Neck Pain and Chiropractic Treatment

A 42 year old, female patient presented with neck pain that had been present for 2 months.  The pain came on gradually and without a specific cause.  Her vocation is answering the phone for a busy mail order shoe store.  She works 40 hours a week, 5 days per week and never weekends.  Pain worsens with work, especially by the end of the 8 hour shift.  Other pain producers include driving more than 30 minutes, reading more than 30 minutes, and washing hair with the head back.  Pain improves with resting the head on a chair or pillow, moving the head in circles, 600 mg of Ibuprofen (repeated 3x/day), and a hot shower. She describes the pain as an ache with intermittent sharp pain that is becoming more frequent, “…when I move the wrong way.”  There is no shooting pain into the arms or hands. … Read more…

Have You Lost Work Time Because of Your Back Pain?

“I can’t believe how much my low back hurts! I don’t know if I can go to work with it like this!”  Does this sound familiar?  Have you ever missed work because of low back pain?  Well, if you have, you’re certainly not alone!  In fact, over 80% of the general population seeks some type of health care provision at some point in life because of low back pain and many of those lose work time.  Lost work time is often associated with not being able to tolerate certain positions such as prolonged sitting, standing, bending, twisting, reaching, or combinations of these.  Sometimes, just getting to work is next to impossible as the car ride alone may intolerable!  There is nothing more depressing than not being able to move due to the sharp knife-like feeling in the back every time you try to change positions.  … Read more…

Cervicogenic Headache-Results of Electrical Nerve Stimulation vs. Manipulation

A recent study (Li C, Xiu-ling Z, Hong D, Yue-qiang T, Hong-sheng Z. Comparative study on effects of manipulation treatment and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation [TENS] on patients with cervicogenic headache J Chin Integrat Med 2007;5(4)DOI:10.3736/jcm20070408)  compared alternative treatments for patients suffering from cervicogenic headaches, headaches related to/caused by your neck. Patients will typically have pain with neck motion and also limited mobility. There may also be a history of a neck injury such as a whiplash or head trauma. The study of seventy patients was randomized to minimize bias. Patients either had TENS (nerve stimulation) or manipulations. They were given treatments every other day for forty days (about 20 visits). … Read more…

Headaches: A Self-Assessment of Function

Headaches are a very common problem seen in chiropractic offices.  Most types of headaches are manageable without requiring an extensive workup.  Headaches can vary from mild and barely noticeable to extreme, so much so that it results in total disability restricted to bed rest in a dark, quiet room. 

The ability to track the treatment or care approach being received is difficult.  This is because there are not any good, reliable tests for most types of headaches, especially the most common tension-type of headache.  Even vascular headaches such as migraine and cluster varieties are not associated with reliable tests that can track progress or change.  One inexpensive, reliable method that is self-administered is called the “Headache Disability Index” (HDI).  … Read more…

Is It Really Neck Pain?

A 48-year-old male had left sided neck pain with intermittent left arm tingling, numbness, and aching for 2.5 months. The pain was described as a deep nagging ache on the left side of the neck with a more intense pain in the left shoulder blade that occurred without any specific activity.  Also, no particular position of the neck or head changed the symptoms in the neck or left arm.  The patient described having periodic episodes of neck and left arm pain/numbness 4 or 5 times over the last 10 years, and he felt that this episode was similar to the previous episodes.  He had utilized chiropractic treatment previously with good results and was considering calling for an appointment once again. … Read more…

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) – Common Issues

You are driving down the road and you notice numbness and tingling in your fingers.  You find temporary help by shaking and flicking the fingers, trying to “wake them up.” You’ve also noticed your sleep is becoming interrupted and the need to shake and flick the fingers in the middle of the night is becoming more frequent.  If this sounds like you or someone you know, you’re not alone.  This condition affects many workers as well as “stay-at-home moms,” as women are 3 times more likely to develop CTS due in part that the carpal tunnel itself is smaller than those in men. Also, women tend to work faster in fast, repetitive jobs, and are often hired specifically for that reason.  Further, when workers are paid by the number of pieces they produce, the tendency is to try completing as many pieces as possible so as to make that much more over their base hourly wage. … Read more…

Neck Pain – Non-Surgical Treatment Options

There are many treatment options for those suffering from neck pain.  There is conventional medical care where the family doctor will usually prescribe a muscle relaxant, anti-inflammatory, and/or pain killer to help patients through episodes of acute neck pain.  However, many patients with neck pain have been through the process of treatments associated with medications and simply cannot tolerate the adverse side effects of stomach pain common with anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Advil, Nuprin, Mediprin, etc.), Aleve (Naproxen), or aspirin.  Others don’t like the groggy, drunk-like feelings associated with pain killers or the sleepiness associated with muscle relaxants.  Therefore, these patients often turn to complementary / alternative care.  … Read more…

Neck and Arm Pain – The Herniated Disk?

Patients that present with neck pain along with arm numbness, pain, and/or weakness, often ask, “…what’s causing this pain down my arm?”  The condition is often caused from a bulging or herniated disk pinching a nerve in the neck.  The cause of this complaint can include both trauma as well as non-traumatic events.  In fact, sometimes, the patient has no idea what started their condition, as they cannot tie any specific event to the onset. 

The classic presentation includes neck pain that radiates into the arm in a specific area as each nerve affects different parts of the arm and hand.  Describing the exact location of the arm complaint such as, “I have numbness in the arm and hand that makes my 4th and pinky fingers feel half asleep,” tells us that you have a pinched C8 nerve.  This nerve can also be pinched at the elbow and make the same two fingers numb.  The difference between the two different conditions is when the nerve is pinched in the neck, the pain is located from the neck down the entire arm and into digits 4 & 5 of the hand.  When the nerve is pinched at the elbow, the pain/numbness is located from the elbow down to the 4th & 5th digits, but no neck or upper arm pain exists.  … Read more…