Back & Neck Pain

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  • Whiplash
  • Upper crossed posture
  • Disc injury
  • Facet joint sprain
  • Sacroiliac joint irritation

Whiplash

What is it?

Whiplash is injury to the neck often from the result of a quick forward and backward (hyperflexion and extension) neck movement. There may be damage to the soft tissue structures such as muscles, ligaments and nerves. There may be damage to the soft tissue structures such as muscles, ligaments and nerves. Whiplash may occur and you may not feel pain straight away but people often experience pain within a few days after injury.

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Signs and symptoms:

  • Neck pain and stiffness
  • Headaches most commonly originating at the base of the skull
  • Tenderness between the shoulder blades
  • Pain across the chest and the front of the neck
  • Pain referring down arms
  • Numbness and or tingling down arms
  • Problems with sleeping, dizziness, concentration

Causes:

Whiplash is often the result of motor accidents, physical assaults or contact sports. This injury involves hyperextension of the head and neck, followed by hyperflexion. This force may involve damage to the muscles, ligaments, discs and nerves in the neck.

Treatment:

Osteopathic treatment may help correct the dysfunction of associated structures in the neck. We also prescribe exercises to help strengthen the neck and promote mobility. Osteopathic techniques include soft tissue techniques, joint mobilisation, stretches and manipulation, all of which may assist in the treatment of whiplash. We also provide advice regarding ergonomics and lifestyle activities.

References:Brukner, P., & Khan, K. (2008). Clinical Sports Medicine (3rd ed.). Mc Graw Hill Australia Pty Ltd

Sources for whiplash. (2015). Retrieved from
http://www.spinehealth.com/treatment/chiropractic/sourceswhiplashpain

 


Poor posture: Upper Crossed Syndrome

What is it?

Poor posture can often lead to muscle imbalance which is commonly referred to as upper crossed syndrome. Certain muscles at the front of the chest and upper back become weak and certain muscle groups become tight. Ongoing muscle imbalance can lead to a stooped posture. This muscle imbalance can create strain on joints in the neck, upper back and shoulder.

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Signs and symptoms:

  • Rounded shoulders
  • Head tilt forward
  • Shoulders turned in
  • Headaches
  • Muscle soreness
  • Back and neck pain
  • Increased curvature in back

Causes:

  • Sitting at the desk for a long time with poor support and inadequate ergonomics
  • Poor technique when playing sports
  • Lack of exercise

Treatment:

Osteopathic treatment may help correct your posture with the use of hands on techniques and exercises. We will advise you on how to help strengthen muscles that are weak and stretch out muscles that are tight. Osteopaths treat and assess holistically, therefore we will look at secondary compensations that are occurring throughout the body. Joint mobilisation, soft tissue and articulation are a few techniques that we use to treat your condition. We will also provide advice on lifestyle management.

References:Posture. (2015). Better Health Channel. Retrieved from
https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/postureUpper crossed syndrome. (2010-2015). Muscle imbalance syndromes. Retrieved from
http://www.muscleimbalancesyndromes.com/jandasyndromes/uppercrossedsyndrome/

Disc injury

What is it?

Between each vertebra along your spine are spongy discs which are designed to absorb shock, distribute weight evenly to your upper and lower extremity, allow for movement and aid with stability. Each of these discs have a outer layer which is fibrous in nature. The inner layer of a disc contains a jelly like center. Often pressure can cause damage to the outer shell allowing the central contents to push out.

Sometimes when the central contents are pushed out, it may impinge on surrounding structures such are nerves, which can therefore create neurological symptoms such as pins and needles, weakness and pain.

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Signs and symptoms:

  • Back or neck pain can be local or may refer
  • Nerve pain
  • Pins and needles, weakness, heaviness in arm or leg
  • Aggravated by coughing or sneezing
  • Worse with bending, lifting and twisting

Causes:

Risk factors may include obesity, poor muscle tone, poor lifting techniques, poor posture and lack of exercise. Wear and tear can be the cause of a disc herniation. As we age the discs in our back become less spongy, micro cracks can occur, allows the central material to travel through. Repetitive movements like bending and lifting can cause disc injuries. Often a sudden increase strain in the back can also be a contributing factor.

Treatment:

Osteopathic treatment may help by relaxing muscle spasms, promote range of movement and decrease pain. We use a combination of soft tissue, joint mobilisation and stretching techniques to treated the condition. Addressing lifestyle factors is very important for the treatment of disc injuries. As Osteopaths, we also provide rehabilitative exercises and stretches, coupled with advice on lifestyle management so that we may also focus on prevention and getting you back to doing things that you love. If the injury is acute, medications may be required to settle down the pain and inflammation we recommend you see your GP or pharmacist for advice. The use of heat is often recommended if the injury is chronic.

References:Back pain disc problems. (2015). Retrieved from
http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/back_pain_disc_problemsBack pain health centre Lumbar herniated disc cause. (2005-2015). Retrieved from
http://www.webmd.com/backpain/tc/herniateddisccause

Facet joint sprain

What is it?

Facet joints are located at the back of the vertebrae and are responsible to provide some guidance with movement and stability in the spine. On occasion, these joints may become inflamed and cause pain. There are two joints at each spinal segment.

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Sign and symptoms:

  • Local pain site near the facet joint. If the irritation is in the neck patients may experience pain in the back of the shoulder. If the irritation is in the lower back, pain can refer down into the gluteal region.
  • Pain is aggravated when moving the spine
  • Onset can be random in nature, occasionally can occur a few times a year

Causes:

  • Arthritis
  • Lifting something in an awkward position
  • Locked up joint
  • Sleeping awkwardly
  • Poor posture

Treatment:

Treatment may incorporate a combination of soft tissue techniques, joint mobilisation and stretching to treat the area. Osteopaths have a holistic approach to treatment, so often we may treat and assess other areas which may contribute to the overall picture. We may also provide lifestyle advice and ergonomic tips to prevent the severity or recurrence of a facet joint irritation. Rehabilitation may also focus on strengthening and mobilising key areas.

References:Facet joint disorders and back pain. (19992015). Retrieved from
http://www.spinehealth.com/conditions/arthritis/facetjointdisordersandbackpain

Sacro iliac joint irritation

What is it?

The sacro iliac joint is where both hips attach to the sacrum (which lies above the tailbone). There are two joints located on either side of the spine. A lot of pressure and stress can be placed along these joints. if there is too much load on the joint or ligaments around this area, irritation of the sacro iliac joint occurs.

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Signs and symptoms

  • Pain on one side of the lower back
  • Can often refer down into the back of the gluteal region, groin and down into the outer thigh
  • Aggravated by lower back or hip movements
  • Pain with walking up and down stairs, turning from side to side in bed or taking shoes off

Causes:

If too much pressure is placed along these joints, irritation of the sacroiliac joint can occur. Causes include lifting, sitting, twisting of the spine or arching of the back. Pain can occur due to prolonged forces or can be due to repetitive tasks.

Treatment:

A combination of soft tissue therapy, joint mobilisation, trigger point release and stretching may be effective to sacroiliac joint irritation. Core activation and strengthening exercises may also be beneficial. Other treatment modalities include taping and dry needling the involved muscles of the hip. Heat packs may also be beneficial.

References:Sacroiliac joint dysfunction. (2015). Retrieved from
http://www.physioadvisor.com.au/8388150/sacroiliacjointdysfunctionsacroiliacpains.htm