Friday, October 23, 2009

i-Pods & Blackberries Can Literally Be A "Pain in the Neck"

Bet you didn’t think about the fact that cell phones, Blackberries, i-Pods, and handheld games have Americans spending a lot of time peering DOWN at their laps.

While these gadgets are a source of entertainment for kids and the cell phones help us to stay connected to friends and coworkers, handheld devices are also a source of muscle pain and injury.

I have seen a dramatic increase in the number of people complaining of neck and back pain as a result of their handheld devices, and most patients don’t realize how looking down at a gadget can worsen neck, back and shoulder problems.

When people come in to my office with these complaints, I tell them “Hold the device in your hands and then take a look at the way you’re holding your body“, I can see almost immediately the cause of their pain – poor posture and overused muscles. If you use your cell phone a lot you might want to consider this handout as a “wake-up call“.

To help lessen muscle soreness caused by popular handheld devices, try these suggestions:

* Practice good posture when using any handheld device. Sit in a chair that provides solid back support and keep feet comfortably on the floor.

* Spend 10 minutes or less with your head tilted down looking at the device, and when possible hold the gadget at eye level.

* When at home or in the office, connect the device to your keyboard or computer.

* Take frequent breaks and alternate activities that use different muscle groups.

* Watch for warning signs of overuse such as headaches, fatigue or muscle pain.

If you continue to feel soreness, pain or muscle strain after following these tips, it may be time for a visit to our office for an adjustment and some instruction on stretching and light exercises.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome refers to a variety of symptoms, including numbness, tingling and pain in the hand, wrist and arm and associated weakness or wasting away your hand muscles that are supplied by your median nerve.

The Carpal Tunnel is a tunnel of bones and ligaments in your wrist that lies over the top of the Median nerve. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome occurs when tendons in your wrist become inflamed after being aggravated and “pinch” the nerves that reach your fingers and the muscle at the base of your thumb.

Often, when there is a misalignment of one or more of your spinal bones in the neck, the brain is not able to send a strong, steady nerve current to your arm and hand. This imperfect nerve flow can cause an inflammation or swelling of your median nerve, which is then easily irritated within your wrist by repetitive movement. The resulting numbness, tingling, pain, and weakness is often confused with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

While there is little agreement in the medical community about the causes of Carpal Tunnel, there is a possibility that chiropractic can help.

Through gentle manipulation, the spinal bones in your neck can be re-aligned, relieving the pressure on your affected nerves, allowing strong nerve current to flow from your brain to the affected area. This is the best way to take care of pain associated with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome as often times, people do not have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, but a pinched nerve.

Having the neck and upper back assessed has saved countless people from unnecessary therapies and surgeries.