Back pain      

There are two main types of back pain. Chronic back pain is pain that may come on either quickly or slowly and stays with the person a long time. Typically chronic back pain is a back pain that lasts more than 3 months. Sudden onset back pain that often results from a specific injury, on the other hand, is the more common type of back pain and lasts no longer than 6 weeks. Acute back pain is the most common type of back pain

Most people suffer with back pain at some point in their lives. There are many causes of back pain. Back pain may be related to a specific event, may have built up from years of bad habits or may be a combination of these. The causes of back pain include accidents, muscle strains, and sports injuries.

The symptoms for back pain are:

  • Persistent aching or stiffness anywhere along your spine, from the base of the neck to the hips.

  • Sharp, localized pain in the neck, upper back, or lower back -- especially after lifting heavy objects or engaging in other strenuous activity.

  • Chronic ache in the middle or lower back, especially after sitting or standing for extended periods.

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Neck pain

Neck pain may be due to injury, a mechanical or muscular problem, a trapped nerve or arthritis in the neck. It may range from a mild ache to severe burning. Some causes of neck pain include trauma (including whiplash), stress and poor posture.

Neck pain may be very local or may radiate to the arms and hands and/or between the shoulder blades. It may also be associated with a headache and/or numbness and tingling into the arms and hands. Torticollis or wry neck is associated with abnormal neck posture in which the head is forced to one side.

Meningitis is associated with neck pain, a rash which develops that does not fade when you press it with a glass tumbler, pain with neck movement, fever, headache, vomiting and an increased sensitivity to light. Meningitis is a medical emergency and in such cases it is important to seek medical attention immediately. Other such medical emergencies include head or neck trauma with associated vomiting, drowsiness, vision, taste, hearing or balance disturbances and/or muscle strength loss in the arms or legs.

Help yourself and stay active. Try to keep up your normal everyday activities. If you have neck pain for longer than a week it is it useful to consult your chiropractor for a consultation and investigation into your complaint.

Exercise
People with weak neck muscles are more prone to neck problems and in such cases, an exercise programme to strengthen the neck is a good idea. Please find the exercise program on our website.

 Headaches

There are a number of types of headaches. The main types are tension headaches. Tension headaches may be caused by poor posture, fatigue, hormonal changes and uncontrolled levels of stress. These types of headaches are characterised by pain in the top of the neck, the side, top or front of the skull. These types of headaches may last several minutes to hours and even days. While painful and annoying these types of headaches do not indicate a serious disorder and, in non-chronic cases, may be relieved by chiropractic and/or changes in lifestyle.

Another type of headache is the migraine. Migraines make up approximately 20 per cent of headaches and are characterised by throbbing to one side of the head and may be associated with nausea (feeling of sickness) and photophobia (light sensitivity) as well as sensitivity to sound. In some cases migraines have a trigger. Some of the common triggers include: chocolate, cheese, red wine, artificial sweeteners, food containing preservatives and the same causes for tension headaches. We now have food intolerance  testing available at our chiropractic clinic in Joondalup.

Many types of headaches can be successfully treated with conservative care such as chiropractic as well as lifestyle changes. 

Some headaches may have a more sinister cause. Your chiropractor is trained in diagnosing your particular type of headache. If however any of the below symptoms are present your GP should be contacted immediately:

  • a sudden, severe headache accompanied by nausea and vomiting.

  • persistent and recurring headaches accompanied by memory problems, difficulty concentrating and tiredness.

  • a high fever with neck stiffness.

  • convulsions (fits).

  • persistent vision disturbances (light flashes).

  • trouble controlling arms and legs.

  • loss of feeling in the arms and legs.

  • tiredness and apathy with difficulty communicating.

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As with most conditions the best way to control or rid yourself of headaches is to help yourself. Ask your chiropractor and take a look at your lifestyle. Often we do too much or too little of something which is contributing to our symptoms. Read the causes of headaches above and see if you can identify areas of your life which you can change or improve. Below are some of the common areas which people find most beneficial in changing first.


  • Engage in correct posture while sitting and working. The type of chair you use is important. It should be one that maximises comfort and good posture and may need to be adjusted to suit your needs. See posture tips

  • Take plenty of breaks and drink plenty of water (recommended daily intake is 2 litres).

  • Get plenty of fresh air and exercise.

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For migraine headaches, symptoms may be reduced by:

  • Resting in a quiet room with the lights turned off.
  • Avoiding food or drink in your diet that have been identified as having possible factors associated with migraine headaches.


 

Trapped nerve

Your nervous system (your brain, spinal cord and the nerves in your body) controls everything. The nervous system controls the automatic, conscious and unconscious mechanisms of the body from head to toe. There are many causes for trapped nerves. For example a nerve may get trapped by tight muscles, irritated parts of the skeletal system and joint in the body. See herniated disc and sciatica for further information on some of the symptoms of trapped nerves. If you think you may have a trapped nerve your chiropractor is ideally suited for the full diagnosis and treatment of your condition.

 
Sciatica

Sciatica is a type of low back and leg pain specifically affecting the sciatic nerve (the largest and longest nerve in the human body). Sciatica is often misdiagnosed in conditions where the sciatic nerve is not involved as there may be leg pain and/or back and buttock pain.

What Are the Symptoms of Sciatica? Sciatica is often associated with pain in the lower back and leg sometimes as far as the foot and toes on one side of the body. It may be associated with numbness and/or tingling of the leg, foot and toes and in some cases may cause a weakness of the leg and difficulty walking.

For some people, the pain from sciatica can be severe and debilitating. For others, the pain from sciatica might be infrequent and irritating, but has the potential to get worse.

Chiropractors are ideally placed for the diagnosis and conservative management of sciatica and sciatic symptoms.

Seek immediate medical attention with any symptoms of progressive lower extremity weakness and/or loss of bladder or bowel control.

What Causes Sciatica? Sciatica is caused by irritation of the sciatic nerve often at the root of the nerve itself (at a spinal level) or sometimes at another point further along its path. Anything compressing the sciatic nerve can cause sciatica. Examples of something compressing the sciatic nerve include mechanical changes in the spine e.g. arthritis, spinal stenosis, disc bulges, muscle spasm and inflammation in the area.

 

Dizziness

Viral infections are among the most common causes of dizziness. In Labyrinthitis, for example, the fluid-filled canals in the inner ear that play a vital part in balance become inflamed.
Other problems with the inner ear that can cause dizziness include Meniere's disease, which results from degenerative changes or ageing, and benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) where any sudden movement of the head (usually head turning) can bring on an acute attack without warning (Chiropractic can really help with this condition).
Low blood pressure can also cause dizziness especially when standing from lying. This is known as orthostatic hypertension. This may be aggravated by certain medications, especially those used to control high blood pressure.
With neck movement arthritis of the neck can cause a temporary block to the blood supply to the brain and induce dizziness. This is called vertebrobasilar insufficiency. More serious disruption of the blood supply to the brain, such as a transient ischaemic attack or stroke, may cause dizziness.
Anxiety and panic attacks, especially when accompanied by hyperventilation, can lead to dizzy spells. These may be accompanied by tingling fingers and headaches.
Low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia) is another possible cause, and is easily remedied by eating some sugary food.

 
Other rarer causes of dizziness include:

  • Drug treatments

  • Migraine

  • Abnormal heart rhythms

  • Stress

  • Tiredness

  • Anaemia

  • Acute intoxication

  • Carbon monoxide poisoning

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In most cases, dizziness is a minor annoyance, but there are a few warning signs that there may be a more serious underlying problem.
The most important of these is loss of consciousness. If someone complains of feeling dizzy on several occasions and then passes out, they should be seen by a doctor. It may be a simple faint that can be easily explained. But if this happens more than once, they should visit their doctor to get it checked out.
Other possible danger signs include:

  • New and intense headaches

  • Strange sensations or memory changes

  • Odd behaviour

  • Family history of diabetesor epilepsy

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Herniated discs or disc bulges

What is a herniated disc?

The bones (vertebrae) that form the spine in your back are cushioned by small, spongy discs. When these discs are healthy, they act as shock absorbers for the spine and keep the spine flexible.

The disc between the vertebrae is made up of a thinner (more watery) inner layer and a thicker outer layer. A disc bulge is when the thinner inner layer pushes through the thicker outer layer. When the outer layer weakens, as with premature aging or the normal processes of aging, the gel inside the discs can be forced out through cracks in the outer layer. This causes the disc to bulge, break open, or break into pieces.

The most common area for disc herniations is the lower back and may cause sciatic like symptoms. It is also possible to suffer with neck and in the few instances mid back disc herniations

What are the symptoms?

When a herniated disc presses on nerve roots, it can cause pain, numbness, and weakness in the area of the body where the nerve travels. For example see sciatica. If the disc herniation is located in the neck it can cause pain, numbness and weakness in the arms. If a herniated disc is not pressing on a nerve, you may have a backache or no pain at all.

How is a herniated disc diagnosed?

Your chiropractor can diagnose disc herniations with by taking a detailed history and physical exam. Often your chiropractor will test the overall function of the nerve that is being irritated. This is done by checking your spinal reflexes, the subjective feeling in your legs or arms and the muscle strength too. If your symptoms clearly point to a herniated disc, you may not need tests. Sometimes your chiropractor may refer you for an MRI of the area to help confirm the diagnosis and to get a more complete picture.

 What conditions do chiropractors see?

All the conditions above are seen by chiropractors. Lakeside Chiropractic clinic’s chiropractors are trained in the diagnosis and management of conditions related to muscles, joints and nerves throughout the body. Not all the conditions above are suitable for chiropractic care. Your chiropractor will go through a full history and physical examination to assess for your suitability for chiropractic care. Some other conditions you may go to see a chiropractor for are:

  • Shoulder pain
  • Leg pain
  • Ankle, knee, Elbow and Wrist pain

Lakeside Chiropractic is located in Joondalup, central to the northern suburbs of Perth. If you believe you are experiencing any symptoms of the conditions stated above, or have any concerns, feel free to visit our clinic and receive top quality treatment!

 

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