Articles in Category: General Health

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)

on Thursday, 03 March 2016. Posted in General Health

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS)

By Jakob van Vlijmen

M Chiro, DC

 

Most of us have been troubled by a tingling sensation in our hands when we wake up, usually it’s caused by lying awkwardly and can be easily fixed by shaking the hand. However when you have carpal tunnel, you'll be plagued by the tingling much more frequently during all sort of activities. The tingling sensation can even be accompanied with loss of strength in the hands making it tremendously difficult to hold objects.

 

De Carpal Tunnel is situated on the inside of the wrist where the hand transitions into the forearm. The tunnel is made up of 8 carpal bones in a U shape. On top of which the fascial band is transversely strung across. Through this tunnel multiple arteries, tendons and a single nerve run into the hand.  

 

In CTS this nerve has become compressed because the space in the tunnel has diminished. Due to this compression the blood supply to the nerve is compromised impairing normal function. There are many different things that can cause the space to be diminished such as the following:

Ø  Overuse of the wrist

Ø  Broken carpal bones

Ø  Hormonal changes such as pregnancy or menopause

Ø  Fluid retention

Ø  Osteoarthritis

Ø  Rheumatoid Arthritis

 

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome symptoms are comparable to those of a ''sleeping foot'' which is also caused by a compressed nerve. The most common symptoms are:

Ø  Pain, tingling or a numbness in the hand

Ø  Being woken at night by these tingling sensations, which are then relieved by shaking the hand

Ø  Loss of strength in the hand

Ø  Morning stiffness and clumsiness of the hands

Ø  Use of the hands usually increases the symptoms

Ø  Pain in the neck, shoulder, elbows, forearm or wrist.

 

The nerve that eventually travels through the carpal tunnel starts off in the neck and runs through the shoulder, upper arm, elbow, and fore arm in to the hand. It is possible for the nerve to be compressed at multiple levels. Because of a possible compression higher up in the body, the nerve function is diminished after which becomes more susceptible to injury further down the track. So a relatively small compression at the Carpal Tunnel might very quickly give the fore mentioned symptoms.

 

The Chiropractor will therefore need to assess the whole length of the nerve to make sure it is not compromised at any other levels. This way the root of the problem will be tackled and recovery can be swift and complete.

 

Tips

Bad posture can lead to a compressed nerve. Together with the chiropractor you can address possible postural faults and diminish the change of CTS.

Curbing the Low Back Pain while Driving

on Thursday, 24 January 2019. Posted in Newsletters, General Health, Chiropractic

Low Back Pain while Driving

You are not alone if driving, especially for long periods or through heavy traffic make your back, neck and shoulders stiff.

While these days car seats are more “adjustable friendly'' than before, often still they do not have enough lumbar support and the proper seat angles to take the pressure off your spine.

This then encourages poor low back posture, which in a cascade of events then stresses the mid back and neck at the same time.

If your work requires you to drive for long periods, then you are definitely more vulnerable to this problem.

How Do You Fight Against a Flawed Design?

The answer to this is WORK WITH WHAT WE CAN CONTROL.

STEP 1: START FROM SCRATCH

Push your seat as far back as possible. If the steering wheel is adjustable, bring it high and close to the driver.

Drop the seat height and cushion to their lowest and the seat's backrest reclined back to 30 degrees.

STEP 2: SEAT DISTANCE FROM PEDALS

 

Slowly move the seat forward one notch at a time until you find a comfortable position allowing your leg to have good control over the pedals (ideally the knees should not be over bent).

STEP 3: BACKREST AND CUSHION HEIGHT

 

Again, recline the backrest one notch at a time until your back feels supported. Make sure it is not excessively declined because this will interrupt the driver's field of vision.

As for the cushion height, the rule of thumb is “Knees LOWER or at the SAME height as your Hips”.

This can be a bit tricky because most cushions are in an inclined position making the knees sit higher than the hips (which is not what we want). Bring it up to the point where your knees are at the same height as your hips. Then, sit on a cushion or a rolled up towel to help lift the hips up higher than the knees relieving some of the pressure in the lower back.

STEP 4: STEERING WHEEL

 

Move the steering wheel to a distance where your wrist is comfortably resting on it at 10 and 3 o’clock position with a slightly bent elbow.

It should also be adjusted to a height where the controls are clearly viewed and not touching your legs while driving.

STEP 5: GET OUT OF THE CAR

 

This is probably the simplest thing anyone can do if the back is hurting when driving. Yes. Get out of the car and take a short 5-10 minute walk ideally at each hour of driving.

Studies have shown that the likelihood of a back hurting sitting in a car verse an office chair is a lot higher due to the vibration of the vehicle whilst driving as more strain is inflicted on the spine as a whole.

So, do your back a favour and get that car seat set up right!

 

Written By Iris Tan
B.App Sc (Chiropractic)
M.Clin Chiropractic

Degenerative Low Back Pain

Written by Don Williams BSc, MChiro, ICSSD. on Wednesday, 23 September 2015. Posted in General Health, Ergonomics

Degenerative Low Back Pain

By Don Williams

B.Sc., M.Chiro., ICSSD., PG Dip. NMS Rehabilitation,

Cert. DNS. Memb: CAA. FICS, CEA.

 

Low back pain is an extremely common problem impacting on a huge proportion of our population.

Statistics suggest that 80% of society will suffer back pain in their lives and in any given year, almost 60% of the working population will miss at least 1 day of work due to back pain.

 

But what causes back pain and how do we address it?

 

There are many different structures within our back, neck and body which can cause pain, including; the intervertebral disc, muscles, ligaments and facet (or zygopophyseal) joints. These are simply the basic musculoskeletal structures, however, sometimes back pain can be referred from internal organs, some common culprits are; uterine fibroids in females, bowel obstructions, kidney infections, aortic aneurysms, gall stones, stomach ulcers and malignancies or cancers.

 

Obviously, it is important when you have back pain to have it thoroughly assessed to identify whether it is a musculoskeletal complaint or whether it is a referred problem or something more sinister.

 

If the problem is musculoskeletal then there may be a range of treatment options available; Including Acupuncture, Chiropractic, Remedial Massage, Exercise or Physiotherapy. Some people will find heat or ice may help and some people will respond to pharmaceuticals. In fact, if you believe some of the advertisements on Television (with celebrity swimmers posing as experts) you could be forgiven for thinking that drugs will in fact cure that back pain, rather than the reality of which they will mask the pain until the body has recovered.

 

Certain presentations or complaints seem to respond well to different intervention strategies.

What works for one person will not always work for the next person. Good practitioners should have a range of available strategies to apply based on the response of the patient.

 

We sometimes have patients present to our clinic who have been told that they have “Arthritis”, or a “Degenerative Back” and they will have to live with it, however rarely is back pain this simple. We know that in clinical presentations, the amount or level of degeneration is not well correlated with the amount of back pain people experience. This simply means, sometimes people have awful degeneration and no pain and sometimes people have great xrays with no degeneration and lots of pain. If you have been given a diagnosis of, “it is arthritis and you will have to live with it”, then seek a second opinion. You may be able to have treatment which will significantly reduce or even eliminate your pain.

 

 Degenerative Spine         Healthy Spine

                            Degenerative Spine                                                            Healthy Spine

 

There are a number of different types of arthritis which can influence or affect the spine, broadly categorised into inflammatory arthritis (such as Rheumatoid Arthritis) and Degenerative arthritis.

Inflammatory arthritis can be quite problematic. Although the disease process is not directly treatable my musculoskeletal practitioners, the normal mechanical pain and dysfunction can still be treated.

Degenerative arthritis is the process in which wear and tear over a period of time causes the joints to degenerate. This can result in stiffness or a reduction in the range of motion.  This will often respond quite well to treatment. The biggest question generally surrounds the issue of whether the degeneration has actually been there for a period of time and the pain is as a result of an overload or injury which has triggered the reaction or whether the body has hit a tipping point in which the degeneration has built up to a degree that the body is not going to tolerate it anymore.

 

Everyone starts to degenerate when they reach adulthood. Essentially there is an age correlated expectation for the amount of degeneration that we have. Issue may arise when we degenerate more quickly than expected, or when this degenerative change starts to impact on the nerve and spinal cord. The interesting thing about degenerative compression of the nerves is that the signs and symptoms are somewhat different than those we see from an abrupt episode of compression or a disc injury. This is thought to be as a result of the body’s innate ability to adapt to change and degeneration.

 

Generally speaking, the more degeneration is present, the more conservative treatment is. Just because you have advanced degenerative change does not mean you cannot have conservative treatment. Skilled practitioners will always assess your presentation and will apply treatment that takes your history and presentation into account.  People with significant degeneration may be contraindicated for certain treatment methods, which will normally be discussed at the time of treatment.

The unfortunate circumstance is that people who don’t respond well or not at all often face quite aggressive intervention and surgery, which is of course a last resort when all else has failed.

 

If you have been told that you have “arthritis”, or “spinal degeneration”, then all is not necessarily lost, they may still be conservative strategies that work for you.