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.

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.

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.

How Chiropractic Care Can Help People with Sciatica

SciaticaSciatica is a condition that is characterised by pain going down your leg from your lower back. The pain may go down your back, outside, or even the front of your leg. Onset is usually sudden following activities such as heavy lifting, although gradual onset may occur as well.

Symptoms of Sciatica

• A shooting pain that often makes standing up difficult
• A constant pain in one side of your rear
• Numbness, weakness, or difficulty moving your leg or foot
• Tingling or burning running down your leg
• Pain in your rear or leg or that worsens when sitting

Usually, sciatica affects just one side of your lower body. Most of the time, the pain travels from your lower back through the back of your thigh and then down through your leg. Also, the pain may reach your toes or foot. For some people, the pain might be irritating and infrequent, but it can worsen.

What Triggers Sciatica?

About 90 percent of the time the condition is as a result of a spinal disc herniation that presses on one of your sacral or lumbar nerve roots. Other common causes include the following:

• Compression by the head of a baby during pregnancy, which can add severe strain on your spine
• Spondylolisthesis – The displacement or slipping of one vertebra when compared to another
• Degenerative disc disease (DDD) affecting the discs cushioning the vertebrae.
• Spinal stenosis – An abnormal narrowing of your neural foramen or spinal canal that leads to pressure on your nerve roots or spinal cord

Additional irritants: sleeping on a mattress that’s too soft, high heels, not exercising regularly or excess weight. Sciatic nerve compression may lead to insomnia, paralysis of a group of muscles or a single limb.

Diagnosis of Sciatica Is Important

A chiropractor examines you and reviews your medical history to determine the cause of your sciatica pain. Chiropractic care is typically based on the theory that restricted spinal movement results in reduced function and increased pain. Chiropractic care can aid your body to heal itself with non-surgical (non-invasive), drug-free treatment.

What Are the Sciatica Treatments That Chiropractors Use?

Interferential and Laser – These therapies help reduce pain, stiffness, swelling, cramping as well as muscle spasm and increase circulation.

Ice/Cold Therapy – It reduces inflammation plus helps control sciatic pain.

Spinal Manipulations (Spinal Adjustments) – Spinal adjustments and manipulation frees your spine’s restricted movement and helps in restoring misaligned vertebral bodies back to their proper place in your spine. The techniques of adjustments vary from a quick high-velocity thrust to the ones that combine gentle pressure and minimal force. Mastery of each of these techniques is an art that needs precision and great skill. Spinal manipulation is basically the treatment that separates chiropractic care from the other medical disciplines.

If you are looking for an Ealing chiropractor, you can visit Neuroworks Chiropractic Clinic; where all our chiropractors have expert training and a keen interest in neurology.

At Neuroworks the chiropractors have a special interest in neurology and nerve compressions and can refer for MRI scanning within days if required. We work with spinal orthopaedic and neurosurgeons and should the portion of the sciatic nerve be overly compressed and risk long term weakness in the leg a timely referral will be recommended.