Neck and Shoulder Pain
Our neck supports the weight and movement of our heads. Our heads weigh from 10-14 pounds, and with the amount of driving, computer work and other daily activities such as bending, repetitive lifting and manual work we do, it is not surprising that our necks become painful.
Many muscles that run into our shoulders and upper back originate from the neck, so often upper back and shoulder complaints are associated with neck pain. The tension in these muscles often generates headaches.
The spinal nerves that exit from the neck are responsible for supplying sensation into the arms. If these nerves are irritated by stiffness and lack of movement from the spinal joints in the neck and upper back, arm symptoms may occur, such as pins and needles, aching and shooting sensations (this is also known as “referred pain”).
Your BCA Chiropractor will take a thorough case history about your discomfort and carry out a full examination (which may include an X-ray) to assess the cause of your symptoms. An appropriate treatment plan will then be explained to you, and aspects of your lifestyle and suitable home exercises will also be a part of your recovery plan.
Neck Injuries/whiplash Associated Disorders
Neck injuries are often associated with road traffic accidents, but can also be as a result of a sudden movement that may occur from a slip or fall. The joints of the neck are designed to glide smoothly over each other, but a neck injury forces them together, damaging the surrounding area, which includes nerves, muscles, ligaments and discs. Neck injuries can result in a variety of symptoms such as neck and shoulder pain, low back pain, dizziness, light headedness, headaches, arm pain, fatigue and poor concentration.
Your Chiropractor will carry out a full examination (which may include X-ray) and take a thorough history including the circumstances of the trauma and advise a suitable treatment plan for you. Treatment for these types of injuries emphasises the restoration of normal movement to the area and subsequently decreasing pain. Exercises are important in these cases to help encourage increased stability and flexibility to the spine and surrounding muscles.
Many people suffer with headaches occasionally, but others find that they experience persistent headaches, that occur frequently and cause intense pain and irritation.
Headaches associated with neck Injury
Chiropractic may also be effective in the treatment of headaches that are a result of injury or repetitive strain on your neck.
This is a severe type of headache, often accompanied by other symptoms such as dizziness, intolerance to bright light, nausea and visual disturbances. Your Chiropractor can help to assess problems with your spine- especially the neck and upper back, which may be contributing to migraine symptoms.
Your Chiropractic assessment will take a thorough case history to find out in detail about the type of headaches you are experiencing. It may be refreshing to know that your treatment will involve restoring proper function to your spine and muscles to help you, rather than any headache pills, that you may well be taking!
Low Back Pain
A survey carried out by the BCA in 2004, found that at any one time in the UK, a third of the population are suffering with back pain and up to 80% of the adult population will suffer significant back pain at some time in their life. Would you believe that 36% of people with low back pain have had pain for more than 10 years, and another 12% “for as long as they can remember”?
Daily activities such as bending, lifting, twisting can lead to low back pain. Other triggering factors such as a fall, car accident or sports injury may also result in low back symptoms.
Poor posture may also lead to low back pain, long periods spent sitting at a computer, driving for hours, and watching TV are all culprits which often trigger low back complaints.
Your Chiropractor will take a full case history and be able to examine you to determine the nature of your complaint, and carry out the appropriate treatment and give you advice on lifestyle, exercise and posture to help manage your condition. In some cases an X-ray may be necessary to aid the diagnosis and appropriate treatment approach for some low back complaints.
Musculoskeletal effects of Pregnancy
Pregnancy can cause uncomfortable effects, including changes in posture due to weight gain that cause pain in the back, buttocks, groin and legs. Postural changes may also influence the ligaments and muscles attached to the pelvis and in turn the positioning of the uterus and birth canal. Chiropractic care during pregnancy is not only effective at treating discomfort, but can also help to promote pelvic stability and ease soft tissue tension around the pelvis and spine. Sacro Occipital Technique, is often used during pregnancy to achieve this as an effective but gentle method.
Chiropractors have recently campaigned for more awareness concerning school children carrying heavy bags to school, which are often putting a large amount of stress on their young spines and resulting in back pain. Chiropractors visited schools earlier this year to weigh children’s school bags to urge them to lighten their loads! Some children are also less active now, and spend long periods sitting at computers, and at desks and on chairs which are unsuitable.
Whether you are an amateur sports enthusiast or professional, your body is prone to the same kinds of injuries. Repeated stresses can lead to a slight loss of proper movement in the bones of your spine (vertebrae) and joints, which in turn can interfere with the healthy working of your muscles and nerves. Your skeleton is a whole unit, and problems with the pelvis can often affect the knee and in turn affect the ankle. A similar “knock on effect” can be demonstrated by neck problems leading to shoulder, elbow then wrist problems. This is known as a “kinematic chain”. Injuries can become chronic when they are ignored and left untreated.
Examples of common sporting injuries include:
- Hamstring and calf strains
- Achilles tendon injuries
- Tennis elbow
- Shoulder pain
- Low back and neck pain
- Knee problems
Your Chiropractic consultation will help to establish the primary cause of your sports injury. Treatment aims to restore normal function to your joints and muscles as well as your nervous system, which aims to increase your control, co-ordination and muscle strength.
Wear and Tear
Degeneration of the joints in the body begins without you knowing, and happens to us all. The general wear and tear of a lifetime results in the joints laying down extra bone in an attempt to support the damaged area. In general, our bodies compensate for this and we feel little or no pain, but the slight loss of proper movement in a worn joint may cause nerve irritation and inflammation, which can be very painful.
Other terms for wear and tear such as "arthritis" and "spondylitis" you may recognise. This process can occur in any joint of the body, including the spinal vertebral joints. There are some types of arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis, that can also involve periods of inflammation and destruction of the joints causing severe pain. Although Chiropractors cannot treat the cause of this type of arthritis, they may be able to help relieve the disability that results from it once the inflammatory phase is over.
Chiropractic care may help to improve and restore a degree of function and mobility to those joints that have become restricted and painful as a result of wear and tear. A detailed case history and examination will be carried out to assess your pain (this may include an X-ray to help establish the extent of degeneration) prior to your treatment. Home exercises are also an integral part of your care to help maintain mobility achieved by your treatment.
Servicing Your Spine
Why do you get your car serviced regularly, even when it’s running well? To make sure that it continues running well! Once your Chiropractor has eased your aches and pains, it is important that the correct function of your spine is maintained, to keep it in good working order. Your Chiropractor will help you to recognise when it is time for a check-up, and will arrange an appointment in advance so that this opportunity is not missed!