Pain in Neck, Back, Arms, Legs & Joints
How Upper Cervical Care Relates to
Pain in Neck, Back, Arms, Legs & Joints
Pain in the spine (neck, upper back, mid back, low back), limbs (arms, legs), and joints (shoulders, knees, hips, ankles) is frequently linked to spinal trauma in medical literature.1-31 Often, trauma is directed at the neck during auto accidents, head injuries, sports accidents, and falls. When the upper cervical spine is misaligned due to trauma, the head moves off center, and can sit tilted upon the injured neck. This creates imbalance from head to toe as more weight shifts to one side of the body compared to the other, and can lead to joint pain.
Rotation of the upper neck can cause twisting of the entire spinal structure, including the pelvis, so that one leg becomes shorter than the other, and can lead to pain in the low back, pelvis, and knees. Because the brain stem contains the control center for the postural muscles of the spine, an injury at the upper neck can interfere with the brain's normal control over the postural muscles, leading to muscular weakness, imbalance, atrophy and spasm throughout the neck and back. Spasm of the spinal muscles can lead to compression of the spinal vertebrae, to compression of the cervical, thoracic, and/or lumbar intervertebral discs, and to pain throughout the limbs and joints.
While many pain sufferers recall specific traumas such as head injuries, auto accidents or falls, which could have injured their spines, some do not. An evaluation is necessary in each individual's case to assess whether an upper cervical injury is present and whether benefit from upper cervical care can be achieved.
Research Articles and Publications
- "Whiplash: Information For Drivers, Pedestrians, and Athletes" by Erin Elster, DC. The Atlas Files. June 2000.
- "Cervical Dystonia Sufferers Find Relief With Upper Cervical Chiropractic" by Erin Elster, D.C.
- "Healthy and Well-Adjusted" By Cindy Schumacher, Maui Weekly, December 2013
- "A Unique Approach for 'Surfers' Neck'" By Erin Elster, DC, Lahaina News, March 26, 2015
- Hamer AJ, Gargan MF, Bannister GC. Whiplash injury and surgically treated cervical disc disease. Injury 1993 Sep; 24(8): 549-50.
- Callaghan JP, McGill SM. Intervertebral disc herniation: studies on a porcine model exposed to highly repetitive flexion/extension motion with compressive force. Clin Biomech 2001 Jan; 16(1): 28-37.
- Adams MA, Freeman BJ, Morrison HP. Mechanical initiation of intervertebral disc degeneration. Spine 2000 Jul 1; 25(13): 1625-36.
- Dai L, Jia L. Central cord injury complicating acute cervical disc herniation in trauma. Spine 2000 Feb 1; 25(3): 331-5; discussion 336.
- Kramer J, Wiese M, Haaker R. Intervertebral disk displacement and trauma. Orthopade 200` Feb; 30(2): 121-7.
- Weisskopf M, Bail H, Mack M. Value of MRI in traumatic disco-ligament instability of the lower cervical spine. Unfallchirurg 1999 Dec; 102 (12): 942-8.
- Abumi K, Shono Y, Kotani Y. Indirect posterior reduction and fusion of the traumatic herniated disc by using a cervical pedicle screw system. J Neurosurg 2000 Jan; 92(1 Suppl): 30-7.
- Katzberg RW, Benedetti PF, Drake CM. Acute cervical spine injuries: prospective MR imaging assessment at a level 1 trauma center. Radiology 1999 Oct; 213(1): 203-12.
- Johansson B. Degeneration of the cervical vertebral disk is seldom the only cause of disk herniation. Cause of disk herniation is a common dispute in insurance cases after whiplash injuries. Lakartidningen 1999 Aug 25; 96(34): 3540-1.
- Bucciero A, Carangelo B, Cerillo A. Myeloradicular damage in traumatic cervical disc herniation. J Neurosurg Sci 1998 Dec; 42(4): 203-11.
- Keiper MD, Zimmerman RA, Bilaniuk LT. MRI in the assessment of the supportive soft tissues of the cervical spine in acute trauma in children. Neuroradiology 1998 Jun; 40(6): 359-63.
- Kotilainen EM, Karki T, Satomaa OK. Traumatic cervical disc herniation-tetraparesis in a patient kicked by a horse. Acta Orthop Scand 1997 Apr; 69(2): 176-7.
- Makela JP, Hietaniemi K. Neck injury after repeated flexions due to parachuting. Aviat Space Environ Med 1997 Mar; 68(3): 228-9.
- Jensen MV, Tuchsen F, Orhede E. Prolapsed cervical intervertebral disc in male professional derivers in Denmark, 1981-1990. A longitudinal study of hospitalizations. Spine 1996 Oct 15; 21(20): 2352-5.
- Carreon LY, Ito T, Yamada M. Histologic changes in the disc after cervical spine trauma: evidence of disc absorption. J Spinal Disord 1996 Aug; 9(4): 313-6.
- O'Brien CP. Rugby neck: cervical degeneration in two front row rugby union players. Clin J Sport Med 1996 Jan; 6(1): 56-9.
- Zimmer G. A causal relationship between a collision and an intervertebral disc prolapse. Dtsch med Wochenschr 1995 Oct 27; 120(43): 1487.
- Moraes AC, Serdeira A, Pereira Filho A. Soft tissue injuries associated with traumatic locked facets in the cervical spine. Paraplegia 1995 Aug; 33(8): 434-6.
- Jonsson H Jr., Cesarinik, Sahlstedt B. Findings and outcome in whiplash-type neck distortions. Spine 1994 Dec 15; 19(24): 2733-43.
- Pettersson K, Hildeingsson C, Toolanen G. MRI and neurology in acute whiplash trauma. No correlation in prospective examination of 39 cases. Acta Orthop Scand 1994 Oct; 65(5): 525-8.
- Davis SJ, Teresi LM, Bradley WG Jr. Cervical spine hyperextension injuries: MR findings. Radiology 1991 Jul; 180 (1): 245-51.
- Schlegel KF. Undiagnosed fractures and intervertebral disk ruptures in whiplash injuries. Hefte Unfallheilkd 1971; 108: 32-4.
- Barnsley L, Lord SM, Wallis BJ. The prevalence of chronic cervical zygapophyseal joint pain after whiplash. Spine 1995 Jan 1; 20(1): 20-5; discussion 26.
- Foletti G. Chronic pain sequelae after trauma of the cervical spine. Z Unfallchir Versicherungsmed 1994 Sep; 87(3): 192-9.
- Mallinson AI, Longridge NS. Specific vocalized complaints in whiplash and minor head injury patients. Am J Otol 1998 Nov; 19(6): 809-13.
- Hardin JG, Halla JT. Cervical spine and radicular pain syndromes. Curr Opin Rheumatol 1995 Mar; 7(2): 136-40.
- Koelbaek Johansen M, Graven-Nielsen T, Schou Olesen A. Generalized muscular hyperalgesia in chronic whiplash syndrome. Pain 1999 Nov; 83(2): 229-34.
- Nederlhand MJ, Ijzerman MJ, Hermens HJ. Cervical muscle dysfunction in the chronic whiplash associated disorder grade II (WAD-II). Spine 2000 Aug 1; 25(15): 1938-43.
- Davis C. Chronic pain/dysfunction in whiplash-associated disorders. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2001 Jan; 24(1): 44-51.
- Bodack MP, Tunkel RS, Marini SG. Spinal accessory nerve palsy as a cause of pain after whiplash injury: case report. J Pain Symptom Manage 1998 May; 15(5): 321-8.
- Ide M, Ide J, Yamaga M. Symptoms and signs of irritation of the brachial plexus in whiplash injuries. J Bone Joint Surg Br 2001 Mar; 83(2): 226-9.