Tuesday , July 16 2024

Cervical Pain

By Wim Vergauwen, MPT, CMT – Owner
Certified Manual Therapist

Wim Vergauwen, MPT, CMT, treating a neck patient
Wim Vergauwen, MPT, CMT, treating a neck patient
Sooner or later everyone gets to deal with some form of neck pain, but rarely something has been done to treat the pain. Often arthritis or muscle spasms are blamed for the cause of neck pain, but in reality chronic neck pain might have a more complex source. Most people take soreness in the neck and shoulders for granted, but untreated neck problems can develop more problems such as referred shoulder pain, numbness and weakness in arms and hands, carpal tunnel problems or even headaches just to name a few. Cervical disc degeneration is common in 60% of the population over 40 years of age and 85% over the age of 60 according to the Mayo clinic. Cervical discs are gel filled cushions separating the seven neck vertebras with their main function to serve as shock absorbers. X-rays and MRI’s show most degeneration of the disc and disc herniation in the most mobile segments of the neck. Typically, the mid cervical spine, CS-6, what happens to be the level where the median nerve exits or better known as the nerve to cause carpal tunnel syndrome. Because of stiffening of the thoracic spine or middle back, our mid neck area starts to move more than what it is created for, causing friction, resulting in wear and tear or degeneration of the disc, disc herniation or spurs which is extra bone forming stimulated by bone rubbing on bone.
It is no coincidence that with the rapid growth of technology and social media in the last 10 years, neck pain, headaches and carpal tunnel problems have been getting more common than ever. These days cervical problems, headaches and rounded thoracic spines and shoulders are also a problem in teenagers. Kids spend hours on any kind of device like phones, iPads, or computers and do not climb trees anymore!!! As a result we see more problems related to poor posture growing on an epidemic rate. The smaller our technologic gadgets are getting, the more our shoulders move forward, our thoracic spine rounds and our head protrudes forward in a slouched posture causing impingement of the mid cervical spine and muscle guarding.
To help neck pain and related problems, medications, injections, hot packs or even surgery is not always the solution because it only treats the symptoms and the end result of years of friction, rather than treating the cause of the problem. Although degenerative disc disease and neck pain can be caused by age, most of the time it is more affected by our lifestyles, posture, repetitive abuse and muscle imbalance. That is why not every 80 year old person with degeneration in the neck has necessarily neck pain or restrictions and a 15 year old might have poor neck mobility, even if the MRI does not show any signs of damage at all. Muscle imbalance mostly gets caused by sedentary lifestyle and using always the same muscles. Think about it, +90% of the time during the day we use our hands in front of us; reading, eating, cooking, doing the dishes, phones etc.
This is where Physical Therapist or Manual Therapists who are trained in working with the spine play a major role. We are specialized in not only mobilizing stiff joints, but also trained to balance out the muscle system, improve posture and to get to the cause of the problem. This approach helps treat compression, impingement, inflammation and train people to prevent neck pain from happening again.
Wim Vergauwen, MPT, CMT – Owner
Certified Manual Therapist
Wim was born in Belgium and received his Master’s degree in Physical Therapy in 1991 from the University of Leuven, Belgium. He also received his European Master’s degree of Adapted Physical Activities in 1992 in Copenhagen, Denmark. Wim has more than 25 years experience in outpatient facilities. He is respected throughout his field for his competence and expertise in the treatment of spinal disorders. Wim has been an adjunct instructor for the Physical Therapy program at the University of Central Florida, and as a Certified Manual Therapist, he has also been an instructor of continuing education courses.
Scottie Bull, PT, CLT-LANA – Owner
Certified Lymphedema Therapist
Scottie received her Bachelor’s degree in Physical Therapy from the University of Central Florida. She has been an outpatient therapist since her graduation on 1997. She has over 20 years of experience in outpatient rehabilitation settings and in 2001 she began specializing in the treatment of Lymphedema. That same year, she implemented a Lymphedema support group which continues to meet monthly. In 2009, Scottie met her professional goal of achieving national certification as a lymphedema therapist from the lymphology Association of North America (LANA). Currently, she is the only LANA certified therapist in Lake County.
Physio Med
Phone: (352) 365-1114
Fax: (353) 365-0111
1127 East North Blvd.
Leesburg, FL 34748
Over 3,600 insurances are accepted, as well as, self pay options.

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