Neck Pain and Lower Back Pain
The first thing to keep in mind, is that "neck pain" and "lower back pain" are not diagnoses. There are dozens of spinal problems that can cause "simple" neck and lower back pain. However, in clinical studies, chiropractic care has been found to be helpful for patients with neck and lower back pain.
What many people refer to as a "pinched nerve" in the neck is usually NOT caused by an actual pinched nerve. Instead, the pain usually comes from a muscle spasm. A common cause of muscle spasm is a subluxation, or bone that has lost its normal mobility. The muscle pulls and pulls and pulls to try to restore fluid movement to the stiff neck joints, and eventually the muscle goes into the sustained contraction known as a muscle spasm.
Neck pain may be caused by poor body mechanics, stress and nervous tension, or whiplash injuries. In all of these conditions, a spinal subluxation is caused by forces applied to the spinal joints. Chiropractic adjustments correct spinal subluxations.
Massage, acupuncture, and chiropractic care can help quickly with a simple backache. Sometimes, though, back problems go beyond a simple aching back. Lower back pain may be caused by leg length inequality, spondylolisthesis, or pelvic unleveling. Muscle imbalances or excessive work with deconditioned muscles may also contribute. In all these cases, spinal subluxations may result. Chiropractic adjustments correct spinal subluxations.
Herniated discs can cause back pain, buttock pain, and sciatic nerve pain. Not all back pain which radiates down the leg, however, is caused by sciatic nerve compression or bulging discs. Myofascial pain syndrome is a great pretender which is often mistaken for the symptoms of a herniated lumbar disc.
At Whole Health Clinic, we take an analytical approach to figuring out the source of your pain. Examination and X-rays, if necessary, may be augmented by MRI scans and/or blood tests. We will evaluate for the presence of arthritis (both osteoarthritis or spondylosis, and rheumatoid arthritis). Occasionally, a more serious condition like a bone infection or cancer may be found, and the examination and testing can save a patient's life! Some conditions may be beyond the scope of chiropractic treatment, and in these cases we refer promptly to the appropriate specialist.
Migraines are a very specific type of headache. Some people will say "I have a migraine," when in fact they only mean that they have a very severe headache. Classical migraines consist of an aura, meaning visual halos or sparkles, developing into a severe headache accompanied by nausea and a sense that light is too bright and sounds are too loud. There are variants of migraine headaches, but they usually have some component involving visual changes and/or nausea. Some people only have the visual changes without a headache; these "ocular migraines" can be mistaken for strokes or hallucinations.
The word for migraines is "multifactorial". Migraine triggers can be compared to piling up rocks in a pond. The surface of the pond represents the threshhold of triggering a migraine. One rock might be caffiene withdrawal; the next one might be lack of sleep; the next, muscle tension from teeth grinding, and the next, a bone subluxated in the neck. All these rocks may be piled up on top of each other, but the rocks still have not broken the surface of the pond. Then, you drink a glass or two of wine, and the alcohol is the final rock that breaks the surface of the pond and sends you rippling into a migraine. Our goal at Whole Health is to remove the factors of muscle tension and spinal subluxation, along with recommendations for supplements, diet, and sleep habits to help minimize or eliminate the other factors.