Common Back-Related Problems

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Sciatica
Whiplash
Arthritis
Headaches

CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME?
CTS results when the media nerve is compressed or damaged. When the space in the tunnel is reduced, pressure increases and affects nerve function.
Chiropractors are equipped to deal with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and can offer many sufferers relief.

SCIATICA
Sciatic nerves are the longest and largest nerves in the body. They are about the size of your thumb in diameter and run down the back of each leg. When these nerves are irritated by the inflammation of nearby soft tissue, doctors refer to this as sciatica.
Pain is caused when the sciatic nerve roots are irritated, scraped, stretched or pinched as they exit the spine.

Symptoms of Sciatica
• Low back pain
• Cramping
• Burning or tingling down the leg
• Numbness
• Sciatic pain radiates into the thighs, legs, ankles, and feet
• Pain can be severe and debilitating.

Treatment
Nerve pain is caused by the combination of pressure and inflammation on the nerve root. Treatment is centered on relieving both of these conditions.
• Manual treatments – chiropractic care, physiotherapy
• Surgery – to help relieve both the pressure and inflammation may be warranted if the pain is severe.

Prevention
• Practice good posture - stand up straight. Your ears should be aligned with your shoulders, your shoulders with your hips and your buttocks tucked in. Your knees should be bent slightly.
• Practice abdominal crunches - this will help strengthen the abdominal muscles that help support your lower back.
• Walk – gentle exercised such as walking and swimming can help strengthen your lower back.
• Lift objects safely – always lift from a squatting position using your hips to do the heavy work.
• Avoid sitting or standing for extended periods of time – if you must sit at work, take regular small breaks. If you must be on your feet, try using a small block or footrest to prop one foot up off the ground.
• Use a proper sleeping position – take pressure off your back by sleeping on your back with a pillow under your knees.
• Stretch – sit in a chair and bend toward the floor. Stop when you feel just slight discomfort. Hold this position for 30 seconds then release.
• Avoid wearing high heels – shoes with heels more than 1 ½ inches high shift your weight forward throwing your body out of alignment.

WHIPLASH
Whiplash is a soft tissue injury to the neck, also called neck strain or sprain. It is characterized by symptoms that follow the injury because of the sudden extension or flexion of the neck.

Symptoms
• Headache
• Dizziness
• Burning or prickling sensation
• Shoulder and/or back pain
• Memory loss and/or impaired concentration

Other Causes of Whiplash
• Sports related injury
• Blows from a falling object or assault
• Repetitive stress injuries
• Chronic strain

ARTHRITIS
Arthritis is a term that includes a group of disorders that affect your joints and muscles. Many people with arthritis experience some difficulty functioning and home, work or play because of joint pain, stiffness and loss of motion regardless of the type of arthritis they have. Getting out of bed, doing up buttons, writing, meal preparation, sleeping, walking, personal hygiene may be impaired by the degree of pain and stiffness.

Symptoms
• Pain
• Stiffness
• Muscle aches
• Swelling
• Sleeplessness
• Depression

HEADACHES
There are several different types of headaches:

Tension Headache – develop gradually often involving the entire head as well as the neck and shoulders.
Migraine Headache – the headache is preceded by visual phenomena such as dark spots, streaks of light or tunnel vision. They usually develop on one side of the head, are throbbing in nature and can be accompanied by nausea and increased sensitivity to light and noise.
Cluster Headache – these can last minutes or hours and occur day after day at a similar time over a period of weeks. Pain can be described as sharp and similar to an ice pick. They are more common in men and the most difficult to treat.
Sinus Headache – frontal headaches that some people experience with a sinus infection or changes in the weather. Allergies can also be a factor.

Treatment
To avoid headaches, employ good health habits; get adequate sleep, healthy diet and regular exercise.