Chiropractic & Headaches
To about 20% of the population, headaches are more than an occasional discomfort, they are chronic or recurrent. They are the biggest single cause of absenteeism from both work and school.
Over 90% of the cause of headaches are from the musculoskeletal system. The causes of musculoskeletal problems are poor posture, faulty body mechanics, poor diet, stressful living and loss of strength and flexibility. These factors cause vertebral subluxations (joint dysfunction).
After vertebral dysfunction has been found, the Chiropractor uses special techniques to correct the problem and relieve the stress. This procedure constitutes a chiropractic adjustment.
Common medical practice treats common headaches with painkillers or other drugs that ease the pain-at least temporarily. Evidence suggests that chiropractic care, including spinal manipulation, improves migraine and cervicogenic headaches 1. Chiropractors are the only healing professionals who are trained to analyse spinal joint stress and dysfunction that are the prime cause of headaches. Spinal joint malfunction in the vertebrae of the neck places stress on the associated nerves, muscles, ligaments and other tissues.
Chiropractic spinal care is essential for anyone who suffers from headaches. This is to ensure that the spine is free from the effects of stress and unnatural wear and tear, permitting you to experience better health and well-being.
1. Evidence-Based Guidelines for the Chiropractic Treatment of Adults With Headache JMPT 34: 5, 2011, 274-289
Massage Therapy & Headaches
Many headaches are caused by tight muscles in the head, neck, and top of the shoulders. This type of headache is called a tension headache and may present with a tightness around the head or tension that spreads from the top of the shoulders into the base of the skull.
The highly specialised techniques our Massage Therapists use is called Trigger Point Therapy; which can effectively alleviate the pain and tension associated with tension headaches.
Tight muscles are identified and further investigated through palpation to search for ‘active’ trigger points. There are tight, painful knots that can cause referred pain to travel along the muscle and associated soft tissues. The technique applied to release these knots is sustained pressure that is held until the muscles release, gaining instant relief.
Stretching and other muscle lengthening techniques often accompany the release of trigger points to ensure that muscles are free from spasm. Referred pain and muscle tension are eased, encouraging optimal flexibility of the muscles.
Chiropractic & Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (Jaw & Face Pain)
TMJ Dysfunction is a condition that occurs when the temporomandibular joint malfunctions or is misaligned in some way that subjects it to abnormal pressure.
If you place your fingers in front of either ear and wiggle your jaw, you’ll feel an opening that changes shape beneath your fingers. The opening you can feel is situated at the joint where the temporal bone of your skull attaches to your jaw (mandible), the joint is called the temporomandibular joint or TMJ. This fascinating joint connects our jaw to our skull, with ligaments, cartilage, fascia, an articular disc, muscles, nerves, blood vessels and many kinds of tissues running in, around and through the area.
The most common symptoms of TMJ dysfunction are aching around the joint, clicking or popping when the mouth opens or closes or an inability to open the mouth wide. Other symptoms of TMJ are more severe and debilitating headaches, loss of hearing, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), facial swelling, shoulder, cheek or jaw pain, neck ache, loss of hearing or fullness in the ears, pain in or under the ear or eye, or upon swallowing, nausea, tooth pain, pain on eating, migraine, blurred vision and dizziness
.A properly aligned and functioning spine helps the Temporomandibular joint. Spinal and TMJ problems are often found together.
Chiropractic care, especially in the area of the neck (cervical spine), often alleviates nerve system interference. It is this nerve system interference which may generate or maintain head and TMJ pain and problems. Here at Health plus Chiropractic we’ve been focusing on the management of TMJ dysfunction for over 25 years.
Most headaches and pains come from the joints and muscles in the head and neck. Once the importance of the neck muscles is realised, the more easily the connection is seen between the neck, jaw and teeth. Teeth therefore have a relationship to posture.
Our chiropractic approach is to identify the sources of malfunction, whether it is in the jaw, the neck, or lower body, and therefore adjust the spinal subluxations and treat myofascial trigger points in the muscles. Often we see these painful points develop in jaw muscles, especially when someone grinds or clenches their teeth. In addition to treating their symptomatic muscles, we look for other causes of their problems, – stress, oral or postural habit and then give advice to manage these. Cranial adjustments are made and sometimes nutritional support is indicated.
In addition to the chiropractic approach, some cases benefit from dedicated massage therapy and this may include specialised techniques such as Indian Head Massage. The neurofeedback or brainwave training performed by our psychologists is a valuable tool for treatment of chronic pain conditions including TMJ dysfunction.
Chiropractic & Neck Pain
Millions of people will experience neck pain at some point in their life. Postural problems and injury are the most common causes of neck pain.
Arthritis and disc degenerative changes can also cause neck pain. Most episodes of acute pain are due to muscle stain or other soft tissue sprain such as the ligaments and tendons. These tissues tend to be injured by a single macro trauma such as a fall or car accident, or prolonged micro trauma such as sitting, working with poor posture, or sleeping in aggravating positions.
Chiropractic offers safe (relative to some other treatments), effective techniques using precise and gentle therapy with the aim of restoring function and motion to restricted spinal joints. In considering chiropractic treatments, it should be borne in mind that that individuals respond differently and all forms of treatment have the potential for adverse events.
The chiropractic approach is aimed at improving the mechanics of the spine and nervous system and as a result, to reduce pain, stiffness or tension.
The therapists at Health plus Chiropractic offer advice, effective stretches and exercises in order to reduce frequency and intensity of pain. These also prevent further injury and reduce injury recurrence.
Chiropractic & Whiplash
Whiplash and the broader concept of Whiplash Associated Disorder (WAD) is a condition that we are quire familiar with at Health plus Chiropractic. Patients have trusted us to review their neck and spines following car accidents for decades. In addition, we have directly participated in research coordinated by the Motor Accidents Authority of NSW.
WAD is a complex condition that varies in intensity to short-lived and easily treated neck complaints (which fortunately is the most common outcome), to severe long-term conditions that affect people with a wide variety of complaints and pain syndromes.
As chiropractors we certainly employ our expert knowledge in assessing and treating any abnormal joint function that has resulted from the injury. However, at Health plus Chiropractic, we address the other key spinal biomechanics problems associated including soft tissue and muscle damage, headache, dizziness, shoulder, upper limb and other spinal pain. Our approach is always comprehensive and through and takes into consideration the patient’s concerns and the long-term potential of the injury.
Chiropractic & Shoulder Pain
The shoulder is the most complicated set of joints in the body. It is the most flexible, the most unstable, and probably the most used region of the body. Co-ordinating the shoulders many muscles and four joints requires highly coordinated control from the brain and exquisite support and stabilisation from the whole spine. No wonder that shoulder complaints are common and difficult to resolve.
Chiropractors are well placed in understanding complicated joint movements, detailed neurological function and appreciation of muscle activity and dysfunction. Chiropractors are trained in specialised techniques for restoring function to shoulder joints, examining for proper nerve function and utilising spinal adjustments to correct deficiencies, and analysing muscle function and imbalance.
At Health plus Chiropractic, we draw upon: 1. our long-term emphasis, further training and experience in muscle function and treatment to focus on complicated shoulder conditions; and 2. our expertise and qualifications in neuromusculo-skeletal rehabilitation to be able to provide effective management for shoulder and upper limb complaints. We don’t just view shoulder aches and pains as an extension of spine related disorders, we appreciate the unique functions of the shoulder and apply our capabilities to restore function.
Massage Therapy & Shoulder Pain
The shoulder joint allows more range of motion than any other joint in the body. This makes it susceptible to injury.
Because there is little bony stability, the shoulder relies greatly on connective tissue (e.g ligaments, tendons and muscles) to hold the bones of the joint together. The rotator cuff is the group of muscles that hold the shoulder together allowing shoulder movement and stability. Weak rotator cuff muscles often cause pain and may result in further soft tissue injuries such as tendonitis (inflammation of the tendons) because of the key role that the rotator cuff and scapular stabiliser muscles play in the shoulder movement and function.
This means when a shoulder is not working properly the muscles are significantly affected. Since massage therapy is highly effective in dealing with soft tissue injuries, massage is often a useful therapy to speed healing in the shoulder.
Our massage therapists use a range of techniques for managing shoulder complaints including deep tissue, trigger point, compressions, soft tissue release and myofascial release to name a few. Furthermore, our massage therapists are skilled and experienced in massage therapy for specific muscles including the rotator cuff and scapular stabilisers.
Chiropractic & Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Is a relatively common nerve entrapment syndrome. True carpal tunnel is the entrapment of the median nerve under one of the ligaments in the wrist. The ligament compresses the median nerve and that leads to pain, especially at night. It is also characterized by pins and needles feelings in the thumb, index and middle fingers. It is more common in females and can be caused by things such as Rheumatoid arthritis, hypothyroidism and fluid-retention (e.g. Pregnancy).
It is relatively uncommon for the condition to be present in both hands; if this is the case a more central spinal causative may be the problem. A chiropractic assessment can help identify if the problem is true carpal tunnel (median nerve compression at the wrist) or if the hand symptoms are a result of nerve irritation further up the arm or in the spine. The chiropractic adjustments may need to be locally at the wrist or hand joints, or the adjustments may need to include spinal manipulation to optimise the function of the whole arm. Either way your chiropractor can assess what adjustment and what rehabilitation is needed for your condition.