The cervical spine consists of seven vertebrae. The first of seven is called the atlas(C1) and the second is called axis(C2). The atlas supports the weight of the head and forms the atlanto-occipital joint. This permits flexion and extension of the head. This motion allows a person to nod the head. The axis forms the atlantoaxial joint which allows, flexion, extension, lateral flexion, and rotation of cervical spine. The majority of rotation occurs at the atlantoaxial joint. There are some common conditions that can produce neck pain. These include: a pinched nerve, degenerative disc disease, neck strain, or herniated disc. Neck pain may also result from muscles of the neck. Some people may experience a dull ache while others may have increased pain with movement of the neck. The neck is examined through movement and at rest. Also, a doctor will evaluate one’s history(car accident, contact sport, past injury). Some further tests may be done which include X-ray, bone scan, CT scan, or MRI scan. Physical therapy can relieve symptoms of neck pain. Treatment may include electric stimulation, massage, heat, ultrasound, and/or traction.

There are five lumbar vertebrae which stack on top of the sacrum(bone between buttocks). The lumbar spine is designed to protect the spinal cord while providing us with movement. There are discs between each vertebrae which serve as cushions. These help to minimize the stress on the spinal cord. The lower back supports the weight of the upper body. There are several causes of lower back pain. These include: nerve irritation, disk herniation, arthritis, fractures of lumbar spine, and degenerative bone disease. Some symptoms can occur such as numbness/tingling of legs, increased pain when walking, leg weakness, joint pain and fatigue. Low back pain is diagnosed through a physical examination. Further tests may include blood test, MRI, bone scan, X-ray tests, or CAT scans. Physical therapy may include electric stimulation, lumbar traction, massage, heat, ultrasound, and/or therapeutic exercise.