Neck pain can be acute (short term) or chronic (recurring or persisting for months and even years), but regardless, when you're in pain, relief is the first thing on your mind. Just as important as relief, of course, is finding the cause and ensuring you avoid the behavior / action that brought the pain on in the first place. Here are five common causes of neck pain – and why doctors of chiropractic are well-suited to relieve the pain and determine the underlying cause.
1. Poor Posture: Leaning over a desk all day or slouching in your office chair? You're bound to develop neck pain eventually, if you haven't already. Do this quick test: In an upright or seated position, round your shoulders and back (poor posture). Does it impact your neck as well? Exactly!
2. Monitor Madness: Staring at the computer screen for hours at a time? That's not good for your health (or sanity), but from a neck pain perspective, it's madness, particularly if the screen height forces you to crane your neck up (too high) or extend it down (too low).
3. Sleep Issues: Ideally, we spend a third of our day sleeping, so your sleep habits – for better or worse – can have a dramatic effect on your health. With regard to neck pain, anytime you sleep in an uncomfortable position, particularly one that stresses your neck musculature (think about side-sleeping while grabbing your pillow tightly, sleeping on your stomach with your arms out in front of you, or even sleeping on your back, but with a pillow that doesn't adequately support your neck), you risk neck pain.
4. Technology Overload: We may spend a third of our day sleeping, but we increasingly spend the other 16 hours typing, texting, tapping and otherwise interacting with our smartphones, tablets, etc. Bottom line: bad for your neck. One doctor has even coined the phrase, "text neck," to describe the neck pain that can result from this constant technology interaction.
5. The Wrong Movement: Twisting, turning, stretching and stressing your neck is an easy way to cause neck pain. While the muscles in the neck are strong, they can be strained, sprained and even torn, just like any other muscle.
It's important to note that beyond these common causes, various other health issues can also contribute to or directly cause neck pain, including fibromyalgia, cervical arthritis or spondylosis (essentially spinal arthritis), spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal), infection of the spine, and even cancer. The good news is that a doctor of chiropractic can help identify which of these or the above causes is to blame.
When neck pain strikes, most people turn to a temporary solution first: pain-relieving medication. But that's not a permanent solution, of course, and it doesn't address the cause of the pain at all, which could be something relatively minor – or more serious. What's more, research suggests chiropractic spinal manipulation is actually more effective than over-the-counter and prescription medication for relieving both acute and subacute neck pain.
Suffering from neck pain? Then give your doctor of chiropractic a call. They'll help you relieve your pain and determine the cause so it doesn't return.
the same old New Year's resolutions. Every year at around this time, millions of people around the world resolve to improve their lives beginning Jan. 1 – and for most, their resolutions die sometime within the first few months, if they get off the ground at all.
What can you do to make 2017 different? What can you do to make sure your New Year's resolutions stick? Here are five ways to keep your 2017 resolutions while avoiding some of the common pitfalls that have struck down your resolutions in years past.
1. Think It Through: One of the biggest mistakes resolvers make is jumping into a resolution without thinking it through. Sure, you can resolve to start working out, lose weight, quit smoking, eat healthier or be more patient with your kids – but words are just words unless they're supported by sensible actions. And sensible actions require a sensible plan. Resolving to exercise? Think about how many days per week, whether to go to the gym or work out home, potential hurdles / challenges that may come up, and other factors. Resolving to be more patient? Map out a half-dozen specific ways to do it (think before you speak / act; give yourself a "time out" so you can refocus, etc.). Whatever your resolution, you have to figure out how to make it work or it probably won't work, pure and simple.
2. Recruit Help: While everyone has their own New Year's resolutions, that doesn't mean you have to go it alone. Your friends, family, co-workers and other acquaintances are your biggest allies, and chances are they've either resolved to do one of the same things you have, or they did it last year. Work out with a friend; brainstorm healthy meals your kids can help prepare; and engage online support groups whenever possible. Tap into their experience, their encouragement and their support to stay focused and strong throughout the year, and your resolution won't be the one-week, one-month or even one-year variety; it will last a lifetime.
3. Remember Last Year: Those who refuse to learn from the past are condemned to repeat it, and we're guessing that like most people, last year's New Year's resolutions didn't go so well. In fact, this year's list might be identical to your 2016 list, your 2011 list, and so on. What will make 2017 different? A good start is to learn from your mistakes so you can chart a more effective course. If you've had trouble getting to the gym consistently, despite your best intentions, perhaps this time, you need to refine your schedule, research an at-home program for the days you can't get away, or work out before work instead of after, when you're usually tired. Succeed in 2017 by remembering why your 2016 resolutions didn't pan out.
4. Take Small Steps: In many ways, New Year's resolutions have taken on a black-and-white quality; either you're not resolving to do anything or you're resolving to do big things, instantly. Unfortunately, life isn't that simple, and the overwhelming majority of resolutions involve behaviors / patterns that are difficult to change overnight. The problem with this all-or-nothing mentality, of course, is twofold: It sets us up for failure at the first sign of a challenge ("I resolved to work out three days a week, every w eek, and already I've missed a few days!") and it ignores the small steps that are just as, if not more important in accomplishing the big step. Want to quit smoking after 30 years? You may want to resolve to scale back progressively, rather than quit cold turkey. Want to start exercising (for essentially the first time)? Try 1-2 days a week of brisk walking for a few months, or a few step classes at the gym, and build from there.
5. Dream Big: Despite the fact that generally, resolutions have a greater chance of success if they're accomplished in small, manageable steps, that doesn't mean you need to think small. New Year's resolutions represent the perfect opportunity to reach for a better world, a better life, a better you; so dream big and go for the proverbial gold. After all, if you set your sights too small, you might be more likely to quit (or not even start) because you don't consider it meaningful enough. Craft a sound strategy to achieve something big that will make you proud. Get help when you need it, take it slow, and most of all, don't get frustrated when that little thing called life temporarily gets in the way. Now that's the smart way to make – and keep – your New Year's resolutions.
Lifting boxes, pushing brooms, reaching for files, carrying supplies -- is it any wonder that so many people suffer from job-related low back pain? No matter what your occupation, back pain can make your life miserable at any time. But how big is the problem?
To answer that question, researchers analyzed claim data from three major sources: the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries; the Bureau of Labor Statistics; and a national workers' compensation provider, over a period of 4-9 years. Results indicated that low-back pain claim rates decreased by 34% from 1987-1995, and claim payments declined by 58% over the same time period. But the problem isn't going away, either. Just look at these numbers:
- $8.8 billion was spent on low-back pain workers' compensation claims in 1995.
- Nearly two out of every 100 privately insured workers filed a low-back pain claim in 1995.
- Payments for these claims accounted for almost a fourth (23%) of the total workers' compensation payments in 1995.
So if you think you can avoid low back pain at the workplace, just look at these numbers, and think again. Better yet, help continue the decline in low back pain cases by getting regular adjustments from your doctor of chiropractic.
Reference: Murphy P, Volinn E. Is occupational low back pain on the rise? Spine, April 1, 1999: Vol. 24, No. 7, pp691-697.
Early intervention soon after an auto accident can significantly improve your chances of a full recovery. Treatment will increase movement in the injured area, preventing the development of lasting scar tissue.
You're at your 10-year-old's soccer game and he's just collided with a member of the opposing team while fighting for a ball in the air. Unfortunately, the two hit heads and both leave the field crying, but clearly conscious. It's a youth game on an elementary-school field, so barring the presence of parent who happens to be a doctor, there's no one around to evaluate either child for a possible concussion. What to do? In many cases, both children will return to the game a few minutes later. Big mistake.
Concussions are serious whenever and wherever they occur, but unlike professional sports, when children suffer a possible concussion, there's often no one around to evaluate it properly. Here's what you can do to help identify some of the often-subtle signs of a concussion and make the informed decision to get further evaluation from a health care professional.
First, let's start with the most severe case: If a child experiences any of the following symptoms, particularly immediately after a collision or fall in which they struck their head, they need to go to the ER immediately for evaluation, according to KidsHealth.org:
- Loss of consciousness
- Severe headache / headache that worsens
- Blurred vision
- Difficulty walking
- Confusion / not making sense
- Slurred speech
- Unresponsiveness (unable to be awakened)
Of course, many children may not display any of those symptoms following a head impact, but still be at risk for concussion, so it's important to evaluate the child with some a simple battery of initial tests that, if nothing else, will alert you to the fact that the child should a) be removed from the game; and b) seek medical attention. Here are a few of the ways you can get a sense of what may be going on. These and other variables are all part of the Sport Concussion Assessment Tool, which is used by health care professionals to help assess concussion symptoms:
- What month is it?
- What is the date today?
- What is the day of the week?
- What year is it?
- What time is it right now? (within one hour)
You can also ask the child questions specific to the event in which they are participating, such as:
- At what venue (field, tournament, city, etc.) are we at today?
- Which half is it now?
- Who scored last in this game?
- What team did you play last week / game? Did your team win the last game?
Give Them a List
Say a short list of words (example: apple, bubble, elbow, carpet, saddle) to the child and then have them recite the list back to you in any order. Repeat several times and assess how accurately they are able to recall all five words. You can do the same thing with a short list of numbers; or by having them recite the months of the year in reverse order.
The most important variable when it comes to determining whether your child should continue to play, be removed from play and/or be seen by a medical provider in the absence of clear symptoms (loss of consciousness, severe headache, slurred speech, etc.) may be how the child is acting compared to before the contact occurred. You know your child. If they're acting "out of sorts," err on the side of caution.
Keep in mind that the above should not be relied upon in lieu of proper evaluation by a health care provider, but if you suspect a concussion has occurred, these symptoms / signs and tests are an important first option to help determine the next step you should take. Talk to your doctor for additional information about concussions and how you can help keep your child safe on and off the field.
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