsule from becoming still, making the neck less mobile or mobile with pain, these disc may lose tone, become dehydrated or even become herniated, that is break. When they herniates and their contents spill on surrounding tissue, especially the nerves, an infection may arise in the affected region which may give rise to the familiar pain in the neck, arms and fingers.

Other possible courses may include occupational lifestyle and bad posture, writers and hair dressers, for example, may discover through self-education, that their heads are always bent forward. This may put pressure on the muscles at the back of the neck.

Besides herniation of the disc, spinal subluxations, too, cause problems. Edgar Caycee spoke always about them. He was a Christian seer who went into trances whenever his patients consulted with him. He diagnosed their conditions from his trance state and wrote his prescriptions. He said spinal subluxations caused many diseases. Chiropactors of today also attend to spinal subluxations in addressing many health challenges. We can see a chiropractor as a bone adjuster. He looks at the arrangement of the bones in a sick person, may conclude a misalignment problem and then knock the structure back into fine shape. As chiropractor define spinal subluxation today it is “the altered position of the vertebra and subsequent functional loss, which determines the location for the Spinal manipulation.”

According to www.healthline.com, subluxation is: “A partial abnormal separation of the articular surface of a joint.” In chiropactic medicine, spinal misalignment is considered a process which makes tissue change and cause symptoms of disease and/or pain. Some of these changes are:

  •    Hyperemia
  •    Congestion
  •    Edema
  •    Minute haemorages
  •    Fibrosis
  •    Local ischemia
  •    Atrophy
  •    Tissue rigidity

In Hyperemia, there is “an excess of blood in a particular area of the body.” Obstruction of blood flow sometimes causes it. A joint dysfunction may cause congestion in a muscle, and this may cause toxin accumulations which irritate nerve endings and produce pain. Edema may arise from damaged small blood vessels called capillaries. The damages may cause blood to leak from them into surrounding tissue. In minute haemorages, small amounts of blood leak from blood vessels. In fibrosis, normal tissue is damaged and replaced with scar tissue which limits joint mobility and causes pain when the limit of mobility is to be exceeded. In ischemia, there is restriction to blood flow in the muscles which causes pain. Atrophy of muscles or the wasting away of muscles develops from disuse or inactivity, disease, nutritional deficiencies or other factors.

Rigidity is often an end-point of these conditions. It occurs not only in the joint capsule but may also affects ligaments and tendons as well. Edgar Caycee spoke often of adhesions. These are foreign bodies growing or perched on strange tissue. When a disc ruptures or herniates, spilling its contents on surrounding tissue, the nerve, for example, is in pain- pain is a constant feature. A few months ago, doctors misdiagnosed prostate disorder in the case of an 84-year old man who suffered from an almost permanent pain in his penis. It took the Grace of the Most High for one of them to discover an adhesion on the bladder was the source of this problem. Thus, adhesions on muscles, ligaments, tendons or nerves in the neck region may be a cause of neck pain.

Spondylitis and Ankylosing Spondylosis

Cervical Spondylosis is arthritis of the neck bone. Spondylotis is inflammation of any bone joint. In Ankylosing Spondylitis a fusion of the bones of the back occurs, particularly with pain in the Sacroiliac joint, meeting point of the spine and the pelvis. The pain may be felt, also in the eye, hip joint, the heels, waist joint, ankles or other joints. In some cases, Ankylosing spondylitis affects the rib bones at their junctions with the Spinal bone causing tightness in the chest and breathing difficulty that may be misdiagnosed as a heart or lung condition. The pain of Ankylosing spondylitis responds to exercise, a feature which distinguishes it from spondylosis and spondylitis. If left untreated, it may cause a forward curvature of the spine. Some authorities believe it is called by the failure of calcium to deposit in the bone. Bone spurs may fuse two vertebrate bones, or fuse one bone to ligaments, tendons, muscles or nerve.

Treatment

Stiff neck muscles, like strained neck muscles, responds to sensible exercises. In my days at The Guardian Newspaper when 20 hours schedules was common, I learned of the turtle exercise from a book titled BURN DISEASES OUT OF YOUR BODY.

It requires one to lie on one’s abdomen on a flat surface, place one’s arms by one’s sides, raise head, turn it slowly from side to side for counts which range from, Say, 50 to 100 or multiple of them, take a break by resting the head on the plane surface, and starting all over again for full count.

Warmth may be felt especially in the back next muscles. This is an indication that blood is flowing through them, and they are receiving oxygen and other nutrients, while their wastes are being taken away. This exercise counters the forward lurch of the head in which many people find themselves for several hours in one day, and, in a way, fulfills the law of Balance, one of the Laws of Nature, in the use of front and back muscles of the neck. In another neck exercise, one may sit or stand and rotate the head alternatively in clockwise and anti-clock wise positions. In yet another exercise, one may use a bed or a table. The head droops from a free side or edge of either and then is raise, with muscle action, to the level of the rest of the body, held up there for as long as possible, while rotating the head from side to side. One last suggestion: in an upright position, a bath towel is held at opposite ends, one end in one hand, and placed against the forehead. Then, a backward pressure is applied against it, to which the head responds with counter force resistance.

A count can be taken for as long as the exercise can be tolerated. Next, the direction of the exercise is reversed; with the towel placed at the back of the neck to impact forward pressure against backward pressure of the head.