The treatments utilized by chiropractors have been consistently shown to be one of the most effective and safest forms of care to treat the majority of back, neck and head pain complaints. This is because most causes of back, neck and head disorders are related to abnormalities of the soft tissue components within the spine - something doctors of chiropractic are specifically trained to identify and treat.
Most injuries, no matter the onset lead to improper joint motion, inflammation and scar tissue. These irregularities in normal joint motion can irritate nerves and compromise function of muscles, ligaments and tendons.
Specific adjustments to affected areas can help restore function to affected joints, and with an improvement in function often comes an improvement in health and a decrease in symptoms.
More often than not, nerve irritation and muscle tension are the leading cause of headaches. Headaches that originate from the neck are known medically as; Cervicogenic Headaches. The good news is that by fixing your neck problem, your neck headache can be alleviated.
What Causes Your Neck Headache? Your neck headache can originate from a variety of musculoskeletal and neurovascular structures in your upper neck; most commonly the upper three neck joints (Bogduk 2003).
Dysfunction and reduced joint motion of the upper neck affect the surrounding neck musculature and spinal nerves which trigger pain signals to your brain where you interpret these pain signals as a neck headache
How We Can Help Chiropractors are experts in the assessment and correction of neck joint dysfunction that result in neck headaches.
Chiropractic adjustments help alleviate headaches in two specific ways;
Adjustments remove pressure on the nerves caused by joint restriction and spinal tension
Decreased spinal tension allows muscles to relax reducing muscle tension that can interfere with the sensitive fibers at the base of the neck
Arthritis means joint inflammation and there are over 200 different types of arthritis that can affect both young and old. While Chiropractic should never profess to be able to cure it, they do ease symptoms by mobilising joints and slowing the progression of the disease.
Much about Chiropractic is aimed squarely at the joints, which of course is where arthritis typically wreaks havoc. If you suffer from a form of arthritis, we can help by the following:
Restoring range of motion to your joints
Improve flexibility and endurance
Increase muscle tone and strength
Appropriate referral to provide diet, nutritional advice and supplements to address inflammation
According to new research, the inability of some people to properly activate and control their core muscles when engaging in exercise predisposes them to lower back injury and may actually be reversible with regular Chiropractic care.
There is now accumulating evidence that Chiropractic care may play a part in improving the ability of the brain to engage the core muscles and appropriately stabilise the spine – “We know that delayed trunk muscle reflex responses increase the risk of low back injuries. Research suggests that this is partly due to a failure of the brain to predict what is going to happen during some movements, affecting what is known as feed-forward activation times of the deep abdominal musculature.” – Dr Heidi Haavik
Like many other successful modalities, it has taken time for science to catch up and demonstrate how it actually works. It now appears that an inability of the brain to activate the core muscles in time may be the cause of many gym and fitness-related injuries. It may also be due to poor nervous system coordination which you can’t feel until it is too late.
According to Dr Haavik: "Chiropractic care improves the communication between the brain and body and results in better control of core muscles during body movements, so that your spine is at less risk of injury."
As we age, balance and coordination become increasingly impaired. Studies have shown that the receptors located in the joints of the upper cervical spine are largely responsible for providing the brain with essential information important for balance and coordination. Research has also shown that injury to these "neck" receptors is a significant cause of balance and coordination problems in humans.
According to Dr. Caranasos, MD: Mechanoreceptors in cervical facet joints provide major input regarding the position of the head in relation to the body. With aging, mild defects impair mechanoreceptors function.
With decreased proprioception, body positioning in space is impeded and the patient becomes reliant on vision to know the location of a limb.
To compensate for the loss of proprioception in the legs, the feet are keep wider apart than usual. Steps become irregular and uneven in length. As impairment increases the patient becomes unable to compensate. With severe loss of proprioception, the patient is unable to get up from a chair or rise after a fall without assistance.
Studies have shown that chiropractic care can help restore balance and coordination by stimulating the joint receptors (mechanoreceptors) in the cervical spine. This stimulation is thought to restore or normalize joint receptor functioning which leads to improvements in balance and coordination.
Have you ever wondered why so many professional and elite amateur athletes get chiropractic care regularly, and not just when they have pain or an injury? It’s because chiropractic care has been proven to keep the body healthy, pain free, and functioning at optimal levels, including balance and coordination.
” …as long as I see the chiropractor, I feel like I’m one step ahead of the game.” - Tom Brady, New England Patriots ~ 3 time Super Bowl Champion, 2 time Super Bowl MVP, and 2011 NFL Player of the Year.
While giving birth is natural, the birthing process can be potentially traumatic for the child, especially when modern obstetrical appliances are used. For instance, a baby experiences extra pressure when the mother is laying on her back while birthing; her pelvic opening becomes smaller plus she has to push harder to work against gravity.
This can place excessive stress on the baby’s spine by the twisting and pulling on their head and neck as the doctor is delivering them. This can cause misalignments in their neck that don’t self correct after delivery.
These misalignments in the spine can cause extra stress to the baby’s nervous system and common symptoms can include;
Spinal tension - making them uncomfortable, irritable and grumpy (also known as colic)
Favouring head rotation to one particular side / Sleeping on one particular side
Difficulty breast feeding / Favouring one particular side
Irregular bowel movements
Babies can be checked by chiropractors very soon after birth and special techniques have been developed to carefully correct any affected areas.
When you're free from nagging pain, stiff joints and can do the things you enjoy (golf, gardening, playing with the grandchildren, etc.) life is far more enjoyable. Feeling good, staying healthy and doing the things that make us happy are what keeps us looking forward to each new day.
Regular chiropractic care is aimed at increasing the quality of life, and not just the elimination of pain and correction of soft tissue abnormalities.