Tag Archives: headaches

Tips While Working at a Desk part 2

  • Movement
    • Mini-water breaks throughout the day.
    • 10,000 steps per day.
    • The triple exercise
    • Micro break
  • Stress Management
    • Mindfulness at your desk by closing eyes, sitting in good posture and slow deep breathing a few times per day. All technology off for the moment.
      • Improves mood, productivity and stress management
    • Abdominal breathing instead of chest breathing.
The triple exercise

We are here to help you with any pain you’re experiencing!

Tips While Working at a Desk Part 1

  • Move in every aspect of your life, at home and work
  • Set the alarm every hour to perform some movement. 3-5 minutes in length.
  • Place a Lacrosse Ball under your legs, top of legs, between shoulder blades while at the desk.  
  • Light dumbbells at your desk for fitness snacking throughout the day.
  • Park at the farthest spot away to get more walking throughout the day.
  • Walking meetings are a great way to get movement and productivity.
  • Seated Exercise throughout the day three times per work day minimum.
    • Seated Cat and Cows
    • Seated Twists
    • Neck Ranges of Motion
    • Shoulder Rolls
  • Find an accountability buddy.
  • Strategically plan your traveling to take your workouts with you.

More people are working from home now more than ever. If you are experiencing pain since this big change please give our office a call. We are here and ready to help!

Managing Neck Pain and Headaches Part 2

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.

  1. Upper Crossed Syndrome
  2. Headaches
  3. Neck Sprain/Strain
  4. Disc Pain
  5. Cervical Radiculopathy
  6. TMJ Dysfunction

Neck Strain/Sprains

Cervical strains and sprains are some of the most common injuries sustained to the cervical spine. A cervical strain is when an injury occurs to the muscles of the cervical spine. A sprain, on the other hand, is an injury to the ligaments or joints; both, however, have similar pain and symptom patterns. Patients suffering from this diagnosis often have pain when attempting to move the head and neck, especially at end ranges of motion. Another symptom that sufferers’ may experience is frequent headaches, which may not seem directly evident to the patient that the source of the headaches may be caused by their cervical strain or sprain.

The main physical causes of this condition are:

  • Automobile accidents
  • Whiplash
  • Contact sports injuries
  • Repetitive overuse injury
  • Prolonged poor posture

Obviously some of the time these injuries are impossible to avoid, such as traumatic automobile accidents and whiplash injuries. At this point there are no steps for prevention and your next course of action is to seek treatment, usually with ice in the days immediately following the injury as well as therapeutic modalities such as interferential electrical stimulation, Active Release Technique, and massage.

In cases where the injury stems from a problem related to overuse, poor posture or improper exercise, there are steps that can be taken to help avoid these injuries from happening. Proper instruction on ergonomics in the workplace, fixing posture and instilling healthy habits, as well as receiving the proper knowledge in exercising can help build a better foundation for a healthy spine for life.

Neck Disc Pain

Discogenic Pain Syndrome is a condition that results from soft tissue damage and associated irritation of the fibers of intervertebral discs. Intervertebral discs are cushions found between each vertebra of the spine that work as shock absorbers to protect the vertebrae by helping dissipate the forces applied to the spine and to help facilitate movement. The cervical discs are found between the vertebrae of the spine in the area we think of like the neck. Intervertebral discs consist of an outer annulus fibrous, made up of tough, fibrous connective tissue, which surrounds a gel-like center called the nucleus pulposus. The outer third of the annulus fibrous is innervated by nerves and contain pain and mechanical receptors which mediate pain transmission from structural damage to the intervertebral discs or indirectly through chemically mediated inflammation.

Cervical disc pain can arise from a variety of reasons, whether by injury or a degenerative condition. In most cases, the condition can be treated to allow the person to continue his/hers active lifestyle.

Potential causes of Cervical Discogenic Pain Syndrome

  • Direct trauma – falls, motor vehicle accident, whiplash, sports injury
  • Overuse, fatigue, repetitive microtrauma – over hours, days, months of the same position
  • Postural – can be either an intrinsic postural problem (e.g. loss of cervical curvature) or an extrinsic postural problem (e.g. prolonged stressful position, protruded head posture).
  • Sudden unguarded movement.
  • Degenerative disc disease.

Symptoms of Cervical Discogenic Pain Syndrome

The symptoms will vary depending on whether the condition is caused by a herniated disc or by a degenerative disc. With a herniated disc, some people will not experience pain in the neck but will have radiating pain, tingling, and numbness down the arm or around the shoulder blade due to pressure put on the nerve root. Discogenic pain due to an injury can result in immediate pain or pain shortly after the injury. Headaches (usually cervicogenic) can also result from cervical disc pain.

Treatment of Cervical Discogenic Pain Syndrome

Treatment for cervical discogenic pain will depend on the clinical presentation. Conservative treatment can successfully manage many cervical disc herniations. Initial treatment will focus on controlling pain and inflammation. Once pain and inflammation have decreased, early rehabilitation will help prevent chronic pain and disability. This will consist of osseous manipulation, soft tissue therapy, activity as tolerated, and pain-free range of motion exercises. Late rehabilitation will be administered as the condition improves and will include stabilization exercises, patient education, and postural training. Education in proper training, biomechanics, and a home exercise program will help strengthen the spine and decreases the likelihood of future injury. If you fail to respond to conservative treatment, or in cases of severe pain, diagnostic imaging (x-ray, MRI) will be warranted, and an orthopedic consult may be necessary.

Dr. Steve is always here to help your neck pain and headaches. If you are suffering from either please set up an appointment to start the healing process!

Managing Neck Pain and Headaches Part 1

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.

  1. Upper Crossed Syndrome
  2. Headaches
  3. Neck Sprain/Strain
  4. Disc Pain
  5. Cervical Radiculopathy
  6. 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

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:

  • Allergies
  • Stress
  • Poor posture
  • Diet & exercise habits
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Smoking

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!

Working from home?

Are you working from home because of the Corona virus?

It’s a great feeling to accomplish work from the comfort of your kitchen table. While working from home can help avoid some of the headaches of a regular workplace — such as long commutes and inflexible work hours — it can still cause its own discomforts, especially if you’re using a laptop.

Imagine slaving over a hot keyboard from your kitchen table, doing work while sprawled on your bed, or hunched over a coffee table from your couch. It’s no wonder that  injuries and pain can happen just as commonly at home as it does from the workplace!

Working at home should be a comfortable, productive experience. With our training, we can identify habits and poor work setups that could cause you pain while you work at home. We help you so you can remain productive anywhere… even in your pajamas.

What do you imagine when you think of an office workspace? Many people envision designated cubicles, desks, coworkers, the proverbial water cooler, and computer setups with keyboards and mouses.

However, when you think of a home workspace, you may picture something else entirely: a kitchen table, or sitting in the familiar indentation on the couch or being flopped on a bed with a laptop and notebook nearby.

It is important to consider that working from the comfort of your home is not always comfortable. When we ask our patients that work from home to describe their workstation setup, very few tell us that they have a separate home office with a desk. 

Good ergonomics isn’t limited to the usual 9-to-5 workday. The same practices that can help avoid aches and pains at the workplace can be applied to your home office, too!

The most important tip that we can offer when working from home is to have a designated workstation with a comfortable office chair. Having the right setup will allow you to work productively, pain-free, and more easily while you work in the comfort of your home.

If so, I want to take a moment to look at your home office space.

If your workspace involves hunching over the coffee table with a too-low laptop and a sprawl of spreadsheets everywhere, then we need to talk!

Working at home should be comfortable, flexible, and beneficial to your time and energy. It shouldn’t be a source of pain.

If you’re not sure how to design a good office space within the comfort of your home, don’t worry. We can help.  Give our office a call, and our trained doctors of chiropractic can help review your workspace and make recommendations that work best for you and the space you have!

Laptops are fantastic for their lightweight portability. Unfortunately, the features that make laptops so versatile can also cause other issues!  Keyboard spacing, screen size and positioning, and pointing devices are all poorly designed when it comes to laptop computers, creating issues in your neck, upper back, lower back, and even hands. 

Furthermore, it is nearly impossible to have good posture when using a keyboard fixed to a laptop! Because the keyboard and the monitor are attached to each other, it is a challenge to sit ideally when working.

One tip is to have an adjustable office chair to get the proper body positioning and height when sitting, especially if your laptop rests on a surface that is not height adjustable. Put the laptop on a stand, so the screen remains at eye level to reduce neck strain, and if possible, use an attachable keyboard instead to give your wrists and forearms more support while typing.

For more tips, give our office a call.  We are well-versed in helping you prevent injuries, whether it’s at the workplace, your home office, or your local productive coffee shop!

Can bad posture effect how your nervous system works?

Is forward head posture relevant to autonomic nervous system function and cervical sensorimotor control?

Forward head posture can lead to many things! Besides looking bad it can cause such things as headaches, neck pain, shoulder pain as well as TMJ problems.

Highlights from the study show:

Forward head posture negatively affects cervical sensorimotor control. Forward head posture negatively affects the autonomic nervous system. There is strong correlation between the Craniovertebral angle (CVA) and cervical sensorimotor outcomes. There is strong correlation between the Craniovertebral angle (CVA) and cervical sensorimotor outcomes. There is strong correlation between the Craniovertebral angle(CVA) and skin sympathetic outcomes.

Here’s a picture of forward head posture or a poor CVA. The picture to the left is the worse CVA. The one on the right is very good posture.

CONCLUSION: “We have identified a forward head posture is associated with abnormal autonomic nervous system function and disturbances of cervical sensorimotor control. This finding has important implications for the assessment and rehabilitation of these subjects.”

If you need help with your posture contact the office! We can help!

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0966636220300059?via%3Dihub

When Is Standing Too Much?

The new craze in standing at your desk has many asking if standing is for them, and how long should they stand for? Does everyone need a standing desk?  Not everyone needs a standing desk.  If you do have pain with sitting and  you sit for your job, then a sit to stand opinion might be for you.  Below are some tips to make the transition from sitting all day, to using a sit to standing desk without hurting yourself.

  • Standing too much can cause low back pain and leg pain.
  • Body is designed to sit and stand throughout the day. There are many ways to get your standing throughout the day without the need for a sit-to-stand option.
  • Sit-to-stand options can be useful and make the ability to stand more readily available. If you do have this options, here is what you need to look out to ensure proper utilization.
    • Most start at 15-20 mins within the hour in the beginning then it grows.
    • 4-6 hours per day after 30 days.
    • Start off slowly- taking breaks.
    • Listen to your body.
    • Flat surface and flat shoes (no heels!)
    • Weight distribution right below hips and arms at a right angle looking straight ahead and slightly down.
    • Don’t do continuous 8 hours of standing.  

What Pillow should I get?

Are you Sleeping on the Right Pillow?

Determining the right pillow is a personal choice that a person will make every so often. When it comes to thinking about sleep equipment, most people solely focus on the mattress. The mattress is one of the most important sleep equipment you will buy, but when it comes to sleep quality pillows are just as important. How you lay your head when sleeping plays a huge role in determining the type of support you need. Pillows not only impact the quality of sleep but can prevent any neck discomfort.

Why Does Your Pillow Matter?

A proper pillow will facilitate a good night’s sleep without you waking up at night or waking up with pain or a stiff neck. Having the wrong pillow over time can exacerbate unnecessary neck pain. There are a few factors that go into making a guide for yourself to determine the proper pillow for you.

Back Sleeper:

Sleeping on your back might appear to be comfy, but will highlight the underlying issue of snoring if you have a pillow that allows your head to sink. As you lay your head back, gravity will push the tongue back and block your throat. A better alternative will be a pillow that offers height, neck support and keeps the throat at a comfortable level.

Side Sleeper:

One of the most common positions to sleep in is on the side. You will need more support to keep the neck at a neutral angle.

Stomach Sleeper:

Sleeping on your stomach might be comfortable for a few nights, but after a while can become taxing on your back and neck. However, having the right pillow can negate some of these issues. A firm/plump pillow will force your neck into an odd angle that might lead to some discomfort. A better alternative would be a softer option.

When Is It Time To Replace Your Pillow?

On average, a pillow should be replaced every 18 months. The old age rule “ you pay for what you get” applies to this transaction. A higher quality pillow will last longer than an inexpensive option. Something you can do to your pillow to see if you need a new one is, take it out of the pillowcase to see if there are any stains or fold it in half and see if the pillow stays folded. If either of these are a yes then it is time to replace your pillow.

2019 saw dozens of impactful studies regarding the benefits of Spinal manipulation(adjustments)!

Chiropractic can help headaches! Thru my 20 years of practice I have helped a lot of patients with headaches. It’s nice to see the research is backing up what I and many of my patients have known for years. Chiropractic can help headaches.

Here’s a nice study form Harvard showing that.

1. Researchers from Harvard Medical School, Brigham & Women’s Hospital, and Palmer College of Chiropractic performed a systematic review of the effectiveness of SMT for migraine. They concluded: “We observed that spinal manipulation reduced migraine days as well as migraine pain intensity.” (5)

2. A BMJ study encompassing nearly a quarter-million LBP patients compared initial and long-term opioid use with choice of initial provider. The study concluded: “Patients who received initial treatment from chiropractors or physical therapists had decreased odds of short-term and long-term opioid use compared with those who received initial treatment from primary care physicians.” Drilling beyond the abstract, the data demonstrated that between PT’s and DC’s, chiropractic patients had significantly lower initial and long-term opioid use (0.10 vs. 0.15). (6)

Another Confirmation: Disc Herniations Spontaneously Resorb

Here’s another study showing that disc herniations can spontaneously resorb. The body has a amazing healing capability! We just need to give it a chance and the correct environment.

In 40 patients with lumbar disc herniation: “Based on MRI disc volume; 10% did not show any regression, 15% had a partial regression, and 75% had a complete resolution. Patients with complete resolution showed a significant improvement in the pain score and the ODI score over time.”

Kesikburun B et al. Spontaneous regression of extruded lumbar disc herniation: Correlation with clinical outcome. Pak J Med Sci. 2019 Jul-Aug;35(4):974-980. Link