Whiplash

Whiplash is a term applied to injuries of the neck caused when the neck is suddenly and/or violently jolted in one direction and then another, creating a whip-like movement. Whiplash is most commonly seen in people involved in motor vehicle accidents, but it can also occur from falls, sports injuries, work injuries, and other incidents.

What structures are injured in a whiplash?

Whiplash injuries most often result in sprain-strain of the neck. The ligaments that help support, protect, and restrict excessive movement of the vertebrae are torn, which is called a sprain. The joints in the back of the spine, called the facet joints, are covered by ligaments called facet capsules, which seem to be particularly susceptible to whiplash injury.

In addition, the muscles and tendons are strained—stretched beyond their normal limits. The discs between the vertebrae, which are essentially ligaments, can be torn, potentially causing a disc herniation. The nerve roots between the vertebrae may also be stretched and become inflamed. Even though it is very rare, vertebrae can be fractured and/or dislocated in a whiplash injury.

What are the common signs and symptoms of whiplash?

The most common symptoms of whiplash are pain and stiffness in the neck. Turning the head often makes the pain and discomfort worse. Headache, especially at the base of the skull, is also a common symptom, seen in more than two thirds of patients. These headaches may be one-sided (unilateral) or experienced on both sides (bilateral). In addition, the pain and stiffness may extend down into the shoulders and arms, upper back, and even the upper chest. In addition to the musculoskeletal symptoms, some patients also experience dizziness, difficulty swallowing, nausea, and even blurred vision after a whiplash injury. While these symptoms are disconcerting, in most cases, they disappear within a relatively short time. If they persist, it is very important to inform your doctor that they are not resolving. Vertigo (the sensation of the room spinning) and ringing in the ears may also be seen. In addition, some patients may feel pain in the jaw. Others will even complain of irritability, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating. These symptoms also resolve quickly in most cases. In rare cases, symptoms can persist for weeks, months, or even years. Another important and interesting aspect of whiplash is that the signs and symptoms often do not develop until 2 to 48 hours after the injury. This scenario is relatively common but not completely understood. Some speculate that it may be due to delayed muscle soreness, a condition seen in other circumstances.

Facts

According to the Spine Research Institute of San Diego, 45% of persons with chronic neck pain attribute the pain to a past motor vehicle collision injury.

How is whiplash treated?

Ice and/or heat are often used to help control pain and reduce the muscle spasm that results from whiplash injuries. Other physical therapy modalities, such as traction and electrical stimulation, may provide some short-term relief. They should not, however, replace an active-care program of exercise and stretching. Spinal adjustments and/or mobilization provided by a chiropractor can also give relief in many cases of neck pain and is vital to help restore normal alignment and mechanics to the spine. This will help prevent long term adhesions and scar tissue from settling in.

Why are spinal adjustments so important?

In a 1996 study by Woodward et. al., published in the journal “Injury,” Chiropractic treatment was able to help relieve the pain for 93% of patients with chronic whiplash injuries. Chronic whiplash injuries are notoriously resistant to any form of treatment, making their conclusions particularly significant in the field of whiplash treatment. Guidelines published by the Federal Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) concluded that spinal manipulation was one of only three treatments for acute back pain for which there was at least moderate research-based evidence of effectiveness.

Our Office

During your visit to our office, the doctor of chiropractic will perform a detailed consultation and examination to locate the source of your pain. This will involve a series of questions about your current condition, followed by physical and neurological exams. In the physical exam, your doctor will observe your posture, range of motion, and physical condition, noting movement that causes pain. The doctor will feel your spine, note its curvature and alignment, and feel for muscle spasm. A check of your upper extremity may also be in order. During the neurological exam, the doctor may test your reflexes, muscle strength and sensory testing. If warranted the Doctor may order x-rays and computerized muscle tests. Once all of the information is collected to develop a specific diagnosis, a report of findings will be delivered to you. If you qualify for conservative chiropractic care, recommendations for the appropriate adjustments and therapies will be provided.

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Upper Back Pain

Most upper back pain is caused by a combination of factors, including injury, poor posture, subluxations, stress, and in some instances, disc problems. Chiropractic treatment can help.

Most people do not realize how much they move their neck and upper back during the day until they are unable to do so. The degree of flexibility of the neck, coupled with the fact that it has the least amount of muscular stabilization and it has to support and move your 14 – 16 pound head, means that the neck and upper back is very susceptible to injury. You can picture your neck and head much like a bowling ball being held on top of a stick by small, thin, elastic bands. It doesn’t take much force to disrupt that delicate balance.

The spinal cord runs through a space in the vertebrae to send nerve impulses to every part of the body. Between each pair of cervical and thoracic vertebrae, the spinal cord sends off large bundles of nerves that run down the arms and to some degree, the upper back. This means that if your arm is hurting, it may actually be a problem in the neck and upper back! Symptoms in the arms can include numbness, tingling, cold, aching, and “pins and needles”.

These symptoms can be confused with carpal tunnel syndrome, a painful condition in the hands that is often found in people who work at computer keyboards or perform other repetitive motion tasks for extended periods. Problems in the neck and upper back can also contribute to headaches, muscle spasms in the shoulders, ringing in the ears, otitis media (inflammation in the middle ear, often mistaken for an ear infection in children), temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ), restricted range of motion and chronic tightness in the neck and upper back.

Chiropractors associate the neck and upper back together, because most of the muscles that are associated with the neck either attach to, or are located in, the upper back. These muscles include the trapezius, the levator scapulae, the cervical paraspinal muscles and the scalenes, as well as others.

The Causes of Neck and Upper Back Pain
Most neck and upper back pain is caused by a combination of factors, including injury, poor posture, stress, chiropractic subluxations and in some instances, disc problems.

Injuries
By far, the most common injury to the neck is a whiplash injury. Whiplash is caused by a sudden movement of the head, either backward, forward, or sideways, that results in the damage to the supporting muscles, ligaments and other connective tissues in the neck and upper back. Whether from a car accident, sports, or an accident at work, whiplash injuries need to be taken very seriously. Because symptoms of a whiplash injury can take weeks or months to manifest, it is easy to be fooled into thinking that you are not as injured as you really are. Too often people don’t seek treatment following a car accident or sports injury because they don’t feel hurt. Unfortunately, by the time more serious complications develop, some of the damage from the injury may have become permanent.

Poor Posture
One of the most common causes of upper back and neck pain is poor posture. It’s easy to get into bad posture habits without even realizing it -such as reading in bed can ultimately lead to pain, headaches, and more serious problems. The basic rule is simple: keep your neck in a “neutral” position whenever possible. Don’t bend or hunch your neck forward for long periods. Also, try not to sit in one position for a long time.

Subluxations
Subluxations in the neck and upper back area are extremely common due to the high degree of stress associated with holding up your head, coupled with the high degree of instability in the cervical spine. Most subluxations tend to be centered around four areas: the top of the cervical spine where it meets the skull; in the middle of the cervical spine where the mechanical stress from the head is the greatest; in the transition where the cervical and thoracic areas of the spine meet; and in the middle of the thoracic spine where the mechanical stress from the weight of the upper body is greatest.

Signs of subluxation include looking in the mirror and seeing your head tilted or one shoulder higher than the other. Others may notice that their sleeve or pant length is different or that a necklace is hanging off center. If someone looks at you from the side they may notice that your head sits forward from your shoulders. This is known as FHP – forward head posture – and is very common for people who are stooped over their computers all day long. Subluxations are a debt to the body. If they are not taken care of soon after they occur, then they can get much worse over time.

Stress
When most people become stressed, they unconsciously contract their muscles. In particular, the muscles in their back. This ‘muscle guarding’ is a survival response designed to guard against injury. In today’s world where we are not exposed to physical danger most of the time, muscle guarding still occurs whenever we become emotionally stressed. The areas most affected are the muscles of the neck, upper back and low back. For most of us, the particular muscle affected by stress is the trapezius muscle, where daily stress usually leads to chronic tightness and the development of trigger points.

Disc Herniations
The discs in your cervical and thoracic spine can herniate or bulge and put pressure on the nerves that exit from the spine through that area.

Our Office

During your visit to our office, Dr. Tucker will perform a detailed consultation and examination to locate the source of your pain. This will involve a series of questions about your current condition, followed by physical and neurological exams. In the physical exam, your doctor will observe your posture, range of motion, and physical condition, noting movement that causes pain. The doctor will feel your spine, note its curvature and alignment, and feel for muscle spasm. A check of your upper extremities may also be in order. During the neurological exam, the doctor may test your reflexes, muscle strength and sensory testing. If warranted the Doctor may order x-rays and computerized muscle tests. Once all of the information is collected to develop a specific diagnosis, a report of findings will be delivered to you. If you qualify for conservative chiropractic care, recommendations for the appropriate adjustments and therapies will be provided.

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Sports Injuries

If you are an athlete, it is highly likely that you have suffered from at least one, if not more of the following conditions at one time or another: Muscle strains, ligament sprains, tendinitis, bursitis, tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, frozen shoulder, back pain, neck pain…..etc.  Whether you are an amateur or professional sportsman, you put your body through the same rigors which leave you prone to sports injuries. As a result of injuring yourself, your body will have to compensate for the injury and put more stress on another part of your body in order for you to function. This is often why you can feel pain in other areas of your body after an injury.

At our clinic we can offer you a treatment and rehabilitation program that will get you back on track after your injury. These programs obviously differ in length depending on the nature of your injury. Chiropractic can be of enormous benefit in treating and preventing further sports associated injuries, thus improving athletic performance.

Treatment may include:

  • Active release therapy
  • Adjustments
  • Massage
  • Traction
  • Diathermy
  • Electric muscle stimulation
  • Heat/Cold Therapy
  • Personal training supervision
  • Nutritional Supplements
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Shoulder Pain

Shoulder pain is an extremely common complaint, and there are many common causes of this problem. It is important to make an accurate diagnosis of the cause of your symptoms so that appropriate treatment can be directed at the cause. If you are unsure of the cause of your shoulder pain, or if you do not know the specific treatment recommendations for your condition, you should seek evaluation.

What are the causes of shoulder pain?

Here is a list of some of the most common causes for shoulder pain, for a more detailed explanation please click on the condition.

Referred pain from the neck and midback

When the structures in the neck and midback are painful, the pain is often felt over the shoulder. It is important to remember this. In some occasions shoulder pain can be a referred pain stemming from a nerve impingement in your neck.  To rule out this problem, your chiropractor will always examine your neck and midback when you come in for shoulder pain.

Bursitis or Rotator Cuff Tendinitis

One of the most common causes in patients with shoulder pain is bursitis and tendinitis of the rotator cuff musculature causing impingement syndrome.

Rotator Cuff Tear

Different degrees of rotator cuff tears can occur. If the tendons of the rotator cuff don’t separate completely, often times it can heal.  Various therapies can accelerate the healing process.

Frozen Shoulder

Also called ‘adhesive capsulitis’, this is a condition that leads to severely restricted movement of the shoulder. It is not as common as people think and is often misdiagnosed. This condition can be treated with various chiropractic, massage and exercise techniques.

Calcific Tendinitis

Calcific tendinitis is a condition of calcium deposits within a tendon – most commonly within the rotator cuff tendons. Treatment of calcific tendinitis depends on the extent of symptoms.

Shoulder Instability

Instability is a problem that causes a loose or unstable joint. Instability can be caused by a traumatic injury (dislocation), or may develop over time. This can occur with or without producing a secondary impingement syndrome.

Shoulder Dislocation

A dislocation is a traumatic injury that occurs when the ball-part of the shoulder joint (top of the arm bone) slips out of the socket (part of the shoulder blade).

Ligament Injury-(Acromio-Clavicular Tear)

Also called an A/C separation, these injuries are the result of a disruption of the acromio-clavicular joint. This is a very different injury from a gleno-humeral dislocation.

Labral Tear

There are several patterns of a torn labrum and the type of treatment depends on the specific injury.

Arthritis

Shoulder arthritis is less common than knee and hip arthritis, however, arthritic changes are more common in the acromio-clavicular joint between the collarbone and the shoulder blade.

Biceps Tendon Rupture

The upper part of the biceps tendon can rupture and cause shoulder pain.

Signs that you should seek treatment include:

  • Shoulder pain that persists beyond a few days
  • Recurring shoulder pain, even if it has a history of settling on its own
  • Inability to carry objects or use the arm
  • Injury that causes deformity of the joint
  • Shoulder pain that occurs at night or while resting
  • Inability to raise the arm
  • Swelling or significant bruising around the joint or arm
  • Signs of an infection, including fever, redness, warmth or swelling

Treatment

Treatment of these conditions must be directed at the specific cause of your problem. Special chiropractic techniques may address each of the conditions in a different manner. In some cases it may involve gentle pressure and repositioning of the vertebrae to relieve nerve impingement which will improve mobility, and relieve pain and stiffness. In other cases your chiropractor may recommend other types of treatment for relieving your shoulder pain, such as moist heat, ice packs, massage/active release, traction, or stretching and strengthening exercises. Your chiropractor can discuss these with you.

Our Office

During your visit to our office, the doctor of chiropractic will perform a detailed consultation and examination to locate the source of your pain. This will involve a series of questions about your current condition, followed by physical and neurological exams. In the physical exam, your doctor will observe your posture, range of motion, and physical condition, noting movement that causes pain. The doctor will feel your spine and shoulder, note its alignment, and feel for muscle spasm. During the neurological exam, the doctor may test your reflexes, muscle strength and sensory testing. If warranted, the Doctor may take x-rays and/or computerized muscle tests. Once all of the information is collected to develop a specific diagnosis, a report of findings will be delivered to you. The report of findings will discuss what is wrong, is it treatable and how long will it take to resolve.  If you qualify for conservative chiropractic care, recommendations for the appropriate adjustments and therapies will be provided and treatment will begin that day.

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Scoliosis Correction

Scoliosis is a lateral curvature of the spine that measures 10 degrees or more. An idiopathic scoliosis is that of unknown cause and is accompanied by vertebral rotation and rib-cage deformity, and usually becomes progressively apparent as the spine grows during childhood. Examination and X-rays are typically needed to assess for scoliosis and determining the degree of curvature in the spine. Medical treatment for scoliosis involves supervision of curvatures from 0-20 degrees with no intervention. Usually bracing for 20-40 degrees of curvature and surgery for curvatures between 40-50 degrees and more.

There are several components that are usually lacking in nearly all forms of traditional scoliosis treatment today: the effect of the head and neck in determining spinal pathology, gait, stance, and overall posture. The head controls all components of the spine below it, just like how the engine controls the direction a car is driving. Without proper communication from the brain to the rest of the body how can things function properly? Scoliosis patients usually have ‘Forward Head Posture’ as seen on x ray, accompanied by dysfunctional spinal segments of the atlas and occiput, the back of the head and the first cervical vertebra. This is rarely considered in standard scoliosis therapy. The spine is rarely addressed as a whole unit, rather segmental areas of dysfunction.

The second key ingredient in comprehensive scoliosis care, is correction of the commonly found, but rarely addressed hip rotation. While it may appear on x ray that one hip is higher than the other, and doctors routinely tell patients this, the reality is that the pelvis frequently rotates in scoliosis causing it to ‘appear’ higher on one side. This rotation, the bottom region of the same spine must also be properly corrected to be able to make any permanent scoliosis correction. In our office we address the whole spine during our evaluation, and at times assess areas that may not be in pain to determine the full bio-mechanical application.

Chiropractic can at times prevent or at least significantly slow the progression of idiopathic scoliosis with conservative methods. The philosophy of Chiropractic involves immediate intervention and more ideally, preventative screenings for children. Instead of just observing progression, manage the condition immediately regardless of how mild the curvature may be. It is always easier to intervene sooner than later. Utilizing spinal adjustments, traction and exercises, scoliosis can either be gradually reversed, fully corrected or at a minimal, alleviate pain associated with the curvature.

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Sciatica

Doctors of Chiropractic regularly treat Sciatica. Sciatica is characterized by pain that originates in the low back or buttock that travels into one or both legs. Sciatic nerve pain varies in intensity and frequency. Pain is described as dull, achy, sharp, toothache-like, pins and needles or similar to electric shocks. Other symptoms associated with sciatica include burning, numbness and tingling sensations. Sciatica is also called radiating or referred pain, neuropathy, or neuralgia. A misconception is that sciatica is a disorder—however, sciatica is really a symptom of a disorder. It is important to correct the root cause of the condition as soon as possible before it becomes chronic or leads to other nerve deficits.

Sciatica Is Caused by Nerve Compression

Sciatica is generally caused by nerve compression in the low back. Disorders known to cause sciatic nerve pain include lumbar spine subluxations (misaligned vertebrae), herniated or bulging discs (slipped discs), pregnancy and childbirth, and non-spinal disorders. Sciatic nerve compression may result in the loss of feeling (sensory loss), loss of bowel and bladder function, and loss of strength (motor deficit).

Proper Diagnosis of Sciatica Is Essential

Since there are many disorders that cause sciatica, the chiropractor’s first step is to determine what is causing the patient’s sciatica. Forming a diagnosis involves a thoughtful review the patient’s medical history, and a physical and neurological examination. Diagnostic testing may include an x-ray, MRI, CT scan and/or electrodiagnostic tests (nerve conduction velocity, electromyography). These examinations and tests help to determine the most appropirate treatment plan.

Treatment of Sciatica

The purpose of chiropractic treatment is to help the body’s potential to heal itself. It is based on the scientific principle that restricted spinal movement leads to pain and reduced function and performance. Chiropractic care is non-invasive (non-surgical) and drug-free. The type of chiropractic therapy provided depends on the cause of the patient’s sciatica.

A sciatica treatment plan may include several different treatments such as ice/cold therapies, electric muscle stimulation, massage, and spinal adjustments (sometimes called spinal manipulation). Below is more detail on chiropractic treatment:

  • Adjustments (Spinal Manipulation) At the core of chiropractic care are spinal adjustments. Adjustments free restricted movement of the spine and helps to restore misaligned vertebral bodies to their proper position in the spinal column. Spinal adjustment helps to reduce nerve irritability responsible for causing inflammation, muscle spasm, pain, and other symptoms related to sciatica. Although treatment equipment and technique can vary per case, spinal adjustments are not painful and have been proven safe and effective. For Sciatica patients we typically utilize very conservative non forceful treatments such as disc distraction, drop technique and others.

Most importantly Chiropractic treatment is designed to get to the root cause of the Sciatica versus masking the symptom with medication. Many sufferers of sciatica have experienced dramatic relief of their pain after Chiropractic care. In most cases resolution is relatively quick in a care plan.

Research

In 2007, a study was conducted on 44 workers hospitalized with sciatic pain in Norway. Each were adjusted by the hospital chiropractor and 91% returned to full-time work within an average of 21.1 days – a reduction on the average 72 days it takes for sciatica patients to return to work.

Our Office

During your visit to our office, the doctor of chiropractic will perform a detailed consultation and examination to locate the source of your pain. This will involve a series of questions about your current condition, followed by physical and neurological exams. In the physical exam, your doctor will observe your posture, range of motion, and physical condition, noting movement that causes pain. The doctor will feel your spine, note its curvature and alignment, and feel for muscle spasm. A check of your lower extremities may also be in order. During the neurological exam, the doctor may test your reflexes, muscle strength and sensory testing. If warranted, the Doctor may take x-rays and/or computerized muscle tests. Once all of the information is collected to develop a specific diagnosis, a report of findings will be delivered to you. The report of findings will discuss what is wrong, is it treatable and how long will it take to resolve.  If you qualify for conservative chiropractic care, recommendations for the appropriate adjustments and therapies will be provided and treatment will begin that day.

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Pinched Nerve

The primary control center of the human body is the nervous system, which flows through and can be manipulated by the 24 vertebrae of the spinal column. The vertebrae are divided into three classes – Cervical (C), Thoracic (T), and Lumbar (L). By understanding the role that each vertebrae within the spinal column plays, a doctor of Chiropractic, can affect the way the body responds and restore a balance that facilitates its own healing system.  Nerves extend from your brain and spinal cord, sending vital messages throughout your body. If you have a pinched nerve your body may sometimes send you warning signals such as pain, numbness, tinging and more. Do NOT ignore these warning signals.

Nerve impingement is similar to obstruction of flow within a water hose. The green part of the garden hose is the fine outer membrane of the nerve fiber. The inside of the hose transports the nerve messages like water, from your central nervous system to their destination within your body. If your nerve is being ‘pinched’, just like a water hose, the nerve flow up and down the inside of the hose is reduced or blocked, meaning your nerves messages are being disrupted. Eventually, the nerve starts to lose its healthy ability to transmit the correct messages and the nerve fiber may eventually die. When enough fibers stop working, not only can you feel pain but other symptoms may also develop.

Damage from a pinched nerve may be minor or severe. It may cause temporary or long-lasting problems. The earlier you get a diagnosis and treatment for nerve compression, the more quickly you’ll find relief. In most cases, chiropractic care can help.  In some cases, you can’t reverse the damage from a pinched nerve. But treatment can usually still relieve pain and other symptoms. Chiropractic specifically looks for the source of the impingement and via means of restoring normal alignment and various therapies, alleviates the compression on the nerve. As the nerve regenerates and the electric impulses flow through the nerve more robustly, the closer to an ideal state of health and homeostasis a person achieves.

Causes of Pinched Nerves

A pinched nerve occurs when there is “compression” (pressure) on a nerve. The pressure may be the result of repetitive motions, trauma or it may happen from holding your body in one position for long periods, such as sleeping awkwardly or sitting for prolonged periods of time.

Nerve compression often occurs when there are subluxations (misalignment’s in the spine), bulging discs or swelling around the joint.  Other sources of nerve entrapment may include ligament thickening, scar tissue/post surgical adhesions, arthritic bone spurs, stenosis (narrowing of spinal canals) and tendinopathy (tendon disorders).

Inflammation or pressure on a nerve root exiting the spine may cause neck pain, low back pain or radiculopathy. Radiculopathy means the nerve can refer pain and dysfunction to the arms and legs. This can lead to pain in the shoulders, elbows, hands, wrist and fingers if there is a pinched nerve in the neck. There can also be pain in the hips, groin, knees, ankles and toes if there is a pinched nerve in the low back.

Symptoms of Pinched Nerves

With nerve compression, sometimes pain may be your only symptom. Or you may have other symptoms without pain. These are some of the more common symptoms of compressed nerves:

  • Pain in the area of compression, such as the neck or low back
  • Radiating pain, such as sciatica or radicular pain
  • Numbness or tingling
  • “Pins and needles” or a burning sensation
  • Weakness, especially with certain activities

Too often during treatment for arm and leg pain the root source of the condition is overlooked, which is nerve impingement in the spine. Sometimes symptoms worsen when you try certain movements, such as turning your head, pivoting at the waist or straining. Since pain is not always involved, the only way to determine the presence of a pinched nerve is an examination. Chiropractor’s specialize in detecting and correcting misalignment’s that cause pinched nerves.

Our Office

During your visit to our office, the doctor of chiropractic will perform a detailed consultation and examination to locate the source of your pain. This will involve a series of questions about your current condition, followed by physical and neurological exams. In the physical exam, your doctor will observe your posture, range of motion, and physical condition, noting movement that causes pain. The doctor will feel your spine, note its curvature and alignment, and feel for muscle spasm. A check of your lower extremities may also be in order. During the neurological exam, the doctor may test your reflexes, muscle strength and sensory testing. If warranted, the Doctor may take x-rays and/or computerized muscle tests. Once all of the information is collected to develop a specific diagnosis, a report of findings will be delivered to you. The report of findings will discuss what is wrong, is it treatable and how long will it take to resolve.  If you qualify for conservative chiropractic care, recommendations for the appropriate adjustments and therapies will be provided and treatment will begin that day.

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Neck Pain

Your neck, also called the cervical spine, begins at the base of the skull and contains seven small vertebrae. Incredibly, the cervical spine supports the full weight of your head, which is on average about 12 pounds. While the cervical spine can move your head in nearly every direction, this flexibility makes the neck very susceptible to pain and injury.

The neck’s susceptibility to injury is due in part to biomechanics. Activities and events that affect cervical biomechanics include extended sitting, repetitive movement, accidents, falls and blows to the body or head, normal aging, and everyday wear and tear. Neck pain can be very bothersome, and it can have a variety of causes. Poor posture, obesity, and weak abdominal muscles often disrupt spinal balance, causing the neck to bend forward to compensate. Stress and emotional tension can cause muscles to tighten and contract, resulting in pain and stiffness. Postural stress or a history of traumas can contribute to chronic neck pain with symptoms extending into the upper back and the arms.

Here are some of the most typical causes of neck pain:

Injury and Accidents: A sudden forced movement of the head or neck in any direction and the resulting “rebound” in the opposite direction is known as whiplash. The sudden “whipping” motion injures the surrounding and supporting tissues of the neck and head. Muscles react by tightening and contracting, creating muscle fatigue, which can result in pain and stiffness. Severe whiplash can also be associated with injury to the intervertebral joints, discs, ligaments, muscles, and nerve roots. Car accidents are the most common cause of whiplash.

Growing Older: Degenerative disorders such as osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis, and degenerative disc disease directly affect the spine.

  • Osteoarthritis, a common joint disorder, causes progressive deterioration of cartilage. The body reacts by forming bone spurs that affect joint motion.
  • Spinal stenosis causes the small nerve passageways in the vertebrae to narrow, compressing and trapping nerve roots. Stenosis may cause neck, shoulder, and arm pain, as well as numbness, when these nerves are unable to function normally.
  • Degenerative disc disease can cause reduction in the elasticity and height of intervertebral discs. Over time, a disc may bulge or herniate, causing tingling, numbness, and pain that runs into the arm.

Daily Life: Poor posture, obesity, and weak abdominal muscles often disrupt spinal balance, causing the neck to bend forward to compensate. Stress and emotional tension can cause muscles to tighten and contract, resulting in pain and stiffness. Postural stress can contribute to chronic neck pain with symptoms extending into the upper back and the arms.

Safety

There have been multiple studies regarding the safety of Chiropractic which have been shown to have minimal side effects, such as mild soreness.  In contrast to the vast side effects of medications and surgery, Chiropractic is extremely safe.  It is not only extremely effective in the treatment of neck pain, but one of the most cost effective options, with the least amount of risk.  It should be the primary starting point in the evaluation of neck pain.

Patient Satisfaction

Overall, the patient assessment post care is a great measure in itself regarding the efficacy of Chiropractic Care for neck pain.  Observational studies have consistently found that low back pain patients receiving chiropractic care, which typically includes (but is not restricted to) spinal adjustments, are more satisfied than those receiving medical care (Cherkin, 1989; Carey, 1995; Kane, 1974).  Ultimately, Chiropractic care leaves large numbers of patients pleased with their results.

Research Supporting Chiropractic Care

One of the most recent reviews of scientific literature found evidence that patients with chronic neck pain enrolled in clinical trials reported significant improvement following chiropractic spinal manipulation. As part of the literature review, published in the March/April 2007 issue of the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, the researchers reviewed nine previously published trials and found “high-quality evidence” that patients with chronic neck pain showed significant pain-level improvements following spinal manipulation. No trial group was reported as having remained unchanged, and all groups showed positive changes up to 12 weeks post-treatment.

Our Office

During your visit to our office, the doctor of chiropractic will perform a detailed consultation and examination to locate the source of your pain. This will involve a series of questions about your current condition, followed by physical and neurological exams. In the physical exam, your doctor will observe your posture, range of motion, and physical condition, noting movement that causes pain. The doctor will feel your spine, note its curvature and alignment, and feel for muscle spasm. A check of your upper extremity may also be in order. During the neurological exam, the doctor may test your reflexes, muscle strength and sensory testing. If warranted the Doctor may order x-rays and computerized muscle tests. Once all of the information is collected to develop a specific diagnosis, a report of findings will be delivered to you. If you qualify for conservative chiropractic care, recommendations for the appropriate adjustments and therapies will be provided.

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Muscle Aches, Sprains and Strains

Sprains and strains are usually minor injuries that are often caused by sports, exercise, or other physical activity.

A sprain is an injury to a ligament, the tissue that links bones together at joints. Sprains happen most often in the ankle, knee, elbow, or wrist.

Strains are tears in muscle tissue. They happen most often in the muscles that support the calf, thigh, groin, and shoulder.

Sometimes sprains and strains can be severe, needing weeks of rehabilitation.

Signs and Symptoms

Strains:

  • Muscle stiffness, tenderness, or soreness
  • Swelling

Sprains:

  • Pain at the time of injury
  • Swelling
  • Bruising

The joint may be unstable or you may not be able to use the affected part of your body if the injury is serious, involving a muscle or ligament tear.

Causes

Sprains generally happen when a twisting force is applied to a joint while it is bearing weight, which causes the ligament to stretch beyond its usual limit. Sprains tend to happen with sudden, unexpected movement, like a fall or a twist.

Muscle strains happen when the weight on a muscle is greater than the weakest part of the muscle can bear. Strains tend to happen during activities that require your muscle to stretch and bear weight at the same time. Being injured before or having limited flexibility may contribute to sprains. You are at risk for a sprain or strain if you do the following:

  • Exercise without warming up properly
  • Use athletic equipment that does not fit properly
  • Participate in sports and activities that you are not conditioned for
  • Exercise when bones and muscles are fatigued

Chiropractic

Many people visit chiropractors for sprain and strain injuries. In addition to joint manipulation, chiropractors use other treatments for sprains and strains, such as using ice and heat, manual therapies or electrical muscle stimulation. Chiropractors may also recommend stretching and strengthening exercises to help you recover.

In a study of people with ankle sprains, researchers compared chiropractic joint manipulation with an anti-inflammatory medication. They found that joint manipulation worked as well as the anti-inflammatory medication in improving pain and flexibility. It worked better than the medication in improving range of motion. Yet, unlike anti-inflammatory medication, Chiropractic has no side effects, and no risk of damaging your liver and stomach.

In some mild cases home rest, ice, compression and elevation may work, however in our office our goal is to restore normal mechanics to the joint even after the soft tissue has healed. This may include joint mobilization/adjustments, physiotherapy modalities, massage, exercise and nutritional supplements. Our treatment plans are designed to help patients reach optimal function.

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Migraines

Introduction

Migraines are extremely painful, recurring headaches that are sometimes accompanied by other symptoms such as visual disturbances — seeing an aura — or nausea. There are two types of migraine — migraine with aura, formerly called common migraines, and migraine without aura, formerly called classic migraines.

If you have a migraine with aura, you may see things such as stars or zigzag lines or have a temporary blind spot about 30 minutes before the headache starts. Even if you don’t experience an aura, you may have other warning signs in the period before the headaches starts, such as a craving for sweets, thirst, sleepiness, or depression.

Signs and Symptoms

The headache from a migraine, with or without aura, has the following characteristics:

  • Throbbing, pounding, or pulsating pain
  • Often begins on one side of your head and may spread to both or stay on one side
  • Most intense pain is often concentrated around the sides of the forehead
  • Can last from 4 – 72 hours

These symptoms may happen at the same time or before the headache:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness, or even vertigo (feeling like the room is spinning)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Visual disturbances, like seeing flashing lights or zigzag lines, temporary blind spots, or blurred vision
  • Parts of your body may feel numb, weak, or tingly
  • Light, noise, and movement — especially bending over — make your head hurt worse; you want to lie down in a dark, quiet room
  • Irritability

Symptoms that may linger even after the headache is gone:

  • Feeling mentally dull, like your thinking is not clear or sharp
  • Sleepiness
  • Neck pain

Triggers

Migraine triggers can include the following:

  • Alcohol, especially beer and red wine
  • Certain foods, such as aged cheeses, chocolate, nuts, peanut butter, some fruits (like avocado, banana, and citrus), foods with monosodium glutamate (MSG), onions, dairy products, meats containing nitrates (bacon, hot dogs, salami, cured meats) fermented or pickled foods
  • Skipping meals
  • Crying
  • Fluctuations in hormones — for example, during pregnancy, before and during your period, and menopause
  • Certain odors, such as perfume or smoke
  • Bright lights
  • Loud noises
  • Stress, physical or emotional — often, the headache happens when a person is relaxing after a particularly stressful time
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Caffeine
  • Smoking or exposure to tobacco smoke
  • Some medications
  • Heat, high humidity, and high altitude

Treatment

Chiropractic care or spinal manipulation therapy has been a proven method for individuals seeking an alternative for migraine treatment. Research has shown that in the case of tension and migraine headaches, manipulative therapy can be as effective, if not more effective, as preventative medications in helping to keep off the onset of migraines. Once a migraine has begun, chiropractic therapy, a natural treatment method, can also greatly reduce the painful symptoms if care is given in a timely manner.

Research has shown that most migraines originate in the spine, often because of misalignment of the vertebra which can then irritate the nerves that travel the length of the spine to the brain. This misalignment makes individuals more prone to chemical imbalances in the brain. Some studies have shown that manipulating the vertebrae—a chiropractor’s specialty—relieves the pressure against inflamed nerves and can in turn relieve the headaches, this is certainly true for the hundreds of migraine sufferers who swear by their chiropractor’s treatment of their own personal migraines. Chiropractic treatment also deals with many of the causative factors in regards to migraines such as relieving the restriction in movement in the neck, muscle tension in the neck, as well as muscle tension in the upper back and shoulders which when it is not corrected can lead to posture problems that may influence migraine occurrences and severity. If correctly used as a form of preventative migraine treatment, periodic chiropractor adjustments (or spinal manipulations) can keep the spine and cervical bones aligned more properly in order to help avoid the onset of migraines in the first place. Studies have even shown that individuals who receive normal and periodic adjustments can actually begin to feel when their spine and cervical bones begin to get out of line and can know when a simple visit to the chiropractor’s office is needed so that they can schedule for an adjustment and can ward off the onset of the migraine and the symptoms that are associated with an attack. Other therapies and nutritional supplements may also assist with the management of migraines.

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