Minor neck aches and pains are something we all suffer from time to time. They are usually bought about by awkward posture or overwork and usually settle down after a good night’s sleep. Sometimes, however, recurring neck aches, pain and stiffness lasts for more than twenty-four hours. Persistent pain is a sign of something going wrong and nerve irritation are likely possibilities.
Repeated episodes of cervical spine, (neck), symptoms should have professional evaluation. The cervical spine is made up of the upper seven vertebrae of the spinal column and articulates to the occiput, (base of the skull). The upper portion of the spinal cord and eight pairs of spinal nerves are protected by the cervical vertebrae.
Causes of Neck Strain
- Bad Posture
- Over Work
- Muscular Weakness
- Nervous and Emotional Tension
- Underlying Disease such as arthritis
- Accidents such as falls and motor vehicle “whiplash” accidents
Acute Neck Conditions
Acute neck conditions may be the result of any of the above and may include joint irritation, inflammation and nerve irritation, which may cause muscle spasm.
An acute neck can become a cycle of muscle spasm, joint irritation, more inflammation, joint stiffness and more pain. This cycle of pain and irritation limits our activities to prevent further injury. It is important in the treatment to break this cycle to prevent progressing to chronic longer lasting symptoms.
Chiropractic treatment, along with massage therapy and sometimes anti-inflammatory medication can help with the acute neck conditions.
Whiplash refers to the hyperextension or hyperflexion injury to the cervical spine or neck region. This is caused and seen in motor vehicle accidents or severe falls where there is rapid forward or backward movement of the head.
Many injuries of this nature are not immediately felt by the person. Symptoms may be felt several hours, weeks or even years following the incident. Often from 12 to 24 hours after the accident a person may realise something is wrong. Muscles and ligaments are often associated with a whiplash injury and the healing time of whiplash can vary. Ligament and muscle damage and the trauma to the cervical spine can lead to derangements of the neck region.
It is important to seek an examination by a doctor who is trained to examine the spine and related structures early to enhance the healing time. Some examples of reaction from an injury of this nature are headaches, neck stiffness, shoulder, neck and arm pain and neuralgia, and, sometimes visual disturbances.
There are a number of different types of headaches. Headaches may be caused by cervical spine dysfunction. These are known as cervicogenic headaches. Pain will often be at the base of the skull and refer to the frontal region of the head. Neck problems can also exacerbate tension headaches and temporal pain.
Lower Back Pain
Many people suffer from lower back pain at some stage of their life. As with the neck the pain and discomfort may subside after removing the aggravating activity and rest. Other times, however, the problem may recur and become persistent.
Causes of lower back pain may include bad posture, strains, injuries with incorrect posture, underlying disease such as arthritis falls and accidents.
The discs within the spine are basically cartilage pads which separate and cushion the 24 vertebrae. They provide a cushioning effect and flexibility for your spine. It is these discs that allow you to bend and move your neck and back. Without the discs your spine would be a mass of bone. Spinal discs make up about one fourth the length of your spine.
Disc injury in the lower back can occur simultaneously with minor displacements of the spine. The most common occurrence is through sudden forceful movements of the spine such as falls, lifting, twisting or auto accidents. Spinal displacements or misalignments allow the disc to bulge, protrude, herniate, or impinge upon nerves. In the lower back sciatic pain is a common example of the possible irritation which can result from a degenerative or herniated disc.
Sciatica is commonly seen by chiropractors. It is usually characterised by constant pain on one side of the buttock and leg. The pain is made worse with sitting and is of a burning or tingling nature in the leg. Pain is worse and becomes sharp when a person stands up after sitting. Symptoms will be based on the location of the pinched nerve.
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SPORTS INJURIES & UPPER & LOWER LIMBS
At Pilbara Chiropractic Centre we can assist with arm and leg joint problems of the Shoulder, Elbow, Wrist, Hip, Knee, Ankle & Foot.
Just like the neck and lower back causes of joint problems may include falls and accidents, poor posture or strains with certain activities, muscular weakness or underlying conditions such as arthritis.
Any sport can cause excessive twists and knocks, but with the right approach and some ongoing care you should recover and be able to prevent injuries from reoccurring.
At Pilbara Chiropractic Centre we focus on helping you achieve a full recovery and assist you in returning to your sport, as well as the injury not recurring.
Pregnancy is a period of rapid change in an expectant mother’s life. There is increased stress placed on the mother’s spine and pelvis during this time, as the baby develops. Sometimes the pregnancy can be dominated by pain and discomfort, particularly lower back pain, as well as, middle back pain.
Much of the pain is due to changes in posture as the abdomen increases in size and weight. A mother may compensate by arching or leaning backwards. This change of posture changes the centre of gravity and puts increased pressure on the pelvis and lumbar region, causing pain.
Chiropractic care can help a mother accommodate to these changes, helping reduce the effects of pelvic dysfunction, achieving enjoyment and comfort for both her and the baby. Chiropractors utilise many different techniques to adjust patients, including pregnant mothers and babies. We specialize in gentle techniques and finding the best technique to suit the mother.
Just like pregnancy, the post-natal time can cause some discomfort. The lower back and pelvis have changed and there are the added posture changes of carrying your newborn and with feeding, bending and some lifting. Chiropractic care at this time is just as important at this time.
Years of bodily use and abuse may not show their effect until life becomes more sedentary. Wear and tear causes damage and stiffness to the joints, muscles and ligaments resulting in pain, poor function and interference to the nervous system. If your nerves are not working well your body will not either. Chiropractors work with improving joint and muscle function to maintain nerve pathways. Body parts not properly supplied by the nervous system become susceptible to pain, illness and injury.
Faulty mechanics may include joint misalignment, muscle imbalance and tightness, and, poor posture. Poor functioning joints may not tolerate physical loads and stress, increasing the likelihood of arthritis.
Regular chiropractic care attempts to improve movement and balance of the muscles and joints. No one is ever too old for chiropractic care. Even when there is severe arthritis gentle chiropractic methods can assist in maintaining flexibility and mobility.
Some important aspects to overall health are:
- Regular chiropractic care
- Maintain an ideal weight
- Regular exercise
- A good diet and rest