Pain radiating down the arm and into the fingers could be serious.
Radicular arm pain suggests likely irritation to the nerve roots of the lower neck or upper back.
The most likely to irritants to the nerves in this region would be the spinal facet joints or the intervertebral discs. Other diagnostic possibilities would include arthritic spurring or other degenerative conditions as well as inflammation near the involved nerve roots. Though unlikely, space occupying lesions such as spinal neoplasia must be ruled out.
Depending on the history and physical examination findings the chiropractor may order an x-ray or MRI scan.
If conservative care is the best treatment option, the chiropractic adjustment of the involved spinal structures may be all that is necessary to restore normal nerve function.
Arm pain is not something to be tolerated or placated with pain medication. Nerve and muscle injury can be permanent and are not uncommon.
The excessive wear and tear of joint cartilage is commonly known as arthritis.
The cartilage in our joints allows for the rolling and gliding which occurs between joint surfaces. When the joint cartilage wears out the joint becomes painfully inflamed. While any joint can become arthritic, commonly affected joints include the knees, hips, back, neck, hands and wrists. Arthritis can sometimes lead to joint deformities and dysfunction.
Compensating for the painful joint often creates additional wear and tear to adjacent joints. Over time these adjacent joints may become arthritic themselves.
Pain medications are often taken for the temporary relief of arthritic pain, but long term use of these medications has been shown to be very hard on the stomach, liver and kidneys. In severe cases surgery may be recommended.
The best conservative strategy is to halt or slow the progression of degeneration and manage the pain.
Chiropractic care has an excellent track record in the management of arthritic conditions. Chiropractic treatment would likely focus on the maintenance of joint movement and the employment of nutritional strategies to reduce joint inflammation.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
This painful condition involves irritation or entrapment of the median nerve as it passes through the carpal tunnel of the wrist.
Symptoms vary with the degree of pressure on the nerve. Minor pressure might result in numbness or burning to the thumb side of the hand while significant pressure could create loss of muscle at the base of the thumb.
Although expecting mothers may experience Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) towards the end of a pregnancy, it has almost always been associated with repetitive motion.
Meat handlers and electricians were the high risk occupations for CTS until computers came along. Now, with the ever increasing use of computers, the incidence of CTS has skyrocketed. Who would ever have thought that typing for hours and hours with the hands in an uncomfortable position could ever cause a problem?
The goal of the chiropractic treatment is to improve the wrist and hand mechanics, reduce inflammation at the carpal tunnel and modify the repetitive motions responsible for developing this condition.
If this makes sense to you, take your good hand and dial (225) 293-1400.
Fibromyalgia is often used as a "catch all" diagnosis when no other cause for aches and pains can be determined. Years ago it was called rheumatism.
In the seminal book, Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction, The Trigger Point Manual, Janet Travell, MD, lays out a comprehensive approach to the treatment of fibromyalgia. She explains multiple causes for this painful condition and likely solutions.
Successful treatment of fibromyalgia above all else, requires that the treating doctor be determined to find the true cause and address it. Among the many possible causes may be anything from the overloading of a muscle to the development of anemia. Other causes might include the lack of specific vitamins necessary to the production of energy metabolism. Sometimes a hypoglycemic state could be the trigger.
Dr. Travell also sited thyroid inadequacy as a possible cause. Laboratory testing for normal thyroid hormone levels will likely fail to implicate certain thyroid related problems. resistance to one's own thyroid hormone. Much like the insulin resistance seen in type II diabetes, resistance to one's own thyroid hormones can occur.
Possible treatment options can include the use of diverse specialists from MD's to DC's to Massage Therapists to Naturopaths. It is most efficient to find a treating doctor skilled in multiple disciplines.
Do not allow this debilitating condition to persist. Many long term sufferers go on to develop anxiety or depression.
If some previous treatment has been unproductive look for another approach. Don't give up.
Headaches are a daily affair for many and most do not even question their cause.
Tons of over the counter and prescription headache medications are swallowed each and every day without hardly a thought as to if there could be a better way.
Some experts believe that at least 80% of all headaches originate from the neck.
Apparently, the tension on the neck during the normal day is significant and should be relieved as necessary in order to avoid the resulting headache.
Massage of the neck and shoulder muscles can sometimes release this tension and bring relief. Sometimes just stretching the involved muscles will reduce a headache. But if headaches come on more than once or twice a month, something else may need to be done.
Kinks in the spine can cause some real problems.
Chiropractors call these spinal kinks subluxations or fixations.
When spinal subluxations occur in the neck they can cause headaches. These subluxations cannot be fixed with pills or surgery. They must be corrected with the use of a chiropractic adjustment. This is the safest, most effective treatment known for the most common type of headaches we can have.
Once spinal fixations are corrected with the spinal adjustment these headaches may never come back. Wouldn't that be nice?
Each spinal vertebra (except the first two in the neck) is separated one from another by a shock absorbing disc. The disc's wall is constructed from strands of cartilage. The center or nucleus of the disc is made from a jelly like substance.
The discs, acting collectively, allow for spinal movement to occur while providing the necessary space by which the spinal nerves can exit the spinal cord as they wind their way to all the parts of our bodies. Without the intervertebral discs (IVD's) the spine would be quite rigid.
As we age and the discs begin to bulge around the edges, we may feel some neck or back pain. Activities that increase wear and tear to the spine cause the discs to age more rapidly and normal disc function suffers.
Spinal trauma can cause the discs to bulge and in some cases, the disc can bulge so far that the nucleus will actually herniate through the wall of the disc. This herniation of the disc is sometimes referred to as a slipped disc or as a ruptured disc.
When the disc herniates, irritation of one of the spinal nerves may cause arm or leg numbness or pain.
Recent studies suggest that both medical and chiropractic treatments are effective in the treatment of disc problems. However, these studies also show a much higher complication rate with both surgical or pharmaceutical treatment options.
Always choose the safest, least expensive care option first and the riskiest, most expensive care option last.
Joint dysfunction is characterized by stiffness and pain.
Abnormal joint function can initiate an arthritic process that could involve any joint. While injury to the joint can cause dysfunction, joint inactivity is all that is necessary.
To maintain joint health, full movement throughout a joint's normal range of motion is required. This joint movement should be done regularly and should involve all joints. Activities such as yoga or tai chi are excellent for maintaining joint health.
Chiropractic care is also an excellent method for maintaining good joint function. In fact, the chiropractic adjustment to spinal joints has been shown to stimulate joint fluid production. Joint fluid (also called synovial fluid) lubricates the joint to reduce wear and tear. This reduction in wear and tear to the joint translates into less arthritic changes to the joint.
Many prefer regular chiropractic care as a preventive strategy to avoid joint dysfunction. What's your strategy?
Low Back Pain
Studies suggest that as many as one out of three Americans suffer low back pain at any given moment. The majority of sufferers have no history of injury.
The pain may have simply started after bending to pick up a coin or riding on a long car ride.Other times there may be some real, initiating incident like a fall or a crash. Either way, your low back pain may resolve with little more than taking it easy for a few days.
But if the pain is severe, or the pain radiates into the leg a doctor may need to take a look.
A doctor may also need to get involved if the back pain doesn't resolve, or episodes of pain begin to come and go with regularity.
If the doctor suspects a broken bone, disc injury or joint dislocation to be the problem, he/she will probably order an x-ray or MRI. If something shows up on these tests, spinal bracing or surgery may be recommended. Always consider the safest, least expensive care initially.
Sometimes nothing will show up on x-ray or MRI. If nothing shows up, recommended treatment would likely depend on the type doctor involved.
The approach taken by medical doctors (MD's) is often quite different than the approach taken by chiropractic doctors (DC's).
MD's will often prescribe bed rest to immobilize the injured spinal area, anti-inflammatory medications, muscle relaxers and pain medications.
By mechanically adjusting involved spinal structures, the DC encourages a return to normal physical activity as quickly as possible.
To reduce inflammation, chiropractors often recommend the use of ice to the injured spine. This often under utilized treatment is not only effective but it also avoids the complicating risks associated with the use of anti-inflammatory medications. For most back pain patients, the response to chiropractic care is such that the use of pain medications and muscle relaxers is greatly reduced.
Once a return of 75% pain free range of motion is achieved, most chiropractors will teach specific back exercises and lifestyle changes to minimize the risk of a relapse.
I can't think of a better way to treat a back problem - can you?
Migraine headaches are often misdiagnosed.
Many times, when the headache is especially painful it will be classified as a migraine. But migraines usually involve only one side of the head and are often preceded with visual disturbances such as halos around lights or extreme aversion to lights. These visual abnormalities may be noticed hours before the onset of the actual migraine.
It is common for the migraine headache to be so severe that the sufferer will vomit and retreat to a darkened room for the duration of the headache event.
Medical treatment of migraines may include drugs to alter blood flow to the brain as well as pain relievers. Some sufferers respond better than others but many will take some sort of medications for the rest of their lives. Some of these medications have terrible effects on the stomach, kidneys and liver.
As strange as it may seem we still aren't sure what actually causes migraine headaches. One of the latest theories involves inflammation of the meninges or the outer layer of the brain. Many successful treatments of these type headaches involve dietary changes. Dietary changes that reduce systemic inflammation may not only reduce migraines but these changes are also known to reduce the risk of diabetes and dementia.
Chiropractic doctors are trained in clinical nutrition. The kind of nutritional training that just might be the key to unlock your migraine ball and chain.
The spine is an incredible piece of living hardware.
The portion of the spine we call the neck usually performs flawlessly until it doesn't.
When flaws do occur the incredible nervous system alerts the brain that something is amiss and we feel pain. This pain we feel is like our smoke alarm telling us something is wrong and requires our attention.
There are way too many causes of neck pain to discuss all of them here. Certainly the muscles and the discs can be potent pain generators. I think it is important to tell patients that the severity of the pain may not indicate the seriousness of the condition. A relatively minor neck condition may be terribly painful though simple to resolve.
Obviously, trauma to the neck could injure any of a number of pain sensitive structures. And sometimes the neck can hurt without any apparent injury.
Neck pain may not be pinned down with x-rays, MRI's or any other advanced imaging unless there is some pathology present. In fact, many painful neck conditions are caused by kinks in the spinal joints of the neck. Chiropractors call these kinks subluxations or fixations.
Every day, all across the fruited plains, spinal kinks are unkinked by chiropractors. What are you waiting for?
Sciatica is a fancy word for leg pain.
The sciatic nerve travels from the lower back down through the leg and into the foot. The sciatic nerve exits from the spinal cord through small openings between spinal vertebrae.
Any irritation or compression to the nerve roots that make up the sciatic nerve could create pain or numbness in the leg. Irritation to the sciatic nerve could be caused by anything from inflammation to arthritis to herniated or degenerated discs.
Oftentimes, an MRI can indicate the likely source of painful pressure to the sciatic nerve.
Sufferers may be recommended for surgical removal of the disc bulges or herniations believed to be irritating the nerve.
However, recent studies have shown that sciatica often resolves without surgery. That when MRI's are repeated in these cases, the disc bulges and herniations are usually still present though the sciatic pain is gone. This should give us pause to reflect.
At the very least, we should approach the treatment of sciatica as conservatively as possible to avoid the risks associated with any surgical procedure.
The chiropractic adjustment of appropriate areas of the spine takes pressure off of the weakened or injured discs while reducing inflammation around the irritated nerve.
While not every case of sciatica can be resolved by a chiropractor, I am not aware of a safer, more effective conservative treatment
Rear end car crashes can really put a hurt on your neck. The rapid, back and forth whip-like lashing and the resulting injuries are sometimes called a whiplash.
Though whiplash usually involves injury to the muscles, discs, and/or other "soft" issues of the neck, whiplash can sometimes involve spinal fractures.
Whiplash can be quite painful. Medical care of these type injuries is often focused on pain control combined with a wait and see attitude. During the wait and see phase of care the use of pain medication is the normal course of action.
In severe cases of whiplash, surgical fusion may be attempted. If a surgical fusion is performed, the loss of movement between fused spinal segments will often lead to areas of excessive movement above or below the fused spinal segments. These areas of excessive movement can be expected to become problematic in the future.
Studies show that active management of whiplash should begin as soon as possible.
Chiropractic care reduces whiplash pain as it normalizes spinal flexibility. Flexibility restoration allows for the distribution of the stresses acting on the damaged spinal elements over the entire spinal structure. Spinal exercises can then be employed to strengthen any weakened muscles so as to enhance spinal stability.
The ultimate goal of any whiplash treatment is the restoration of normal, pain free spinal function. Only chiropractic doctors (DC's) provide chiropractic care for whiplash.
*Depending on the particulars of a case, X-rays or MRI may be ordered by the DC or the MD to determine if conservative care is appropriate.
Other common conditions treated include:
- Rib Joint Pain
- Postural Problems
- Disc Problems
- Pinched Nerves
- Sports Injuries
- Sprains and Strains, Tendonitis
- Muscle Spasms, Pain, and Imbalances
- Overuse Injuries
- Joint Pain
- Arthritis and Degenerative Joint Disease (Osteoarthritis)
- Post-Surgical Neck, Back, Shoulder, Hip, and Knee Pain
- Arm Pain (including Shoulder, Elbow, Wrist and Hand)
- Leg Pain (including Hip, Knee, Ankle and Foot)
- Disc Herniations
- Mechanical Spine Pain
- Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
- Cervicogenic Headache
- Spinal and Foraminal Stenosis
- Facet Syndrome
- Discogenic Low Back Pain
- Stable Scoliosis
- Sacroiliac Dysfunction
- Cervical and Lumbar Radiculopathy
- Ankle Sprains
- Shoulder (Rotator Cuff) Injuries
- Tennis and Golfer’s Elbow (Lateral and Medial Epicondylitis)
- Patellar Tendonopathy and Patellofemoral Syndrome (Runners/Jumpers Knee)
- Tibial Stress Syndromes (Shin Splints)
- Achilles Tendonopathy
- IT Band Syndrome (TFL)
- Groin (Adductor) Strains
- Hamstring and Quad Strains
- Bursitis (Shoulder, Hip)
Work Related Injuries and Motor Vehicle Accidents (Personal Injury)
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Sprains and Strains
- Whiplash Syndrome
- Back and Neck Injuries
- Plantar Fasciitis
- TMJ Disorder (Temporal-Mandibular Joint or Jaw Pain)
- Myofascial Pain Syndrome (Muscle Pain, Fibromyalgia)