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Back pain

The most common complaint people first come to see us with is back pain. At some point in their life, at least four out of five adults will experience low back pain. The causes of low back pain vary from poor posture, stress, lifting or incorrect carrying of heavy weights, awkward twisting or bending, pregnancy and general wear and tear.

The spine is the main supporting structure of the body and it carries the spinal cord and nervous system, which connects the rest of the body to the brain. The spinal cord branches down from the brain and nerves branch off the spinal cord in-between the vertebrae. Therefore, injury may not only lead to local inflammation and pain in the back, but this inflammation could irritate the spinal nerves causing pain elsewhere in the body. Commonly the pain will refer into the buttock and the back or front of the thigh and occasionally all the way to the foot and toes.

A common misconception is that back pain is caused by a ‘slipped disc’ – discs do not slip, but they can sometimes ‘bulge’ causing irritation to the spinal nerves in that area which may refer pain into the leg. Another misconception that low back pain is ‘sciatica’ – sciatica simply means irritation of the sciatic nerve – a nerve, which is found in your leg. Leg pain or ‘sciatica like’ symptoms may be caused by your spine.

Acute (short term) and chronic (long term) low back pain can respond well to chiropractic treatment. The NICE (National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence – official government guidelines) and guidelines from the Royal College of General Practitioners suggest that early referral for manipulative treatment, such as Chiropractic is the most effective way of dealing with acute and chronic low back pain.

A member of our expert chiropractic team will carry out a full examination and ask you questions about your medical history, lifestyle and posture to try and determine the cause of your back pain and offer a diagnosis.

They will then carry out gentle and specific manipulations on the joints of the problem areas to correct imbalances, working to relive pain and increase mobility.

Watch our video to understand more about how chiropractic can help you with your back pain.

Neck Pain

Each week we see many patients complaining of pain or a lack of mobility in the neck. Neck pain is a very common complaint and due to modern lifestyles it is becoming more frequent. It can result in headaches, a “locked” neck, or even pain and weakness in your arms, often becoming more debilitating as time goes on.

Desk work

Modern lifestyle and the style of work we do often means we spend long periods of time sat at a desk working on a computer or laptop. This means that we are sat relatively still doing small, repetitive movements. This often results in muscle tension and poor posture, which puts additional, unnecessary strain on the joints within our neck, back and shoulders.

Stress

Tension caused by stress can again, increase muscle tension causing additional strain on the joints within the neck, back and shoulders. Like the low back, the spinal nerves exit the spine between each vertebra. The spinal nerves in the neck supply the arms hands and shoulders and irritation of these nerves can cause pain, tingling and numbness in these areas.

Trauma/Whiplash

The neck is very vulnerable to injury. It supports the weight of the head (about the same as a football filled with water!), permits a very large range of motion and allows the free flow of nerve impulses to the head, face, hands and the rest of the body. The neck is often injured in contact sports such as rugby but it can also be prone to injury when the neck or head is moved in one direction very quickly and then back again in the opposite direction. This sort of injury is usually referred to as whiplash and is most common in road traffic accidents. It can cause damage to the joints, muscles, ligaments and tendons, which support the neck.

Hip pain

Hip pain may be a result of a muscle strain or damage to the actual hip joint; it is also one of the most common joints to be affected by osteoarthritis. Hip pain can commonly be caused by referred pain from the spine; your chiropractor will be able to assess the cause of the hip pain and treat the area which is causing the pain which, in some cases might not actually be the hip joint itself.

Knee pain

Knees are another joint to be affected by osteoarthritis but this is not the sole cause of knee pain. There are a multitude of different conditions which can result in knee pain – muscle and tendon strains, ligament sprains, damage to the meniscus (cartilage discs within the knee joint), damage to the tendons, or wear and tear to the joint or knee cap (patella). Many of these can be caused or worsened by inefficient function of the muscles of the thigh which largely control the movement of the knee. Chiropractic adjustments can reduce inhibition of these muscles and improve the function of the knee, thus reducing pain and the chance of injury.

Foot and ankle pain

Again, foot and ankle pain can be caused by a multitude of things. It may be due to direct injury to the ligaments, joints or muscles or it may be due to referred pain from the leg or spine. Your chiropractor will also look at your arches to see if they are increased or fallen and can provide exercises or recommend other treatments to correct these if necessary.

Arthritis and chronic pain

The unavoidable wear and tear of a lifetime causes our joints to degenerate. Cartilage thins and joints become stiff, which results in nerve irritation and inflammation. Hip pain can also be caused by overuse in sport or from a fall.

If you are experiencing swelling, tingling or numbness of these joints it is important that you consult a professional so that a diagnosis can be made. Chiropractic treatment serves to improve the function of muscles and joints, which in turn reduces nerve irritation. We can assess your problem and then advise you on the most appropriate care to get you back on your feet. This may involve gentle and specific manipulations to treat the joints, which will reduce pain and inflammation.

Peter Dixon is a member of the Royal College of Chiropractors Pain Faculty, which focuses on the ongoing research and discussion of arthritic and chronic pain.

Shoulder pain

The shoulder is a relatively unstable joint and relies on the surrounding soft tissues to support its shallow ball and socket joint. It is the most mobile joint in the body and it is this characteristic which makes the shoulder prone to injury. Due to the flexibility within the joint, the muscles surrounding it provide the majority of the stability to the joint. Dysfunction within the joints of the spine affects the control our muscles have, meaning spontaneous injuries and repetitive strain injuries can often be helped and prevented by ensuring the spine is moving well and is well aligned.

Another condition, which commonly occurs in middle age, is frozen shoulder, or adhesive capsulitis. Chronic inflammation within the joint leads to the formation of scar tissue within the shoulder capsule, which limits the movement of the shoulder.

Alongside chiropractic adjustments, soft tissue therapies applied to the shoulder muscles, with shoulder joint mobilisations may be appropriate to further speed up recovery. Your chiropractor may do these, or they may feel that a referral to one of our physiotherapists is more appropriate.

Elbow Pain

The two most common elbow complaints are known as ‘Tennis elbow’ and ‘Golfers elbow’. Pain in the elbow does not however have to be as a result of playing one of these sports. These terms are used due to the repetitive motion of these sports, which overloads the muscles and tendon, which inserts onto the bones making up the elbow. Elbow pain can also be as a result of “referred pain” from the neck or shoulder.

Chiropractic treatment including manipulation, mobilisation and soft tissue work has been proven to help reduce the effects of shoulder and elbow pain and increase shoulder range of motion.

Whether you are training for a charity fun run or competing at the highest level, your performance and enjoyment levels can improve massively with chiropractic treatment.

We can work with you to enhance your performance by improving the mechanics of your muscles and joints and the nerves supplying them. Many sportspeople see significant improvements in performance after consulting a chiropractor – in fact, a lot of top sport teams and people now travel with a chiropractor.

To find out more about how we can help books an appointment and a member of our chiropractic team will discuss with you your sporting life, medical history, posture and lifestyle before carrying out a full examination. They will make a diagnosis and discuss an individual treatment programme.

Sports Injuries

Heel strike is prevalent in 90%  of runners and can cause injury

Participating in sport and undertaking regular exercise is beneficial to your general health but can sometimes lead to injury.

Sports injuries can be traumatic, commonly resulting in sprains and strains or chronic overuse in nature. We can treat the injury directly to settle the presenting symptoms. Biomechanical assessment looking at muscle imbalance, myofascial mobility and joint alignment can identify the possible cause of the problem. Addressing the cause of the symptoms is the key to preventing a recurrence of the condition in the future and long-term management.

Injury Prevention

Joints are protected from injury by your muscles. When excess strain is detected, your muscles contract to protect the joint from injury. The speed and effectiveness of this response relies on a healthy and fully functioning nervous system. Regular adjustments can help to ensure your nervous system functions at its full capacity, so your muscles can get on with the job of protecting you from injury.

Rehabilitation

A huge part of chiropractic treatment is about preventing the recurrence of pains and problems. Rehabilitative exercises are an effective way to strengthen an injured area, improve your flexibility and prevent future flare-ups.

We want to get you back on your feet as soon as possible. So we design appropriate rehabilitation plans to help improve strength and stability to the back and work alongside your chiropractic treatments.

Our rehabilitation programs are tailored to you. They are specifically designed to promote muscular strength and flexibility, reduce the risk of recurrent injury and enhance your sporting performance.

Posture

Good posture is an easy and important way to avoid pain such as back and neck pain, knee pain, pulled muscles and stiff joints. There are a multitude of factors affecting posture; stress, sitting for long periods of time, using mobile devices such as phones and tablets, carrying heavy items and a lack of regular exercise can all contribute.

The human body relies on being held in its ideal position so that each structure can function optimally without stress or strain. Poor posture alters joint position, effects length, strength and timing of muscles resulting in imbalances, strain, pain, reduced mobility and function.

We can help you improve posture through manual therapy, education, and advice. Exercises also play a vital role. We advocate Clinical Pilates, which works to improve posture by strengthening the body’s central Core (a group of muscles which work collectively to act as the body’s natural girdle of strength). We assess each client individually to ascertain particular areas of weakness so we can tailor make an exercise programme specific to your individual needs and lifestyle. Improving posture minimises stresses and strains, this in turn can prevent symptoms arising.

We provide simple and effective tips to improve your posture and any spinal misalignments that might be causing you problems. Please call to speak to the team or make an appointment for a posture assessment.

Scoliosis

Scoliosis is a condition where the spine abnormally bends either to the right or left. For some people, the condition does not affect their day-to-day lives. However, in other cases if the condition is left untreated it can pose serious health risks, such as: spine, chest, pelvis, heart and lung damage.

The cause of scoliosis is unknown in most cases, and cases are referred to as idiopathic scoliosis. However, in around 30% of idiopathic scoliosis cases there is some family history of the condition, which points towards a genetic link. Some scoliosis cases are found to have been causes by health conditions that affect the nerves and muscles, including cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy. In very rare cases, scoliosis is present at the birth. In some adult sufferers, it has been found to be causes by gradual damage to parts of the spine.

People with scoliosis will notice a change in the appearance of their shoulders, chest or hips: they may have one high shoulder, a shoulder blade that is more prominent than the other and one hip might stick out. Back pain is rare, but if the curvature of the spine worsens then the condition can become uncomfortable and muscles near to the site of the curve may feel sore and tender.

Treatment for scoliosis will vary depending on how severe the curve of the spine is. If your posture points towards scoliosis, we can assess you using X-ray technology to effectively measure and examine your posture.

Our treatment for scoliosis focuses on managing your pain and the function of your spine. We will use gentle and specific adjustments to help improve the function and flexibility of your spine. We can also advise you on strengthening and stretching spinal exercises to compliment your chiropractic treatment.

Chiropractic treatment for scoliosis may not reverse long-term spinal curves but it will work towards making you more comfortable by improving the overall function of your spine.

Kyphosis


Kyphosis is where the curve at the top of the back appears more rounded. A healthy spine will naturally have an outward curve at the top, however a curve of more than 60 degrees is understood to be a sign of kyphosis (often referred to as “the hump”).

In cases of Kyphosis, the thoracic section of vertebrae is curved out of position. There are three different types of kyphosis: postural, Scheuermann’s and congenital.

Postural kyphosis results when a person’s poor posture pulls the thoracic vertebrae out of position.
If vertebrae do not develop in the right way then they can end up being out of position, which causes Scheurermann’s kyphosis.
Congenital kyphosis is caused by abnormal development of the spine in the womb, which can result in vertebrae fusing together.
To treat kyphosis we assess the severity of the case through a physical examination and, if necessary, an X-ray. We will determine the cause of your kyphosis and once we have a clear understanding of your case we will propose an appropriate treatment plan. Your treatment plan will involve spinal adjustments to mobilise joints and improve the information flow to and from the central nervous system. If you have postural kyphosis, we can advise you on how to improve your posture, balance and core strength.

Forward head posture

Forward head posture is when an individual’s head is positioned in front of their shoulders rather than above. It has become an increasingly common problem due to the fact that our lives are structured around using computers, mobile phones, games consoles and tablets.

When we use electronic devices, we tend to drop our heads forward, which rounds the shoulders and results in forward head posture. This postural problem can also be caused by sleeping with too many pillows or from a lack of developed back muscle strength.

A forward head posture places excessive strain on the muscles in your neck and back. Research suggests that for each extra inch your head sits forward of your shoulders, the head gains another 10 pounds in weight. This means your back and neck muscles have to work a lot harder to keep your head from dropping forward, which adds pressure to the base of your skull, can lead to headaches, tingling in the arms and sometimes pain between the shoulder blades.

We can alleviate these symptoms by realigning your spine into the correct position and relaxing the muscles that have been affected. Our experts will advise you on the correct neck and shoulder posture and the type of exercises that can help you strengthen back and neck muscles.

Pregnancy

The excitement of preparing for a new baby can be interrupted for many women by back pain. Chiropractic treatment is a safe and effective means of relieving such pain. At Dixon Health we see many women during and after pregnancy.

What causes back pain during pregnancy?

There are a variety of factors that contribute towards back pain in pregnancy, postural and hormonal changes being key. As the baby grows, the mother’s body changes. Hormones released during pregnancy, mainly oestrogen and progesterone, cause ligaments and joints to soften, making them more prone to injury.

How can chiropractic help with pregnancy?

By ensuring that your pelvis and nervous system are correctly balanced, alongside providing advice on muscle relaxation techniques and the best positions to support your back, we can help your body to adapt to pregnancy.

We consider chiropractic care to be an important part of your prenatal routine. As mother and baby grow together, chiropractic helps to release restrictions allowing the body to perform at its very best.

How Chiropractic can help your child

The spine protects a vital part of your body – the spinal cord, which is part of the central nervous system. Poor posture, stress, injuries, lack of exercise and in some cases the use of electronic devices can be responsible for disrupting spinal function and this can effect the nervous system. By ensuring that the mechanical function of the spine is corrected and maintained children can remain healthy and active and are at less risk of carrying these problems into adult life.

Toddlers, children and teenagers

From the very early stages of starting to move and learning to walk, to the inevitable bumps and bruises that occur in any active child’s development, spinal function is key to the development of a normal and active lifestyle.

Activity is essential in child’s physical and mental development and where injuries or mechanical disruption occurs Chiropractic care can be very effective in helping. Chiropractic is not a treatment, it is a package of care that consists of advice on posture, diet, exercise, activity and, where necessary, correcting any misalignments or mechanical problems which are making these things difficult. Healthy children make healthy adults, and we at Dixon Health are committed to helping your child get the best out of their early years.

As your child gets older their sports and hobbies can become more intense and competitive. This can result in the sort of injuries that might impair their performance and enjoyment and even lead to potential long-term injuries. Early and expert interventions can help in correcting any problems therefore enhancing their enjoyment of sport and reducing any potential problems in adult life.

Headaches and Migraines

The pain experienced with headaches varies. It might range from a dull ache around the front, top and sides of the head to the severe throbbing pain associated with migraines. Other unwelcome symptoms of a headache or migraine include nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light.

Headaches can result when the spinal bones in the neck aren’t supporting the head properly. Imbalances in the neck joints can affect nerves, muscles and even the blood supply to your head.

The International Headache Society released the International Classification of Headache Disorders in 2005 (2nd edition) which discussed the 12 most common causes of and types of headaches. The two most common types of headaches are:

Migraine

Migraine is a common disabling primary headache disorder and is now ranked as number 19 among all diseases world-wide causing disability by the World Health Organisation. Typically, they last 4-72 hours, are unilateral (one side of the head), have a pulsating quality, have moderate or severe intensity, are aggravated by routine physical activity and there is an association with nausea, photophobia (aversion to light) and phonophobia (aversion to loud sounds). Chiropractic treatment can significantly help to reduce the severity and frequency of migraine headaches.

Cervicogenic headaches

These headaches describe a chronic pain in the head that is referred to the head from either bony structures or soft tissues of the neck. Neck pain is a common symptom to arise with these types of headaches but is not always present. Patients who experience cervicogenic headaches often feel almost instant relief after chiropractic treatment.