Whiplash is a common injury, from sudden forwards, backwards or sideways movements of the head and neck. The ligamentous and tendon structures are stretched vigorously causing damage to the tissues. The joints and discs around the neck can also be involved. Normally the injury occurs in traffic accidents however they can also occur in contact sports.
Symptoms can be delayed for up to 24hrs and include; stiffness in the neck, pain in the neck and surrounding muscles, headaches, reduced range of movement. In some cases, there can be referred pain to the shoulder and arm with some patients also complaining of tingling, pins and needles.
Treatment can include: mobilisation, soft tissue massage, heat therapy
Non-Specific Neck Pain
Non-specific neck pain is most commonly caused by postural changes. In more general terms posture is referred to as being “poor”, with rounded shoulders. This places increased demands on the deep and superficial muscles of the neck and scapulothoraic region (shoulder, neck and scapula). Muscle tightness in the neck and shoulder arises and often reduced neck and shoulder movements follow. This can develop over a long period of time and can be painful. Other symptoms include; headaches, referred pain to the arms, numbness and or pins and needles to the forearm and hands.
Treatment can include: soft tissue massage, heat therapy, biomechanical assessment, postural correction, exercise rehabilitation, spinal mobilisation/manipulation
Thoracic Outlet syndrome
This condition describes compression or irritation of the blood vessels or nerves of the brachial plexus; from the neck to the armpit. Enlargement of the muscles, bones and other soft tissue structures I this region can also contribute to the condition. Symptoms can include neck, arm and shoulder pain, numbness into upper extremity (arm and hand).
Treatment can include; soft tissue massage, mobilisation, Neurodynamic stretching, postural correction, exercise rehabilitation.
T4 syndrome is a condition affecting the 4th Thoracic vertebra and is more likely to affect females than males. The condition is caused by injury which can result in diffuse arm pain, pins and needles in the hand. Pain when breathing can also be a symptom as well as chest pain. Muscle spasm around the affected shoulder and neck are also evident (often the affected shoulder will be raised compared to the non-affected side).
The condition can be caused by either restriction or hypermobility of the T4 vertebra and is most commonly caused by poor posture. Other causes include; sedentary lifestyle, poor core stability, muscle weakness or tightness, work that involves long period of forward bending and lifting.
Treatment can include; soft tissue massage, mobilisation, postural correction, exercise rehabilitation, core stability training.
This injury refers to any interruption, injury or compression of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is the longest and largest nerve in the human body, extending from the pelvis, through the gluteal (buttock) region, hamstring, calf before ending at the feet. Compression can occur at any of these regions and often the pain or symptoms (tingling, weakness, pins and needles) will refer (present) elsewhere. The most common complaint is low back pain.
Symptoms are often aggravated by long periods of sitting or standing, coughing, sneezing even laughing. You may also experience weakness in the affected leg.
Causes of sciatica include; disc injury (herniation, bulging,), spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis (slipped vertebra), facet joint pathology, muscle tightness (notably piriformis), postural imbalance, muscle weakness.
We will perform a full assessment where we will structure the assessment to isolate the main cause of the cause of the sciatica in each individual case and advise on treatment depending on your symptoms. If we feel you need referral for further investigation, we will discuss this with you in full.
Intervertebral Disc Injury
Injury to the intervertebral discs can occur at any spinal region, but they are most common in the Lumbar and Cervical regions. The discs lie between each vertebra of the cervical, thoracic and lumbar regions are commonly referred to as shock absorbers for the spine, however this does not fully compliment their role and structure. As we age the discs become susceptible to the ageing process which can cause derangement of the disc itself and can often be a cause of disc injury.
Commonly disc injuries are referred to as being “slipped” however, there are four types of disc (herniation) injury and it is important to know what type of disc injury you may have:
- Stage 1: Degeneration; where the ageing process causes chemical imbalance within the disc nucleus causing the disc to weaken.
- Stage 2: Prolapse; where there is evidence of bulging of the disc due to positional changes of the nucleus, causing some impingement of the spinal canal
- Stage 3: Extrusion; this is where the nucleus bursts through the outer disc wall (annulus fibrosus)
- Stage 4: Sequestration; occurs the nucleus breaks through the annulus fibrosus and lies within the spinal canal and outside of the intervertebral disc.
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