Head and Neck Pain
Conditions that Cause Head and Neck Pain that We Treat:
- Cluster Headache
- A headache on one side of the head that is stabbing in nature and can be accompanied with Horner’s syndrome
- Tension Headache
- Bilateral headache lasting from 30 minutes to 7 days which are not induced by activity
- Cervicogenic Headache
- Posterior cervical and suboccipital musculature causing a headache
- Typically presents with the pain and discomfort from the back of the head traveling to the front
- Pulsating headache that lasts about 4-72 hours initiated by activity
- Symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, photo-phonophobia (sensitivity to light and sound)
- Acute sinusitis can be triggered by a cold or allergies and may resolve on its own
All types of headaches are treated slightly differently depending on the type. Typically, acupuncture treatment and various physical therapy and chiropractic manual treatment such as myofascial release, trigger point release, cervical traction, stretching, and joint manipulations will improve the overall severity of the headache.
Temporomandibular Joint Disorder describes a complex group of muscular and articular disorders affecting the jaw.
Most common causes include muscular or related to the joint and disc between the joint. If the jaw has clicking associated with movement it is typically related to a disc issue between the joint.
Other triggers include bruxism, clenching, postural abnormalities such as a forward head posture. ⅓ of patients involved in a whiplash injury develop TMD.
Treatment both intra-orally and extra-orally will help to improve pain with opening, talking, and chewing as well as annoying clicking or popping associated with mouth movements.
Concussions are typically caused by a hit to the head or rapid movements of the head such as whiplash. Some common symptoms are memory loss or deficit, headaches, an increase in anxiety, irritability, vertigo, sensitivity to light, and the inability to focus on specific tasks.
Concussions require a specific protocol to allow for appropriate brain healing and should be monitored and tracked, specifically in people who have not fully completed puberty, to allow for full recovery.
A specific return to sport protocol needs to be followed to reduce the risk of recurring concussion for athletes.
Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is the most common cause of dizziness and vertigo. This is characterized by short episodes of dizziness, nausea, double vision which is triggered by head movement. Dizziness may also be as a result of poor vision. Specific maneuvers such as Epply’s may be useful to reduce vertigo and dizziness.
Balance disorders are from three different causes such as vision, vestibular, and somatosensory, which is your body’s ability to know where it is in space.
Physical therapy to improve one or multiple of these areas is integral for improving balance and to reduce the risk of falls.
Also, improving strength and coordination will improve a person’s ability to catch themselves if they are falling.
Whiplash injury usually occurs following a sudden car accident such as being rear-ended, a sudden impact such as sports accidents, or falls to name a few.
This usually results in intense muscle spasms in the area and can take up to 6-12 months for full healing depending on the severity.
Relaxation techniques and muscle re-education is effective in improving painful signs and symptoms of muscle spasm.
Cervical discs are located between spinal vertebrae. This disc is responsible mainly for shock absorption, to stabilize your neck, and for range of motion of the neck.
A disc herniation happens when the integrity of the outer edge of the disc breaks down and starts to impinge on surrounding tissues, bones or nerves.
Disc herniations can cause severe neck pain and if touching a nerve may cause numbness and tingling down the arm. If the nerve has been pinched for a long time then weakness or muscle wasting may occur.
Cervical traction or techniques such as the Mckenzie method will reduce the pressure on the discs and reduce neck symptoms.
Muscle spasms happen when a muscle undergoes a negative stimulus. These stimuli could be from prolonged pain, abnormal posture such as prolonged sitting, aggravation of nerves, and poor joint alignment.
Muscle spasms tend to have quick relief from modalities such as hot, cold, or massage but may return if the underlying negative stimulus is not addressed.
Physical therapy, chiropractic, and acupuncture are great to not only reduce muscle spasms but address the underlying negative stimuli.
Spinal stenosis is characterized as a narrowing of the spinal canal or intervertebral joints due to arthritis, bone spurring or degeneration.
This will usually put pressure on peripheral nerves and cause symptoms such as neck pain, shoulder pain, numbness, tingling, decreased range of motion, or weakness in the arm or hand.
Although you cannot fix spinal stenosis with passive therapy, improving postural alignment and reducing the amount of impingement on the peripheral nerves will help to reduce the signs/symptoms of spinal stenosis.
Cervical spondylosis is also called cervical osteoarthritis.
It is a condition involving changes to the bones, discs, and joints of the neck. These changes are caused by the normal wear-and-tear of aging. With age, the discs of the cervical spine gradually break down, lose fluid, and become stiffer.
Improving fluidity and motion of the joint, strength around the affected areas, and relaxing muscle will improve pain associated with osteoarthritis of the neck.
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