Posts Tagged as: pain

What is the best pillow for side sleepers?

Patients frequently ask what is the best pillow to use if they sleep on their side. I often explain that neck discomfort during sleep is more related to every day activities and posture than it is to sleeping position but proper support is needed during sleep in order to reduce stress on the neck.

There have been few studies which examined pillows but one did find something that we always knew: feather pillows are the worst for you!

Pillow use: the behaviour of cervical pain, sleep quality and pillow comfort in side sleepers.

"This study provides evidence to support recommendation of rubber pillows in the management of waking cervical pain, and to improve sleep quality and pillow comfort. The rubber pillow performed better than subjects' own pillow in most instances. Subjects' own pillow performed similarly to foam and polyester pillows, and there is no evidence that the use of a foam contour pillow has advantages over the regular shaped pillows. Feather pillows should not be recommended."

Although less than 1% of the population is allergic to latex, it is important to make sure you are not one of them before you buy a rubber pillow as many are made from latex.

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The pain of making others pretty!

Healthline: Volume 5 Issue 2 July December 2014

Background: Hair-stylists and barbers face the risk of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) due to awkward postures.

Study Objectives: The purpose of the study was to assess upper extremity and neck disability in  hairdressers.

Results: There was increasing disability with increase in age and increase in work experience.

Conclusions: It can be concluded that awkward neck posture and repetitive work done by upper extremity exacerbates degenerative changes and increases risk of disability in hairdressers with increase in age and experience.

Musculoskeletal Disorders among Cosmetologists

95 female and seven male beauty therapists were studied:

Neck pain was reported by 58% of the subjects while chronic neck pain was experienced by 10%.  Hand and low-back complaints were almost as prevalent as neck pain, but chronic pain was reported more frequently for these sites. Hand/wrist and low back complaints resulted more time lost from work and doctors visits. Neck and knee pain resulted less  sickness absence than the other complaints. It seems that regarding the burden of the specific complaints, hand/wrist and back pain followed by shoulder were the most important complaints among cosmetologists

The physical demands this profession strain the upper body more than in any other profession:

Work long periods

Use both arms

Stand/ sit for  long periods

Move the fingers  and hand constantly

Stay in one place for long periods

Bend and move in awkward positions

Due to these stresses,  hairdressers have a greater likelihood of developing the following:

Neck, shoulder, arm, elbow and/or wrist pain, numbness or tingling

Hip/knee/low back pain


Plantar fasciitis

Carpal Tunnel

Over time, the continued stress put on the body may speed up degeneration and lead to other musculoskeletal conditions.

These studies point out the need for early treatment and intervention. Chronic low back and wrist/hand pain can threaten the livelihood of those in the beauty industry.

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Neck Pain Relief Treatment

Patients frequently seek a chiropractor for treatment of neck pain or stiffness. Neck pain symptoms may include:

  • Sharp pain which radiates into the head and causes headaches
  • Stiffness in one or both sides of the neck
  • Neck muscle spasms
  • Difficulty or neck pain when turning the neck, looking down or looking up
  • Pain, burning or pins and needles shooting into the arm or shoulder
  • Numbness, tingling, pain or burning radiating into the upper back
  • Soreness or ache in the neck when the weather changes
  • Neck pain after activity
  • Neck pain when sleeping or when waking up

When a patient presents with neck pain, the following factors are important in assessing the cause:

  • When did the pain in the neck start? ( yesterday, two weeks ago, years ago)
  • Was there an accident or activity which caused the neck pain? ( car acident, work injury, sports injury)
  • What does it feel like? ( sharp, sore, burning, stiff)
  • Does the pain radiate? ( into the arm, hand, head or back)
  • What makes the neck pain better? What makes it worse?
  • What normal activities are affected by the pain?
  • Is there a history of injury or other medical conditions?

Once the history of the complaint is discussed, an examination will be performed which will look at the following:

  • Resting posture ( is the head tilted to one side, is one shoulder higher than the other, is the head tilted)
  • The curve of the neck and low back
  • The range of motion of the neck and spine
  • Which structures are affected ( muscles, soft tissue, joints, nerves)
  • Strength, reflexes and sensation dysfunction

Additional tests may be required such as x-rays, MRI, EMG or lab work if examination findings warrant

Once the history, examination and additional tests are completed and it is found that chiropractic treatment is appropriate, a treatment plan is created which often will address the following:

  • Reduce pain and inflammation: Reducing the neck pain is the reason patients present for care and initial treatment will target the pain and also decrease the inflammation of the involved tissue
  • Restore proper motion of the spine and extremities
  • Remove or reduce subluxations

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Car accident injury treatment

                                                    Car Accident 19061 19014 19703

Car accidents , or motor vehicle accidents (MVA), remain a frequent cause of traumatic injury to the neck and low back. Even minor collisions, especially head on on rear end collisions, can result in injury. It is not uncommon for those involved in a car accident to not feel pain immediately after the accident but to report discomfort two to three days later. 

The first week following an acute injury is a critical period and it is important for a proper examination to b performed in order to evaluate the extent of the injury. According to the study: Chronic neck pain and whiplash: A case-control study of the relationship between acute whiplash injuries and chronic neck pain, researchers reported that the leading cause of chronic neck pain was prior motor vehicle accident injuries : "it reasonable to infer that a significant proportion of individuals with chronic neck pain in the general population were originally injured in a motor vehicle accident." This finding underscores the importance of early and adequate treatment for injuries resulting from car accidents.

For additional information about car accident injury treatment click here 

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Sciatica Treatment

Sciatica is a general term applied to symptoms that involve lower back discomfort which radiates down the leg. While most patients report pain, other nerve dysfunction such as numbness, tingling and weakness may also be noted. As noted on Spine Health, "Sciatica  is not a medical diagnosis in and of itself—it is a symptom of an underlying medical condition, such as a lumbar herniated disc, degenerative disc disease, or spinal stenosis." Lumbar subluxations, irritated nerves and pelvic rotation also may cause sciatica symptoms.

Sciatic pain can vary in both the frequency of the pain and the intensity of the discomfort. As with any complaint, the true cause must be determined through the history and examination before a chiropractic program may be assigned. 
Typically, sciatic pain and complaints due not involve both legs and almost always radiate down the leg. Sciatica is often made worse by sitting, bending forward in the case of disc herniations or backward when the spine joints are involved.

Muscle weakenss, increased or decreased bowel or bladder function are signs of a more progressed problem.

Chiropractic treatment of sciatica involves a reduction of the nerve inflammation at the spinal level through modalities and or laser therapy along with physical procedures to address the cause of the irritation which may include chiropractic adjustments, traction, exercise and or soft tissue manipulation.

Laser therapy + Manipulation + Soft Tissue Mobilization + Patient Education typically resuts in a dramatic decrease in discomfort and as the tissues change and heal properly, flare ups of the condition are reduced.

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Ignoring problems

Chiropractic is a physical medicine. While chiropractors are known for "cracking", many other techniques and treatments are offered in order to not only treat the symptoms but to reduce the underlying factors that may be contributing to the patients disease.

Yes, I said disease.  A disease is, by definition, a "condition that prevents the body or mind from working normally."  Not being able to bend over is a symptom of a condition. The pain associated is a sign of the condition. The cause of the condition may be a strained muscle in the low back. This low back pain is caused by a strain which prevents the body from working normally. 

A few years ago I was at a friends house when I noticed a paver block in his wall was a different color than the others. I had been there several times throughout the summer and didn't notice the odd block before. I asked him what had happened to the block and he explained " When it rains the water leaks down off the roof and lands on the block and eventually loosens it and it slides off and cracks, so I have to buy another one." So in this case, the broken paver was both the sign and the symptom of the condition which was a leak. The disease was the improper draining of the roof, not faulty paver blocks and until he fixed the cause, the symptoms would continue.

Unfortunately we can not just go out and buy a new back. If my friend never fixes the leak in his roof the surrounding blocks may become loose and fall also. He may need to buy two blocks next month then three, four and then rebuild the whole wall.

If he would just redirect the water, the wall would not degenerate as quickly. The elements will continue to put pressure on the wall and there is no guarantee that it will stay perfect forever, but it is guaranteed that if he does nothing, the block will break.

While some joints can be replaced, the procedures are not without risk, cost or guarantees. Parts of the spine can be fused or removed and some nerves can be blocked, burned away or sedated but these "fixes" often do not address the causes, only the symptoms.

Properly diagnosing the condition, prescribing a treatment which not only provides for less discomfort but also reduces the chances of future flare ups and complications is necessary to reduce disease and allow the body and mind to work normally.

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