Low back pain is one of the most common conditions people suffer with, with at least four out of five adults experiencing it at some point in their lives. The causes of low back pain vary from poor lifting or incorrect carrying of heavy weights, poor posture, stress, pregnancy and general wear and tear.
The body is supported by the spine, which carries our spinal cord and nervous system. Nerves branch off the spinal cord between the vertebrae. Therefore, injury may not only lead to local inflammation and pain, but also to irritation of the spinal nerves causing pain elsewhere in the body. Commonly the pain will refer into the buttock and the back or front of the thigh and occasionally all the way to the foot and toes.
A common myth is that acute low back pain is caused by a ‘slipped disc’. Discs do not slip – they can bulge and sometimes this can cause leg pain.
Acute and chronic low back pain responds well to chiropractic treatment. Official government guidelines from the NICE and guidelines from the Royal College of General Practitioners suggest the early referral for manipulative treatment, such as chiropractic is the most effective way of dealing with acute and chronic low back pain.
Your chiropractor will identify the source of your problem, treat the cause of pain and advise how to best keep it from recurring.
Neck Pain / Whiplash
Lifestyles and working practices today often result in us all spending too long sitting at a desk or leaning forward working on a computer or performing repetitive tasks. This often results in muscle tension from poor posture, which applies extra pressure on the neck, back and shoulders, causing headaches, migraines or other neck pain.
Tension caused by stress can increase muscle tension, placing pressure on the joint in the neck, which irritates the spinal nerves, sometimes leading to “referred pain” in other parts of the body or numbness in shoulder, arm and hands.
The neck is vulnerable to damage as it supports the weight of the head. In fact our neck supports 10 to 13 lbs!!
Whiplash injuries are common especially as a result of car accidents. Whiplash can occur even at relatively low speed impact and does not necessarily cause any pain at the time of the accident, because of the body’s ability to compensate for injuries. Problems can arise weeks, months or even years later. Speak to us to find out how you can get out of pain and stay that way.
Chiropractic treatment and associated soft tissue therapy, mobilisation and exercise advice will restore normal movement to the joints between the vertebrae of the spine, providing relief from the discomfort and pain.
The medical term “arthritis” is used to describe joint pain or inflammation and is not in itself a diagnosis but rather a description of the joint. In arthritis, the joint inflammation may present as any combination of swelling, tenderness, stiffness, redness or warmth. There are several different types of arthritis but broadly speaking they can be split into two broad categories; osteoarthritis and inflammatory arthropathies.
Osteoarthritis the ‘wear and tear’ arthritis is the most common type especially as we age.This can lead to the growth of bony spurs, inflammation and stiffness of the affected joint. When a joint is not functioning correctly it becomes painful and the muscles surrounding the joint tighten. Osteoarthritis tends to affect weight bearing joints, hips and knees, but it can also affect the hands and the spine.
This means that there are irreversible degenerative changes in the joints. While chiropractic cannot reverse these changes, it can promote healthier joints by improving their function and mobility, decrease pain and discomfort and help slow any further wear and tear.
Chiropractic can also decrease pain and speed up recovery as well as minimize resultant dysfunction with conditions such as tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, frozen shoulder, carpal tunnel syndrome and repetitive strain injury. Depending on the nature and extent of your condition, we will design an individual treatment programme to help improve your joint mobility. If necessary you will be referred to see a rheumatologist or orthorpaedic consultant
Headaches / Migraine
There are many types of headaches, which present themselves in different ways. The International Headache Society in 1988 released criteria on classification in which twelve different categories were presented.
Two of the main types are:
- Cervicogenic headaches usually caused by misalignment or nerve irritation in the upper neck. This causes pain from the back of the head to the front on only on one side of the head.
- Migraine headaches
can be very distressing and last from a few hours to several days. Symptoms include pain, dizziness, nausea, and visual disturbance.
Cervicogenic headaches are very common and often patients who seek chiropractic care experience immediate relief from the symptoms of the headache following treatment. Patients suffering with migraine headache experience a significant reduction in the frequency of headache episodes.
After we have carefully diagnosed your condition, we can then give you recommendations for care. If yours is not a chiropractic case, you will be referred to the appropriate health care provider.
Hip / Knee / Ankle pain
Hip pain can be caused by muscle strain around the hip or injury to the hip joint. Hip pain may also be caused by referred pain from the spine or due to wear and tear of the joint (osteoarthritis).
The knee is under constant use and suffers from muscle strains, ligament sprains and injury to the meniscus (cartilage pads). The knee is prone to wear and tear and problems with the knee cap due to muscular imbalances. However leg pain and knee pain may be caused by “referred pain” from the lower back, hip or foot.
Foot and ankle pain may result from a direct foot injury to the joints, ligaments or muscles. Foot pain is often caused by fallen arches (flat feet), which place the feet under abnormal strain. However foot and ankle pain can also be caused by ”referred pain from the lower back, which travels along the nerves in the leg.
Some other leg problems treated by chiropractors are:
- Patello-femoral Syndrome
- Patellar tendonitis
- Achilles Tendonitis
- Shin Splints
- Plantar Fascitis
- Heel Pain
The shoulder joint is a shallow ball and socket joint therefore it relies on stability from its surrounding soft tissues. The shoulder provides a wide range of motion,in fact it is probably the most mobile joint in the body however, these characteristics make it prone to injury. There are four joints which have to function properly for good shoulder mobility.
Shoulder pain can be caused by sport or other injuries when the joint, muscles or ligaments become inflamed from undertaking repetitive motions, a fall, or yanking the arm as well as poor posture.
A condition commonly referred to as “frozen shoulder” also known as adhesive capsulitis occurs when chronic inflammation of the shoulder joint leads to the accumulation of scar tissue within and around the joint. If untreated the shoulder can become severely limited in motion.
- Rotator Cuff Strain
- Frozen Shoulder
Elbow pain is often caused by “referred pain” from the neck or shoulder.
You don’t have to play tennis to have a tennis elbow. Repetitive use of your wrist (such as using a screw driver or typing) can cause an overload of the tendon which inserts into the outside and back of the elbow. This can be very painful and often causes weakness of the affected arm.
- Golfers Elbow
- Tennis Elbow
Whether you are an amateur sports enthusiast or a top-flight professional, your body is prone to the same kinds of injuries. Repeated stresses can lead to a slight loss of proper movement in the bones of your spine (vertebrae) and joints, which in turn can interfere with the healthy working of your muscles and nerves. Ignoring the pain and carrying on with your sport for too long can result in a chronic injury.
Common sporting complaints treated by chiropractors are:
- Hip Pain
- Knee Pain
- Ankle Pain
- Lower back pain
- Neck pain
- Tennis elbow
- Shoulder pains
Chiropractic treatment aims to restore normal function to your joints and muscles as well as your nervous system and may increase your control, co-ordination and muscle strength. Treatment coupled with a rehabilitation plan to help assist strengthening of the injured area will help speed up the recovery period and may enhance your performance.
Sports injuries are often problems that arise when increased functional demand is applied to a joint or body part that is not functioning properly in the first place. These might include spinal or pelvic misalignment, muscle imbalance and poor posture to mention but a few. Examples of sports injuries are: Pulled muscles, Tennis elbow, Golfer’s elbow, cartilage dysfunction and tearing and Repetitive Strain Injury.
Your chiropractor can help you recover quicker, with less pain and with minimal resultant dysfunction. More importantly a chiropractor can uncover underlying dysfunction, and by correcting it, help prevent your problem from recurring. Many sportsmen simply wish to maintain their good health with regular chiropractic treatments. Athletes in particular have found a significant improvement in their sport performance through chiropractic care.
Whiplash and back injuries
Symptoms of whiplash injuries often show up long after your car has been repaired.
Specific chiropractic spinal adjustments can help, because they can help restore proper motion and position of individual spinal bones, and can better assure proper healing.
Whiplash is most commonly received from being in a car that is struck from behind or that collides with another object. When the head is suddenly jerked back and forth beyond its normal limits, the muscles and ligaments supporting the spine and head can be overstretched or torn. The soft, pulpy discs between spinal bones can bulge, tear or rupture. Vertebrae can be forced out of their normal position, reducing range of motion. The spinal cord and nerve roots in the neck can get stretched and irritated. While the occupants can suffer considerable soft tissue injury, the car may be only slightly damaged. In fact more often than not if the car is undamaged it unfortunately means the occupants have absorbed the shock of the impact and therefore are subject to more serious long term pain.
The resulting instability of the spine and soft tissues can result in headaches, dizziness, blurred vision, pain in the shoulder, arms and hands, reduced ability to turn and bend, and even low back problems. As the body attempts to adapt, symptoms may not appear for weeks or even months later.
The chiropractic approach to these types of injuries is to use specific chiropractic adjustments to help return spinal function. After a thorough case history and examination, we will recommend a series of visits to help restore proper motion and position of spinal bones. If caught early enough, inflammation can be reduced and scar tissue can often be minimized.
Consult our clinic before enduring constant headaches and pain.
Carpel Tunnel Syndrome
The major nerve controlling the thumb, index, and parts of the middle, and ring finger is called the median nerve. From the tip of your fingers, it travels through the bones in your wrist, past your elbow, up your arm, through your shoulder and neck, and finally to your spinal cord. Problems can develop in one or more of these areas.
The carpal “tunnel” is formed by bones in the wrist. The median nerve, tendons, and blood vessels pass through this opening. If one or more of the bones forming this tunnel should collapse, inflammation, nerve pressure, and painful symptoms in the wrist area can result. The median nerve connects to the spinal cord through openings between several bones in the lower neck. When these spinal bones lose their normal motion or position, they can cause problems in the fingers and wrist.
After a thorough examination, your chiropractor will perform specific adjustments where needed to help normalize structure and reduce nerve irritation. When given time, conservative, chiropractic care has produced excellent results with carpal tunnel problems-without drugs or surgery.
Every day, assembly workers, keyboard operators, shop clerks, gardeners and many others receive micro-traumas to their hands and wrists. Vibration and repetitive motions, when combined with spinal problems and other joint dysfunction, can result in a condition known as carpal tunnel syndrome.
Pinched nerves are relatively rare. Whilst it is not very common to have a bone compressing on a nerve, it is much more common to irritate a nerve by abnormal function or loading of the spinal vertebra.
Irritation and compression can result in pain, muscle weakness, pins and needles, numbness and burning sensation. Once the exact location of nerve irritation has been identified your chiropractor will treat the cause of pain and advise how to best keep it from recurring.
Many physical, mental and hormonal changes take place during pregnancy and these can put strain on a woman’s body. Chiropractic care can help women through the pregnancy. Low and mid-back pain as well as pain in the pelvis and ribs are common during pregnancy.
Chiropractic care is suitable and safe throughout the pregnancy, during labour and after giving birth. Prenatal care will address spinal and pelvic problems. It can also make giving birth easier by ensuring good alignment of joints and ligaments. The birth process is stressful for both the mother and the baby and many mothers choose to have a check-up with their chiropractor after giving birth as well as having their babies checked for birth trauma, joint misalignment and more.
Newborns (Colic / Reflux)
After the baby is born it is so important to have a thorough spinal check-up within the first 6 weeks of life. Birth can be very traumatic for the baby, being on the inside of every contraction can have some very negative effects on the function of the babies immature spine and nervous system. At the first session we take a full medical history and do a full chiropractic assessment of the bones of the spine, and if necessary extending the examination to the limb range of movements.
Any force applied is no more than you would apply to your eye ball and some babies sleep through the examination.
Some common presentations at our clinic are babies with colic, reflux and recurring ear infections to name a few. As chiropractors we eliminate nerve irritation thus facilitating the body to heal itself. Lets face it it can’t be fun to cry for “at least three hours a day for at least three days a week” and no body can help ease the pain. Apparently the baby will grow out of it! Instead of waiting for that to happen Chiropractic can help, give it a try today.
We have all been educated into the benefits of dental check-ups and dental hygiene and yet no one has taken the time to educate parents into understanding the effects nerve interference can have on a child’s developing nervous system; the same system that is trying to monitor and control every cell in your body every moment of every day. If that system is placed under stress it can show imbalance and failure in areas and these are detectable and treatable.
If children have regular check ups then it allows our children to grow out of not into their problems. By 18 years old we have the spine, posture and joint function we will live with for the rest of our lives. Changes are more challenging after that point. It would be like eating sugar for 18 years, never cleaning your teeth or visiting a dentist and then being forced through pain to seek help only to discover the terrible state your teeth are in and that help is limited, painful and expensive.
Prevention is better than cure and there is no age group this is truer for than children.
Sciatica is a general term describing pain from irritation of the sciatic nerve and its branches. The sciatic nerve is a collection of spinal nerve roots arising from the lower back. These nerves can become aggravated by abnormal functioning of the spinal vertebrae, bulging of the spinal discs (often called “slipped disc”) or even by tight muscles around it.
Sciatic pain can be felt anywhere in the leg and it can even extend to the foot. Even when sciatica originates from the lower part of the spine, low back pain isn’t necessarily present. In the past, treatment has involved pain medications, muscle relaxers, physical therapy, and even surgery. The chiropractic approach is to use carefully directed and controlled pressure to remove the interference from spinal structures. These chiropractic “adjustments” can be quite effective in reducing nerve irritation and its associated pain.
Sciatica, like other health problems that can be traced to the spine, often respond dramatically to the restoration of normal spinal function through chiropractic care.
Your chiropractor will identify the cause of the irritation and provide treatment at the source of the problem.
Scoliosis is most commonly seen in girls. Scoliosis is a general term meaning sideways curvature of the spine. Looking at the ideal spine from the front or the back it would be completely straight. One shoulder or one side of the pelvis being higher than the other may be a sign of scoliosis. Whether scoliosis can be corrected with chiropractic care depends on the individual case.
Scoliosis often develops in early teenage years and the earlier you intervene, the easier it is to treat. When scoliosis has been present for a long time, the sideways curvature may not always be corrected, however the function of the spine can in most cases be improved, thus relieving any pain, discomfort -even breathing difficulties.
Because spinal bones continue to grow well into the early 20s, if left uncorrected, scoliosis often worsens.
Traditional approaches attempt to correct the problem by immobilizing the spine with braces.
The chiropractic approach is to use specific spinal adjustments, often combined with corrective exercises. If detected early enough, chiropractors have had excellent success with scoliosis cases.
Early detection and chiropractic correction is important for optimum results.
It is thought that scoliosis is the result of a hereditary problem or an adaptation to some type of trauma, such as the birth process, or an injury, such as falling off a bicycle. It usually starts with problems in the lower back.
A disc can’t slip. But it can wedge, bulge, protrude and herniate. Chiropractic care may help.
The most serious disc problem is a prolapsed disc in which the soft centre ruptures and leaks.
Space for Nerves
The disc is a special cartilage between the bones of your spinal column. It attaches to the vertebra above and below it. This creates the separation between spinal bones so pairs of nerves can exit the spine.
Turning and Bending
Each spinal disc has a jelly-like “ball bearing” core that is contained by bands of fibrous tissue. Healthy discs give you flexibility for normal turning and bending. Improper lifting, slips, falls and car accidents can cause the core to shift:
Herniation – disc wedging narrows nerve openings. Obvious symptoms may not be present.
Protrusion – like a blister, the disc bulges where it is the weakest, causing nerve pressure.
Prolapse – with the cushioning and separating compromised by rupture, movement is painful.
Since spinal discs have a very poor blood supply, they depend upon the circulation of joint fluids to bring in nutrients and expel waste. If a spinal joint loses its normal motion and this pumping action is impaired, the health of the disc deteriorates. Like a wet sponge, a healthy disc is flexible. A dry sponge is hard, stiff, and can crack easily. This is how many disc problems begin.
The chiropractic approach to disc problems is to help restore better motion and position to the spinal joint. Besides reducing the disc bulging, better spinal function helps reduce inflammation and begin the slow process of healing the surrounding soft tissues.
While results cannot be guaranteed, many patients have avoided needless surgery or a dependency on pain pills, by choosing conservative chiropractic care.
Stress is one of the biggest causes of disease. Just as a chain tends to break at its weakest link, we tend to exhibit stress and strain in the weakest areas of our bodies.
The chiropractic approach to stress is to help normalize the function of your nervous system by removing interferences caused by the Vertebral Subluxation Complex. Finding the “weak links” in your spine (the major communication pathway of your nervous system) and helping restore better function, can make a profound difference in your response to stress.
It may not be possible to remove the stress from a busy life. However, with the help of your chiropractor, you can respond better to the unique challenges you face.
Stress has been with us since the beginning of time. How does stress affect you?
For some, it’s an upset stomach. For others, recurring headaches, back pain, or muscle stiffness. Still others respond with nervous twitches, allergic reactions, or sensitivities to chemicals.
Weakness, numbness, pins and needles
When a nerve is being irritated, or compressed, then the normal flow of nerve impulses will be compromised. In many cases this can result in muscular weakness, pins and needles, burning sensation or numbness of the skin. Each nerve supplies specific muscle, reflex and area of the skin. Your chiropractor can use this information to pinpoint the exact origin of your problem and then put together a treatment plan to address your individual needs.
Muscle tension is very common these days and it can vary from slight sense of tightness to agonising pain. If muscle tension is anything but transient, then it can start affecting the joints that the tight muscles cross. This may result in abnormal functioning of the joint or misalignment of the bone, as tight muscles are pulling it off normal alignment.
When the proper function of the joints is restored, soft tissues relax, as they can once again contract and relax normally. In most cases spinal manipulative therapy together with specific stretches produce maximum results and prevent problems from recurring.
Chiropractors treat a multitude of conditions but are most commonly known for treating dysfunctions of the spine.