Cervicalgia

cervicalgia_1The first tract of the spine, referring to the section that joins the head to the body, is named, in medicine, the cervical spine.
It is comprised of seven bones (vertebrae) joined to one another by muscles and ligaments and separated from each other by a cartilage disk (a compact and elastic tissue) called the intervertebral disc. It is easy to understand that this anatomic arrangement of bones, muscles and ligaments aims at creating a robust and elastic unit. This unit has to be robust because it must be able to bear the weight of the head and keep it in balance with the rest of the body and it has to be elastic because it must allow the movements of flexion, torsion and extension, which are essential to our lives. Indeed, the head’s position makes it possible to maintain balance and to recognize the starting point of a sound or a noise. However, this complexity explains why the cervical spine, which hereinafter we will call simply the “neck,” hurts. In fact, it is sufficient that a cold draft hits the spine to stiffen the muscles so that the joints do not to work harmoniously, causing pain. A similar thing can happen with a reverse mechanism. A spine that works discordantly, for example, after trauma (so-called “whiplash”) or because of bad posture due to squint or a wrong position kept during work for long hours in front of the computer, can cause a reflex contraction, the so-called “antalgic contracture” which is the base of a vicious circle between the contracture and the pain that never ends.

cervicalgia_2But pain is not the only symptom of cervicalgia due to arthrosis, which is the main cause of spinal pain. Another symptom that often accompanies pain is dizziness, probably due to the fact that the head and the eyes are two of the main organs responsible for maintaining balance.
Therefore, what are the remedies for cervicalgia? First, we should consider its cause and, if possible, intervene on it. This is true primarily for herniated discs and any relevant surgery. However, since even trauma can oblige the spine to maintain an unhealthy position, the use of braces to bring the spine back to its axis can be very useful. Finally, the use of anti-inflammatory drugs (i.e. FANS and COXIB) is highly recommended during particularly painful phases.

cervicalgia_3After the crisis, physical and rehabilitative therapy, especially performed at the spa, can be particularly effective to keep the acute phases away and reduce their duration.
Carlo Gargiulo



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