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Thread: Save Your Own Neck :)

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    Senior Member Max's Avatar
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    Save Your Own Neck :)

    Save Your Own Neck
    Put the Collar on Problems Between Your Head and Your Shoulders

    By Lisa Jones and Nicole Serr

    Oct. 5
    - Considering that the neck is where paramedics take pulses and guillotines take lives, it's no surprise that preserving your neck is a matter of life and death.


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    The fact is, most of us consider the neck to be our body's caddy - we ask it to carry a big load, but rarely give it any credit. Not only does your neck support your 10-pound head, but it also houses the organs, arteries, and glands that funnel air to your lungs, transport oxygen to your brain, regulate your metabolism, and keep you from choking on chicken wings.
    And the thanks it gets? You don't even put a tie around it anymore.

    In fact, the only time you do pay attention to your neck is when you experience one of those nagging, everyday pains in the neck - like when you get a sore throat or cut yourself shaving - which can unleash hell on your day, or at least on your shirt collar. That's why we've put together this guide - to take care of all those little pains, as well as some of the more serious ones.

    Pain in the Neck No. 1: Shaving Nicks

    Big meeting with the CEO this morning? Then book it: Today's the day you'll slice your neck open and bleed all over your crisp white dress shirt. Sorry, you can't prevent shaving nicks completely - the straight edge of a razor will inevitably catch on the curved surface of your neck. But you can cut down on the bleeders - and the bleeding.

    The fix: Always shave up toward your chin with short strokes. The razor will be less likely to catch. If you do nick yourself, wipe the area, then blot it with a tissue moistened with nasal spray or nose drops. Certain brands contain the compound phenylephrine, which constricts blood vessels and should stop the bleeding within five minutes.

    Pain in the Neck No. 2: Razor Bumps

    Irritating, pimple-like bumps on your neck aren't a sign you're regressing into geeky adolescence. In fact, they mean just the opposite: You could have a beard thick enough to sand a spackled nail hole. When you shave, a coarse and curly beard can leave you with extra-sharp whiskers. When those whiskers start to grow out, they can curl and actually penetrate back into your skin, giving you irritating bumps.

    The fix: Switch to an electric or single-blade razor - a less-close shave keeps the ends of your whiskers farther from your skin. After you shave, use a soft-bristled toothbrush to rub your neck in small, circular motions. This will extract hair coils from your skin before they irritate you, says Dr. Howard Donsky of the Dermatology and Cosmetic Center in Rochester, New York.

    Pain in the Neck No. 3: Stiffness

    Can't swivel your head to see the hot blonde at 10 o'clock? You're probably suffering from one of these three ailments:

    A strain. Neck strains are usually caused by sleeping in an awkward position, which puts tension on your occipitonuchal muscles (the ones along the back of your neck). To loosen the muscles and reduce pain, stand in a hot shower for 5 minutes with the water running on the nape of your neck. Then press your chin to your chest and hold for half a minute. Extend your head back (eyes to the showerhead), hold, then flex forward again. Now roll your neck from side to side a couple of times. Doing this every morning should help heal mild strains, says Elliot A. Grossman, M.D., a neurologist in New Jersey.

    Whiplash. Technically, whiplash is a severe strain that occurs when your neck flexes forward and is quickly jerked backward. If you suffer this kind of injury in a rear-end car accident, go to an emergency room immediately, even if the pain feels minor. A shot of the anti-inflammatory steroid cortisone within 24 hours could save you months of recurring neck and back pain, as well as headaches, according to Dr. Jerome Schofferman, author of What to Do for a Pain in the Neck.

    A pinched nerve. Make a fist, pretend you're about to knock on a door, then pull your arm backward. Can't do it? A disk between two vertebrae has probably been bumped out of place, leaving you with a pinched nerve in your neck and possibly some numbness in your arms and hands. Dr. Grossman estimates that 70 percent of pinched nerves are caused by poor posture (the rest are caused by direct injuries to the neck). If you've been diagnosed with a pinched nerve, see a physical therapist - he can prescribe neck-stretching exercises to alleviate the pain and improve your neck's muscles to keep the disk in place. As for your lousy posture, improve it by making sure your head doesn't bend forward excessively. Train yourself to do that by imagining that a string is lifting your head toward the ceiling.

    Pain in the Neck No. 4: Sore Throat

    A sore throat is usually caused by an infection in the lymphoid tissue on the sides of your throat. But if you regularly wake up with a sore and dry throat, something sneakier is probably happening - you could be sleeping with your mouth open. When you breathe through your mouth, you inhale dry, throat-irritating air.

    The fix: Prop your head higher than your stomach when you sleep. This helps you breathe more easily through your nose, which acts as a natural humidifier, says Dr. Scott Kessler, a New York otolaryngologist. If you still wake up sore, put a cold-air humidifier in your bedroom.

    Pain in the Neck No. 5: Laryngitis

    Severe hoarseness is usually brought on by an infection, swollen or dry vocal cords, or even coughing too hard (Coughing can rupture blood vessels on your cords).

    The fix: First, take ibuprofen, not aspirin. If you have broken blood vessels, aspirin will interfere with blood clotting and increase the time it takes the vessels to heal. Second, gargle with warm salt water (cold water is an irritant), and third, stop talking. And don't whisper. Whispering puts more strain on your voice than talking quietly.

    Pain in the Neck No. 6: Swollen Glands

    The soft, pea-size glands underneath your jawbone are lymph nodes. If they swell to the size of a golf ball and feel sore, you may have a virus or a tooth infection (or you swallowed a golf ball). They swell because they fill themselves up with infection-fighting cells called lymphocytes that keep the infection from spreading to the rest of your body.

    The fix: If you have an infection, do these three things: Throw out your toothbrush (viruses will linger there and delay your recovery); suck on hard candy to stimulate saliva, which can soothe some sore throats; and eat spicy food. Hot peppers contain capsaicin, which helps you secrete more liquid to expel the virus. If your nodes are larger than a marble or they don't go back to normal size within a month, have a doctor check them to rule out cancer.

    Pain in the Neck No. 7: Chicken Wings

    Excessive alcohol makes you lose more than just your judgment and your pants; it also makes you lose control over your epiglottis - the flap of cartilage just above your vocal cords. To keep you from choking, the epiglottis acts like a trapdoor, flipping backward when you swallow and directing food down your throat, not your airway.

    The fix: If you get a beer nut down the wrong pipe while your buddy's in the john, give yourself Heimlich-like thrusts, or lean over and press your upper abdomen (just below your ribs) against any firm object, such as the back of a chair or the edge of a kitchen sink.

    Pain in the Neck No. 8: Loose Shirts

    Have a pencil neck? The size of your collar is dictated by everything from body shape and body fat to muscle development, says Dr. Michael Benninger of the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.

    The fix: To bulk up your neck, lie faceup on a flat bench. Put your palms against your forehead and apply a little resistance. Lift up and down until your neck muscles are fatigued. Flip over and reverse the move.

    Now, That's a Serious Pain in the Neck


    Clogged carotids: The four carotid arteries are responsible for supplying oxygen-rich blood from your heart to your brain. You won't feel any symptoms with mild clogs, but the more blocked the arteries get, the greater the chance you could experience TIA (transient ischemic attack), which causes a kind of mini-stroke, in which you lose vision, get weak, or become dizzy for 5 to 15 minutes. This is the precursor to a full-blown stroke - and a warning to see a doctor about lowering your cholesterol levels, or unclogging your carotids through angioplasty or surgery, says Dr. Paul Thompson, a cardiologist at Hartford Hospital in Connecticut.
    Thyroid cancer: Your butterfly-shaped thyroid gland, located under your Adam's apple, regulates your body temperature and metabolism. To check for thyroid problems, look in a mirror, swallow, and watch for a lump under your Adam's apple, suggests Dr. Hossein Gharib, a professor at the Mayo medical school. The lump will probably feel like a cherry. That's a thyroid nodule - benign in 95 percent of cases, but it should be biopsied to rule out thyroid cancer.

    A broken neck: A broken neck will actually heal like any other bone fracture - with time and stabilization. But it's dangerous because a fractured vertebra can sever your spinal cord and cut off the nerve signals that control your diaphragm - and thus cut off your breathing, says Dr. Richard Deyo, a professor of medicine at the University of Washington. If the injured bone penetrates the front of the spinal cord, it could cause paralysis.

    A fractured Adam's apple: The Adam's apple is a protrusion of cartilage that surrounds your vocal cords. If it's fractured by a karate kick, hockey puck, or steering wheel, it could cut off your airway.


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  2. #2
    Senior Member Scorpion's Avatar
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    It amazes me how many people still talk of 'severing the spinal cord' when that rarely happens. I still have people ask me why I'm paralyzed if my cord wasn't severed. *sigh*

    As for razor nicks, use a stiptic pencil (sp?). It burns like hell but stops the bleeding in seconds. I hate razor bumps on my neck too, so i use an electric shaver even though I can't get that close, baby-butt smooth, shave. At least I don't have a red, bumpy, irritated neck.

    ~Rus

    "Because you're not promised tomorrow." ~ Stuck Mojo

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