EAR, NOSE & THROAT
Head and Neck
The study of the head and neck is called otolaryngology. An otolaryngologist is a physician that specializes not only in head and neck issues but also ear, nose, and throat problems. They fall under the specialty of ENT. The head and neck are extremely important structures of the body. The head houses the brain as well as our sensory organs such as the ear and the nose. The neck holds up the head and houses our throat. Any injuries to the head or the neck can affect your quality of life. Pain in these areas is definitely a hassle. Both the head and neck are susceptible to trauma, infection, and tumors. Deformities are another condition found commonly in the head but not so much in the neck. Some problems can be treated while other more severe issues may leave permanent damage.
Without the head you will be unable to think, smell, taste, hear or see. All of these major organs are found in the head. The head is protected by the skull. The skull not only covers the brain but also forms the jaw and cheekbones. The brain is one of the most vital structures of the head. The brain controls everything and without it, nothing in the body will work properly. Deformities of the head are typically congenital. Congenital deformities in the head are related to the ear, nose, and mouth. During the development process in the womb, certain structures do not form correctly and at birth, deformities are diagnosed. Some deformities are fixed at birth but others, typically ear related, cannot be fixed until growth stops. The ears stop growing at about the age of 5 or 6. It is at this time surgery can be performed.
Headaches are a common issue. Migraines are a more severe problem that can leave you bedridden. Migraines are more severe headaches that cause nausea and makes you sensitive to both light and sound. Headaches and migraines may be a result of high blood pressure, genetics, or trauma. Many head injuries can leave you with migraines and headaches. Concussions are one of the major injuries that lead to these problems. The skull protects the brain. The part of the skull that covers the brain is not one mass of bone but seven bones fused together. These bones are the temporal, parietal, frontal, and occipital bones. The temporal bones cover the temples of the head. The occipital bone is in the back of the head. Frontal bones are in the front, and parietal bones are at the top on both the left and right side of the brain. The skull is extremely difficult to break but with enough pressure, you can fracture the skull and cause brain hemorrhaging.
Infections in the head range in severity. Some infections are common like ear infections or sinus infections. Antibiotics treat these infections. Brain infections are severe. More common brain infections are encephalitis and meningitis. Survival rates for these are low. Brain tumors and brain disorders lead to problems that affect the whole body. Brain-related diseases include Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, ALS and a host of others. Seizures and epilepsy are also associated with brain disorders.
The neck is made of the cervical spine. The cervical spine holds up the skull. The neck is made of seven cervical vertebrae. After the seventh vertebrae, the thoracic spine starts. The neck is necessary for head movement. Having a crook in your neck limits your head mobility. The throat is the main structure found in the neck but the throat is not just one structure but many. The throat itself is a passageway that houses other things. The larynx, pharynx, esophagus, and vocal cords are all found in the neck. Many people even consider the tonsils to be a part of the neck. The Adam’s apple is one noticeable structure. Contrary to popular belief, everyone has an Adam’s apple. The only difference is men’s show more than women because of the angle in which the cartilage meets the larynx. It is because of structures in the neck that speech, breathing, and eating is possible.
Trauma to the neck may lead to serious problems. A broken neck is very painful, but if broken in the right place, paralysis can ensue. A neck laceration is another form of trauma. Some cuts are small and not very serious. Any cut to the arteries in the neck need immediate medical attention. Arteries are large blood vessels that carry oxygen to the body. The artery in the neck takes oxygen to the brain. When the artery is bleeding, oxygen supply is cut off, and you can lose way too much blood.
Some health conditions are neck related. Spasms is a common one. It is an annoying twitch in the neck that in many cases are uncontrollable. In the case of an accident or sudden yanking of the head, whiplash is possible. A herniated disc is very painful and may require the use of a neck brace. Some other neck related issues include laryngitis, tumors, polyps, mononucleosis and airway obstructions. Most of these issues can be treated. Throat cancer is a more serious issue that requires more medical attention.
The head and neck must be protected. They house so many important parts of the body. You have to take care of these areas just as much as any other. Do your best to stay away from activities that may lead to head or neck injuries. Leave backflips and car racing to the professionals. If you break a foot, you will probably be able to fix it, but the neck and head cannot always be fixed if broken. If you are riding a bike, wear a helmet. It may not look cool, but it can be the difference between you living or dying. Take care of your neck. It may even be a good idea to treat yourself to a massage every now and then to get rid of crooks in the neck. Stay away from smoking and manage alcohol consumption. Damage to the structures in the neck may permanently affect your voice, breathing, and ability to digest food. If you take good care of yourself now, your older self will thank you.
FIND A TOP10MD ENT | OTOLARYNGOLOGIST NEAR YOU
When it comes to conditions of the ears, nose and throat, it takes the skill and finesse of an experienced ENT Specialist | Otolaryngologist.
There are hundreds of Otolaryngologists to choose from; however, not all doctors are created equal. Advanced Ear, Nose & Throat procedures take the skill and finesse of an experienced Otolaryngologist. That’s why we’ve selected your city’s best Otolaryngologists – to make the decision process easier for you and your family.
For your peace of mind, Top10MD Otolaryngologists’ credentials are validated yearly to verify medical licenses have no serious patient care sanctions, current Board Certifications in their given medical specialty, current DEA & DPS licenses, and malpractice insurance. A Top10MD has at least 5+ years experience or has performed 300+ procedures in their given specialty and a current Patient Satisfaction Score of 8.5 or higher.