Common Whiplash Myths – Part 2

January 21st, 2013

Last month, we began discussing common myths about whiplash injuries, and this month, we will continue on that course. Remember, the amount of injury that occurs in an acceleration/deceleration injury is dependent on many factors, some of which include gender (females>males), body type (tall slender = worse), the amount of vehicular damage (less is sometimes worse as the energy of the strike was not absorbed by crushing metal), head position at the time of impact (rotation is worse than looking straight ahead), and more. Therefore, each case MUST be looked at on its own merits, not just analyzed based on a formula or accident reconstruction.

MYTH #5: THERE MUST BE DIRECT CONTACT WITH THE NECK FOR INJURY TO OCCUR.Injury to the neck most commonly occurs due to the rapid, uncontrolled whipping action of the head, forcing the neck to move well beyond its normal range of motion in a forwards/backwards direction (if it’s a front or rear-end collision) or, at an angle if the head is rotated or when the strike occurs at an angle. When this occurs, the strong ligaments that hold the bones together stretch and tear in a mild, moderate, or severe degree, depending on the amount of force. Once stretched, increased motion between the affected vertebra results as ligaments, when stretched, don’t repair back to their original length and, just like a severe ankle sprain, future problems can result. This excess motion between vertebra can result in an accelerated type of arthritis and is often seen within five years following a cervical sprain or whiplash injury.

MYTH #6: SEAT BELTS PREVENT WHIPLASH INJURIES. It’s safe to say that wearing seat belts saves lives and, it’s the law! So, WEAR YOUR SEAT BELTS! They protect us from hitting the windshield or worse, being ejected from the vehicle. But, as far as preventing whiplash, in some cases (low speed impacts where most of the force is transferred to the car’s occupants), the opposite may actually be true. (This is not an excuse to not wear a seatbelt!) The reason seat belts can add to the injury mechanism is because when the chest or trunk is held tightly against the car seat, the head moves through a greater arc of motion than it would if the trunk were not pinned against the seat, forcing the chin further to the chest and/or the back of the head further back. The best way to minimize the whiplash injury is to have a well-designed seat belt system where the height of the chest harness can be adjusted to the height of the driver so that the chest restraint doesn’t come across the upper chest or neck. Move the side adjustment so the chest belt crosses between the breasts (this also reduces injury risk to the breasts) and attaches at or near the height of the shoulder (not too high). Another preventer of whiplash is positioning the head restraint high enough (above the ears typically) and close to the head (no more than ½ to 1 inch) so the head rest stops the backwards whipping action. Also, keep the seat back more vertical than reclined so the body doesn’t “ramp” up the seat back forcing the head over the top of the head restraint.

We realize you have a choice in where you choose your healthcare services. If you, a friend or family member requires care for whiplash, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services and look forward in serving you and your family presently and, in the future.

Fibromyalgia and Food

January 21st, 2013

Fibromyalgia (FM) is a disorder that affects everyone a little differently. Therefore, promoting a one diet approach for every FM patient doesn’t make a lot of sense. However, according to Ginevra Liptan, MD, medical director of the Frida Center for FM in Portland, OR, it is clear that what is included in a diet vs. what is eliminated makes a big difference for many FM patients. It has been reported that 42% of FM patients surveyed indicated their symptoms worsened after eating certain foods. Here are some recommendations about diet to consider:

Pay attention to how food makes YOU feel. Many FM patients have sensitivities to particular foods, but this is highly variable from person to person. Sensitivity to MSG, certain preservatives, eggs, gluten, and dairy are quite common. Keep a daily food journal for at least 2 weeks and write down the foods eaten and any associated symptoms like headaches, indigestion (irritable bowel syndrome irritation – IBS), or fatigue.
Try Eliminating Certain Foods. Many FM patients have irritable bowel symptoms, and using an elimination diet can help determine which foods to cut out. Try it out for no less than 6-8 weeks in order to get the best results. Then, add it back into your diet and pay attention to how it makes you feel. The most commonly eliminated foods are dairy and gluten and the most common improvement is in fatigue reduction and reduced IBS symptoms like bloating and constipation.
If you think you might have food sensitivities or allergies, talk with us. Sometimes it is best to obtain an evaluation from an allergist for food allergy testing. Dietitians can also assist in assuring that you don’t eliminate essential nutrients when foods are eliminated from the diet.
Make it easier to Eat Healthy. Everyone, including the FM sufferer, should try to eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains (if not gluten sensitive), and lean meats or protein. A well balanced diet will give you more energy, which in turn, can improve your overall health. When pain and exhaustion are present, choose healthy foods that do not require a lot of preparation such as buying pre-washed vegetables, or purchase pre-prepared foods like beet salad and quinoa.
Use Food to Help Fight Fatigue. Consume foods in a way that increases energy levels and prevent fatigue. Anecdotally, FM patients have reported that eating small meals frequently vs. restricting themselves to 3 meals a day can keep blood sugar levels more even and prevent the “hypoglycemic lows.” A snack high in protein around 3pm can prevent mid-day fatigue. Make sure your breakfast includes some protein and whole grains (again, assuming there is no gluten sensitivity). Focus on getting enough sleep and staying active during the day as these can also prevent fatigue during the day.
Check on Your Supplements. Some supplements have significant side effects and can interact with medications. Talk to the prescribing doctor or pharmacist about this. For example, antidepressants and certain supplements can interact.
Focus on Your Overall Well-Being. A multiple approach to managing FM symptoms works better than a single approach. Things like yoga, massage, and deep breathing exercises, as well as routine chiropractic treatments can improve the overall quality of life. Increasing the quality of life is the ultimate goal for managing the FM patient. Going to bed at a consistent time, not eating too late, and exercising regularly are key components.
If you, a friend or family member requires care for FM, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services!

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – Natural Treatment Options

January 21st, 2013

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a condition characterized by pain, numbness and/or tingling in the hand. This includes the palm and the 2nd, 3rd, and half of the 4th finger, usually sparing the thumb. Another indication of CTS is weakness in grip strength such as difficulty opening a jar to even holding a coffee cup. CTS can occur from many different causes, the most common being repetitive motion injuries such as assembly line or typing/computing work. Here is a PARTIAL list of potential causes of CTS: heredity (a small sized tunnel), aging (>50 years old), rheumatoid arthritis, pregnancy, hypothyroid, birth control pill use, trauma to the wrist (especially colles fractures), diabetes mellitus, acromegaly, the use of corticosteroids, tumors (benign or malignant), obesity (BMI>29 are 2.5 more likely), double crush (pinching of the nerve in more than 1 place such as the neck and the carpal tunnel), heterozygous mutations in a gene (associated with Charcot-Marie-Tooth), Parvovirus b19, and others. Again, repetitive trauma is still the most common cause. It becomes quite clear that a COMPLETE physical examination must be conducted, not just evaluation of the wrist! Once the cause(s) of CTS has been nailed down, then treatment options can be considered.

From a treatment perspective, we’ve previously discussed what chiropractors typically do for CTS (spinal and extremity joint manipulation, muscle/soft tissue mobilization, physical therapy modalities such as laser, the use of a wrist splint – especially at night, work task modifications, wrist/hand/arm/neck exercises, vitamin B6, and more). But, what about using other “alternative” or non-medical approaches, especially those that can be done with chiropractic treatment? Here is a list of four alternative or complementary treatment options:

Anti-inflammatory Goals: Reducing systemic inflammation reduces overall pressure on the median nerve that travels through the limited space within the carpal tunnel at the wrist. An “anti-inflammatory diet” such a Mediterranean diet, gluten-free diet, paleo-diet (also referred to as the caveman diet) can also help. Herbs that can helps include arnica, bromelain, white willow bark, curcumen, ginger, turmeric, boswellia, and vitamins such as bioflavinoids, Vitamin B6 (and other B vitamins such as B1 and B12), vitamin C, and also omega 3 fatty acids.
Acupuncture: Inserting very thin needles into specific acupuncture points both near the wrist and further away can unblock energy channels (called meridians), improve energy flow, release natural pain reducing chemicals (endorphins and enkephlins), promote circulation and balance the nervous system. For CTS, the acupuncture points are located on the wrist, arm, thumb, hand, neck, upper back and leg. The number of sessions varies, dependant on how long the CTS has been present, the person’s overall health, and the severity of CTS.
Laser acupuncture: The use of a low level (or “cold” laser) or a class IV pulsed laser over the same acupuncture points as mentioned above can have very similar beneficial effects (without needles)! One particular study of 36 subjects with CTS for an average of 24 months included 14 patients who had 1-2 prior surgeries for CTS with poor post-surgical results. Even in that group, improvement was reported after 3 laser treatments per week for 4-5 weeks! In total, 33 of the 36 subjects reported 50-100% relief. These benefits were reportedly long-term as follow-up at 1-2 years later showed only 2 out of 23 subjects had pain that returned and subsequent laser treatment was again successful within several weeks.
Acupressure: Acupuncture point stimulation with manual pressure. These points can be self-stimulated by the CTS sufferer multiple times a day via deep rubbing techniques.
We realize you have a choice in who you consider for your health care provision and we sincerely appreciate your trust in choosing our service for those needs. If you, a friend or family member require care for CTS, we would be honored to render our services.

How Does Chiropractic Help Headaches?

January 21st, 2013

Headaches are one of the most common reasons people seek chiropractic care. Many patients with headaches benefit significantly from adjustments made to the upper cervical region. So, the question is, how does adjusting the neck help headaches? To help answer this question, let’s look at a study that was recently published that examined this exact issue…

It’s been said that if one understands anatomy, determining WHERE the problem is located becomes easy. So, let’s take a look at the anatomy in the upper most part of the neck. In the study previously mentioned (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21278628), the authors found an intimate relationship between the muscles that connect the upper 2 cervical vertebra (C1 and 2) together and their anatomical connection to the dura mater (the covering of the spinal cord). They identified this anatomical connection between the muscles that span between the back aspect of C1/2 and the dural connection as having a significant role in the development of headaches usually referred to as cervicogenic headaches.

There are several reasons why chiropractors adjust or manipulate the upper cervical vertebrae in patients with headaches. The obvious reason is simply because it helps to reduce the intensity, frequency and duration of headaches. The reason it works is this: If one or both of the upper 2 vertebrae (C1 and C2, also referred to as the atlas and axis, respectively) are either blocked or fixed and cannot properly move independently, then there is an abnormal change in the biomechanics in that region. Similarly, if one of the two vertebrae is rotated or shifted in reference to the other, a similar biomechanical “lesion” or problem occurs (often referred to as a “subluxation”). You can take all the ibuprofen, Aleve, Tylenol or other perhaps stronger, prescription medication for the headache, but it is not logical that the biomechanical problem at C1 and/or C2 is going to change by inducing a chemical change (i.e., taking a pill). All you’re doing is masking the symptoms for a while, at best.

Many people find that after a several chiropractic adjustments, their headaches are significantly improved. This is because restoring proper biomechanics to the C1/2 region reduces the abnormal forces on the vertebrae as well as any abnormal pull or traction of the posterior cervical muscles on the dural attachment. It has been reported that the function of this muscle/dura connection is to resist excessive movement of the dura towards the spinal cord when we look upwards and forwards. During neurosurgery, observation of mechanical stress on the dura was found to be associated in patients with headaches. In chronic headache sufferers, adjustments applied to this area results in significant improvement. There is no other treatment approach that matches the ability that adjustments or manipulation have in restoring the C1/2 biomechanical relationship thus, helping the headache sufferer. Another treatment option that has been shown to benefit the headache patient is injections to this same area. However, given the side effects of cortisone, botox, and other injectable chemicals, it’s clear that chiropractic should be utilized first. It’s the safest, most effective, and fastest way to restore function in the C1/2 area, thus relieving headaches.

We realize that you have a choice in where you choose your healthcare services. If you, a friend or family member requires care for headaches, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services and look forward in serving you and your family presently and, in the future.

Low Back Pain and Sleep – Part 2

January 21st, 2013

Last month, we discussed the relationship between sleep deprivation and low back pain (LBP) and found that LBP can cause sleep loss AND sleep loss can cause LBP. It’s a 2-way street! This month, we will look at ways to improve your sleep quality, which in return, will reduce your LBP. There are many ways we can improve our sleep quality. Here are some of them:

Turn off the lights: Complete darkness (or as close to it as possible) is best. Even the tiniest bit of light in the room can disrupt your internal clock and your pineal gland’s production of melatonin and serotonin. Cover your windows with blackout shades or drapes.
Stay cool! The bedroom’s temperature should be ≤70 degrees F (21 degrees C). At about four hours after you fall asleep, your body’s internal temperature drops to its lowest level. Scientists report a cooler bedroom mimics your body’s natural temperature drop.
Move the alarm clock. Keeping it out of reach (at least 3 feet) forces you to get out of bed and get moving in the AM. Also, you won’t be inclined to stare at it during the night!
Avoid loud alarm clocks. It is very stressful on your body to be suddenly jolted awake. If you are regularly getting enough sleep, an alarm may even be unnecessary.
Reserve your bed for sleeping. Avoid watching TV or doing work in bed, you may find it harder to relax and drift off to sleep.
Get to bed before 11pm. Your adrenal system does a majority of its recharging between the hours of 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. and adrenal “burn-out” results in fatigue and other problems.
Be consistent about your bed time. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same times each day, including weekends. This will help your body to get into a sleep rhythm and make it easier to fall asleep and get up in the morning.
Establish a bedtime routine. Consider meditation, deep breathing, using aromatherapy, or essential oils, or massage from your partner. Relax and reduce your tension from the day.
Eat a high-protein snack several hours before bed to provide the L-tryptophan needed for your melatonin and serotonin production.
There are other “tricks” that ensure a good night’s rest that we will continue with next month as this is a VERY important subject and can literally add years to your life and life to your years.

We realize you have a choice in who you choose to provide your healthcare services. If you, a friend or family member requires care for low back pain, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services and look forward in serving you and your family presently and, in the future.

Low Back Pain and Sleep – Part 3

January 21st, 2013

For the last 2 months, we’ve discussed the importance of sleep and its effect on low back pain (LBP). Last month, we offered 9 ways to improve sleep quality, and this month we will conclude this topic with 11 more. Sleep deprivation has been called, “…an epidemic” by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To achieve and maintain good health, we must ensure restorative sleep! Here are additional ways to do that (continued from last month):

Avoid snacks at bedtime …especially grains and sugars as these will raise your blood sugar and delay sleep. Later, when blood sugar drops too low (hypoglycemia), you not only wake up but falling back to sleep becomes problematic. Dairy foods can also interrupt sleep.
Take a hot bath, shower or sauna before bed. This will raise your body temperature and cooling off facilitates sleep. The temperature drop from getting out of the bath signals to your body that “it’s time for bed.”
Keep your feet warm! Consider wearing socks to bed as our feet often feel cold before the rest of the body because they have the poorest circulation. Cold feet make falling asleep difficult!
Rest your mind! Stop “brain work” at least 1 hour before bed to give your mind a rest so you can calm down. Don’t think about tomorrow’s schedule or deadlines.
Avoid TV right before bed. TV can be too stimulating to the brain, preventing you from falling asleep quickly as it disrupts your pineal gland function.
Consider a “sound machine.” Listen to the sound of white noise or nature sounds, such as the ocean or forest, to drown out upsetting background noise and soothe you to sleep.
Relaxation reading. Don’t read anything stimulating, such as a mystery or suspense novels, as it makes sleeping a challenge.
Avoid PM caffeine. Studies show that caffeine can stay active in your system long after consumption.
Avoid alcohol. Though drowsiness can occur, many will often wake up several hours later, unable to fall back asleep. This can prohibit deep sleep, the most restoring sleep (~4th hour).
Exercise regularly! Exercising for at least 30 minutes per day can improve your sleep.
Increase your melatonin. If you can’t increase levels naturally with exposure to bright sunlight in the daytime and absolute complete darkness at night, consider supplementation.
We realize you have a choice in who you choose to provide your healthcare services. If you, a friend or family member requires care for low back pain, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services and look forward in serving you and your family presently and, in the future.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Self-Help Management Options

January 21st, 2013

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is the most investigated, researched, and talked about disorder when it comes to work related injuries to the upper extremity because it is often the cause of so much lost work time, disability costs, and the source of financial hardship for many of its sufferers. So, the questions are: Is there a way to detect it early? What can be done to prevent CTS? And, what can you do to facilitate in the treatment process of CTS?

EARLY DETECTION: Because CTS symptoms usually start out mildly, maybe a little numbness or tingling in the hand or fingers that can be easily “shaken off,” people usually do not identify these early symptoms as, “…a big deal” and consequently, do nothing about it. After a while, and the time depends on how severely the median nerve is pinched, you may start waking up at night needing to shake out your hands in order to return to sleep. Similarly, when driving, you may need to change your hand position on the steering wheel due to the same symptoms. If you are really stubborn (and many people are) and you STILL don’t give in and come to us for treatment, then buttoning shirts, writing, crocheting, knitting, playing piano, typing, etc., may all soon become affected. The KEY in early detection is to NOT ignore the early symptoms. Come in right away!
PREVENTION: There are many highly effective preventative tactics. For example, recognize that certain conditions predispose us to CTS and anything to avoid and/or properly manage these conditions will help. Some of these conditions include diabetes mellitus, pregnancy, the use of birth control pills, inflammatory arthritis (such as rheumatoid or lupus), hypothyroidism, and obesity. From an ergonomic approach, make sure your work station is set up properly including (but not limited to) the position of the monitor, the keyboard, the mouse, and your chair. Set up the area so the extremes of wrist bending can be avoided. If a wrist brace doesn’t get in the way, it may help, especially when there is a high incidence rate of CTS with your co-workers. Most importantly, small mini-breaks and stretching can be highly effective during the day. If you develop any symptoms, come in and see us RIGHT AWAY (see #1 above).
SELF-MANAGEMENT: Certainly consider and implement the “prevention” approaches described above in #2. Specific exercises for stretching, strengthening, and dexterity REALLY HELP! We will teach you these, as it is important that you perform the correct exercises accurately. Improper exercising will only add to the problems that lead to CTS or, worsen it. Control your diet to avoid obesity, to control diabetes and the other sometimes preventable conditions described above. Wearing a wrist splint, especially at night can also really help. There are many types from Velcro wrist wraps with or without thumb loops to cock-up splints, carpal lock splints, and many more. The key as to whether to use a wrist splint or not during work is largely dependent on the comfort of the splint during the work day. Many occupations simply require too much wrist bending or movement for the splint to be comfortably worn during the work day which ends up bruising the forearm and/or hand due to the repetitive motion into the edges of the splint. If or when daytime use of the splint isn’t tolerated, use it only at night to prevent extreme wrist bending while sleeping. This usually REALLY helps. Bottom line, remember the saying, “…an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!”
We realize you have a choice in who you consider for your health care provision and we sincerely appreciate your trust in choosing our service for those needs. If you, a friend or family member require care for CTS, we would be honored to render our services.

Whiplash and Chiropractic Management

January 21st, 2013

Whiplash injuries occur as the result of a sudden acceleration followed by deceleration, and the degree of injury is dependent on many factors. Some of these include: the size of the vehicle, the conditions of the road, the angle of the seat back, the “springiness” of the seat back, the position of the head rest, the size of the patient’s neck, the position of the patient’s head and neck at the time of impact, the awareness of the impending collision, etc. Hence, each case must be evaluated and managed using a unique, individualized approach.

The chiropractic encounter begins with the history and examination. Here we will ask many questions and perform tests that will give us clues to understand the mechanism of injury, identify the primary tissues injured, and determine the best treatment approaches to utilize.

There are many different chiropractic treatment approaches available for patients with whiplash injuries. For example, manual therapies include spinal manipulation, mobilization, manual traction, muscle relaxation and/or stimulation methods, the assessment of the patient’s physical capacities with issuing specific exercises and, considerations of modifying work station issues and/or lifestyle changes. Chiropractic manipulation is a very common approach utilized in the treatment of joint dysfunction. That is, restoring normal movement to the joints affected negatively by the whiplash injury. Terms such as, “stuck,” “fixed,” “subluxation,” and the like are often used to describe altered joint position or function. Typically, the manipulation (also called “adjustment”) is applied well within the normal range of motion of the joint using a “high velocity” (or fast) movement through a short distance in the direction that attempts to correct the joint dysfunction. Because the procedure is quick and of short distance, patients frequently state, “…that felt great!” In fact, if the pre-adjustment position of the patient hurts or is uncomfortable, we will instead use a slow, mobilizing movement.

Exercise strategies are important and typically employed as soon as possible. The type of exercise is (again) case specific, but in general, exercises are initially prescribed in a manner that restores movement with as little discomfort as possible. Following the goal of increasing range of motion, strengthening the injured region with stabilization exercises, and restoring sensory-motor activity to the muscles becomes the primary focus in the management of the whiplash patient. When the intervertebral disks are “deranged” or altered, directions that minimize radiating pain are emphasized in the exercises. After careful in-office training, the patient is instructed to perform exercises at home, often multiple times a day, for stability of the spine and to re-establish motor control and movement. Ergonomic and daily lifestyle modifications are frequently addressed to avoid the possibility of the condition being irritated on a regular basis, thus interfering with the healing process. If a patient is stressing the injured area at work, job modifications can make or break the success of the management program.

We realize you have a choice in where you choose your healthcare services. If you, a friend or family member requires care for whiplash, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services and look forward in serving you and your family presently and, in the future.

Fibromyalgia, Sleep and Restless Leg Syndrome

January 21st, 2013

Fibromyalgia (FM) and sleep dysfunction seem to go hand in hand. In fact, most people who have FM complain of problems associated with sleeping. Sleep problems can include difficulty falling asleep with or without waking up one to multiple times a night. Also, the inability to reach “deep sleep” results in waking up un-restored. People with fibromyalgia frequently state, “… I feel exhausted when I wake up; I have no energy.” They often feel more tired in the morning, and many go back to sleep during the day to ease their fatigue. Another common FM complaint is having great difficulty concentrating during the day, often referred to as, “…fibro fog.” Other sleep disorders such as sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome are also often associated with FM.

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a neurologic disorder that is characterized by an overwhelming urge to move the legs at rest, thus interfering with sleep. Restless legs syndrome is more common among those who have fibromyalgia. Patients with RLS describe this as an unpleasant sensation in their legs and sometimes their arms or other parts of the body accompanied by the irresistible urge to move the legs in attempt to relieve the sensation. The terms, “itchy” or “pins and needles” or “creepy crawly” are frequently used when describing the sensations and can range from mild to intolerable. Symptoms are typically worse at rest, especially when lying or sitting and frequently results in sleep deprivation and stress. The intensity of the symptoms can vary, frequently worse in the nighttime, better in the morning. RLS may affect up to 10% of the population in the United States, especially women, and can affect both young and old, even young children. The severe cases usually affect the middle-aged or older and account for about 2-3% of the 10% incident rate. The diagnosis is often delayed, sometimes for 10-20 years. Although the cause is not clearly described, genetics seems to play a role given about 50% of those affected have a family member with the condition.

Other conditions often associated with RLS include iron deficiency, Parkinson’s disease, kidney failure, iron deficiency, diabetes and peripheral neuropathy. Treatment applied to these conditions often indirectly helps RLS resulting in sleep quality improvement. Medications such as anti-nausea drugs, antipsychotic drugs, some anti-depressants, and cold/allergy medications that contain antihistamines can worsen symptoms. Pregnancy can also trigger RLS, especially in the last trimester. It commonly takes about 3-4 weeks for the symptoms to quiet down after delivery. Other factors that affect RLS include alcohol intake and sleep deprivation itself. Improving sleep and/or eliminating alcohol can be quite effective treatment strategies. There are no medical tests that confirm the diagnosis of RLS, but blood tests can at least rule out other conditions, and when all the tests are negative, the diagnosis is made based on a patient’s symptoms, family history, medication use, the presence of an interrupted sleep pattern with daytime fatigue, and knowledge about the condition.

Treatment utilizing chiropractic management has been reported to be effective in managing RLS associated symptoms including the use of spinal manipulation, muscle release techniques, exercise training, and at times, physical therapy modalities. Nutritional approaches that emphasize muscle relaxation have also been reportedly helpful.

If you, a friend or family member requires care for FM, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services!

What Are Cervicogenic Headaches?

January 21st, 2013

Headaches are a very common problem that can have multiple causes ranging from stress to trauma. To make matters worse, there are MANY different types of headaches. One such type is the “cervicogenic headache” (others include migraines, cluster headaches, etc.).

The main distinction between the symptoms associated with cervicogenic headaches and those associated with migraine headaches are a lack of nausea, vomiting, aura (pre-headache warning that a headache is about to strike), light and noise sensitivity, increased tearing with red eyes, one sided head, neck, shoulder and/or arm pain, and dizziness. The items listed above are primarily found in migraine headache sufferers. The following is a list of clinical characteristics common in those struggling with cervicogenic headaches:

Unilateral (one-sided) head or face pain (rarely is it on both sides).
Pain is localized or stays in one spot, usually the back of the head, frontal, temporal (side) or orbital (eye) regions.
Moderate to severe pain intensity.
Intermittent attacks of pain that last hours to days.
Pain is usually deep, non-throbbing, unless migraines occur at the same time.
Head pain is triggered by neck movement, sustained awkward head postures, applying deep pressure to the base of the skull or upper neck region, and/or taking a deep breath, cough or sneeze can trigger head pain.
Limited neck motion with stiffness.
Infrequently, the cervicogenic headache sufferer can present with migraines at the same time and have both presentations making it more challenging to diagnose.

The cause of cervicogenic headaches can be obvious such as trauma (sports injury, whiplash, slip and fall), or not so obvious, like posture. A forward head posture can increase the relative weight applied to the back of the neck and upper back as much as 2x-4x normal. Last month, we discussed the intimate relationship between the upper 2 cervical vertebra (C1 & C2) and an anatomical connection to the covering of the spinal cord (the dura) as giving rise to cervicogenic headaches. In summary, the upper 3 nerves innervate the head and any pressure on those upper 3 nerves can result in a cervicogenic headache. As chiropractors, we are trained to examine, identify, and treat these types of potentially debilitating headaches.

We realize that you have a choice in where you choose your healthcare services. If you, a friend or family member requires care for headaches, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services and look forward in serving you and your family presently and, in the future.

Rancho Bernardo San Diego area chiropractors, Mission Valley area of San Diego, and Poway, the doctors and chiropractors at New Century Spinal Decompression centers chiropractic provide effective chiropractic care for people suffering from: whiplash injuries, sports injuries, low back pain, neck pain, joint pain, sciatica, leg pain, muscle spasms, carpal tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia, shoulder pain, hip pain, arthritis, shin splints, running injuries, and more. Some of the chiropractic doctors here were featured on San Diego's Channel 10 News, Fox news and more for offering revolutionary treatment of low back and leg pain by incorporating ABS Spinal Decompression Therapy with effective chiropractic care. Treatment for personal injuries and car accident injuries are some of the specialties of the chiropractic chiropractors at the injury clinics in Chula Vista, Poway, and Mission Valley. Top chiropractors and top rated chiropractors treat patients at New Century Spine Center in San Diego 92108 and Rancho Bernardo.



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