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Chiropractic common conditions

low back pain     migraine     sciatica     neck pain     shoulder pain     headaches     hip pain     hand numbness     pregnancy pain     sports performance

Chiropractic for low back pain

If you are suffering from severe lower back pain, then know that a chiropractic approach is a welcome alternative to relieve your pain by protecting the health of your spine. Research shows that Chiropractic provides sufferers with the ability to return to their daily activities quicker with a full range of motion.

Our chiropractors have the ability to diagnose and treat most conditions, including severe symptoms of lower back pain.

Concerning lower back pain, a study in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapies found that patients suffering from severe back pain showed better results with chiropractic manipulation than other forms of treatment.

The study also mentioned patients were still seeing results from the chiropractic treatments up to 12 months later. This suggests patients with chronic lower back pain who underwent chiropractic treatments did have significant short-term and long-term results.

If you suffer from low back pain consider seeing one of our Chiropractors.

 

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Chiropractic for Migraine

In a classical migraine, symptoms are always on one side of the head and throbbing in nature often associated with light sensitivity. The migraine sufferer can also experience zig-zag lines or circles, or blurring of vision. In some cases vomiting may occur although this is not always the case.

If vomiting is a new feature of the migraine attacks,  an MRI is strongly recommended as screening for more serious conditions should be considered, especially if the vomiting is projectile in nature.

Migraine headaches are usually defined in 3 groups depending on where the throbbing pain is predominantly focused.

 

What kind of migraine do you have?

Types of headaches

1. Classical Migraine Headache starts at the temple and spreads to involve that whole side of the head lasting from 30 minutes to several hours.

2. Occipital-Orbital Migraine Headache starts at the back of the head running to the side of the temple ending deep behind the eye. This can be on one or both sides of the head.

The migraine starts gradually but the intensity soon skyrockets, often ending with a hospital visit because the migraine is often described as “bursting” in nature. This migraine can last several days and it is believed to be linked to neck muscle and nerve problems.

3. Orbital Migraine. This type of migraine is often described as red hot needle jabbing the back of the eye and any sudden movement or light provokes the pain. It is suspected to be vascular in nature (blood vessels in spasm) and in some medical fields it has been suggested the contraception pill may contribute to this type of migraine although further research is required before it is conclusive. This type of migraine is commonly seen in young women.

The migraine can be on both sides and is often described as “sinus headaches” or “migrainous neuralgia” that can last over a period of weeks with episodes of exacerbations.

Other Variations

1. Childhood Migraine. This type of migraine occurs in childhood and is often referred to as an”abdominal migraine”, as kids under 10 years of age rarely suffer head migraines. The attacks can cause pallor, nausea, vomiting with occasional complaints of blurred vision that last 20 minutes with complete recovery.

2. Cluster Headaches seen almost exclusively in middle age men precipitated by alcohol occurring late at night and lasting for up to 2 hours.The pain is excruciating and located in the eye causing the eye to become blood shot and teary. The nose is often congested and nasal discharge is also seen. The attacks can occur in a series, lasting for up to 3 months hence the term “cluster”.

Cluster headaches respond extremely well to ergotamines (dihydroergotamine) nasal spray, but be wary of side effect, as it is not a good long term solution but definitely helpful in the short term. Read the pharmaceutical information sheet for full details. Should these attacks persist longer than a year further investigation should be undertaken to exclude the possibility of an aneurysm. Ergotamines do not work as well with other forms of migraines.

3. Exertion Migraines occurs after physical exertion including sexual intercourse. Further test should be done to exclude small bleeding of the sub-arachnoid if this migraine persists.

4. Migraine with Vertigo. In these cases the vertigo is often worse than the migraine.

 

What Provokes Migraines?

 

1. Stress and poor posturing that stresses the back of the neck muscles and nerves, can cause migraines.

2.  Bright lights. Reduce intensity of lights in your work place without compromising safety. Wear good quality sunglasses when driving in bright sunshine.

3. Blood vessel spasms due to emotional tension or in some cases medications.

4. Physical exertion increasing pressure in the blood vessels.

5. Over sleeping as it is often noted that migraines are more common on weekends when people tend to rest in bed for longer periods.

6. The contraceptive pill. If this is the culprit, a noticeable change occurs after 2 weeks of not taking the pill. The pill has been linked to dangerous vascular accidents such as a stroke episode ( read the manufacturer’s information sheet and warnings), so careful consideration should be made when taking the pill.

Management of Headaches

 

1. Sleep often ends a migraine attack, so it’s the best first option.

2. Chiropractic care. If the origin of migraines is from tension or from the neck muscles or neck nerves, Chiropractic should be considered as it could help.

3. Analgesics  may assist or give little to no relief. Should analgesics work, relief should be noticed within 30 minutes. Relief any time after 30 minutes could simply be due to the Migraine running its course and ending on its own accord.

4. Opiates should never be used due to poor results, provoking vomiting and their serious addictive potential. There are a selection of anti-migraine medications that GPs can prescribe once the full nature of the migraine is understood correctly. Details of drug side-effects should always be considered and the cost-benefit ratio placed in the correct perspective.

 

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Chiropractic & Sciatica

What is Sciatica

The term Sciatica is not a diagnosis but rather a medical word used to describe that there is pain in the back of the leg travelling towards the toes. There are over 20 reasons why a person can develop sciatica and the skill of the Chiropractor is to find which of these reasons are contributing to the “sciatica” presentation.

Sometimes there are more than one reason which can complicate things however it is when this is not considered that the patient will suffer longer unnecessarily. The most famous cause of sciatica is a “slipped disc” also known as a prolapsed or bulging disc but it may surprise you to know that it is NOT the most common cause and it’s a good thing because a lot of sciatica cases can be helped with a Chiropractic approach.

Sciatica symptoms

Suffering numbness or weakness in the legs and feet, experiencing a pins and needles type feeling or shooting burning pain can be torturous symptoms and leave people not only physically exhausted but also emotionally wrecked especially if there is no family support. In cases where this condition has been present for many months or years the strain to  family and working life takes it’s toll as people eventually lose patience.

Sciatica affects all parts of life everything from walking to getting out of a chair. Simple movement we take for granted becomes a mammoth painful task and life comes to a sudden halt as you simply can’t move comfortably without suffering.

Some people we see have been told “you just have to live with it”. For some this may not be the case so call the clinic and get yourself assessed.

 

High success rate with treatment

Sciatica is something we treat regularly with a high success rate. We have been looking after these types of problems for over 23 years so there is little we haven’t seen or worked on. Not every single case will respond to conservative Chiropractic care as sometimes the damage is so great, surgery may be the only option. Before you travel down this road come in and see us for an opinion .

Gentle techniques

Using gentle techniques, pressure that has built on the sciatic nerve can be released. If pressure continues to traumatised the nerve, damage can be irreversible long term. Any condition that interferes with the nerves ability to transmit messages from the brain to the muscles, skin, joints or organs can impact on health.

The most common one we see with sciatica is stomach bloating and constipation.

 

Numerous scientific studies have proven Chiropractic effectiveness in helping nerve conditions.

 

“Manipulation [chiropractic adjustments], with or without exercise, improved symptoms compared to other treatment after 3 & 12 months of treatment” -British Medical Journal

“Patients showed 86% resolution of nerve pain after 9 chiropractic treatments” -Journal of Chiropractic medicine 2008

The Health Care Policy and Research guidelines of the United States do state that the safest way to relieve the discomfort of sciatica is through chiropractic care.

 

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Neck Pain and Chiropractic

A person’s head is heavy and balanced on a narrow support (the neck) made up of seven bones called vertebrae. The vertebrae are separated from each other by discs, stabilised by joints and ligaments and moved by muscles. Because the neck is so mobile, it is easily damaged. 
Many people suffering from neck pain have muscle tightness. This tightness may be due to injury or poor posture. Specific stretching exercises can be very useful in reducing the pain and discomfort, and may eliminate the pain altogether.

Injury and postural problems are the most common causes of neck pain. Diseases such as arthritis or degeneration of the discs can also cause pain. 

Some other causes of neck pain include: 

  • trauma or injury
  • worry and stress
  • falling asleep in an awkward position
  • prolonged use of a computer keyboard


Most episodes of acute neck pain are due to a muscle strain or other soft tissue sprain (ligaments, tendons). This type of injury can be caused by a sudden force (such as from a car accident), or from straining the neck (such as a stiff neck from sleeping in the wrong position, or a strain from carrying a heavy suitcase). 

Most minor injuries to the ligaments, tendons and muscles in the neck usually heal with time because, these soft tissues have a good blood supply to bring the necessary nutrients and proteins for healing to take place. Chiropractic adjustments can help alleviate and shorten the time frame of the painful condition while it is healing.

Chiropractic offers a unique approach to a wide range of cervical problems. Chiropractors do not 'twist' the neck or perform painful manoeuvres. Chiropractic adjustments are a precise and gentle therapy with the aim of returning motion to restricted spinal joints and to improving the overall mechanics of the spine.
 

Whiplash

Whiplash is a term used to describe a soft tissue injury to the neck, which occurs when the head has been forced into a sudden forward and backward movement. The most common cause of whiplash is a motor vehicle accident, but it can also be the result of a sporting injury or other trauma such as a fall. 

Even at low speeds, the amount of force generated by such an accident is very strong and can cause trauma to the ligaments, muscles, facet joints, discs and the spinal nerves. Besides neck pain and immobility, symptoms such as headaches, nausea, vertigo, arm and shoulder pain, tingling in the hands and fingers and weakness of the arm and hand are associated with whiplash injury.

When these additional symptoms are present it is called Whiplash –Associated –Disorder (WAD). The symptoms of WAD my come on immediately or be delayed by days or weeks. WAD injury is graded 1-4.

0= No Pain or other symptoms
1= Minor pain, but no evidence of physical injury.
2= Signs of physical injury such as trouble turning neck
3=Neurological signs such as loss of reflexes or arm weakness
4= Neck fracture or dislocation.

It is very important to get immediate evaluation to rule out the possibility of fracture (WAD 4) requires urgent medical attention. However in most cases (WAD 0- 3), the injuries are usually to the soft tissues and joints. Proper management is essential to recover from the pain and symptoms of whiplash and to prevent future disability, which can develop years after if treatment is not sort. Chiropractors are educated to understand whiplash injury and manage the case from beginning to end.

 

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Shoulder Pain, Rotator Cuff and Impingements

The complexity of the shoulder joint allows it to perform many different movements and activities. Anatomically, the shoulder involves three different bones - the scapula, the clavicle, and the humerus - many connecting ligaments, and approximately 20 different muscles. The shoulder allows the greatest range of motion of any joint in the body. This is due to the four tendons which stabilise the upper arm bone in the shoulder socket. This great range of motion, however, tends to make us susceptible to shoulder pain.

As with other joints, shoulder problems can be caused by:

  • Trauma such as a fall
  • Sports injuries and overuse in sports such as swimming, tennis and golf
  • Mechanical dysfunction due to imbalances in the muscles
  • Wear and tear of the tissues surrounding the joint.
  • Poor posture, people who sit a lot in a slouched position or with the shoulders held forward are at risk of developing shoulder problems


Arthritic changes can occur in the shoulder joint though not as commonly as the weight bearing joints of the spine, hips and knees. 

Problems in the shoulder often originate in the cervical spine as the nerves from this region innervate all of the muscles and other tissues of the shoulder, arm and hand. If these nerves are irritated, the shoulder muscles can become tight or weak causing dysfunction in the normal mechanics of the joint, especially in the rotator cuff. 



Shoulder sprains, strains and dislocations are very common.  Symptoms of shoulder pain include aching on the side and upper arm, or aching in the top and front of the shoulder. Two of the most common shoulder injuries are Rotator Cuff Syndrome and“Frozen shoulder”.
 

Rotator Cuff Syndrome

The rotator cuff is a confluence of tendons in the shoulder that insert into the outer aspect of the upper arm. They allow the muscles to raise and lower the arm, and rotate in and out.
Regardless of the reasons for pain (see above), if the imbalances and irritation to the shoulder are not corrected, pain and limitation of normal motion will eventually develop. The severity can vary from a slight catching or pain to an almost complete inability to use the shoulder. This painful condition is often called Shoulder Impingement or Rotator Cuff Syndrome and can afflict individuals of all ages. Pain can be aggravated by overhead use, and daily activities such as twisting a screwdriver, opening a bottle top or pulling a cork. If the rotator cuff is torn, the problem is more serious, however the symptoms are similar for the impingement syndrome. While serious cases may require surgery or cortisone, most cases can be effectively managed by the chiropractors at Latrobe Terrace Chiropractic.
 

Frozen Shoulder (Adhesive Capsulitis)

“Frozen Shoulder” is often a debilitating condition which occurs when the ligaments and tendons of the glenohumeral joint get so irritated that adhesions develop making the joint almost stuck together. This results in an extreme limitation of shoulder motion and pain that makes it difficult for some individuals to even get dressed. Left alone frozen shoulder can take several years to resolve and therefore needs attention by a professional such as a chiropractor. 
There are many other disorders of the shoulder such as bursitis and tendonitis although those mentioned above are more common. 

The treatment of most conditions of the shoulder is basically the same. The aim is tocorrect muscle imbalances with soft tissue massage, soft tissue release (trigger point, active release technique), joint mobilisation, ice-pack treatment, and strengthening exercises, restore proper mobility to the shoulder joints and of course correct any subluxations in the spine. Special rehabilitation exercises advised by your chiropractor are also helpful in order for a full & fast recovery.

 

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Headache and chiropractic

It is estimated that between 75-90% of the population experience one or more headaches every year.  Most of these will be benign and but mildly annoying, however, some will be debilitating and have a significant impact on well being. Because headaches are so common, most people think that getting a headache is a normal part of life. This is simply not true. Headaches are a sign that something is wrong. While taking a pill may relieve symptoms, they will not correct the underlying cause.  

Chiropractic is a simple, non-intrusive, and most importantly a long-lasting form of headache relief that can benefits all members of the family. Chiropractors are well trained to recognise the “Red Flags” of more serious problems and refer appropriately.

Common headache causes include:
 

Tension Type Headache

About 38%1 of the headaches are tension headaches.  Whilst they share considerable overlap with migraine, they are distinguished by the role the cervical spine and the scalp, neck and upper shoulder soft tissues. 

You may experience a tight vice like feeling in the head as well as soreness in the shoulder or neck regions. This may include ‘trigger points’¹ in overused muscles that refer pain into the head region. Persistent Headaches may be accompanied by depression, anxiety and sleep disturbance. Visual OR hearing sensitivity may also occur but less intense than in migraines. Imbalances in the neck muscles may also be found and most people tend to have neck problems.
 

Migraine

Only 10%² of headaches occur as a result of migraines. Contrary to previous belief, migraines are not caused by alterations in blood flow to the head. This in fact is just one effect of an inability out of control autonomic nervous system. A combination of possible theories have been proposed which cause migraine to occur in the many varieties encountered. Various ‘triggers’ which do not affect the general population, create a gradual breakdown in the sufferers ability to innately stabilize their own nervous system, and a ‘run away train’ results creating the eventual headache. Some triggers include stress, lack of sleep or over sleeping, missing a meal, diet, certain medications, caffeine, alcohol, hormonal and weather changes. Migraines have a definite genetic link and are noted as a disease process. Management includes 1. Understanding what are your triggers. 2. Becoming aware of the sometimes subtle ‘prodromal’ impending signs. 3. Taking action as early as possible to minimise or prevent the headache.  This can includes specific chiropractic adjustments, and many other practical strategies which have been shown to be very effective. 

Symptoms include one sided or bilateral head pain of a throbbing or pulsing nature, which impairs daily life and worsens with exertion.  At least one symptom of Nausea and vomiting and or light and sound sensitivity. Those who get an ‘aura’ within 30- 60 minutes prior to the headache may experience various visual and or, speech disturbances, plus sensory disturbances, such as numbness or parasthesia around the mouth or face. 
 

Cervicogenic Headache

Only about 4%² of headaches have a direct link to cervical spine dysfunction. A history of neck trauma can usually be found within a short time of headaches commencing. The majority of headaches arise from structures innervated through the upper cervical spinal nerves. (Including discs, facet joints) Typically the pain is of a dull and achy nature to the neck and head. Movement of the neck can aggravate or relieve the pain.
 

Cluster Headache

These are characterised by clusters of short lived attacks of severe pain, usually around the eye and more common in men. These can occur daily over a period of several weeks and due to the short duration of each episode (15-180 minutes), analgesics offer not much assistance.  The pain can be one sided around the eye region or temples, facial sweating, teariness, runny nose, swollen or drooping eyelids can occur and can start in seconds.  Research suggests that cluster headaches may be related to the sinuses, the nervous system, or biochemical disturbances.  
 

Sinus Headache

Headache causes, types and treatments can get confusing. Migraine is often misdiagnosed as sinus headache, for example. A sinus headache from sinusitis happens when you get an infection and your sinuses become inflamed. You usually have other symptoms such as congestion, fever and fatigue
 
Other headache causes and treatments
There are many more reasons why you may have a headache, such as high blood pressure, infections, allergies, alcohol and drugs to name a few. 
 

How does chiropractic help?

Chiropractic care works directly on the site of pain to restore the normal functioning of the spine. Chiropractors look for areas of muscles tension or weakness in the neck and head as sites of headache causes. This may include tight muscles in the base of the neck, at the base of the skull, or in the jaw. Using simple massage and adjustments, Chiropractic can provide headache relief for good, without expensive or dangerous techniques.

Chiropractic for headaches works by releasing the areas of tension around the head and neck, and re-training the spine to prevent further headaches. Removing the causes of spinal stress addresses both the muscle and nerve tension and the resulting headaches. Advice on posture, ergonomics and sleeping positions may be beneficial to headache sufferers. 


References:
(1) Fernández-de-las-Peñas et al. Myofascial trigger points and sensitization: an updated pain model for tension-type headache. Cephalalgia, 2007, 27, 383–393
(2)  Hall T, Briffa K, Hopper D. Clinical evaluation of cervicogenic headache: a clinical   perspective. The Journal of Manual & Manipulative Therapy. 2008:16 (2) 73-80

Additional References:

  • The Clinical Training and Communication Program, Module 3 Headache & The autonomic Nervous System. A. Nicolson and M. Long (Version 2.1,2010) Chiropractic Development International, Wahroonga NSW.
  • Nilsson N, Christensen HW, Hartvigsen J. The effect of spinal manipulation in the treatment of cervicogenic headache. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1997; 20(5):326-30.
  • Boline PD; Kassak K; Bronfort G; Nelson C; Anderson AV. Spinal manipulation vs. amitriptyline for the treatment of chronic tension-type headaches: a randomized clinical trial. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1995; 18(3):148-54.
  • Nelson CF; Bronfort G; Evans R; Boline P; Goldsmith C; Anderson AV. The efficacy of spinal manipulation, amitriptyline and the combination of both therapies for the prophylaxis of migraine headache. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1998; 21(8):511-9
  • A controlled trial of manipulation for migraine. Aust and New Zealand Journal of Medicine 1978;8:589-593. Parker GB, Tupling H, Pryor D.

 

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Chiropractic for hip pain

Hip pain is a common and unpleasant problem. It’s also extremely sneaky; often, hip problems present as groin, thigh, knee or lower back pain. Your painful shoulders after playing golf are probably due to problems with your hips. If you’ve been treating any of these problems and not having any success it might pay to visit a chiropractor and have them check out your hips.

Who gets hip pain?

Hip pain is not just a problem amongst the elderly; it’s also common during pregnancy and plagues new parents carrying babies and small children around on one hip. Young people are also at risk of developing hip pain too. Occupations and study that requires sitting or standing for prolonged periods of time, as well as contact sports, increase the risk of hip problems in younger people.

 

What causes hip pain?

There are many different causes of hip pain, but the number one cause is arthritis, rheumatoid, osteo- or psoriatic. Osteoarthritis, caused by wear and tear in the cartilage of the hip joint, is the primary reason for hip pain in people over 60. Hip pain can also be due to trauma and injury, pinched nerves, tight muscles, weak muscles, ligament problems, being overweight or genetic and congenital problems with the shape, structure and function of the hip joint.

Standard medical treatment of hip pain tends to focus on relieving the pain and inflammation caused by arthritis with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen (e.g. Nurofen) and cortisone injections into the hip. While it’s good to get some relief from chronic pain, unless you also identify and treat the cause, you’re putting yourself at risk of dangerous side effects by taking pain medication to control your hip pain every day.

Play better golf with mobile hips

Your hips are pretty close to your body’s centre of gravity so hip problems can refer and affect just about any joint in your body. Most people with hip pain will also experience knee and lower back pain too, a pretty miserable combination. Not only can hip pain make walking, sitting and standing painful and difficult, it can also affect your golf swing! A visit to the chiropractor for your hips may help to improve your golf far more than a new set of clubs.

How does a chiropractor help with hip pain?

chiropractors can help by identifying the cause of your hip pain using X-rays, assessing your hip joints with their hands and by watching you walk and perform certain movements. They’ll then develop a tailored treatment plan that includes chiropractic adjustments and exercise therapy to help:

• reduce inflammation

• release muscle spasm around the hip joint and any other affected joints

• strengthen weakened muscles

• improve mobility.

Chiropractic treatment of hip pain is non-invasive and can help you to avoid the costs and risks of surgery and long-term medication.

Whether you’re pregnant or retired, if hip pain is ruining your day contact us ask how we can help.

 

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Chiro for hand numbess

Our wrist is made up of 8 small bones (carpal bones).  These bones are held together by ligaments.  In addition to these ligaments, many small muscles, nerves, tendons and blood vessels pass through the wrist to supply your hand. 
The nerves for your arm and wrist leave your spinal cord at your cervical spine (your neck). Compression of the nerves any where along their course can cause pain, tingling, numbness and burning. You can strain or sprain these ligaments or muscles from a sudden movement, improper movement, or through over use. Some common injuries include:

1.    Cervical Radiculopathy and & thoracic outlet Syndrome  
2.    Tendonitis
3.    RSI (repetitive strain injury)
4.    Carpel Tunnel Syndrome
 

1. Cervical Radiculopathy and & thoracic outlet Syndrome

Compression of the nerves as they leave the spine at the neck (Cervical Radiculopathy) or as they leave the chest (thoracic outlet Syndrome) can cause symptoms any where in the arm. Both of these conditions can be confusing to the patient because pain is felt in the shoulder/ arm/wrist/hand but not in the neck. A chiropractor can help reduce associated symptoms by adjustments, soft tissue therapies, active release techniques and neurodynamic techniques with the aim of returning motion to restricted cervical joints thus improving nerve and blood supply to bring the necessary nutrients and proteins for healing to take place.
 

2. Tendonitis

Tendonitis is an over use injury that can occur with over use of any muscle. The tendon is the tissue that attaches the muscle to the bone. Tendons are usually surrounded by a sheath of tissue similar to the lining of the joints (synovium). They're subject to the wear and tear of aging, direct injury and inflammatory diseases. The most common cause of tendinitis is injury or overuse during work or play. 

You have a greater risk of developing tendinitis if you perform excessive repetitive motions. For example, swimmers, tennis players and golfers are susceptible to tendinitis in their shoulders, arms and elbows. Basketball players, runners and dancers are more prone to tendon inflammation in their legs and feet.

You don't have to be a professional athlete to develop tendinitis. The incidence of tendinitis increases with age as muscles and tendons lose some of their elasticity. Improper technique in any sport is one of the primary causes of overload on tissues, including tendons, which can contribute to tendinitis.

Lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow) can cause wrist/ forearm or hand pain.  This type of tendonitis includes the muscles that extend your wrist (bends your wrist back wards).  This causes pain on the outer side of your forearm near your elbow when you rotate your forearm or grip an object.   Working at the computer with your hand bent up toward you is a common cause of this type of tendonitis.  It is often confused with carpal tunnel syndrome. A less common problem is tendonitis of the wrist flexors (muscles that bend wrist forward).  The technical name for this is medial epicondylitis, also known as golfer's elbow.  Golfer's elbow causes pain on the inner side of your forearm near the elbow when you grip objects or flex at the wrist. 



Treatment
The goals of tendinitis treatment are to relieve your pain and reduce inflammation. Treatment may include rest, ice and modification of movements. The chiropractors at Latrobe Terrace Chiropractic can help by providing Strengthening exercises, soft tissue therapies, Active Release techniques and advise on posture and modification of activities. 

3. Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)

Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI), or cumulative trauma disorder (CTD) develops from continuous low level stress on any muscle or joint. It is appears to becoming more common in the wrist and arm from the increased use of computers. 
RSI can be difficult to treat.  It often involves tendonitis of all the wrist muscles, mild carpal tunnel syndrome, as well as problems at the wrist, shoulder and neck. RSI is preventable if it is caught early. If you have aches in your hands that lasts after you stop work and keeps getting worse you should get it checked.  Treatment with soft tissue techniques, active release technique, excercises, neural mobilisations, and manipulations can help prevent it becoming a disabling condition
 
Signs and Symptoms:       

  • Pain, deep ache, numbness or burning of the hand, wrist, arm or shoulder.
  • Limited range of motion of fingers, wrist or shoulder. Check your other wrist to find out what is normal for you.
  • Stiffness or soreness of the muscles at the hand, elbow, or shoulder


Causes 

  • Repeated use of the arm or wrist in an awkward position such as typing, using the phone, operating a machine or playing sports.
  • Postural strain ( improper position when sitting - reaching )
  • Falling and landing on an out stretched arm. This is a common cause of a wrist fracture.
  • Swelling of the wrist. This can compress the median nerve as it passes through the carpal tunnel.
  • Often there is no obvious cause.


Risk Increases With

  • Working at a desk for long periods.
  • Repeated bending the wrist or reaching out with the arm.
  • Participation in sports without proper training. Especially golf, tennis, squash, and baseball.
  • Sharp increase in athletic activity (weekend athlete)
  • Playing musical instruments. Proper training and following a program where you gradually increase the amount of time you play can prevent injury.


How to Prevent

  • Rest your arm in a comfortable position when you are using your arm and wrist (see section on posture )
  • Take frequent breaks at work, or when learning a new sport or instrument, to stretch your arms.
  • Get proper training when taking up a new sport or learning a new instrument.
  • Use proper equipment on the job or with sports.
  • Learn how to sit properly.

 

4. Carpel Tunnel

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is an injury caused by a pinched or irritated mediannerve in the wrist. The injury causes pain and numbness in the index and middle fingers and weakness of the thumb. The carpal tunnel receives its name from the eight bones in the wrist, called carpals, which form a "tunnel" through which the nerve leading to the hand extends.

Signs and symptoms of CTS include:

  • Night time painful tingling in one or both hands, frequently causing sleep disturbance
  • Feeling of uselessness in the fingers
  • A sense that fingers are swollen even though little or no swelling is apparent
  • Daytime tingling in the hands, followed by a decreased ability to squeeze things
  • Loss of strength in the muscle at the base of the thumb, near the palm
  • Pain shooting from the hand up the arm as far as the shoulder


The carpal tunnel is filled with tendons (bundles of collagen fibers that attach muscle to bone) that control finger movement Carpal Tunnel Syndrome stems from prolonged repetitive use of this nerve.

The compression present in carpal tunnel syndrome (or 'pinched nerve') does not always occur at the wrist. A pair of nerve roots emerges from the spinal cord at each vertebral level of the spine and the median nerve is formed by several nerve roots emerging from the lower neck. From there, the median nerve travels down the arm to the wrist and hand and can become entrapped anywhere along its path.

Carpal Tunnel can originate from a number of activities, such as repetitive keyboard typing. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome develops most commonly in people aged 40-60, particularly women. Certain lifestyle factors can also influence Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, such as cigarette smoking and high caffeine and alcohol use. 

Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome such as shooting pain, weakness and tingling may also be the result of subluxations in the neck, nerve entrapment in the elbow or a previous autoimmune injury. Thorough examination by a chiropractor can determine whether your wrist pain is due to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or another musculoskeletal condition. 

There are many helpful Carpal Tunnel Syndrome remedies. Treatment by the Chiropractors at Latrobe Terrace Chiropractic may involve joint manipulation or mobilisation, massage (soft tissue), stretching, trigger point therapy, rehabilitative exercises, acupuncture, Active Release Technique, correction of poor ergonomic working conditions, ice and heat. Studies suggest that acupuncture restores normal nerve function and can provide long-term relief of pain associated with CTS. 

Behaviour modification may be necessary, and advice can be given by your chiropractor as to how to implement changes in your work and daily life. Paying attention to proper ergonomic principles and posture can also help overcome Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
 
Most people's symptoms clear up within a few months with conventional treatment. If left untreated, CTS in advanced stages can become quite serious, involving a loss of sensation, muscle deterioration, and permanent loss of function, in these cases surgery may be necessary.

 

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Chiropractic During Pregnancy

Pregnancy and Birth is a Natural Process, our role with Chiropractic Care is to allow your body to adapt and function as it was designed to and support you during this important time.

As many new mothers can attest, the muscle strains of pregnancy are very real and can be quite uncomfortable. A combination of factors may result in severe discomfort, particularly in the lower back. These include an average weight gain of 10 to 15kgs, increased stress placed on the body by the baby, and the release of hormones that soften the ligaments. More than 50% of women experience back pain during pregnancy, especially in the third trimester. 
 
While back pain is common when pregnant it should not be accepted as part of the process. There is no need to put up with a sore back when pregnant. 

The benefit of regular adjustments may include:

In the mother:
• Help you remain active during pregnancy
• Prepares the pelvis for an easier pregnancy and birth by creating state of balance in the pelvic bony structure, muscles and ligaments.
• 50% of women complain of back pain during pregnancy, chiropractic may markedly reduce much of this allowing the pelvis to function correctly (1).
• Reduces tension on the ligaments that support the uterus reducing intrauterine constraint to the woman’s uterus ( a common factor in breech and malposition of babies)
• Reduces interference to the mother’s nervous system that controls all her body, organs and functions.
• Allows for a safer easier birth for the mother decreasing need for intervention.
• Research suggests that first time mums averaged a 24% shorter labour while experienced mums had a 39% reduction in average labour time with regular chiropractic care in pregnancy (2).

To the baby it may:
• Remove interference to the mother’s nerve system allowing for optimal baby development.
• Allow the baby room to develop without restriction to its forming skull, spine and other skeletal structures.
• Offer the baby room to move into the best possible position for birth.
• Proper foetal positioning enables even pressure on the cervix resulting in easier dilation and decreases the chance of a difficult birth and resulting intervention.
• By decreasing stress in the mother due to back pain and discomfort during pregnancy the baby is less likely to suffer irritability, restlessness, crying and digestive disorders.

References:
(1)    Back pain during pregnancy and labor Diakow PR, Gadsby TA, Gadsby JB, Gleddie JG, Leprich DJ, Scales AM. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 1991 (Feb); 14 (2): 116-118
(2)    Fallon J DC. Proceedings of the World Chiropractic Congress: 1991 (pg. 24-31)

 

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Chiropractic for  Performance

There are a number of conditions that can result from playing sports. Overuse and strain injuries are most common. An overuse injury results from excessive wear and tear on the body, especially in areas subject to repeated activity. Ankle, knee, shoulder and elbow joints are most prone to overuse injuries. A strain injury is where fibers in a muscle or tendon tear as a result of overstretching. A variety of muscles, joints and ligaments are used when involved in active play, all of which can be affected by strain from overuse, trauma, or not being properly warmed and cooled down. 

Sports injuries are generally in the form of soft tissue injuries, which refers to any damage to the soft tissues of the body, such as ligaments, muscles, tendons, nerves, joints and connective tissue. 

There are a number of ways in which a soft tissue sports injury can occur: 

  • Muscle strain - when the muscle or tendon is pulled too far in one direction
  • Contusions - resulting from a direct blow to the muscle/tissue
  • Tendonitis - when the tendon becomes overstressed and inflamed, often due to inappropriate equipment, faulty technique and lack of flexibility
  • Ligament Sprains - when the ligament is stretched beyond its normal range

The Chiropractors at Latrobe Terrace Chiropractic specialise in the non-drug treatment of musculoskeletal problems, including joint sprains and disk injuries. Often, when a muscle or joint is injured, the body naturally compensates, attempting to maintain balance and protect itself by tightening other muscles and joints. For example, the persistent pain in your shoulder could be the result of a direct injury to the shoulder; it could also reflect your body's compensation for spinal-joint movement restrictions in your neck. 

During many sports, body contact, fast stops and starts, and positioning place an unusual amount of strain on the spine and structural system. As a result, chiropractic gives special attention to the spine, joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments and nerves of the athlete. In fact, many high level athletes visit a Chiropractor for a 'tune-up' before a game to help prepare joints and muscles and reduce the risk of injury. 

Chiropractic adjustments help restore the natural balance that was present before the injury. Treatment of sports injuries at Latrobe Terrace Chiropractic includes soft tissue treatment, chiropractic adjustment, nutritional and rehabilitation advice. These techniques help athletes return to training and perform at their peak level sooner. 

Chiropractic has been shown to enhance co-ordination, speed and overall performance (1). Improving spinal health has a positive effect on the function of the nervous system resulting in improved reaction time.  Elite athletes and people just wanting to stay fit can benefit from chiropractic care to recover from and reduce the chance of injury during sport.

References
(1) Schwartzbauer J and Zang J et al, JOURNAL OF VERTEBRAL SUBLUXATION RESEARCH, VOL. 1, NO. 4, 1997

 

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