The neck—or cervical spine—is a coordinated network of nerves, bones, joints, and muscles directed by the brain and the spinal cord. It is designed for strength, stability, and nerve communication. Commonly, there are a number of problems that cause pain in the neck. Additionally, irritation along the nerve pathways can cause pain into the shoulder, head, arm, and hand. Irritation of the spinal cord can cause pain into the legs and other areas below the neck.
Neck pain can feel like any of the following:
In some cases, other symptoms associated with the neck pain are even more problematic, such as:
Neck pain is common among adults, but it can occur at any age. In the course of a year, about 15% of US adults have neck pain that lasts at least one full day. Neck pain can develop suddenly, such as from an injury, or it may develop slowly over time, such as from years of poor posture or wear and tear. A chiropactor should be consulted if pain persists or continues to interfere with routine activities, such as sleeping through the night. These problems rarely get better on their on and usually worsen with time.
Back pain is one of the most common reasons people go to the doctor or miss work and a leading cause of disability worldwide. Most people have back pain at least once. Fortunately, you can take measures to prevent or relieve most back pain episodes. If prevention fails, simple home treatment and proper body mechanics often will heal your back within a few weeks and keep it functional for the long haul. Surgery is rarely needed to treat back pain.
Signs and symptoms of back pain may include:
Eventhough your back pain may gradually improves with home treatment and self-care, usually within two weeks the symptoms maybe gone but the underlining cause of the pain may still be there. It is wise to see your doctor.
In rare cases, back pain can signal a serious medical problem. Seek immediate care if your back pain:
Also, see your doctor if you start having back pain for the first time after age 50, or if you have a history of cancer, osteoporosis, steroid use, or drug or alcohol abuse.
Knee or Shoulder Pain
What most people call the shoulder is really several joints that combine with tendons and muscles to allow a wide range of motion in the arm — from scratching your back to throwing the perfect pitch. Mobility has its price, however. It may lead to increasing problems with instability or impingement of the soft tissue or bony structures in your shoulder, resulting in pain. You may feel pain only when you move your shoulder, or all of the time. The pain may be temporary or it may continue and require medical diagnosis and treatment. Most shoulder problems fall into four major categories:
Other much less common causes of shoulder pain are tumors, infection, and nerve-related problems.
Bursitis - Bursae are small, fluid-filled sacs that are located in joints throughout the body, including the shoulder. They act as cushions between bones and the overlying soft tissues, and help reduce friction between the gliding muscles and the bone.
Sometimes, excessive use of the shoulder leads to inflammation and swelling of the bursa between the rotator cuff and part of the shoulder blade known as the acromion. The result is a condition known as subacromial bursitis. Bursitis often occurs in association with rotator cuff tendinitis. The many tissues in the shoulder can become inflamed and painful. Many daily activities, such as combing your hair or getting dressed, may become difficult.
Tendinitis - A tendon is a cord that connects muscle to bone. Most tendinitis is a result of a wearing down of the tendon that occurs slowly over time, much like the wearing process on the sole of a shoe that eventually splits from overuse.Generally, tendinitis is one of two types: Acute. Excessive ball throwing or other overhead activities during work or sport can lead to acute tendinitis. Chronic, degenerative diseases like arthritis or repetitive wear and tear due to age, can lead to chronic tendinitis.
The most commonly affected tendons in the shoulder are the four rotator cuff tendons and one of the biceps tendons. The rotator cuff is made up of four small muscles and their tendons that cover the head of your upper arm bone and keep it in the shoulder socket. Your rotator cuff helps provide shoulder motion and stability.
Tendon Tears - Splitting and tearing of tendons may result from acute injury or degenerative changes in the tendons due to advancing age, long-term overuse and wear and tear, or a sudden injury. These tears may be partial or may completely split the tendon into two pieces. In most cases of complete tears, the tendon is pulled away from its attachment to the bone. Rotator cuff and biceps tendon injuries are among the most common of these injuries.
Impingement - Shoulder impingement occurs when the top of the shoulder blade (acromion) puts pressure on the underlying soft tissues when the arm is lifted away from the body. As the arm is lifted, the acromion rubs, or "impinges" on, the rotator cuff tendons and bursa. This can lead to bursitis and tendinitis, causing pain and limiting movement. Over time, severe impingement can even lead to a rotator cuff tear.
Instability - Shoulder instability occurs when the head of the upper arm bone is forced out of the shoulder socket. This can happen as a result of a sudden injury or from overuse.Shoulder dislocations can be partial, with the ball of the upper arm coming just partially out of the socket. This is called a subluxation. A complete dislocation means the ball comes all the way out of the socket. Once the ligaments, tendons, and muscles around the shoulder become loose or torn, dislocations can occur repeatedly. Recurring dislocations, which may be partial or complete, cause pain and unsteadiness when you raise your arm or move it away from your body. Repeated episodes of subluxations or dislocations lead to an increased risk of developing arthritis in the joint.
Arthritis - Shoulder pain can also result from arthritis. There are many types of arthritis. The most common type of arthritis in the shoulder is osteoarthritis, also known as "wear and tear" arthritis. Symptoms, such as swelling, pain, and stiffness, typically begin during middle age. Osteoarthritis develops slowly and the pain it causes worsens over time. Osteoarthritis, may be related to sports or work injuries and chronic wear and tear. Other types of arthritis can be related to rotator cuff tears, infection, or an inflammation of the joint lining. Often people will avoid shoulder movements in an attempt to lessen arthritis pain. This sometimes leads to a tightening or stiffening of the soft tissue parts of the joint, resulting in a painful restriction of motion.
Fracture - Fractures are broken bones. Shoulder fractures commonly involve the clavicle (collarbone), humerus (upper arm bone), and scapula (shoulder blade). Shoulder fractures in older patients are often the result of a fall from standing height. In younger patients, shoulder fractures are often caused by a high energy injury, such as a motor vehicle accident or contact sports injury. Fractures often cause severe pain, swelling, and bruising about the shoulder.
Most people have had a minor knee problem at one time or another. Most of the time our body movements do not cause problems, but it's not surprising that symptoms develop from everyday wear and tear, overuse, or injury. Knee problems and injuries most often occur during sports or recreational activities, work-related tasks, or home projects. The knee is the largest joint in the body. The upper and lower bones of the knee are separated by two discs (menisci). The upper leg bone (femur) and the lower leg bones (tibia and fibula) are connected by ligaments, tendons, and muscles. The surface of the bones inside the knee joint is covered by articular cartilage, which absorbs shock and provides a smooth, gliding surface for joint movement. Although a knee problem is often caused by an injury to one or more of these structures, it may have another cause. Some people are more likely to develop knee problems than others. Many jobs, sports and recreation activities, getting older, or having a disease such as osteoporosis or arthritis increase your chances of having problems with your knees.
Sudden (acute) injuries - Injuries are the most common cause of knee problems. Sudden (acute) injuries may be caused by a direct blow to the knee or from abnormal twisting, bending the knee, or falling on the knee. Pain, bruising, or swelling may be severe and develop within minutes of the injury. Nerves or blood vessels may be pinched or damaged during the injury. The knee or lower leg may feel numb, weak, or cold; tingle; or look pale or blue. Acute injuries include:
Sciatica (pronounced sigh-at-eh-kah) is not a medical diagnosis in and of itself—it is a symptom of an underlying medical condition. Common lower back problems that can cause sciatica symptoms include a lumbar herniated disc, degenerative disc disease, spondylolisthesis, or spinal stenosis.
Sciatica Nerve Pain - Sciatica is often characterized by one or more of the following symptoms:
Sciatic pain can vary from infrequent and irritating to constant and incapacitating. Symptoms are usually based on the location of the pinched nerve.
Did you know that your foot is composed of 24 bones that form two crossing arches of the foot. The ankles of your foot are formed by the interaction of the foot and your lower leg. The bones of your foot are held together with ligaments. The foot muscles along with a tissue known as planter fascia provide secondary support. There are also fat pads in the foot to help with weight-bearing and absorbing impact. When you experience discomfort or pain, that’s an indication that something is wrong. How and when that occurs, can often help in determining the cause and severity of the condition. Trauma, disease and injuries are the most likely causes of foot pain. Poor biomechanical alignment and the type of footwear can also cause pain or discomfort. Shoes that fit tight or are tied too tightly can cause pain on the top of the foot. High heels can cause pain around the ball of your foot just below your toes. Pain and tenderness in a specific area for a prolonged period of time is telltale sign of a possible problem. A few insights into when you feel the pain will be helpful in identifying the problem and finding a possible solution. Is the pain affected by weight bearing, or do you feel it when there is movement of the foot? Does it affect the way you walk?
If you have been diagnosed with a bulging disc, you are not alone. Bulging discs, also known as a disc protrusion, are a very common occurrence. They usually remain asymptomatic; however, they can cause discomfort and disability in various parts of the body if the disc compresses an adjacent nerve root or the spinal cord. As we age, the outer fibrous portion of our discs can weaken. Pressure from the central core of the disc can then stretch to the outer rim, causing the disc to bulge. If left untreated, the disc can continue to bulge until it tears, which is classified as a herniated disc. Because a bulging disc does not always show symptoms, many people have bulging discs without realizing it. As long as the bulging area does not press against a nearby nerve, no symptoms occur. When the bulging disc does cause a pinched nerve, however, you may begin to experience symptoms. In the lower back, the damaged disc can cause pain to travel to the hips, buttocks, legs and feet. In the cervical spine, pain can radiate from the neck, down the arm and to the fingers. Approximately 90 percent of bulging discs occur in the lower back, or lumbar area, of the spine. The most common lumbar bulging disc is seen between lumbar vertebrae L4 and L5, and between vertebrae L5 and S1, causing pain in the L5 nerve or S1 spinal nerve, respectively. The sciatic nerve receives neurons from spinal nerves L3 through S3. If the bulging disc impinges upon one or more of these six spinal nerves, then sciatic pain could result. Sciatic pain originates in the low back, radiates through the buttocks, down the back to the leg and could extend all the way to the foot.
If you are concerned that you’re starting to show signs of a bulging disc, you should contact the office.
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Health Back Chiropractic (503) 589-0700
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