Derrick Family Chiropractic & Massage Center

3535 Martin Way E. Olympia WA 98506

  Between   I−Hop   &   7−Eleven   in Olympia

Phone (360) 491−9135   (360) 438−6425

Family Chiropractic & Massage Therapists in Olympia Lacey Tumwater Yelm Ranier Rochester Shelton Mason Lewis Thurston Washington

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Glossary of Terms




Your Amazing Incredible Neck
Inside your neck are your neck bones (cervical vertebrae), spinal and cranial nerves, spinal cord, blood vessels, glands (including the thyroid and parathyroids), voice box (larynx), esophagus, trachea, brain stem, and many muscles, ligaments and other structures. With all that, it’s still able to gracefully balance your head and turn, tilt and bend without damaging its vital occupants.

That’s amazing because if your neck’s functions are interrupted for even a few seconds you’d lose consciousness and begin to die.

The Cervical Spine
Cervix is the Latin word for neck, meaning a constricted area (the uterus and urinary bladders have a neck or cervix too). Your seven small neck bones are called cervical vertebrae, numbered C-1 to C-7.

Inside your cervical vertebrae lies your spinal cord, a continuation of the brain down your neck and back. Protection of the spinal cord is extremely important because an injury to it can result in instant paralysis or death.

Your vertebrae are connected to each other by discs, ligaments and tendons that help give the neck its shape (the cerviccurve). Between the vertebrae are openings where nerves, blood vessels, lymphatic vessels, fat and connective tissues are found.

Neck Problems
With all of the neck’s complexity it should come as no surprise that neck problems are common. They may develop suddenly from a trauma such as a whiplash or fall, or slowly as a result of spinal imbalance, vertebral subluxations, emotional stress or bad posture. Damaged or irritated neck nerves can cause more than neck pain. Pain in the face, shoulder, arm, wrist, hand and fingers as well as reduced neck motion may also occur. Other neck problems include headaches, vision difficulties, dizziness, ringing in the ears, decreased attention span, learning and memory impairments, nasal problems, tongue and throat problems.

The most serious neck problems—such as fracture, dislocation or severe tissue damage—can be fatal if not given emergency medical care. Most other neck problems, however, although not life-threatening, can impair your health if not corrected.

Neck Pain
Pain in the neck can be caused by irritation, inflammation, injury or infection. Pain in the neck, shoulder, arm, hand or head most frequently results from irritation of cervical nerve roots in the region of the intervertebral foramen, encroachment of the vascular supply as it courses through the vertebral canal, or invasion of the cord in the spinal canal.

The Role Of The Chiropractor
When the spinal bones are off center, the small openings through which the nerves travel may become narrower causing irritation to the cervical nerve roots10 and may also cause pressure upon the spinal cord. Chiropractic spinal care counters the effect of stress and unnatural wear and tear by relieving your neck of the vertebral subluxation complex and restoring proper movement to the spinal column.

Chiropractic & Neck Injury
Since most medical doctors and physical therapists are not trained to locate and correct vertebral subluxations, an accident victim will leave the emergency room with as many subluxations as they had when they entered. Without chiropractic spinal care, a neck injury might continue to cause silent damage for decades before the problem is recognized; by that time it may be too late for a complete recovery.

Get A Spinal Checkup
Everyone with a spine needs to have it checked periodically by a chiropractor. Just as a periodic dental checkup is necessary to keep your teeth healthy, so a chiropractic spinal checkup is necessary to ensure a nervous system that is free from vertebral subluxations permitting you to experience greater healing and well-being.


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Chiropractors, also known as doctors of chiropractic or chiropractic physicians, diagnose and treat patients whose health problems are associated with the bodyís muscular, nervous, and skeletal systems, especially the spine. Interference with these systems impairs the bodyís normal functions and lowers its resistance to disease. Spinal or vertebral dysfunction alters many important body functions by affecting the nervous system. Skeletal imbalance through joint or articular dysfunction, especially in the spine, can cause pain. Chiropractors provide natural, drugless, non-surgical health treatments and rely on the bodyís inherent recuperative abilities. In many cases, a patientís difficulties can be traced to the involvement of musculoskeletal structures; usually spinal subluxations are at the root of the problem. Chiropractors adjust the spinal column to correct these subluxations. This helps to correct the structural and functional problems with the patients joints and nervous system.

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