Shoulder pain is second only to low back and neck pain in terms of what we treat in our clinic. Shoulder pain complaints are most common among athletes, in particular those involved in repetitive throwing and overhead motions such as tennis, volleyball players and swimmers. However, workers who use their arms repetitively in the horizontal or overhead position are also at higher risk.
So what is the cause of the problem?
With the exception of direct traumatic injuries to the shoulder joint itself (such as car accidents and falls) mechanical shoulder pain almost always stems from dysfunctional biomechanics in the neck and upper part of the back.
As we know a subluxated (dysfunctional) vertebra can cause irritation of the spinal nerve root as it exits the vertebral column to reach the part of the body it innervates. Most of the shoulder girdle muscles are innervated by nerves leaving the spine between the fifth cervical vertebrae and the second thoracic vertebrae, hence pressure on these nerves can cause referred pain to the shoulder.
Often however, faulty biomechanics in the neck and upper back cause shoulder problems indirectly. In fact, restrictions to the normal ranges of motion of the upper back and neck can affect the normal movement pattern of the shoulder blade and over time cause enough incoordination in the muscular activity of the shoulder girdle to cause adhesions, local inflammation and eventually chronic impingement of muscle tendons upon movement.
So how can chiropractic help?
With a Complete Neuro-Structural exam our chiropractors will be able to pin point the specific cause of your complaint and lay out the best treatment plan to attend to it.
In general, acute complaints of shoulder pain with a direct involvement of spinal subluxations are quicker to resolve and only require chiropractic care. On the other hand, long-standing problems with underlying muscular adhesions and neuromuscular incoordination will benefit best from a more comprehensive approach. This includes chiropractic treatment and physical therapy in the form of Active Release Technique. In the initial phase of treatment our goal is to restore normal spinal biomechanics and release any chronic adhesions within the shoulder muscles. As the symptoms improve, Redcord Neuromuscular Rehabilitation will re-educate the muscles into correct and coordinated movement patterns and guarantee long-lasting results.
Thousands of Brits come flocking over to Benidorm for their holidays to enjoy the sun, beach and to relax. It is a "home" from home offering British everything they desire. However, we see hundreds of holiday makers every year who have a flare up of back pain. They may have a chiropractor or osteopath in the UK who has treated previous episodes but now they are on vacation. Why now??. Here is the reason why:
They arrive in Spain after sitting for 3 hours in the most inconvenient and uncomfortable seat (Ryanair). Then in a twisted position they pull the hand luggage (which typically weighs that bit more than the 10kg allowance) out from the luggage compartment with muscles that are half asleep after not moving for hours. After that they get their suitcases which weighs 20.0 kilos and no more..., plonking all onto the trolley (which has a mind of it's own) to go and sit on a bus for another hour to do the same routine again getting up to the hotel room.
Not surprisingly (at least to us chiropractors), the onset of excruciating back pain begins within 24 hours after the damage has been done.
If you are reading this and thinking "that's me right now", don't wait, pick up the phone and call us to see if we can still save your holiday.
If you are reading this in hope to prevent any future back pain flaring up, good on you. Here are four simple steps to prevent back pain when on holiday:
1. When lifting your luggage always bend your legs (as opposed to your waist) and never ever stand twisted while doing so. Then you are asking for trouble. Equal amount of weight in boths hands if possible.
2. Make use of the trolleys. They cost 1GBP in England and they are free in Alicante.
3. Get up and activate your muscles 30 minutes before the plain expect to land. Walking, stretching, rocking your hips is sufficient. Before grabbing your overweight hand luggage from the overhead compartment tense your stomach muscles (in a good erect posture) which helps protect the back.
4. When you finally arrive in Benidorm go for a walk or take a swim as soon as possible. This might help get rid of any muscle stiffness you might have picked up.
At Advanced Chiropractic in Albir (no more than 10 min drive from Benidorm) we have licensed chiropractors with many years of experience helping people with acute back pain, sciatica, stiff necks and other conditions related to the spine.
Disc injury in the low back is commonly referred to as a "slipped disc". This is a common cause of low back pain in the general adult population up to the age of 60.
Disc injuries vary in location and degree, from micro annular tears to full-blown hernias with displacement of disc material. As the name suggests, they involve damage to the Intervertebral Discs (IVDs) in the vertebral column.
IVDs provide the vertebral column with shock absorption and flexibility. They are rounded in shape and consist of a tough fibrous outer layer and a softer gel-like nucleus. Their unique physiological structure allows them to absorb compressive forces to the spine throughout the day by slowly releasing the water contained in their nucleus and decreasing in height.
The water is then reabsorbed during the night when the spine is relaxed and free from the loading of the standing posture. As the water is reabsorbed the discs regain their height and are ready to serve their functions once again.
Injuries to IVDs are either caused by violent traumas, which exceed the shock absorption capabilities of the disc or by improper loading.
Improper loading is by far the most common cause of disc injuries. The curves in the vertebral column, namely the cervical, thoracic and lumbar curves allow for any weight acting on the body to be correctly distributed on the discs through movement. Often bad posture and incorrect movement patterns cause the normal curves in the lumbar and cervical area to be lost under loading. Flexion in the lumbar and cervical areas stretches the posterior outer layer of the IVD by pushing the nucleus material back against it.
Unfortunately, the IVD's structure is not designed to withstand shear forces to its posterior margin, so it buckles and tears under load. If improper loading of an IVD is repeated long enough (months, years at times) even picking up a light object in the garden might be sufficient to cause the outer layer to reach its resistance limit and finally buckle.
Interestingly enough, direct pressure of a prolapsed or herniated disc on a nerve root is not very common. In most cases, it is the body inflammatory response to the tear in the IVD's outer layer, which causes swelling and eventually irritation of a nerve root or spinal cord level.
The most common areas of the spine affected by disc injuries are the cervical area and the lumbar area. Symptoms can vary from local pain, to pain and/or pins and needles down one or both arms or one or both legs. Muscle function in the upper and lower limb might also be affected.
In the acute phase, prone disc pumping (downward pressure at the injured level) can speed up the re-absorption of the inflammation and allow for a faster recovery.
Moreover, adjusting the dysfunctional segments in your spine allows for normal biomechanics to be restored and for the disc to start healing.
Finally, regular check ups on correct function of your spine and rehabilitative exercises (Redcord) will minimize the chances of re-injuries while allowing for the IVD to fully heal, a process that can take from 12 to 18 months after the symptoms have disappeared!
You could be experiencing pain in the low back and down the leg or pain in the neck, shoulder, arm and hand. These symptoms could feel worse with coughing/ sneezing and could make walking or moving your arm difficult.
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms or you are concerned about improper loading of your spine while at work or at home book a neurostructural examination today with one of our chiropractors.
The chiropractor will test the responsiveness of your nerves to determine whether they are being affected or not. He will also assess the structure and alignment of your spine and provide you with a tailored corrective care plan.
If you are experiencing intermediate numbness, tingling or pain in the thumb and adjacent two and half fingers in one or both hands, you might be affected by carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS).
CTS is by far the most common (90%) of all nerve compression syndromes with 1 out of 20 people in the U.S. affected by it.
People between the age of 45 to 60 and pregnant women in their third trimester are most affected. Specifically women are found to be three times more likely to suffer with this condition when compared to men.
CTS has been associated with a number of metabolic and endocrine diseases including diabetes and hypothyroidism, as well as mechanical reasons such as repetitive use of the hand and bad posture during office work.
The carpal tunnel is a C-shaped tunnel formed by the small bones in the wrist at the top and a band-like ligament at the bottom. It acts as protection for a number of tendons and the median nerve as they pass from the forearm to the hand.
The textbook definition of CTS is "compression and subsequent inflammation of the median nerve as it passes through the carpal tunnel of the hand."
However, chiropractors with their extensive knowledge of the nervous system know that often the cause is not as simple.
To this regard, a study published in the British Medical Journal the Lancet, found evidence of cervical neuritis (nerve irritation) in over 70% of all CTS patients suggesting a correlation between cervical subluxations and CTS.
This can be explained by the fact that the carpal tunnel in the hand is only one of the places where the median nerve can get entrapped and inflamed. The cervical and higher thoracic area of the spine and the elbow joint need to be assessed as well for misalignments causing pressure along the course of the nerve and the symptoms that come with it.
If you are experiencing any of the CTS symptoms or you think to be at risk of developing CTS contact one of our chiropractors today at Advanced Chiropractic to assess the alignment of your spine and peripheral joints.