Tag Archives: work out

Managing Neck Pain and Headaches Part 3

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

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.

Cervical Radiculopathy

Cervical Radiculopathy is a dysfunction of the cervical nerve roots resulting in various neurologic findings. The cervical spine consists of seven cervical vertebrae and eight cervical nerve roots. Cervical radiculopathy can result in pain, numbness, or weakness and though the problem occurs at the nerve root of the cervical spine, these symptoms will often radiate to parts of the body controlled by that nerve. The seventh (C7) and sixth (C6) cervical nerve roots are most commonly affected.

In younger patients, cervical radiculopathy is usually the result of a disc herniation or an acute injury causing foraminal impingement of the exiting nerve. In the older population, cervical radiculopathy is usually due to foraminal narrowing from osteophyte formation, decreased disc height, or degenerative changes. In elderly patients with osteophyte formation, repetitive neck movements may result in a more insidious injury. Cervical radiculopathy due to sports injuries can result from several mechanisms. Typical these injuries occur from forced extension, lateral bending, or a rotation mechanism, which closes the foramen and results in the exiting nerve root being injured.

Risk Factors for Cervical Radiculopathy

  • Heavy manual labor requiring lifting more than 25 pounds (especially repetitive activity)
  • Driving or operating vibrating equipment
  • Smoking
  • Collision sports (e.g. football, hockey)
  • Prior injuries, degenerative disc disease/osteoarthritis

History and Symptoms of Cervical Radiculopathy

The condition may follow a neck injury or be of insidious onset, and there may be a history of multiple episodes of previous neck pain or arthritis of the cervical spine. The pain may range from deep aching to severe burning neck pain. Usually, the pain will be referred to the shoulder blade, which might be described as shoulder pain. If the radiculopathy progresses, radicular arm pain (“sharp, shooting, electrical”) or sensory changes (“numbness, tingling, loss of sensation”) may develop down the arm and into the hand. Arm symptoms will depend on which nerve root is involved. Occasionally, a motor weakness may develop of the shoulder or arm. Certain neck positions which cause increased foraminal narrowing may increase the pain. The symptoms may be relieved by lifting the arm over the head which decreases the tension at the nerve root.

Treatment of Cervical Radiculopathy

Initial treatment will focus on reducing pain and inflammation and prevention of further neurological loss. The focus will also be on centralizing (reducing) any radicular symptoms by decreasing nerve root compression and pressure within the herniated discs. This will consist of manual traction and pain-free active non-resisted ranges of motion while avoiding positions that increase neck and arm symptoms. A cervical pillow at night can be helpful in maintaining the neck in a neutral position and limiting head positions that cause foraminal narrowing. Electrotherapy modalities may be used to help reduce any associated muscle pain and muscle spasms. Once pain and inflammation have decreased, therapy will progress to restore full range of motion and mobility of the neck and shoulder. This will include muscle stretching, strengthening and proprioceptive training, and corrective exercises as tolerated. Cervical manipulation and soft tissue therapy may be administered as tolerated and as long as it does not cause an increase in symptoms. If you fail to respond to conservative treatment, or in cases of severe neurological loss, a secondary consultation with a neurologist or neurosurgeon will be recommended.

TMJ Dysfunction

“I’ve got TMJ”  It’s a pretty common statement which is a bit of a misnomer.  Everyone has TMJ.  Why?  The TMJ is the tempo-mandibular joint(TMJ).  We all have it.  What people are probably trying to say is that they have TMJ disorder, aka pain and dysfunction of the jaw while opening or closing your mouth.

What happens is the mandible (your jaw) connects to the rest of your head at the temporal bone.  It’s a hinge joint that pivots through a cartilage disc called a meniscus in between the two bones of this joint.  Unfortunately, it’s a common place for the TMJ to become subluxated or in other words, a little bit dislodged.  After that, you can get overuse and degeneration of that joint.  One way to tell if you have this disorder is to open your mouth and measure, can you open your mouth the height of 3 fingers for your hand?  If not, you might have TMJ disorder.

The main physical causes of this condition are:

  • trauma
  • overuse from a commonly chewing on one side of your mouth
  • keeping the mouth open for extended periods of time (like at the dentist)
  • improper bite
  • grinding

From a physical standpoint, the best way to prevent TMJ disorder is to wear proper mouthpieces while playing sports, wearing mouth guards while sleeping, making sure to chew food evenly on both sides of your mouth, cutting tough meats and other foods into small pieces and minimizing gum chewing. Having better posture also improve the alignment of the TMJ.

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!

Hip Weakness is Closely Linked to Knee Pain

In this study they found that hip weakness was linked to knee pain. I treat a lot of runners that have knee pain, and most of them have weak hips.

“Women with Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome had 33% lower hip abduction peak strength. They also had significant 70% lower knee extension force steadiness and 60% lower hip abduction force steadiness than pain-free women. Evidence-based treatments aiming at improving force steadiness may be a promising addition to PFP rehabilitation programs.

Below is a helpful exercise to strengthen your hips. As always, if you need any guidance do not hesitate to call the office!

Ferreira AS et al. Knee and Hip Isometric Force Steadiness Are Impaired in Women With Patellofemoral Pain. J Strength Cond Res. 2019 Jul 22. Link 

Functional Clam

Function Clam

The clam is a great exercise for strengthening the Glute Medius. The Glute Medius is an important muscle related to lower back pain. They help stabilize the pelvis while walking, so the weakness can lead to an unstable pelvis.

Another area that weakness of Glute Medius can cause pain in is the knee. Because of this runners have to pay extra attention to this muscle so they don’t suffer from injuries related to this muscle. ( knee pain and Illiotibial band syndrome)

If you want more information or want to see if you have weakness that could be contributing to your pain, call the chiropractic office in Elgin, Illinois and make an appointment!

What type of running shoe should I get part 1

I’m going to do a multi-part blog on running and running shoes! Running and advice on the proper shoe are topics often brought up in my clinic so why not share for easy reference?

Starting with part one:

Here one question I get often:  I’m going to start to run to get in shape, so what brand (x) of running shoe?

There so many variables that go into the question.  Your biomechanic faults/deficiencies, anatomical variants,  the current level of your strength, the current level of fitness, what is your running form/style. Plus add in what you do for a living.  A construction worker has different stress on the body then a person who sits at a desk all day.

In my opinion, it’s better to start with yourself.  First, improve your body and then work on your running mechanics.   After, try to find the best style of running shoe based on comfort.

I like to take a “ground-up” approach.   The first thing to do is to make your foot and lower extremity better.  Fixing any joint dysfunction and then working on making your body stronger and more flexible is a great start.

Next is to improve your running form. I would video record the person running and make any necessary correction.  RUNNING is a SKILL and will need to be practiced.  

After doing all of the above, the patient will be less likely to get injured.  Plus it will be easy to find the right running shoe.