Professional Treatment Options To Alleviate Neck Pain

Millions of individuals suffer from some type of neck pain at one time or another. Whether the result of an acute injury or a chronic condition, there is no doubt that this situation can be extremely frustrating. Neck pain decreases mobility, impacts sleeping habits, causes headaches, and may even radiate to the arms and shoulders. This is why knowing how to treat this type of pain is critical. However, it is also important to appreciate the different types of neck pain as well as some of the most common symptoms. We can then examine your treatment options in greater detail.

The Different Categories of Neck Pain and Common Symptoms

This pain can be broken down into four conditions:

  • Axial pain
  • Whiplash-associated disorder
  • Cervical radiculopathy
  • Cervical myelopathy

Axial pain is associated with the muscles in the rear of the neck and discomfort normally occurs when looking from side to side. Whiplash-associated disorder is the result of acute trauma (such as a car accident). This condition is caused by damage to soft tissues as well as the supporting ligaments. If not treated properly, it can become a chronic issue. Cervical radiculopathy is caused by pressure upon one of more cervical nerves; resulting in pain that may radiate to the arms, chest and jaw. Cervical myelopathy is a compression of the spinal cord; primarily as a result of age. Stiffness or weakness in the extremities is a common symptom.

Now that we have taken a look at the four types of neck pain, let’s quickly list a handful of symptoms that could require professional intervention. Common issues include:

  • Headaches
  • Soreness in the shoulders
  • Jaw pain
  • The sensation of “pins in needles” in your extremities
  • Numbness in one or both hands
  • Sleep apnoea (sometimes associated with chronic neck pain)

So, how can a chiropractor help?

Choosing a Professional Neck Pain Chiropractor

There are several treatments which a professional chiropractor may recommend. Of course, these will be based off an initial assessment and after determining the root cause of the pain. Some effective techniques can include (but are by no means limited to):

  • Chiropractic adjustments
  • Cryotherapy
  • Postural advice
  • Supportive exercises to strengthen the affected muscles
  • Targeted stretches to loosen the affected area

Some home-based options to discuss with your doctor may also include the intermittent use of ice packs, avoiding sleeping on your stomach and viewing a computer screen at eye level in order to place the neck in a more natural position.

Remember to seek a professional to provide relief from neck pain. This is why you should contact Neuroworks in order to obtain an accurate diagnosis and begin down the road to recovery.

What Should I Avoid If I Have Sciatica?

If you’ve ever suffered with sciatica before, you’ll know all too clearly, just how painful and debilitating the condition can be. The good news is that when it comes to sciatica treatment, you have plenty of options. One of which is of course to contact a chiropractic clinic to discuss your options. As far as sciatica is concerned, though, prevention is the best cure, which is why, rather than looking at sciatica treatment options today, we’re instead looking at things to avoid exacerbating the condition.

First off, what is sciatica?

Before we look at what you should avoid if you are plagued with sciatica, we’re first going to ensure that you’re clear with what sciatica actually is. Sciatica is not actually one individual ailment at all. Instead, it is a term which is used to describe a selection of different symptoms of pain, which include feelings of numbness, tingly, and weakness, which tends to radiate from the buttocks, hips, and lower back, down one leg via the sciatic nerve. Sciatica may be caused from several things ranging from wear and tear, to childbirth.

Things to avoid if you have sciatica

Whereas there are plenty of sciatica treatment options available, one of the best ways of preventing/managing your pain and the condition in general, is knowing what to avoid. Here are a few examples of things to avoid if you’re plagued with the condition:

Hamstring stretches – Before exercising, it is essential that you stretch and warm up your muscles. Fail to do so, and you run the risk of injury. One very common stretch before exercising is the hamstring stretch. For sciatica sufferers, this is one of the worst movements to perform. Whether leaning forwards, or stood upright, this particular stretch has been known to put pressure onto the entire sciatic nerve, resulting in a great deal of pain and discomfort.

Bent over rows – If you lift weights, one of the best exercises for the back is the bent over row. If you suffer with sciatica, though, this is an exercise you must avoid. Bent over rows can put a lot of pressure onto your sciatic nerve and lower back. Plus, there’s also the temptation to cheat to row the weight. Poor form and posture, along with heavy weights can be disastrous for sciatica sufferers.

Twisting movements – Any sport or exercise that requires you to bend and twist your torso could put you at a much greater risk of exacerbating your sciatica and making it worse. Try to avoid playing sports or doing exercises and activities which require you to twist your body. Again, this is because it could put pressure on the nerve, which would result in elevated levels of pain and discomfort.

Sitting – Okay, just to be clear, we aren’t telling you to never sit down again if you suffer with sciatica. What we are saying is that, as far as effective sciatica treatment options go, prolonged sitting is not beneficial. When you suffer with back/leg pain, the temptation is always to sit down as resting an injury is generally the done thing. However, here, one of the most effective sciatica treatment options is to avoid sitting and to try and get some gentle walking in. Sitting, and exercises and sports that require you to sit for long periods of time, are generally not beneficial when it comes to sciatica.

At Neuroworks Chiropractic help you with treatment for sciatica. We will start with a thorough case history and then a full orthopedic and neurological examination. After this we will give talk through the precise cause of your sciatica and your treatment options to the fastest resolution of your symptoms.

Should you have any signs of compressional nerve damage we will recommend an MRI which can be done at very competitive prices within a few days. In 20% of cases we find a neuro-surgical opinion is warranted and a direct referral can be made to trusted surgeons that we work with regularly.

At Neuroworks we see many cases of sciatica, please call us on 020 8566 3757.

Vertigo, Dizziness and Chiropractic Care

Vertigo, Dizziness and Chiropractic Care

Vertigo is a symptom that presents in chiropractic patients, particularly after neck or head trauma. Dizziness and vertigo can be an extremely disabling complaint. It’s a sense of spinning or dizziness, sometimes associated with symptoms like sweating, vomiting and nausea.

Cause of Vertigo

Vertigo can have many causes; in most cases, it’s a treatable condition. The treatment that’s used depends on the cause. That’s why when you first visit your chiropractor for treatment they will have to do a thorough examination. In some cases, your chiropractor may have to refer you to a neurologist for additional assessments.

BPPV, also known as Benign Vertigo or sometimes Positional Vertigo, is one of the common causes of dizziness and vertigo.

BPPV or Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo

BPPV is a disorder that causes you to experience brief recurrent periods of vertigo, triggered by particular head movements. The condition can affect people of all ages, although it’s most common in people who are aged 50 years and above.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of vertigo or dizziness, it’s vital that you rule out other causes including trauma, infection, blood pressure changes or a problem within your brain and/or your spinal cord.

BPPV Causes

This inner ear condition usually begins after:

• Use of ototoxic medications (for instance, gentamicin)
• A severe virus or cold
• Minor strokes
• Ageing
• A head injury

In the under 50s, the most common known cause is whiplash and head trauma. In people who are older, the most known common cause of this disorder is degeneration of their inner ear vestibular system, and Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo becomes more common with advancing age. BPPV is called “idiopathic” in 50 per cent of the cases. This means the disorder occurs without any known reason.

BPPV Assessment

Since different BPPV types are often characterised by particular head positions triggering them, the examination of a specific BPPV type normally involves your chiropractor placing you in different positions and then monitoring the cause of your symptoms. At Neuroworks may also schedule a very thorough vestibular assessment including computerised video nystagmography where we place camera goggles on your eyes and run through a variety of head and eye movement tests and air caloric tests where the ear is warmed or cooled. This gives a much more information on your condition and a valuable means of monitoring recovery.

Also, nystagmus or characteristic, uncontrolled eye movements are an indicator. So, your chiropractor will observe these plus other signs and determine the type of Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo you are suffering from. That’s very important because each type of BPPV needs a different treatment method.

BPPV Treatment

If free-floating calcium carbonate crystals within your ear are the cause, a series of repositioning manoeuvres can move them into the back of your ear canal and move these particles within a ‘pocket’ there. Here, they’re less likely to cause any problem triggered by movement. Your chiropractor will then tell you to remain still and upright as you possibly can to ensure the treatment is effective.

In some cases, VRT (Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy) can also be effective; however, if you are a BPPV sufferer who is still experiencing symptoms, you may need a follow-up course of treatment. If you’re suffering from BPPV symptoms, conservative treatment methods that chiropractors offer may bring relief from the symptoms after only one treatment.

Sleeping Positions that can Combat Vertigo

vertigo

It is estimated that more than 40% of those aged 40 or older will experience the symptoms of vertigo at least once in their lifetimes. Characterised by symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, nausea, and abnormal eye movements, sleeping can prove to be a very real challenge. This is because many of the situations mentioned above tend to occur when laying down. We have put together a handful of tips and tricks if you have been looking to enjoy a sound night of sleep while dealing with vertigo.

Pillows and Sleeping Positions

A considerable percentage of vertigo cases result from tiny crystals within the inner ear which have grown to the point where they can affect the nerves related to balance. Unfortunately, this scenario is often exacerbated while in a horizontal position. Therefore, it is a good idea to keep your head slightly elevated during the wee hours. Wedge-shaped pillows and even those intended to be used for travel may be able to provide your head and neck with more support than traditional options.

The second main concern involves what sleeping positions are best if you hope to avoid feeling dizzy and sick. Many experts recommend that you try and sleep on your back, as the crystals within your ear canals are less likely to become disturbed and trigger a vertigo attack. If you happen to get up in the middle of the night, rise slowly as opposed to making any sudden movements with the head or the neck. Sudden jolts or movements can lead to symptoms of vertigo.

Additional Suggestions

Another potentially useful technique that can be performed immediately before falling asleep involves performing a handful of head movements which are intended to redistribute the crystals found within your inner ear. Known as “canalith repositioning manoeuvres“, specific motions such as turning your head from one side to the other while lying on your back have been proven to produce viable results. However, this is also under the assumption that you are suffering from a form of vertigo known as benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BBPV). Assuming that you have been professionally diagnosed with this type of vertigo, the BBPV treatment techniques mentioned above could prove to be very useful.

However, there are many causes of vertigo and dizziness and it is a good idea to consult with our trained specialist in order to best treat your symptoms.

If you are curious to learn more about how chiropractic treatments may be able to help, feel free to contact us at Neuroworks Chiropractic.

The Surprising Presence of Scoliosis in Modern Society

Many individuals are under the misconception that scoliosis is exceedingly rare thanks to the progression of modern medicine. You might be surprised to learn that this is more of a myth than a reality.

What is Scoliosis?

This condition affects the shape of the spine so that its curvature roughly appears like the letter “S”. A ‘cobb’ angle of 10 degrees is what defines the curvature of the spine as scoliosis, however chiropractors frequently see back pain complaints from even smaller degrees of curvature in the spine and it is relatively common. Although it normally presents during late childhood and early adolescence, all ages can be impacted. It is also interesting to note that the causes of this ailment are still not yet fully understood. Still, scientists believe that such a spinal deformation is largely the result of sudden growth spurts.

How Many People are Diagnosed with this Condition?

It is estimated that one out of every 1,000 children within the United Kingdom will be found to have this condition every year. This roughly represents two to three per cent of the entire population. If the population of the United Kingdom is 67 million, this roughly equates to 1.34 million individuals.

Are There Different Types?

The most common form is known as idiopathic (no cause can be attributed to its presence). However, other types can be seen at birth (congenital) or may develop as the result of a neurological issue (neuromuscular). The most important takeaway point here is that the severity of the condition will normally dictate that types of treatment options are available, however chiropractic treatment can be an effective treatment for the majority of scoliosis cases. We should also make it a point to mention that there is currently no known cure for this disease. However, several steps can be taken to minimise its impact upon daily life.

What Treatment Options are Available?

One of the main issues associated with this condition is that it can cause a substantial amount of pain. During acute episodes, it has been suggested that chiropractic intervention can provide significant relief. The majority of cases seen by Neuroworks Chiropractic have shown improvement through spinal manipulation, exercise and postural changes. In actual fact, most degrees of scoliosis severity and discomfort can actually be treated through chiropractic care with manipulation exercise and postural correction.

Other alternatives include back braces (useful in children and adolescents) and in very rare situations, corrective surgery. Still, let us not fail to mention that everyone will respond differently to such treatments. Therefore it is important to keep an open mind in order to determine which options produce the most beneficial results.

What is the Long-Term Prognosis?

This will depend upon the individual in question as well as any additional underlying health factors that may come into play. Although this condition might not gain as much publicity as other medical conditions, the fact of the matter is that it impacts the lives of millions. Therefore early diagnosis and intervention are essential. To discuss how chiropractic treatment can assist with scoliosis, please contact Neuroworks on 020 8566 3757.

A Closer Look at Neck Pain: Causes and Treatment Options

neck pain

Neck pain is a common ailment and it can be very debilitating if not treated properly. From minor pain to chronic discomfort that interrupts your daily life, it is important to appreciate the causes of neck pain before understanding your treatment options. This will enable you to make an informed decision so that life can return to normal within a relatively short period of time.

Some of the Most Common Causes of Neck Pain

The majority of instances involving neck pain are the result of simple overuse. If the muscles become too fatigued or should they be stretched in an incorrect manner, the buildup of tension can lead to chronic pain. The severity of discomfort will depend upon the type of strain.

Remaining in the wrong position for extended periods of time can likewise cause the muscles within the neck and shoulders to become stressed. Examples include sleeping in an awkward manner or staring down for significant amounts of time when using a mobile phone. Bad posture such as slouching is another contributing factor to chronic neck pain.

Neck pain can also be caused by a sudden and acute traumatic incident. Suffering from a fall or incurring an injury while playing sports are two common situations which might require short-term medical intervention. Some other circumstances that have been known to cause neck pain include:

  • Whiplash
  • Advanced arthritis
  • Meningitis (medical attention should be sought immediately if this illness is suspected)


Of course, it is always wise to seek the advice of a professional, experienced and trained chiropractor in order to determine the exact cause.

Neck Pain Treatment Options

The good news is that there are a host of treatment options available. Early intervention can help to alleviate many of the symptoms mentioned above. There are also several recommendations which can be performed at home. For example, applying ice immediately after a strain can help to reduce any superficial swelling. This may also be used interchangeably with heat, as a hot compress will relieve tense muscle groups within the neck.

Stretching is another important practice to adopt. This should be performed slowly and with very little pressure. Simply roll the head back to forth and side to side. Over time, your levels of flexibility should increase. Always stop if the pain becomes worse.

Other habits such as practising yoga or specific breathing techniques can provide long-term results while offering a degree of flexibility that will help to prevent future strains.

Seeking Professional Help

While there are times when neck strains resolve themselves with little intervention, other situations might mean that a professional is required. Are you curious to learn more about your neck pain treatment options? If so, please contact Neuroworks to find out how chiropractic treatment can help neck pain.

Degenerative Disc Disease

Everybody’s spine gradually changes over time, with the discs in your back adapting to the way your body grows or develops as you get older. However, for some people these natural changes can lead to pain, which is known as degenerative disc disease. The discs in the spine replicate the effect of shock absorbers as they lie between the vertebrae, stopping bones from knocking against each other which would cause extreme pain, and helping you to stay flexible while allowing for you to bend and twist as well. Unfortunately, as you age, these discs begin to suffer the effects of general wear and tear, breaking down and not functioning as efficiently as they did previously. While everybody’s discs degenerate over time, not everybody experiences pain. But, if this does cause you to feel pain, you may be suffering from degenerative disc disease.

Degenerative disc disease is associated with either a constant or sharp pain felt through your back and in your neck. The exact symptoms that you suffer with will be dependent on the location of the weak disc and any further side effects that the degeneration has already caused, but there are some common symptoms too, found in most sufferers. These can include pain that is felt intermittently, ranging from nagging to severe and lasting from a number of days up to months at a time. The pain is often present in the lower back, buttocks, or the upper thighs, and gets more severe when you bend, lift, twist or sit, with the pain being alleviated when you actually walk. In some more extreme cases, degenerative disc disease can affect the nerves near your spine, causing a loss of feeling in the arms and legs and even muscle weakness in the legs. Despite this, at Neuroworks we can come up with a back pain treatment programme that will help to relieve you from the symptoms that you present.

To diagnose and treat degenerative disc disease, Neuroworks will discuss your history and the current symptoms that you are experiencing to assess the initial cause of your problems. Our examinations will help to analyse and identify the root location of the problem, and following our assessment we will work with you to help reduce the painful inflammation and increase the spinal motion that you have available.

Spinal manipulation and mobilisation or adjustment can also help to treat the symptoms, and other types of therapy including muscle release, laser, electrotherapy, acupuncture, exercise and lifestyle advice. (ultrasound can be used to reduce muscle spasms, stiffness and pain in the affected area by gently heating the area to increase circulation). More importantly than all of this however, We will develop a back pain treatment programme to help with the cause, not just the symptoms that you are dealing with at the moment. By doing this, we are able to provide you with a long term solution, not just a stop gap to get you through until degenerative disc disease causes further problems in the future. Reach out to our team today, call 020 8566 3757.

Ways to Treat Sciatica Pain

sciatica

Sciatica is pain that radiates along the sciatic nerve – it often starts in the lower back and shoots down through the hips and buttock and down one leg. The pain sometimes goes past the knees and into your feet. Typically, the pain only affects one side of the body.

Causes of Sciatica

Sciatica is caused by compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve. It commonly occurs when a bone spur on the spine, herniated disk or spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spaces within your spine) compresses part of the nerve.

Below are conditions that cause sciatica:

• Herniated or slipped disc – this is the most common cause of sciatica. It occurs when the gel-like centre of a disc ruptures near the spinal nerve, causing pressure on the nerve or irritation.

• Piriformis syndrome – sciatica can develop when the piriformis muscle becomes tight or spasms, which can exert pressure and irritate the sciatic nerve.

• Spondylolisthesis – this is a condition in which one vertebra slips at the base of the spine. The slippage can result in pressure on the sciatic nerve. The pain can develop due to the effects of aging such as when the nerves are being compressed by osteoarthritis and fractures due to osteoporosis.

Sciatica can also be caused by irritation of the nerve from adjacent bone infections in or around the lumbar spine, internal bleeding, tumours, traumatic accidents or injuries, and osteophyte among others. Sometimes sciatica can develop due to irritation of the sciatic nerve during pregnancy.

Symptoms of Sciatica

The main symptom of sciatica is pain. You may experience a deep, shooting pain that starts from the lower back, through the buttock, down the thigh and the back of either leg.

Other symptoms of sciatica include:
• Numbness in the affected leg
• Tingling or burning sensation in the buttocks or legs
• Loss of bowel or bladder function

Sciatica Treatment

1. Hot and cold compression packs – these are effective in reducing pain. Apply each on the painful area for several minutes, a few times a day. Be sure to alternate between the two.

2. Medication – over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs help reduce pain and stiffness. If the pain persists after using over-the-counter options, consult your doctor.

3. Chiropractic care – spinal manipulation, typically performed by a chiropractor, is used to treat restrictions in spinal mobility. The aim is to improve the alignment of the spine, as a result, reduce pain and improve function. Spinal adjustment is as effective as standard treatments for sciatica as it addresses the underlying cause of the nerve pain such as spinal stenosis or herniated discs. Speak to the team at Neuroworks Chiropractic to discuss your treatment options.

4. Surgery – surgery may be considered when the symptoms are severe, chronic or progressive even after conservative treatment options have been tried.

Tips to Manage Chronic Back Pain at Work

chronic back pain

Chronic back pain can be a debilitating condition that affects the spinal region due to many reasons such as repeated poor posture, sports injuries or physical accidents. Chronic back pain can persist for months or even years without proper, ongoing treatment. The condition is commonly seen in the workplace these days due to poor posture and ergonomics that strain the back, causing discomfort. Besides the medical implications of this condition, chronic back pain at the workplace can also significantly lower your productivity and this creates the need for proper long term management.

Symptoms of Chronic Back Pain

There are several signs and symptoms that may indicate you have a chronic back pain condition and they include:

• Prolonged pain that radiates down towards the legs.
• Sharp pains that are experienced during bending, standing or even walking.
• Constant aching of the muscles.
• Prolonged numbness of the buttocks.
• Occasional stabbing pains experienced at the back region.

Causes of chronic back pain

Chronic back pain results from a number of factors which can either be medical, physiological or environmental, the following factors are commonly seen with chronic back pain at the workplace:

• Sleeping on a worn-out mattress – More often than not, sleeping on a worn-out mattress that does not adequately support your back may result in the back pains that you might be experiencing. 
• Adopting poor posture – Consistently having poor posture at the workplace may result in chronic back pain. Common postures that are known to result in back pains include sitting for long periods, straining when working at your desk and over-stretching.
• Lifting heavy items may also cause straining of the spine and this, in turn, may cause back pains. Avoid lifting heavy objects off the ground on your own.

Managing Chronic Back Pain

There are several means of managing chronic back pain at the workplace and they include:

• Have limits and respect them – You should always ensure that after working you have enough time to rest and stretch. Give your back some time to rest periodically if you are working for longer hours.
• Make sleep a priority – Having adequate sleep is paramount in promoting your well-being. Ensure that you have adequate sleep which will reduce pain and boost your mood and energy. Also, ensure that you sleep on a firm mattress that will give your back enough support. 
• Have regular breaks – You should take regular breaks at your place of work. Create time for short walks and stretches, which will help you cope with the pain
• Create a conducive work environment – You need to seek a proper working environment which will ensure that you are comfortable. Some measures that can be taken include, having the right height for your work table and also having a chair that can be adjusted or an ergonomic office chair that will support your back and give you the right sitting posture when working.

Don’t put up with chronic back pain, take control and speak to the experienced team of chiropractors at Neuroworks who can help diagnose, treat and manage your chronic back pain. They will be able to put together a treatment plan tailored to your individual needs.

Top 10 Questions About Whiplash

whiplash

Whiplash, also called neck strain or neck sprain, is an injury to the neck caused by an unexpected back and forth movement of the neck. In this type of injury, cervical muscles, the soft tissues of the neck (discs and ligaments), intervertebral joints and nerve roots may become damaged. 

Here, we answer some of the top 10 questions about whiplash. 

Q1. What causes whiplash?
The most common cause of whiplash is car accidents. However, you can also get a whiplash from a sports injury, a fall, being punched or shaken violently by the shoulders.

Q2. What are the symptoms of whiplash?
Symptoms of whiplash usually develop within 24 hours of the initial trauma and may include neck pain, headaches, aching in the shoulders or between the shoulder blades, muscle spasms, pain, tenderness or numbness in the arm, shoulder or upper back and dizziness or feeling light-headed. Some people may experience irritability, sleep disturbances, memory problems, and tinnitus.

Q3. How do I know if I have whiplash?
The primary way to diagnose whiplash is by physical examination since an injury to soft tissues cannot be seen on standard X-rays. The physician may require specialized imaging tests such as MRI and CT to diagnose damaged muscles, ligaments and discs that may be causing the symptoms of whiplash.

Q4. When should I see a physician?
See your physician if you have neck pain or any of the symptoms listed above after a car accident, assault, sports injury or other traumatic injuries. Getting a prompt and accurate diagnosis will help rule out the possibility of damaged tissues or broken bones that can cause or worsen the symptoms.

Q5. How long does it take to get better?
Everyone’s recovery is different. Most people get better after a few days or weeks while others recover after several months.

Q6. Who is most likely to get whiplash?
Research shows that people with flexible necks and who are not very muscular are more prone to have neck sprains and strains. This group of people includes women, young people, elderly people with neck arthritis and people with a history of neck pain.

Q7. How is whiplash treated?
Your doctor will develop a treatment plan depending on the severity of your injury. The physician may recommend one or more of the following treatments: rest, heat or cold treatment, over-the-counter pain medication or chiropractic care.

Q8. What about other therapies?
Massage, chiropractic adjustments and ultrasound can be used to ease pain, shift bones into the correct alignment and strengthen your neck muscles. Speak to the team at Neuroworks Chiropractic to find out how they can relieve your symptoms of whiplash.

Q9. What does “take it easy” mean when talking about my neck sprain/strain?
It means avoiding strenuous activities, exercises, stretches or any activity that involves jerky or sudden stressful movements. It does not in any way mean going to bed and lying around the whole day. Too much rest causes weakness in muscles and soft-tissues, especially around injured tissues.

Q10. Will I need surgery? 
Neck sprains and strains are easy to treat and do not require surgery. However, if your chiropractor finds any surgical indications at any stage an appropriate referral for surgical assessment can be facilitated.