Many people wonder – Can neck problems cause ear problems? The answer is 100 percent yes. Neck and ear pain can be the result of an old neck injury. Cervical spine and ear pain can originate from a prior neck injury. In this article we will discuss the mechanisms that are involved with neck injury and the role of tight muscles causing ear problems develops from a neurological perspective.
The cervical spine houses the brain stem. This is the “headquarters” of the central nervous system and is responsible for controlling all functions in the body that are not under your conscious control, including the muscle tone regulation. Tight neck muscles causing ear problems can result for a variety of reasons. The least known and most common reason is cervical spine joints that are misaligned due to prior neck injury. Whiplash and other neck trauma can displace the cervical spine joints causing muscle tightness that becomes chronic. Because the neck controls muscle tone regulation it also can affect the muscles in the inner ear, jaw and for that matter the rest of the body. It is common neck and ear pain to be coming from the same source-a neck injury.
The forces involved in a whiplash type trauma cause rapid acceleration and deceleration of the head as it whips back and forth. The ligaments that give the joints of the cervical spine stability and strength can tear under whiplash stress. Once the soft tissue of the neck is injured the cervical spine joints lose their normal stability setting off a chain reaction neurologically speaking through the entire system. Irritation to the brainstem and spinal nerves caused by atlas and or axis misalignments cause tight neck and jaw muscles which can then cause TMJ and ear pain. Most pain in the body is due to muscle spasm and associated entrapment of nerves. Neck and ear pain can be a drag but the good news there is a solution for many who suffer.
If you suffer with neck and ear pain do not despair. Many patients are finding relief in our Los Angeles Upper Cervical Chiropractic offices where our doctors specialize in correcting spinal misalignments that occur at the base of the skull. Let us explain.
The head weighs about 10 pounds and it rests on the top bone in the neck called the atlas that weighs 2 ounces. This small bone and its two joints bear the weight of the entire head. As a result, it is an unstable junction of the spine and is susceptible to spinal injury. Sudden jarring motions or other acceleration deceleration injuries can damage the supporting soft tissue that give the head neck junction stability. This results in spinal misalignment and nervous system irritation which leads to not only neck and ear pain but a plethora of other problems in the body. Because the upper cervical spine houses the brainstem if it becomes misaligned then it can have negative consequences on the entire body. The brain stem is responsible for controlling all body functions that are not under our conscious control. Heart function, muscle tone regulation, respiratory function, blood pressure regulation, thermo regulation are all directly controlled by the brainstem. This vital center can result in a host of ailments that most would not relate to a neck injury, including neck and ear pain.
When a patient steps into our Los Angeles Based upper cervical chiropractic office they are assessed for spinal misalignment using various tests. In combination with the testing a detailed explanation of the upper cervical procedure is given allowing each patient to make an informed decision about their care. Once a problem has been identified and the patient is interested in partaking in care precise imaging is taken to determine the exact direction and magnitude of misalignment. In the Blair Upper Cervical analysis system, the doctor is trained to view the joint surfaces and how they fit. Each joint in the body is a mirror image of the other and therefore if it is “out of alignment” then you can view it by looking at an image of the joints, in this case between the head and neck. Cone beam computerized tomography (CBCT) or digital x-ray are used to view the joints of the neck. Once this detailed information is gleaned a precision spinal correction is made that involves no twisting, popping, or pulling. Because TMJ problems and neck tightness is associated with neck and ear pain these symptoms are commonly helped through aiding the body in its normal nervous system function. Cervical spine pain and ear pain are highly correlated to upper neck misalignment.
Below is an excerpt taken off of a health board. Many people who suffer with neck and ear pain go through the routine medical system and are often discounted as crazy or psychosomatic. Just because medical tests can’t figure out the cause doesn’t mean the person is delusional. There is a lot that we do not know about the body and its inter relationships with conditions and unfortunately many are cast aside with their ailments intimating its made up in their head.
“4 months ago, I was in a car accident that caused injury to spine and rotator cuff. Had surgery for rotator cuff and that has healed well. From the beginning I have had pain in my neck, collar bone, top of shoulder and over into my upper shoulder blade. This is from t1-t2 herniation.I also have pain up the right side of my face that feels like a sinus and ear infection. Doctors think I am crazy, but it hurts a lot and often. Anyone ever heard of this?”
Internet users response “I don’t know exactly what’s causing your face and ear pain, but I do know that the spine is a complicated place, as is the whole shoulder-collarbone system. The structures are complex and there are nerves running all over the place, and as you know we often feel pain referred to different places from the actual injury site.
The only odd thing is that your ear and face should be served by cranial, not spinal nerves. Still, it’s all connected. I know that neck pain is associated with jaw pain, and jaw issues tend to affect ears and vice-versa.”
In short neck and ear pain is highly correlated to spinal injury. If you or a loved one is suffering with neck and ear pain or any other chronic health condition it would make sense to visit an upper cervical chiropractor, so you can be properly assessed for upper neck spinal injury. Our offices offer a free consultation and you can take us up on this offer by calling 213 399-7772 Los Angeles, or 310 324-6172 for our south bay (Carson) office. If you are outside of the Los Angeles area you can call our office and we would be happy to find you someone in your area!