Chiropractic & Neurology Testing

Chiropractor Staten Island: Neck Pain & Headaches

Health Update: Neck Pain

The Neck and Headache Connection


Patients with headaches also commonly complain of neck pain. This relationship is the rule, not the exception and therefore, treatment for headaches must include treatment of the neck to achieve optimum results. The term, “cervicogenic headaches” has been an accepted term because of the intimate connection between the neck and head for many years. There are many anatomical reasons why neck problems result in headaches. Some of these include:

The first 3 nerves exiting the spine in the upper neck go directly into the head. They penetrate the muscles at the top of the neck near the attachments to the skull and therefore, any excess pressure on these nerves by the muscles or spinal joints will result in irritation and subsequent pain.
The origin or nucleus of the 5th cranial nerve called the Trigeminal, innervates the sensation to the face and is located in the upper cervical region near the origin of the 2nd cervical spinal nerve, which innervates sensation to the back of the head up to the top. Therefore, problems located in the upper neck will often result in pain radiating up from the base of the skull/upper neck over the top of the skull to the eyes and /or face.
The 11th cranial nerve that innervates the upper shoulders and muscles in the front of the neck arises from the top 5 to 7 spinal cord levels in the neck. Injury anywhere in the neck can result in spasm and pain in these large muscle groups.
Other interconnections between the 2nd cervical nerve and trigeminal/5th cranial nerve include communication with the 7th cranial / facial nerve, the 9th cranial / glossopharyngeal nerve, and the 10th cranial / vagus nerve. These connections can affect facial muscle strength/movements, taste, tongue and throat movements, and stomach complaints such as nausea from these three cranial nerve interconnections, respectively.

When patients seek treatment for their headaches, a thorough examination of the neck, upper back, and cranial nerves is routinely performed for the above reasons. It is common to find upper cervical movement and vertebral alignment problems present in patients complaining of headaches. Tender points located between the shoulder blades, along the upper shoulders, on the sides of the neck and particularly, at the base of the skull are commonly found. Pain often radiates from the tender point over the top of the skull when pressure is applied in the upper neck/base of the skull area. Tenderness on the sides of the head, in the temples, over the eyes, and near the jaw joint are also common. Traction or pulling the head to stretch the neck is often quite pain relieving and this is often performed as part of the chiropractic visit and can also be applied at home with the use of a home cervical traction unit. Chiropractic adjustments applied to the fixated or misaligned vertebra in the upper neck often brings very satisfying relief to the headache sufferer. Exercises that promote movement in the neck, as well as strengthening exercises are also helpful in both reducing headache pain and in preventing occurrences, especially with stress or tension headaches.

courtesy: Gastaldi Chiropractic
http://www.chiropractorinstatenisland.com

Chiropractor Staten Island: Neck Pain

Health Update: Neck Pain

What Is This Pain in My Neck!


“When I woke up this morning, I couldn’t move my neck! Every time I try to move it, I feel sharp pain on the left side of the neck shooting down into the shoulder blade. It just came out of nowhere!”

Chances are, you are suffering from a common condition called torticollis, which literally means, “twisted neck” after the Latin terms of “torti” (twisted) and “collis” (neck). The common name for this is “wry neck,” and it’s basically a painful muscle spasm, like a “Charlie-horse” but located in the neck muscles. Usually, a person wakes up in the morning with this and the cause is often related to sleeping with the window being open or a fan or air conditioner blowing on you. It can also relate to a “cold settling in the muscle” after a cold or flu virus. Trauma such as falling or a car accident can also cause torticollis. However, most of the time, patients with torticollis are not sure what caused the abrupt onset of symptoms.

Usually, torticollis will gradually improve over a 2 week time frame. However, it only takes a few days to a week (at the most) if you receive chiropractic adjustments. Most importantly, without treatments, the sharp pain can last a week and can severely limit your activity, often prohibiting work as well as your desired “fun” activities. Hence, most people prefer having this treated as opposed to “waiting it out.” In some cases, it can last longer than a month and in rare cases even longer, so getting this treated is highly recommended. Also, try to get in for a treatment immediately before the muscle spasm really sets up. We find this to be the most effective approach. Here are a list of symptoms and treatment suggestions for torticollis:

Acute Torticollis Symptoms
Muscle spasms
Neck and shoulder pain
Neck and spine contortion (neck twisted to right or left side of body)

Pain Relief Treatments for Acute Torticollis
Chiropractic neck and spinal adjustment
Stretching
Analgesics
Heat packs
Muscle relaxants
Rubs and ointments (Icy Hot, BioFreeze)
Massage with essential oils

courtesy: Gastaldi Chiropractic
http://www.ChiropractorInStatenIsland.com

Chiropractor Staten Island: What is Chiropractic?

Chiropractic Treatments for Back Pain
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By: Steven G. Yeomans, DC

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How Chiropractors Treat Back Pain

Chiropractic is a health care profession dedicated to the non-surgical treatment of disorders of the nervous system and/or musculoskeletal system, generally through chiropractors maintaining a unique focus on spinal manipulation and treatment of surrounding structures.

Chiropractic treatments typically focus on, but are not limited to, care of:

Mid and lower back pain
Neck pain
Joint pain in the arms and legs
Headaches

This article explores different ways a chiropractor may treat low back pain.
Chiropractic Treatment of Lower Back Pain

Doctors of Chiropractic (DC), more commonly known as chiropractors, typically treat conditions involving back pain and/or neck pain through “hands-on” chiropractic care, including:

Spinal manipulation and manual manipulation.1 Referring to a high-velocity, short lever arm thrust that is applied to abnormal vertebra with the goal of improving functionality, reducing nerve irritability and restoring range of motion in the back, manual manipulation is also known as chiropractic adjustment.

There is firm literature support for chiropractic treatment of lower back pain. Many of the published guidelines recommend chiropractic manipulation to be included in the treatment plan early in the care of lower back pain.2-10
Mobilization.1 Chiropractic mobilization refers to low velocity manipulation, movement and stretching of the muscles and joints, with the goal of increasing the range of motion within those areas.

Physical therapy modalities. In many chiropractic practices, various types of equipment (ultrasound, electrical stimulation, traction, etc.) may be used with the goal of reducing back pain and inflammation.

Exercises. Various cardiovascular, stretching and strengthening exercises may be prescribed by chiropractors to decrease lower back pain, increase strength and restore range of motion.

For example, chiropractors may prescribe exercises that strengthen under-active muscles and/or inhibit over-active muscles with the goal of attaining muscle balance and a balanced structure.

Chiropractors may also have patients do exercises that strengthen the weak, underactive muscles of the trunk and pelvis, and exercises that stretch the tight, overactive muscles.

Pelvic stabilization. When flat feet and/or subtalar instability are present, the chiropractor may place a small heel lift in the shoe on the short leg side or prescribe corrective arch supports to help stabilize the pelvis.

Ergonomics. During the course of chiropractic care, the chiropractor may recommend some procedure(s) that should be employed at home and/or at work. The success or failure of obtaining patient satisfying outcomes may be directly related to an ergonomic/job-related activity or a hobby-related irritating activity.

Patient education. A chiropractor may advise a variety of lifestyle modifications, including diet and nutritional programs, self-care and coping strategies, to the patient experiencing lower back pain.

It is important to note that doctors of chiropractic do not utilize drugs or surgery in their practice. However, there are times when a chiropractic doctor will recommend that the patient consult another practitioner if these or other methods of treatment are indicated.

References

Globe G, Morris C, Whalen W et al. Chiropractic Management of Low Back Disorders.
Bigos S, Bowyer O, Braen G et al (1994) Acute low back problems in adults.
spinehealth.com

http://www.chiropractorinstatenisland.com

Chiropractor Staten Island: What is Chiropractic?

Chiropractic is a health care profession that treats back pain, neck pain, sciatica, joint problems, sprains, strains, osteoarthritis, herniated discs and other musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions. A chiropractor does not prescribe drugs or surgery but traditionally relies on a variety of manual therapies, including spinal manipulation and mobilization, to improve function and provide pain relief for patients.

While chiropractic adjustments of the joints are commonly associated with this profession, doctors of chiropractic are not just limited to manipulation of the spine. Many evidence-based chiropractic treatments, including but not limited to the use of physiologic therapeutics like ultrasound, electrical nerve stimulation and traction, and the incorporation of exercise, nutrition and postural programs, are part of modern chiropractic care.

Dr Gastaldi, DC - Gastaldi Chiropractic - 718-839-6933

Chiropractor Staten Island: Concussion Prevention in Children

Concussion Prevention in Children

If your child participates in sports, there may be a cause for concern as it pertains to head injuries and concussions. Concussions can happen at any time, especially if your child is involved in a high impact sport like ice hockey. A groundbreaking study on Canadian junior ice hockey published in the November 2010 edition of Neurosurgical Focus uncovers alarming head injury/concussion data and trends that raise many questions about the safety and well-being of teenagers and young adults who participate in this popular sport.

So what is a concussion?

Basically, a concussion occurs when trauma to the head and neck causes a vigorous, unnatural impact to the brain. In most cases, the side-effects of a concussion are short-lived and appear as a headache. However, in some situations, a concussion may result in impaired brain function.

So how do you prevent a concussion?

Besides wearing a helmet, it’s crucial for children to learn neck-strengthening exercises. The strength and stability of the muscles of the neck and trunk will help minimize the impact of injuries and the likelihood of concussions in high impact sports like football and hockey.

For children (and young adults) participating in sports, an evaluation from a licensed chiropractor or physical therapist can help determine potential areas of weakness and instability. Information from the evaluation will help your chiropractor and physical therapist design a neck-strengthening program that can help avoid serious injury and possible concussions due to weak neck muscles.


Is it Really Possible?
It’s almost impossible to prevent concussions, but it is possible to reduce their risk. One of the easiest and most effective ways to reduce the risk of a concussion is to wear a protective helmet. Even if a sport does not require the use of a helmet, we strongly suggest that you encourage your child to use one anyway.

The earlier you can instill this habit, the better. Teach them that a helmet is not an option but a necessity. If children begin wearing helmets at an early age, they will be more likely to use them as they grow older instead of thinking that a helmet is not ‘cool’ enough.

The first rule for your child’s safety should be: “If you want to play, you need to wear a helmet.”


Chiropractic and Physical Therapy For Concussions

What is the damage caused by a concussion?

Concussions can be detected years after they occur in MRI scans as ‘white spots’. The meaning of these spots is often debated, along with the long-term impact of a concussion.

Regardless of the severity of concussions, you want to minimize them as much as possible. Concussions have been known to cause temporary visual impairment, speech impairment, balance issues, memory loss and other problems. How long these effects last depends upon the severity of the concussion and the time between when the concussion occurred and when it was treated.

Chiropractic and Physical therapy can help

Your chiropractor and physical therapist can work closely with other health professionals responsible for your child’s safety. The therapist can help your child by creating a structured, personalized neck strengthening and core strengthening program. This will minimize the risk of concussions. If your child works closely with a coach, a trainer and a chiropractor or physical therapist, he or she will be able to handle the physical stress associated with the sport.

When it comes to the head and neck region, an ounce of prevention is certainly worth (more than) a pound of cure. Give our office a call and set up an appointment to discuss how we can help your young athlete be safe and injury free.


Phone: 718-818-0494 or 718-839-6933
Web: http://www.ChiropractorInStatenIsland.com

Chiropractor Staten Island: Importance of Sleep

The Importance of Sleep

As your physical therapy providers, we help you relieve pain with a combination of exercises and other treatment techniques, but nothing helps muscle recovery more than rest and relaxation. We would like to take a moment to have you step back and help you reexamine the importance of sleep.

Sleep is a very important part of our lives for the following reasons:

1. Learning and memory

Sleep helps the brain commit new information to memory; a process called memory consolidation.

2. Metabolism and weight

Being overweight can increase the likelihood of suffering from sleep disorders like apnea. On the other hand, chronic sleep deprivation may cause weight gain. That’s why the right amount of sleep is very important.

3. Mood/quality of life

Lack of sleep (long- or short-term) may result in symptoms like irritability, impatience, inability to concentrate, and moodiness. In some cases, anxiety and depression are also likely to occur.

4. Cardiovascular health

Serious sleep disorders like insomnia and sleep apnea have been linked to high blood pressure, increased stress hormone levels, cardiac arrhythmias, and increased inflammation.

5. Immunity/risk of disease

Though all the mechanisms aren’t clear, scientists have found that sleep deprivation alters immune function. If you don’t get enough sleep, you may find yourself falling sick more often.


How Much Sleep? 7 Hours or More…
Sadly, we live in a sleep deprived society. Some studies suggest that 50 to 70 million Americans are affected by some type of sleep disorder.

It’s likely that you need to make a conscious effort to get more (sound) sleep. The human body needs at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night. However, it’s not just the duration of sleep, but also the quality that matters.

Lack of sleep can cause several problems. Aside from drowsiness, it can cause immune, nervous system, endocrine and cardiovascular issues.


The Impact of Sleep Deprivation

As your physical therapists, we want you to get the most out of every exercise routine we design for you, but adequate sleep is the foundation for recovery and strength.

Sleep deprivation can set off a chain of events that can affect different parts of your life. These may include:

Poor health caused by bad food choices. A study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine discovered that people, especially women, who suffered from sleep apnea tend to consume foods that are high in cholesterol, protein and fat.
Impaired sugar metabolism and diabetes are more likely in those who get five hours of sleep (or less) a day.
Both factors above can lead to weight gain and obesity.
The incidence of car accidents increases when sleep deprived individuals are behind the wheel.
Heart attacks are more likely when you sleep five hours or less.
Balance problems and falls are more likely (especially in the elderly).
Children who don’t get enough sleep tend to be irritable, and in extreme cases, show behavioral issues.
When you get enough sleep, your body functions better. We want you to be the best you can be, physically and mentally, which is why we want you to get enough sleep.

Getting enough sleep and planning an exercise program to improve your strength and flexibility will be one of the most important things you do in 2012, and we are standing by to assist you.

Gastaldi Chiropractic

Our Website: http://www.ChiropractorInStatenIsland.com

Phone: 718-818-0494
Web: http://www.ChiropractorInStatenIsland.com

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