Why a Headache is a Pain in the Neck

Jun 06

Now, I’m not saying that all headaches are created equal, nor are they from the same source, but chances are if you’ve experienced a nagging headache is was probably caused by your neck!    I’d like to explain why some headaches occur so that you can prevent them.  As stated above, not all headaches are equal, nor are they all preventable; however, the majority of everyday headaches can be attributed to everyday causes.

First thing to discuss is why a headache occurs.  Unfortunately the scientific community has not come to a clear decision on this, despite years

The Importance of Stretching

Oct 10
low back pain, stetching

Everyone has heard the speech before: “stretch to prevent injury during exercise”.  However, no one seems to explain further how stretching can actually help your body stay healthy, or even that stretching can be harmful in some situations.

The most important issue to know about stretching is when NOT to do it.  The old adage of “stretch before you exercise” is a slight misconception, as it can actually cause injuries rather than prevent them if done improperly.  The only time muscles should be stretched is when they are warm; that is to say, when they have been properly warmed by either mild exercise (or moderate exercise if you don’t live in warm and sunny San Diego) or an outside heat source such as a hot tub, shower, or sauna.  Imagine, for a moment, that your muscles are like a towel soaked with water.  If that wet cloth is warmed up it becomes very flexible and stretchy, but put that same cloth in the freezer and it becomes stiff and brittle.  The same idea applies to your actual muscles – if you stretch “cold” muscles that are stiff and brittle you can cause damage to your muscles in the arena of muscle strains and micro-tears.  Strains and micro-tears can and usually do cause scar tissue buildup inside the muscle tissue, making the muscle sticky and, effectively,  less flexible.  Practically applied, this means that muscles should not be stretched before exercise; stretching should be done both after a moderate warm-up and after exercise is completed.

Now that the issue of when to stretch is covered, now we need to know why.  Stretching, in effect, lengthens the muscle tissue, giving it a greater range of motion.  As we have discussed in a previous article, muscles and bones have a symbiotic relationship and constantly affect one another, for better or worse.  If the muscles attached to the bones in your body are tight an strained they have the power to pull bones out of alignment to the point of partial or full dislocation.  Conversely, if the muscles attached to the bones in your body are loose and supple they can work in symphony without causing any disruption in the skeleton’s structure.  Since stretching can keep muscles loose and supple can prevent bone misalignment it can therefore prevent potential pain; misaligned bones can pinch nerves and cause further muscle discomfort.  For example, if your hamstring muscles are tight (which most people’s are) they can pull hard on your pelvic bone, causing it to shift downward, which in turn may cause the sciatic nerve to become impinged, causing the incredibly painful condition Sciatica.

All of the secondary effects aside, many people don’t know how painful tight muscles themselves can be, and how much stretching can help!  Despite the fact most medical doctors pass off muscle pain as an inconvenience it can actually be a serious, even debilitating experience.  Chronically tight muscles can also become weak and susceptible to intense muscle spasms due to over exhaustion.  In the end all of these conditions can be prevented with a daily stretching routine, focusing on your particular problem spots.  A Chiropractic consultation can help discover which muscles in your body are tight, as well as providing stretching outlines and instructions.  It is also important to note that not all muscle spasms can be stretched into health – sometimes further intervention is required to reduce inflammation and provide some muscle movement before stretching will help – and there are conditions where stretching is ill advised, such as with a disc bulge.  Again, a Chiropractic consultation can clear up the cause of any muscle pain experienced and determine if stretching is right for your condition.

The Thigh Bone’s Connected to the Hip Bone….

Sep 09
low back pain, mid back pain, neck pain

Ever injure your neck and, to your surprise, find you have a sore low back a few days later?  Or may be you’ve turned your ankle, only to find your knee and hip hurting later on.  The explanation is easy enough – all of the bones and muscles in your body are interconnected, and therefore apt to fall victim to a chain reaction once an injury is set in place.

First, basic anatomy has to be addressed before looking at how pain can travel through muscles in the body.  The basic structure of the body is made up of two things – muscles and bones.  Bones provide a rigid framework that protects internal organs and keeps us upright – after all, without bones we would be a mushy blob of muscles and organs, moving at the speed of a caterpillar.   Muscles allow for those bones to move in a multitude of different directions – without them our bodies couldn’t move at all!  Almost every muscle in the body connects to two different bones and cause movement by contracting or shortening its length.  This does not mean that all muscles work by bringing bones closer together, but that all muscles move bones in one direction or another.  For example, if you take your arm and lay it flat on a table, palm facing up, you can see that none of your muscles are engaged.  However, if you want to move your forearm closer to your upper arm you have to shorten your bicep muscle (in the front of your arm), which pulls the bones in your forearm up in the air.  If you wish to press your forearm into the table, moving it away from your upper arm you have to shorten your tricep muscle (in the back of your arm), which pushes the bones in your forearm into the table top.  There are even small muscles responsible for rolling your forearm and hand from side to side!

The most important part to understand about muscles movement is the fact that muscles have to be attached to two different bones to cause movement.  Think about this:  if a farmer was attempting to pull a bucket full of water out of a well he would need to attach a rope to both the bucket and his hands to make a difference.  If he tied both ends of the rope to the bucket it wouldn’t move, nor would it move if he were holding both ends in your hand.  Muscles work the same – a muscle (the rope) must be attached to a origin point (the farmer) and an ending or “insertion” point (the bucket).

Now that we know muscles must attach to two different bones it must be said that every bone in the body has multiple muscles attached to it!  Since bones need to move up, down, forward, backward, and around there must be muscles to provide this movement for EVERY bone that can perform these feats.  Not all bones can move in every direction – ever tried twisting a finger around? – but all bones have at least SOME movement.  If we look at the forearm again we can see that the bones within, called the radius and ulna, have muscles attached to it that can lift the forearm, straighten the forearm, twist the forearm, extend the hand (pressing the top of the hand back), flex the hand (pressing the palm of the hand down), twist the hand, and even flex and extend the fingers!

All of these different muscles, with different origins and insertions, can be a complicated network within the body.  Imagine now that one of these muscles is injured and has gone into a phase of inflammation and constant tightness, better known as a muscle spasm.  In this state an injured muscle with be constantly pulling on the two bones it connects with, causing any ligaments, joints or muscles between them to experience undue pressure and strain.  Eventually this increased strain will cause one or both of the bones to shift slightly to relieve the pressure.  When this shift happens all of the muscles attached to the shifted bones will now experience their own strain and irritation, having been moved out of their normal place.   As you can see, these types of muscle strains and bone shifts (called subluxations) can cause a chain reaction throughout the body in ways you may never expect.

Not all is lost, however, since there are professionals that do expect these things to happen.  Chiropractors, Massage Therapists, Orthopedic Surgeons, and Physical Therapists are all professionals that can predict these types of reactions in the body.  Our job is to correct muscle spasms and subluxations before a domino effect happens.  The only way we can do this, however, is if you come in to see us when you feel something “off” in your body, or if you’ve had an injury.  Even though receiving treatments for what may seem like a relatively simple discomfort may seem trivial and wasteful you may actually be preventing the spread of painful muscle spasms throughout your own body.  After all, now you know Dem Dry Bones was right, and the thigh bone really IS connected to the hip bone!

Working with Musculoskeletal Disorders

Jun 06
work injuries neck pain la jolla chiropractor

We often do not think of the potential of injury at the office, or at the jobsite. Imagine all of the hours spent at work – 8 hours a day, 40+ hours a week. Between the tweaks, twists, lifting and typing, something is bound to trigger musculoskeletal injury or pain. Many of us will suffer some sort of pain at the end of the workday – whether it is in the wrists, ankles, or lower back. However, we may not be aware that the pain could be due to our work. Rather, we make excuses for pain, such as “I’m just tired,” or “I’ve always had this.”

When working at a desk, a slouching posture in the chair feels good for a while, but it might not be conducive for preventing long-term problems. Repetitive processes such as typing can cause persistent pain to various parts of the musculoskeletal system. Tendons and nerves can become inflamed due to overuse, which can create serious problems. Carpal tunnel syndrome can be a result of repetition and overuse which affects nerves in the wrists that can hinder the ability to work. Even the temperature of the workplace affects how our muscles and joints respond.

According to Blue Cross of California, “an average Carpal tunnel surgery costs the company about $29,000…. but that’s not all. For every dollar the company spends on medical costs, they spend 3 to 5 times in indirect costs such as re-hiring, retraining, down-time and more.”

Labor-intensive work environments, such as a construction site, or seemingly less stressful work such as in a department store, serve a greater risk for musculoskeletal injuries.
 Heavy lifting can easily strain muscles and induce severe pain.
 Tripping over a box or slipping on loose material can result in strains or broken bones.
 Prolonged standing puts stress on bones and can create imbalances in posture.

Musculoskeletal injuries at work have created a widespread problem in the U.S. as well as across the globe. A larger percentage of the workforce suffers every day from pain, and job performance is affected. According to the American Chiropractic Association, “Musculoskeletal disorders alone – like back pain and neck pain – account for more than 32 percent of all injuries that cause an employee to perform poorly on the job or take days off from work, costing employers more than $60 billion per year in lost productivity.”

In the face of this, companies are trying to find preventative solutions. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and when it comes to dollars spent, corporations are beginning to feel this in the pocketbook. An employee’s reporting and care of an injury in the workplace is a critical piece of the problem. Therefore, it is critical to have a plan for prevention and even a reporting structure for work-related injuries.

One approach for work-related injury prevention is to incorporate chiropractic treatment at work. A chiropractor’s perspective on the musculoskeletal system is truly unique and is an effective approach for preventing and treating musculoskeletal pain.

Educating the workplace on proper ways to stretch, lift, and even providing adjustments are great ways to help eliminate work-related injury. When compared to forking out thousands of dollars for employee injuries, the chiropractic approach is an inexpensive way to prevent and reduce work-related ailment. Promoting wellness for employees will bring health and a more positive outlook on each workday.

Contact us at the Head neck and Spine Center of San Diego for an appointment today. www.newlajolladc.wpengine.com 858-558-3111

Fender-benders: worry about your neck, not your bumper

May 05
auto accident whiplash neck pain

Car accidents are one of the many causes of whiplash; other cases may be a result of sports injuries, or a serious fall. However, with an abundance of motorists on the road each year, the risk of being in a whiplash-related accident is a high probability. The slightest impact in a car can result in neck and cervical distress. “An 8mph car collision produces two times the force of gravity (or a G-2) deceleration of the car, and a 5-G deceleration of the head. This unnatural and forceful movement affects the muscles and ligaments in the neck, stretching, and potentially tearing them.” Anyone that experiences pain after an accident should not ignore the symptoms.

The broad range of symptoms and lack of significant tangible evidence (i.e. scarring, broken bones) leads many medical doctors and insurance companies to dismiss whiplash and prescribe rest and temporary painkillers. The most common source of pain is usually caused by stretched or torn ligaments, which cannot be seen by the naked eye. The spinal structure is incredibly vulnerable during an accident, discs in the vertebrae could slip out of alignment and pain could show up days or even weeks later. Symptoms can start off fairly mild and progressively get worse. Initially, whiplash pain may be similar to muscle soreness, but as it intensifies, concussion-like symptoms may appear such as fatigue, dizziness, and blurred vision.

It is important for whiplash patients to seek a chiropractor for corrective help because of their expertise in spinal manipulation. “Chiropractic care, with its emphasis on comprehensive spinal health, is well suited to the complex, diverse symptoms and therapeutic response that have contributed to seeming confusion regarding whiplash…. A chiropractor’s systematic approach to treatment, with a realistic focus on active rehabilitation, can achieve better-than-average results for many patients.” Through methods of manipulative care, chiropractors provide a critical approach for whiplash patients by slowly strengthening the damaged ligaments and tissues back to health.
The primary goal for a whiplash patient is to restore movement and functionality in the damaged areas. Inactivity will not help the muscles become reoriented with their original range of motion. Routine adjustments from a chiropractor are critical, but patients must be proactive at home as well.

During the night, patients who use ordinary pillows do not receive the corrective support to the head, neck and spine. Cervical pillows offer proper alignment, which is essential to maintaining good posture. Proper alignment and posture will help to reduce tension throughout the day, enabling greater mobility.

Between regular visits with a chiropractor, whiplash patients should begin at-home rehabilitation to the injured spinal structure. As the soreness subsides, treatment for whiplash must involve re-strengthening the ligaments in the neck that have been overly strained. As mobility in the neck is restored, resistance should be gradually increased to enhance balance and strength. Whiplash is a very severe injury to a critical part of the body. Effective recovery must include a solid balance between chiropractic care, rest, and proper exercise. These methods of treatment are cost efficient and many can be done in the convenience of home. Whiplash is not something that you “live with.” The pain can be defeated and life can resume back to normalcy.

Low back pain won’t relieve itself!

May 05
San Diego Chiropractor Low back pain La Jolla

Eighty percent of the population of the United States, at some point in their life, is going to have back pain.

Could you fall into this percentage?

The human back and spinal structure is a highly complex part of the body. It consists of bones, discs, muscles, and ligaments that all play a critical role for movement of all extremities. The back is a strong and fundamental part of the body, but it does have its weaknesses.

The lower back is the most common area for pain and can limit everyday activity. In order to help prevent it, it is important to know what it is and how it develops. There are two degrees of low back pain (LBP) people can suffer from – acute and chronic. Both affect the same area of the body, however, they differ in frequency of occurrence.

Acute low back pain is considered any discomfort in the lower back region, lumbar muscles, or pelvis that lasts three months or less. In most cases, the pain is treated effectively, diminishes, and life returns back to normal.

Cases of acute LBP can differ greatly according to a person’s lifestyle or the injury at-hand. LBP can arise from something as simple as sitting on a wallet or money clip (Sciatica) for an extended period of time. Acute pain can also come from a more severe injury, such as a herniated disc in the spine. However, severe back injuries can take longer than three months to heal, (technically making them Chronic). For an injury to be considered acute, the pain must be treated and subsided within three months.

To effectively treat LBP, muscles and ligaments need to be properly restored, which can be done through chiropractic adjustments and staying physically active. It is important to avoid prolonged bed rest, as the strained muscles and ligaments must be strengthened.

Lack of exercise, work situations, smoking, and stress are all contributors of LBP.
It is important to have an active, healthy lifestyle to reduce symptoms. Proper nutrition, exercise, and smoking cessation are ways to help reduce pain, increase blood flow, and establish a healthy body.

It is smart to have a plan when taking on LBP. Routinely visiting a chiropractor for adjustments will help to restore the injured muscles and ligaments in the spine. The chiropractic approach is to find the cause of the pain and treat it directly. This may involve realigning the spine or extremities by chiropractic adjustments, physiotherapy for the muscles and ligaments, rehabilitative exercises, or a combination of these. D.C’s can recommend ways to lead healthier lives outside of their office by offering tips on exercise and nutrition. Maintaining this healthier lifestyle will help reduce the intake of temporary medicine and promote overall wellness.

Low back pain is considered chronic if it lasts longer than three months. However, this does not necessarily mean that the injury is more severe than acute. There are possibilities that chronic pain can develop from degenerative disorders, scoliosis, or bone disease. But the percentage of people that suffer chronic pain from severe conditions is much smaller.

Chronic LBP can result from the same injuries that were mentioned in, acute LBP. The outlying difference between the two is chronic LBP lasts longer than three months; it can even stick around for years. One of the greatest problems many patients face with chronic LBP is not being able to pinpoint the pain.

When the lower back’s muscles and ligaments have been strained, or if a spinal disc has herniated, the injured components must be repaired. The body will not automatically heal what has been damaged by itself. This pain can be subsided with heat, ice, or painkillers, but if a patient is unwilling to be proactive; low back pain will persist. This is a large factor for men and women that claim disability, or do not return to work.

According to National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Americans spend at least $50 billion each year on low back pain, the most common cause of job-related disability and a leading contributor to missed work. Back pain is the second most common neurological ailment in the United States — only headache is more common.

In many cases, prolonged pain is a result of unhealthy habits. Chronic LBP can result from lack of exercise, obesity, or strains caused by lifting. The best remedy to treat lasting back pain is to be proactive. This involves routine visits with a chiropractor and exercising to restore the injured area. Also, cutting out old habits that induce stress on the body plays a major role in fighting constant back pain.

A D.C’s expertise in spinal manipulation and extremity adjustments can be beneficial for low back pain. Chiropractors can also provide techniques for at-home recovery, starting with exercises and nutrition.

Take care of your body. Pain will not relieve itself!

Contact your San Diego Chiropractic Group- The Head Neck and Spine Center of San Diego.
858-558-3111. wwwnewlajolladc.wpengine.com

Dr. Goldstein

by: footlevelers

Prevent back, neck and shoulder pain from prolonged sitting

May 05
back pain neck pain shoulder pain

Back, neck and shoulder pain is the natural result of prolonged sitting at work behind a computer, as is bad posture. This can cause headaches and excessive tension in neck, shoulders, arms, forearms, wrists, back, hips, thighs and legs. The result is increased fatigue to the muscles and ligaments supporting the lower back and this can eventually lead to tissue injury and spinal joint dysfunction. Avoid these problems by posture correction, exercise and correct use of equipment.

Symptoms of back problems due to excessive computer use include:

* Back and neck muscle spasm and pain
* Back and neck soft tissue inflammation
* Back, neck and shoulder pain on movement and involvement of other muscles as a reaction
* Referred pain to buttocks and thighs or up the spine

Preventing back and neck pain while sitting is not an exact science as there are many differing opinions on the subject. However, there are some common denominators on which most chiropractors and other medical professionals agree:

Tips to Prevent Computer Related Neck and Shoulder Pain

Do not slouch in front of the computer or lie in bed and work on a laptop.

Do not work for hours in front of a computer without breaks.

Do not ignore back twinges and back pain, hoping that the problem will resolve itself.

Avoid taking pain or anti-inflammatory medication when in pain from using a computer. This will serve to mask the symptoms but can lead to serious injury or permanent nerve damage in the long term.

Do not sit on one leg or sit with legs crossed as this causes additional strain to the back.

Do not perch a laptop on the lap and stare down at the screen – this places extra strain on the neck, spine and arms.

Buy a chair that encourages you to use your back muscles, such as a stool chair with no back or arm rests. Lower back pain can be reduced or eliminated by strengthening the lower back muscles through active sitting exercises.

Buy an ergonomic keyboard and mouse and ensure that the height is adjusted appropriately.

Have a break every hour and do stretching exercises like neck rolls, chin tucks, cupping head in hands behind the head and extension exercises.

Visiting a Chiropractic Clinic

A chiropractor is a medical professional who treats spinal column dysfunction. Back and neck pain may be the result of the back being badly aligned and the chiropractor sets out to relieve the problem by manual manipulation, exercise, massage and the application of heat, cold and light.

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