Cervical Syndrome & Medical Acupuncture
Cervical Syndrome: What is it?
Cervical Syndrome, by this term we mean a series of clinical discomforts and symptoms that worry the patient either because of their duration (often chronic) or because of their intensity and diversity.
However, as this term does not indicate the etiology of the problem, in order to achieve an effective therapeutic approach, a differential diagnosis of the reasons that cause Cervical Syndrome must first be made.
Cervical Syndrome is one of the most common causes of pain that lead the patient to the doctor’s help (almost 10% of the population).
Cervical Syndrome: Symptoms
Symptoms vary from pain in the neck that can reflect either to the skull (Cervical Headache) or to the shoulder – arm – extremity (Cervicobrachial Syndrome or Cervicobrachalgia).
The pain can last from a few days to weeks or months. The patient may report pain during specific anatomical movements, pain at rest or at night with consequent insomnia.
In addition to pain, the patient may complain of:
- loss of balance
- feeling of heaviness
- limitation of the joint’s range of motion
- muscle weakness and muscle spasms
- sensitivity in the neck area
- spasticity of the lower extremities
- fatigue that worsens over time by the avoidance of certain movements due to the pain it causes.
The intensity of the symptoms can vary from moderate to very intense and their duration vary from days to months.
Cervical Syndrome: Causes
- Alterations of the intervertebral discs. They appear at all ages but primarily at older ages. In the entire spine between the vertebrae there are intervertebral discs which act as an anti-vibration system but also protect the spinal cord and the nerves.
A herniated intervertebral disc in the neck is often observed, which is usually created:
- from prolonged small loads exerted on the neck.
- from a very large load with sudden application of large forces such as in a car accident, in sport injuries or from trying to support a load on the head or neck. Herniated intervertebral disc can cause neurological problems and Cervical Myelopathy.
After the age of 40, the intervertebral disc gradually loses its height, with the result that the space between the vertebrae decreases, creating conditions for the growth of osteophytes -“salts”- and spondyloarthritis, causing neck pain, or any of the aforementioned symptoms.
- Muscular causes are the most common source of neck pain in young people. The long-term wrong posture of the head and neck – that happens when the person is constantly attached to the computer or the mobile phone – is the main cause of the development of muscle spasms of the neck muscles (trapezius muscles, short paraspinal muscles) causing straightening of the cervical spine and loss of the normal lordosis position of the neck, usually resulting in a chronic pain.
This group of causes also includes Raivocranios (cervical dystonia), i.e. a syndrome in which there is an intense spasm of the sternocleidomastoid muscle on only one side of the neck, making it impossible for the patient to turn his/her head. It is usually transient and with proper treatment and Medical Acupuncture it soon subsides in a few days.
- In some cases, some serious condition may underlie, such as ankylosing spondylitis, rheumatic diseases, various malignancies and rarely infections. Also, pain in the area can be due to other causes such as reflection of pain due to problems in the chest (pulmonary or cardiac) or other conditions, such as migraine and labyrinth disorders.
Patients with minimal findings on examination may present with a severe clinical picture, while patients with strong findings often present with a milder than expected clinical picture.
It is considered necessary for each patient, depending on the case, to be investigated laboratory, i.e. radiologically, tomographically or magnetically, ultrasounds, electromyograms, blood tests and a good clinical examination in order to verify that there is no other cause (fracture – herniated disc).
Cervical Syndrome: Treatment
Medical Acupuncture can help:
- In the simplest cases, whether acute or chronic, because it shortens the recovery time, relieving the patient both through analgesia and the improvement / restoration of mobility achieved through muscle relaxation.
- And in the most difficult situations where Medical Acupuncture is an important weapon in our therapeutic quiver.
Through the study of all available data we create a Personalized Acupuncture Protocol with a targeted combination of acupuncture points. The duration of the treatment is 30 minutes while the number of required sessions ranges from 6 to 12 depending on the nature of the problem and the chronicity.
Immediately after the first session, Ear Acupuncture with semi-permanent needles is applied in order to maintain and increase the therapeutic effect.
This is a method that has been used for 2.500 years providing:
- Relief from pain, swelling and inflammation through endorphins and endogenous cortisone produced during Acupuncture.
- Muscle relaxation and improvement of joint mobility through the muscle relaxants produced during Acupuncture.
- Calm through the sedative substances produced, which the patient has lost because of the pain and his concern about how and if his problem will be solved.
Equally important is the contribution of Chinese Herbs that have been used successfully and safely for over 2.500 years.
The simultaneous provision of Chinese herbal recipes together with Medical Acupuncture brings faster healing due to the induced dynamic synergy, with excellent results.