Health In The Bay – AILMENTS – Muscular Problems
Almost everyone suffers from body aches and pains from time to time. Muscular pain usually comes about from spasms in the muscle from a number of causes. It can be from an injury such as a torn or pulled muscle or a sprain. Or very commonly it’s from poor posture or sustained postures usually from work eg sitting at a desk/computer all day which commonly leads to back and neck pain, as well as arm/wrist/hand pain, from using a mouse. Otherwise it may be from stress, most people hold their stress in their shoulders or jaw. Not only does this result in pain in these areas, but also commonly headaches.
Although these problems are so very common, it’s not something you have to live with or it’s because ‘you’re getting old’. At Health In The Bay we have a variety of techniques and practitioners that deal with muscular pain every day and can help you live with less pain
Muscles are anchored to joints with connective tissue called tendons. Injury to these tendons or the muscles themselves is called a strain. Common sites for strains include the calf, groin and hamstring. Having a balanced structure can assist in minimising sprains, as you will be less prone to injuries. When your structure is not balanced then your joints will be affected by aberrant stresses due to the need to compensate. A balanced structure is also helpful and assists recovery and healing. Both Chiropractic and Remedial Massage are effective in balancing the bony and muscular structures of the body, so hence minimise the chance of injury and assist healing. Acupuncture can also be effective in balancing the body, and post injury it is effective in encouraging healing.
Joints are held together and supported by tough bands of connective tissue called ligaments. A sprain is a joint injury that typically involves small tears (microtrauma) of the ligaments and joint capsule. Common sites for sprains include the thumb, ankle and wrist. Sprains can be acute or chronic. Acute injuries are usually due to a specific incident or injury, while chronic pain would worsen gradually, usually over months. These are commonly caused by overuse or changes in normal tissue stress. Having a balanced structure can assist in minimising sprains, as you will be less prone to injuries. When your structure is not balanced then your joints will be affected by aberrant stresses due to the need compensate. A balanced structure is also helpful and assists recovery and healing. Both Chiropractic and Remedial Massage are effective in balancing the bony and muscular structures of the body, so hence minimise the chance of injury and assist healing. Acupuncture can also be effective in balancing the body, and post injury it is effective in encouraging healing.
Muscle tears are tears of muscular fiber due to overstretching. They range from a mild strain (grade one) which is tearing of some muscle fibres, moderate strain (grade two) to a severe strain or complete rupture of the muscle (grade three). Although strains are not restricted to athletes and can happen while carrying out everyday tasks, people who play sports are more at risk of developing a strain or tear. Symptoms vary depending on the severity of the tear, and include sudden onset of pain, soreness, bruising or discoloration, swelling, muscle spasms, stiffness and/or weakness. If the injury is accompanied by severe pain, if the limb cannot be used, or if there is noticeable tenderness over an isolated spot, it is recommended that you consult a medical provider as these can be signs of a broken or fractured bone, or a complete muscle tear.
When the structure of your body (bony and muscular) is balanced, your body is better able to recover and heal. Both Chiropractic and Remedial Massage are effective in balancing the bony and muscular structures of the body, so hence beneficial after a strain or tear. Acupuncture can also be effective in balancing the body, and post injury it is effective in encouraging healing.
Overuse injuries or RSI.
Commonly affect the upper limb, either the wrist or elbow. Overuse of the wrist can result in carpal tunnel syndrome, resulting in weakness, numbness and/or pins and needles, or the hand and fingers. Overuse of the elbow can result in Tennis Elbow or Golfers Elbow, which will cause pain at the elbow, and possibly also the forearm, and hand.
Effective treatment for both these areas can include massage including trigger point therapy. Acupuncture is very effective by also helping the muscles to release. Sometimes a primary issue is tightness and decreased mobility of the lower neck. This puts some pressure on the nerves that supply the arm, and this predisposes the elbow and forearm to be more susceptible to issues. In this case Chiropractic is helpful to correct the lower neck. It can also be helpful to have chiropractic adjustments to the wrist. It is also important to stretch the muscles of the forearm, and to address the activity the is repetitive and modify if possible.
This is pain that usually comes on suddenly and has been experienced for a short period of time ie days. Acute pain is often due to an injury or a sudden muscular spasm. An injury could be either something serious such as a fractured bone or torn ligament or muscle. Or something less serious such as a sprain or strain to a muscle or to ligaments of a joint, commonly of the spine , or knees or ankles, but it can occur in any joint. Acute pain at a spinal joint is often either due to the ligaments at the joint being strained or sprained, or due to muscles around these joints suddenly spasming in reaction to the joints being inflamed. Signs of acute injury include sudden, severe pain, swelling, not being able to move a joint as normal, not able to weight-bear (if lower limb) or very tender upper limb, or extreme leg or arm weakness
Acute pain can respond well to gentle treatment (except if it’s a fracture). Chiropractic can be very effective if the underlying cause is some structural imbalance that puts strain on the joints and muscles. Massage Therapy and Acupuncture can also be very effective for muscle strains and spasms. By balancing these structures, there will be less strain on muscles and joints, thereby reducing the pain and allowing it to heal.
Pain that has been evident for weeks to months is considered chronic. It can be pain that came on suddenly or gradually. Signs of a chronic injury include, pain when you play sport or exercise, a dull ache when you rest and swelling.
Similarly to acute pain, chronic pain can respond well to treatment. Chiropractic can be very effective if the underlying cause is some structural imbalance that puts strain on the joints and muscles. Massage Therapy and Acupuncture can also be very effective for muscle strains and tight or shortened muscles. By balancing these structures, there will be less strain on muscles and joints, thereby reducing the pain and allowing it to return to normal. Since chronic pain has had a longer history, it will generally take longer to resolve with treatment, than an acute injury.
The Rotator Cuff is made up of 4 muscles of the shoulder. As a group, they are responsible for the stability of the shoulder, as well as the significant mobility that occurs at the shoulder (which is much more than at any other joint). It is because the rotator cuff has these 2 almost opposing roles that the shoulder is prone to injuries. The shoulder is a common site of pain and reduced mobility, and is also commonly torn. For the shoulder to function optimally there needs to be a good balance between its 2 roles. This requires a good balance of the muscles (ie length and tension) as they act on the shoulder. If there is some imbalance it will quickly result in poor functioning of the shoulder and hence muscle pain and a decrease in flexibility. This imbalance will also make the shoulder more susceptible to injuries.
For the muscles to be balanced there firstly needs to be correct balance of the structures affecting the shoulder which include the shoulder blade, collar bone, neck upper back and ribs. These areas can be effectively addressed by seeing a Chiropractor, who will assess the structure of the whole body and adjust and rebalance as required. To assist the muscles to rebalance, Massage Therapy or Acupuncture are both extremely effective. Commonly external factors also contribute to these muscular imbalances, that need to be addressed. They are commonly work posture (particularly computer or laptop), hence ergonomics need to be improved, and very commonly stress (many people hold their stress and tension in their shoulders), which can be helped by Acupuncture, massage, exercise, or counselling.
A headache is pain anywhere in the region of the head or neck. They are reasonably common, and can be due to a number of causes. Most are benign, but having to live with regular headaches can put a strain on life, relationships and sleep, and can even result in depression. Some causes are more serious, so if you have sudden onset, unexplained, and/or severe pain you should see a medical practitioner to rule out anything serious.
A common cause is musculoskeletal, which could be tight muscles in a number of areas incl shoulders, neck or jaw; grinding teeth; poor posture – often associated with stress. Musculoskeletal issues can also be due to past injuries including whiplash; concussion or contusions. Other causes can be related to sinus/allergies; hormones; or liver/gallbladder issues.
Chiropractic is very effective in reducing muscle tension in neck shoulders and upper back, all of which can cause headaches. Chiropractic is helpful to improve whiplash injury, by rebalancing the spinal structure of the neck and hence help the soft tissue to heal. A Chiropractic cranial (skull) technique is a gentle release of the skull, and is helpful after having a bump to the head. These are all done with gentle low force techniques to rebalance the spine and muscles around the head and neck. Any jaw or TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) issues are regularly improved with chiropractic care addressing the skull.
Chiropractic is also effective in improving posture, which is important for keeping the spine balanced.
Acupuncture can help with reducing stress which helps relieve tension. It can also rebalance the physiology of the body and improve function of body systems, including the liver, gall bladder, hormones etc which can all be a factor in headaches, with the use of acupuncture and sometimes herbs.
A Nutritionist will also help you improve how efficiently and effectively your body functions, and address hormone imbalances, by addressing your diet, and possibly determining any areas of deficiency or imbalance, and rectifying with nutrients.
Migraines are not just bad headaches, They can certainly present as severe throbbing head pain, usually just on one side of the head, but they can also present with minor head pain, and often with other symptoms. These other symptoms can include: visual changes, such as an aura; nausea; vomiting; sensitivity to light; sensitivity to sound; sensitivity to smell and touch; numbness of the face or extremities (hands and feet).
A migraine attack can last from four hours to three days and is thought to be associated with a spasm of the blood vessels leading to the brain. Three times as many women (15 per cent) as men (5 per cent) suffer from migraine, and scientists believe that hormones play a large role.
Migraines are usually more difficult to help with than headaches, because the underlying cause is not directly related to musculoskeletal imbalances. Even so, Chiropractic can be helpful, as it can have an impact on and improve blood flow to the neck and head, by freeing up the neck and shoulders and reducing muscle spasms
Together with treatment it can be beneficial to have a massage to relieve stress and decrease muscle spasms in the area of the head, neck and shoulders.
Dizziness and Vertigo
Dizziness is a term often used to describe a number of sensations such as feeling unsteady, woozy or lightheaded. It can be worrying to experience but it is usually treatable. Approximately half of all cases of persistent dizziness is due to problems with the inner ear, such as Meniere’s disease, benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) and vestibular neuritis or labyrinthitis. Other causes include stress or anxiety, brain disorders including migraine, (very rarely stroke or other brain diseases), other conditions such as low blood pressure, infection, some heart problems and hypoglycaemia, side effects of some prescription medications, and some cases have an unknown cause.
Vertigo is the sensation of you or your environment spinning, when you are not actually moving. There are a number of causes, commonly it is also due to an inner ear problem, such as Meniere’s disease, benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) and vestibular neuritis or labyrinthitis. Less common causes are injuries to the head or neck, migraine and brain issues such as tumours or strokes.
Once more serious causes have been ruled out for either dizziness or vertigo, you can often get some relief, especially for dizziness. Both Chiropractic and Acupuncture can be effective, depending on the underlying cause. Chiropractic can be effective when there is some association with neck injuries, migraine or stress. By improving the mechanics and movement in the neck and shoulders and therefore reducing muscle spasms in those areas, we can improve proprioception (the body’s ability to perceive its position in space, and balance) of the neck, and reduce any headaches or migraines.
Acupuncture is also effective in releasing muscle spasms, and hence improving nerve function and proprioception. It is a gentle technique that uses fine needles to rebalance the energy in the body, and is beneficial in reducing stress, the body’s response to stress, and migraines and headaches.