Neck Pain

Symptoms of Upper Cervical Disorders

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There are different kinds of head and upper cervical disorders that are also known as:

  • Upper neck disorders
  • Craniovertebral junction – CVJ – abnormality
  • Craniocervical disorders

Some are present at birth, while others are developed later in life. Whether congenital or acquired, they share many of the same symptoms.

Neck Pain/Headache

Where your skull and spine meet is where upper cervical disorders take place. Neck pain and headaches along the head’s back are the most common symptoms. People with craniocervical disorders often experience neck pain and headache in combination, and symptoms worsen with head and neck movement. Even just a sneeze or cough can cause pain. Neck pain can also spread to the arms if spinal nerves are compressed.

 

Spinal Cord Compression

The more complex upper cervical disorders involve spinal cord compression. When the spinal cord gets compressed, nerve problems can happen that make daily function challenging.

With spinal cord compression, neurological symptoms can present like:

  • Weakness in the arms, legs or both
  • Loss of sensation and awareness of the limbs called positional sense
  • There can be an electrical/shooting pain or tingling running down the spine and into the legs when pitching the neck forward, called Lhermitte sign
  • Hot and cold sensational loss in hands, feet or both
  • Reduced sensation of pain

 

Other Symptoms of Craniocervical Disorder

Some disorders have their own set of symptoms.

  • Change in neck appearance
  • Reduced range of motion

There are abnormalities like:

  1. Basilar invagination
  2. Platybasia
  3. Klippel-Feil

All of these can cause malformation and physical changes in the neck. The neck may appear short, webbed, or twisted. There can also be a limited ability to move the neck.

Symptoms can also be caused by brain and cranial nerve pressure

Conditions like platybasia, basilar invagination, and craniocervical tumors can place pressure on the brain stem and the cranial nerves around it. If this happens, the following symptoms can occur:

  • Eye issues like abnormal eye movements and double vision
  • Throat and speech problems like hoarseness, slurred speech, and swallowing problems
  • Loss of coordination
  • Sleep problems like sleep apnea

Vertigo Faint Feeling

Some individuals could experience a set of symptoms that don’t occur too often called vertebrobasilar ischemia.

This happens when the head position changes, placing pressure on the cranial arteries and cutting off the blood supply.

The result is:

  • Weakness
  • Confusion
  • Light-headedness
  • Feeling faint
  • Vertigo or a dizzy spinning sensation

Syringomyelia

Syringomyelia is a fluid-filled cyst known as a syrinx that forms inside the spinal cord. If the cyst grows, it can damage the spinal cord, causing painful neurological symptoms throughout the body, including weakness and numbness. In extreme cases loss of ability to feel heat or cold in the neck, hands, and possibly throughout the spine. The hand muscles can become paralyzed.

Quality of Life with Upper Cervical Disorder

While some individuals have no symptoms associated with a craniocervical disorder, others experience intense pain and neurological dysfunction. There are treatment options that can help you successfully manage and eliminate symptoms.

Chiropractic

When headaches present, it usually means there is a misalignment in the cervical spine. This is often combined with a tight neck, shoulders, and surrounding muscles. Pressure on the nerves can cause sharp shooting pain and continual dull throbbing sensation.

A chiropractor will assess the area and then move forward with an adjustment to relieve the pressure and pain. Chiropractic medicine does not just focus on relieving symptoms but finding the root cause and correcting the problem. In addition, the chiropractor will take the time to educate you on the importance of diet, exercise, stretching, and making healthy lifestyle choices.


Whiplash Massage Therapy


NCBI Resources

The effectiveness of chiropractic care for headaches has been proven by many research studies. Chiropractic is not only excellent for treating headaches, but is gentle, non-invasive, does not require medications, and is known for being free of side effects.

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The information herein on "Symptoms of Upper Cervical Disorders" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, or licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.

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Our information scope is limited to Chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, contributing etiological viscerosomatic disturbances within clinical presentations, associated somatovisceral reflex clinical dynamics, subluxation complexes, sensitive health issues, and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions.

We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from a wide array of disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system.

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email: coach@elpasofunctionalmedicine.com

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