Chronic Neck Pain affects many people everyday. Chronic neck pain may be due to an injury, a fall, a herniated disc, foraminal stenosis or even neck degeneration. Chronic neck pain is defined as neck pain that last several weeks or years. For some patients the pain get progressively worse. They may be afflicted with unrelenting pain and stiffness, muscle spasms, and decrease in range of motion and even difficulty breathing and respiratory dysfunction as this study shows.
Dr. Kapreli and her team have been researching the connection between chronic neck pain and respiratory dysfunction. In a 2007 paper, Dr.Kapreli and other researches showed that chronic neck pain sufferers have certain factors that show predisposition of leading to a respiratory dysfunction:
- decreased strength of deep neck flexors and extensors
- hyperactivity and increased fatigability of superficial neck flexors
- reduced range of motion (mobility),
- decrease in proprioception and changes in neuromuscular control
- presence of pain
- psychosocial influence of dysfunction
The following measurements were used for assessment :
- Spirometric values (the amount of air that can be inhaled and exhaled by a patient)
- maximal static pressures
- forward head posture
- functional tests
The study showed that patients who suffered with chronic neck pain, presented with a statistically significant decreased maximal voluntary ventilation (P = 0.042) and respiratory muscle strength (Pimax and Pemax), (P = 0.001 and P = 0.002, respectively).
According to Dr.Kapreli, "Abdominal and chest breathing was assessed by observation only, and results showed that 83% of patients with neck pain, in a population of different chronic musculoskeletal pain syndromes, experienced a changed breathing pattern indicating a relationship between neck pain and respiration."
Also, the current study demonstrated a strong association between an increased forward head posture and decreased respiratory muscle strength in neck pain patients.
This study shows a connection of neck pain and respiratory function. This is an important consideration in relation to how to assess a patients condition, how to come up with a rehabilitation plan and how to treat the patient.
"The current study provides support to the belief that the clinician should have a 'holistic view' of the patient," Dr. Kapreli said. "Even in the case of a common musculoskeletal disorder, other systems could have also been influenced," the author explained. "Therefore, providing therapeutic solutions only for the main symptom is rather frustrating for the patient."
- Respiratory Dysfunction in Chronic Neck Pain Patients:Cephalalgia, Volume 29 Issue 7, Pages 701 – 710
- Neck pain causes respiratory dysfunction
- Cervical Kyposis or Military Neck Can the Cause of Neck Pain
- Cervical Radiculopathy? How your Dr will determine the nature of neck pain
- Treatment of Chronic Neck Pain Through Exercises
- Can Forward head posture cause Neck pain and Stiff Neck?
- Head Retraction Exercises: A must for forward head posture
- Why Posture is the Window to Your Health
- Strengthening Exercises for the Neck for Better Health