Neck pain and headaches are a very common issue in our society, and understanding the causes and prevention of them will go a long way to leading a healthy and pain free life. In this educational summary, we discuss some of the most common conditions we see in our office. Below we will discuss the following neck-related pain conditions.
- Upper Crossed Syndrome
- Neck Sprain/Strain
- Disc Pain
- Cervical Radiculopathy
- TMJ Dysfunction
This will be a multi part series, going over the list above.
Upper Crossed Syndrome
Upper Crossed Syndrome describes a type of common muscle imbalance. This occurs when the neck flexors and the middle back become weak while the pectoral muscles and the muscles at the base of the skull become tight. This produces a familiar pain pattern at the base of the neck and the shoulders, as well as joint dysfunction at the base of the skull and shoulders.
The main physical causes of this condition are:
- Desk job
- Too much sitting
- Driving long hours
- Poor posture
However, with the proper education, you can protect yourself from many of these causes. The primary sufferers of this condition, especially chronic cases, often have poor posture while sitting at a desk for most of the day. A comorbid factor is a sedentary lifestyle with little physical activity. This poor sitting posture leads to a re-enforcement of the Upper Crossed Syndrome, and it is crucial that you arrange your workstation to facilitate a proper posture as best as possible.
The best way to combat this problem is, of course, to prevent it before it starts. If possible, minimize sitting for long periods of time and take frequent work breaks to take short walks around the office to reset your posture.
If the problem has already begun, Dr. Steve can teach you proper form and posture to prevent this problem in the future so that you are more mindful of the positions that can promote this problem. I am also trained in soft tissue techniques that will be able to relax your tight muscles, restore motion and reduce pain levels. There are also methods of rehabilitative exercise that can be taught to you to reverse any damage already done and prevent a progression of this condition, as well as instill healthy habits for you to employ for the rest of your life.
Headaches come in many varieties, and nearly everyone experiences this type of pain at some point in their lives. The common symptom of all headaches is of course characterized by pain. Different types of headaches cause pain in different regions of the head and have unique pain sensations. Some portion of people experiencing headaches can be characterized as migraines. Migraines often feature symptoms such as nausea, vomiting or sensitivity to lights.
The physical causes of this condition are extremely numerous, but some of them are:
- Poor posture
- Diet & exercise habits
- Hormonal imbalance
Since there are so many different types of headaches, as well as causes and symptoms, it is important to get a proper diagnosis so that you can better treat the cause. An assessment of your lifestyle habits is an effective way to diagnose common contributing factors that may be causing your headaches. For example, addressing your sleeping habits, making sure you get the proper amount of sleep and making sure you are getting restful sleep. A proper, healthy, balanced diet that is free of any substances that you may have a sensitivity to or may be a trigger for headaches is important for managing this condition as well. Posture and body habitus can be huge contributing factors and may be some of the simplest to diagnose and manage. Treatment such as soft tissue modalities as well as chiropractic adjustments coupled with posture analysis and correction can be a simple and effective way of managing headaches of this type.
Next week we will have more on this subject! In the meantime please call the office if you have neck pain or headaches that we can help you with!