Causes of Neck Pain and Headaches

September 16, 2009

Many athletes that suffer from neck pain and headaches describe their headaches as starting at the bottom or base of the neck. From there it moves up their neck, to their eyes, temples and then their head. This is important because it tells the doctor that the headache is referred pain caused by an injury to the athlete’s body or neck. There are many different types of headaches and severity levels but what many people do not realize is there is often a connection between neck pain and headaches. A person suffering from a stiff neck may experience a very tense painful feeling in their neck that sends sharp pains every time they move or turn their head. To make matters worse, they have a headache at the same time. A common symptom of a stiff neck is neck pain and headaches.

In most cases, a cervical spasm or stiff neck is very painful but not considered serious. Sleeping in an uncomfortable position or using a pillow that does not support your neck and head properly is often the cause of neck pain and headaches resulting from sore muscles.

One of the most common causes of neck pain and headaches is poor posture. Poor posture habits are easy to start because most of the time you do not realize that your posture is bad. Curling up in front of the television, working on the computer with the screen positioned too high or low, reading in bed, carrying a heavy purse over your shoulder, or slouching while you walk can all cause neck pain and headaches.

Other causes of neck pain and headaches include medical conditions and diseases such as high blood pressure and meningitis. One of the many signs of meningitis is worsening neck pain when you move your chin downward, towards your chest. Severe headaches and neck pain can occur after an accident such as falling off a high ladder or suffering a blow to the head resulting in a concussion.

If you are suffering from a frequent stiff neck, neck pain and headaches or the pain continues to worsen, seek medical attention to find out the cause of your pain so you can receive the proper medical treatment. Also, consult your doctor if your neck pain and headaches do not start to lessen within twenty-four hours, you feel confused or nauseated, you are experiencing tingling sensations in your arms, or for any other unusual symptoms. Talk to your physician first if you are interested in starting any type of home exercise program to help relieve your neck pain and headaches.

Some of the Chiropractic Techniques

September 4, 2009

When most people think of chiropractic techniques, the standard neck or back adjustment is what comes to mind. However to understand why chiropractic care is so useful, it is imperative to be aware that doctors of chiropractic have a lot more tricks up their sleeves other than just the famous back adjustment. Chiropractors treat more areas of the body than just the spine. These highly trained professionals go to school for in depth training of techniques and when and where they are appropriate, as well as detailed study of how the body works in relation to all aspects of health. Muscle and bones are just a part of their training. They also are taught how disease and injury affect each region of the body and how to treat it for optimum healing. Take a look at some of the chiropractic techniques you may be less familiar with.

One of the most interesting of the chiropractic techniques is known as the applied kinesiology technique. This one deals with more than just the alignment of the spine and joints. The placement of the bones can’t be correct unless the muscles surrounding them are in correct placement as well. Using light massage and manipulation of the acupressure points, chiropractors can encourage normal and healthy muscle function. This restored balance helps the bones move back into the proper ailment. This technique is an interesting look at how all the systems of the body work together as one.

Since the spine related adjustments are the most familiar to most of us, here’s a look at some of the spine chiropractic techniques and what they are used to correct. The Cox flexion distraction is first up on our list. This technique involves using stretching or traction of the spine to correct lower back pain and misalignment. The Thompson terminal point technique is another one of the frequently used techniques. Using a special drop style table, this technique is used to adjust the entire spine. Another fascinating example of the dynamic of how different areas of the body can adversely affect a seemingly unrelated area of the body is neck pain. In some cases the Sacro-Occipital technique is used. The patient lies on their back with padded blocks placed under the pelvic region. This allows the body to adjust itself and reduce neck pain. There are hundreds of other techniques chiropractors can use to improve the performance of the body and promote pain relief. These are just a few.

The various chiropractic techniques are an interesting look at how every area of the body directly impacts its neighbor. Understanding the purpose of some of the things your chiropractor may do is a good way to reduce fear of the unknown and take a proactive stand in your own health care.

Each of the chiropractic techniques was designed to heal a specific problem. These techniques help to relieve pain, improve joint flexibility, and increase body function without the use of medications or surgeries.

Physical Therapy Exercise

August 25, 2009

The visit to the physical therapist is just one step in the road to recovery. Patients will be required to participate in exercises directed at their problem and condition. Some of these physical therapy exercises can be performed at home while others must be assisted by the therapists.

The psychical therapy exercises will vary due to the area of concern. All exercises should be performed just as the therapist directs as any deviation may result in injury or be ineffective. The physical therapy exercises run the gamut from basic stretching to the intense exercises required in rehabilitation such as learning how to walk again.

Some of the examples of basic physical therapy exercises, like stretching, may seem easy enough but must be done in a precise way to avoid a pulled muscle. One of these physical therapy exercises is the sitting stretch. This is a relatively easy exercise. Sit on the floor and wrap a towel at the end of your foot. Use the towel to pull the foot towards your body and hold for a few seconds. You will then repeat this with the other foot. Go slow and do not over stretch yourself.

Other exercises used after an operation are necessary to improve blood flow and circulation to reduce the risks of clots and to ensure that the operation was a success. As such, these physical therapy exercises will be more intense and focused. The patient may be required to perform these exercises for certain durations up to several weeks, months, or even a lifetime to maintain a quality of mobility required for day to day life. An example of an advanced exercise required after hip replacement surgery involves an elastic tube that increases resistance to the leg and thus forces the hip muscles to work harder. This will improve muscle strength and aid in rehabilitation.

Other physical therapy exercises will help the patient in learning how to use a cane, walker, or crutches. These devices aid in walking and are very important. It may take time to learn how to use such devices effectively. These devices can even be used in other exercises to enable increased mobility and allow the patient to cast them off and walk on their own again.

Physical therapy exercises take a certain amount of dedication. Patients must understand that any exercises prescribed by the therapists are necessary and should be done exactly as given. These exercises will improve the body and quicken recovery time. Some of the physical therapy exercises will be assisted by the therapists. It is up to the patient to keep up with any exercises that need to be done in the home. Rehabilitation is made up of many steps and each of them needs to be followed. Dedication and commitment, as well as the exercises, will help when recovering from an operation or just living a full life.

Physical Therapy: Why should i use?

August 19, 2009

It may occur in your lifetime that you require the services of physical therapists for any number of reasons. And while you may believe that you can perform the necessary functions required for recovery of whatever ailment or condition that you have been diagnosed with, the simple fact is that if you are directed to seek out the services of a rehabilitation specialist, it is necessary to use a physical therapist. If the question; ‘Why should I use physical therapy’ remains, there are a few simple facts to answer that.

Physical therapy is concerned with the rehabilitation and restoration of mobility and function of a patient. The therapist focuses on any number of conditions and their impact upon the body. The age range of patients is from young children to the elderly. The only requirement is that the patient is in need and can benefit from physical therapy. Before beginning any treatment, the therapist will perform a full assessment of the patient to determine the exact cause and area of the discomfort or problem. The physical therapists will help patients with post-operative pain and stiffness as well as arthritis, loss of limb and even back pain. If you suffer from any of these, or the wide variety of other symptoms that can be treated by physical therapy, you will find that attending sessions will greatly improve the quality of life that you enjoy.

Physical therapy employs many techniques and even the seemingly simple ones can improve the health of the patient. Massage techniques have been around for ages and its benefits are well known. Working on muscle tension will improve the range of motion of those muscles. If your back is stiff, this would mean being able to bend down further to pick up objects or to stretch over a greater distance. After operations, massages can release pain and stiffness and reduce myofascial adhesions. This is just one answer to that nagging question: “Why should I use physical therapy”

Another reason is the restoration of joint mobilization. Often times, pain and stiffness is caused by joint restriction and it is important to focus on the problem in order to restore movement and release pain and discomfort. The physical therapist will use various techniques to return the use of the joints. Using speed and distance will increase the motion of the joint. “Why should I use physical therapy for this?” you may ask. If the pain is too much or if the joints require special attention and care, you may not be able to or willing to perform the needed actions. The physical therapist can achieve this goal easily. This may involve rubbing bone surface onto each other which will not be painful when performed correctly by the therapist.

Education of the patient in proper exercise techniques is another reason to use physical therapy. “Why should I use physical therapy to teach me how to exercise? I know how!” You might think you know how but unless you are certain, then you may not be exercising properly. Physical therapists encounter individuals who swear they know the proper exercising techniques when in reality they are either doing more harm than good or their actions are completely ineffective. The physical therapists will take you step by step over the appropriate exercises for your condition and make certain that you are capable of performing them in the correct manner once you leave the office. This way, the rehabilitation process will be shortened and no further injury will be encountered.

There are any number of answers to that question; “Why should I use physical therapy”. It comes down to how much you value mobility and health. With the aide of physical therapists, you can reduce recovery time, heal properly, and improve your body’s functions and capabilities.

What Is Physical Therapy

August 16, 2009

What is physical therapy? We all know the words and have a vague notion of what it does and what it can accomplish but chances are physical therapy is more in depth that you realize.

Physical therapy is as old as Greece. During the 1800’s physical therapists formed the first known group of their professionals and in the 1920’s the foundation of what would be the American Physical Therapy Association was created in America. This gave rise to a far more organized and efficient organization that promotes and enhances the care of physical therapist to their patients. During World War One and Two, as well as the polio epidemic, physical therapists were instrumental in the care and rehabilitation of patients. In fact, one of the key focuses of physical therapy is the rehabilitation of those in need. No matter the ailment or cause, the therapist is capable of assisting the patient with quality care that will improve mobility and function. The physical therapist is able to work on back pain, muscle stiffness and even teaching those with a loss limb in order to attain a desirable quality of life despite the disability. That is the short answer to the question “what is physical therapy”. But there is more to it.

Physical therapists are highly trained individuals with degrees in the necessary fields which give them the appropriate information to properly treat and handle any number of conditions. Occupational therapists help to improve the day to day functions of those suffering. Sports therapy focuses on athletes that continually place their bodies through rigors and activities that others may not be subject to.

Some of the basic treatments such as back pain and arthritis are easily accomplished by both the therapist and patient. The therapist has many techniques and exercises from massages to electrical stimulation. Such procedures can reduce pain, swelling, and stiffness. Also, the education of the patient to the particular condition and how to exercise properly falls under physical therapy.

Physical therapy is often used after surgeries to reduce recovery time and to help the patient regain full use of the region that was operated upon. Used in tandem with the care of the acting physician, physical therapy is capable of achieving any number of goals. The duration of the physical therapy is dependent upon what brought the patient into the office in the first place and how well they take to treatment. The therapy does not end once the patient leaves the office, but continues on at the home which is why the therapists instruct patients in proper exercise habits. It may help to not look at therapy in terms of time but in terms of what the patient would like to achieve through the visits. Such goals are more tangible and provide a healthy attitude.

So what is physical therapy? Basically put, physical therapy is the restoration and rehabilitation of movement and increasing range of motion and achieving normalcy after any manner of conditions, ailments, illness or symptoms of operations.

Massage Therapy Certification

August 12, 2009

National Standards For Massage Therapy Certification

Though there is no set federal regulation governing the practice of massage therapy, there is a nationally recognized standard for massage therapy certification; that standard is held and maintained by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, or the NCBTMB.

Who Is The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage And Bodywork?

The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork is the offspring of the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA); the AMTA started the NCBTMB in 1992 as a means of setting standards in the field of massage therapy since no widely accepted standard existed. With the growth of massage therapy and its acceptance into the mainstream and medical, physical, and alternative health fields, certification gained in importance and the work of the AMTA through the NCBTMB gained further recognition. Today, certification by the NCBTMB is the most highly held certification in the field, and in fact stands as the standard for licensure in most states that require massage therapists to be licensed to practice.

Requirements For Massage Therapy Certification

The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork has defined a number of requirements which applicants must meet in order to be awarded NCBTMB massage therapy certification. In basic terms, the prospective certificant must

• Complete specified levels of massage therapy education
• Submit proof of training
• Gain and submit proof of experience
• Demonstrate proficiency in core massage therapy skills
• Demonstrate knowledge of the field, including applied knowledge and knowledge of ethical business practice
• Pass a rigorous written examination

In addition to the requirements for initial certification, certificants must renew their status every four years; upon renewal, applicants must show proof of work experience and proof of completion of continuing education in massage therapy (a minimum of 48 hours).

What NCBTMB Certification Means

NCBTMB massage therapy certification serves a number of functions, including licensure in those states which utilize the standard; its most important function, however, is protection of the public, therapists, and employers.

NCBTMB massage therapy certification is one of the only means of ensuring consistency in standards for massage therapy. All massage therapists bearing the credential of “Nationally Certified in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork” (notated by the initials NCTMB) have passed the examination and proficiency testing of the Board, a board which is strictly devoted to maintaining quality and professionalism in the massage therapy field. In a field where regulations are far from standard, and licensing requirements range from poor (non-existent) to very good, massage therapy certification by the NCBTMB may be the only easily recognized credential massage therapy clients can rely on.

The Many Benefits Of Massage Therapy

August 5, 2009

It’s not hard to sell most people on the benefits of massage therapy—who wouldn’t want to lose themselves in an hour of therapeutic relaxation? But since massage therapy does carry some moderate expense, it helps to know about the many benefits of massage therapy.

Some people seek out the services of a massage therapist simply because they need some down-time to relax and refresh; certainly, this is enough of a reason to frequent the massage therapist’s office in itself, but there are also many health benefits of massage therapy; an increasingly large number of clients find their way to the table in search of relief modern medicine has been unable to manage. Likewise, clients also seek massage therapy services to supplement and enhance both modern and alternative medical treatments.

The Many Benefits Of Massage Therapy

Regardless of the impetus, massage therapy clients find numerous incomparable benefits in massage therapy; it is not at all uncommon for a client to come into massage therapy for the treatment of one symptom or condition, only to find wide ranging benefits of massage therapy that treat a number of other conditions.

The most notable advantages of massage therapy include:

* Improved blood circulation
* Stimulation/relief of muscle pain due to lack of activity (often caused by sedentary jobs)
* Increased alertness
* Decrease in back pain (one of the leading reasons for seeking massage services)
* Improved mood
* Reduced stress levels
* Reduced instances of stress-related illness including tension headaches
* Decreased muscle stiffness/increased mobility
* Improved ability to heal (in part due to circulation/stimulation improvement)
* Reduction in muscle spasms
* Increased physical performance/athleticism
* Improved deep breathing
* Improved posture
* Strengthened immune system
* Reduction in anxiety levels
* Lower dependence on medication
* Improved joint flexibility
* Lessened risk of depression
* Promotes healing of soft tissues, including scars
* Improved delivery of oxygen and nutrients
* Increases pain tolerance by releasing endorphins (natural pain killers of the human body)
* Eases pain of childbirth
* Relieves sleep loss/insomnia
* Increased energy, reduction in frequency and severity of fatigue

Netting The Biggest Benefits Of Massage Therapy

Even a one-time visit to the massage therapist can net excellent benefits; but for the most lasting benefits of massage therapy, regular sessions are recommended. Regular massage therapy ensures that the body continues to enjoy the increase in circulatory health and relief of muscle tension which directly contribute to the benefits of massage therapy. Over time, the expense of massage therapy sessions is easily mitigated in increased health and well-being, and in a large number of cases, in the savings enjoyed between decreased use and cost of medications, doctors’ visits, and time lost from work.

Why Seek Chiropractic Care

July 15, 2009

Don’t you just love talking to your doctor about a multitude of symptoms and innocently asking if they could in anyway be related and getting that blank stare or better yet, the disapproving frown? It’s enough to make even the boldest among us leery of rocking the boat. The truth is not everything has to be treated with medications and surgeries. In some cases those things actually impede the healing process. Naturally you have to have some kind of care to reduce pain and feel better and for many people that is where chiropractic care comes in. Long described as witchcraft and quack doctoring, this innovative approach finally understands the connection of the systems of the body and how they relate to healing. While chiropractic care can’t treat every disease and symptom of the body, it can help with a great number of things. If you are tired of not being listened to, take a look at the world of chiropractics and see if it’s for you.

Unlike many of the other medical disciplines, chiropractic care focuses on the body as a whole. It is a holistic approach to health care for not only what is hurting, but everything else as well. Chiropractors practice on the belief that the whole body must be treated to heal one aspect of it. You will hear advice on exercise, nutrition, and stress reduction as tools to improve your health. This practice also takes factors like heredity and environment as tools to correctly treat illness and pain. Many chiropractors make it a point to suggest diet changes, sleep changes, and specific exercise routines to their patients to promote a better, healthier life.

While the emphasis is on holistic care, chiropractic care isn’t lacking in scientific understanding. On your first visit, your new health care professional will take your family and personal medical history, ask detailed questions about your pain and how you believe it occurred if you know, and perform an exam. He or she may also take X rays for a clearer diagnosis. You may also be asked to perform certain exercises or movements so the chiropractor can get a good idea of how much range of motion has been lost and the degree of the pain you are in.

Deciding to take your own health into your hands and take a more natural approach to health care could be the best thing you ever do for yourself. Chiropractic care has improved the lives of millions of people. If you are at your wits end with doctors and the traditional way of doing things, this could be the answer for you.

If the holistic approach to health care is something you have considered, chiropractic care is worth looking into. This natural, gentle approach has helped countless people continue to live life on their terms and without pain.

Neck Pain Exercises Can Help

July 12, 2009

Neck pain exercises can help many people control their neck pain but before starting any type of neck pain exercises, always talk to your medical practitioner or physiotherapist because they can sometimes make a persons pain worse. Also, if you have a serious underlying condition or other medical problems, seek medical advice first before starting neck exercises. A range of full movement, motion exercises done daily is a good way to stretch your neck muscles, prevent stiffness, and help control the pain in your neck. Regular performance of neck pain exercises may be able to help you regain some loss of neck movement, maintain or increase your necks range of motion, and reduce or control the pain. For people suffering from chronic and debilitating neck pain, simple motion, neck pain exercises may help you tolerate more activity or help your neck mobility but are not always effectual in fighting or reducing neck pain.

To get the maximum results from neck pain exercises, do them on a regular basis a set number of times daily and keep the movements steady and slow. Moving too quickly or jerking when doing your neck pain exercises can cause neck strain and pain instead of reducing them.

Stretching neck pain exercises work well for preserving or restoring motion range. A neck bending exercise starts by holding your head and neck in a neutral position, lowering your chin to try to touch your chest, and holding this position for a few seconds. With each exercise, breathe in slowly and exhale gradually to relax your back and neck muscles. Neck tilting is another of the many good neck pain exercises. Start by tilting your head to the left trying to touch your shoulder with your ear while using your fingertips on your left hand to apply pressure to your temple. After a few seconds of holding this position, return to center and repeat but this time tilting your head left. With neck rotation exercises, slowly turn your head right. Use your fingertips to put tension or pressure on your chin. After a few seconds, return to center and repeat the exercise going to the left this time.

Do not do these neck pain exercises if suffer from a pinched neck nerve unless doctor recommended. Although these exercises can help improve your pinched nerve symptoms, they can also increase the pain and do damage if started too soon after an accident or injury. Along with neck pain exercise, maintain good posture by keeping your shoulders back and holding your head up. Also, avoid putting pressure on your shoulders or upper back such as using an over the shoulder purse or backpack.

Understanding the Chiropractic Adjustment

July 5, 2009

One of the biggest fears that stop many people from seeking chiropractic care is fear of the adjustment itself. Just about everyone has heard horror stories of loud noises and extreme pain when it comes to a chiropractic adjustment. We are here today to offer some insight into the true chiropractic experience and describe how your adjustment will go and what to expect. With understanding of the sounds you may hear and what you can do to make the experience less frightening and more beneficial, you can truly reap the rewards of allowing a professional to take care of your body in a holistic, safe way. Here is a brief look at what you can expect from a chiropractic adjustment and why this technique is used to reduce pain and improve mobility.

Let’s just start with the scariest part of a chiropractic adjustment for many people. Is it going to hurt? The short answer is no. Many people think that chiropractors use a great deal of force when they make adjustments to the spine and other joints. The truth is the technique is more about applying the correct amount of pressure and skill in determining how to coax the joint back into its correct alignment. If you are nervous about the adjustment you may tense up or tighten your muscles when the chiropractor makes the adjustment. In this case there may be slight discomfort. Once you learn to relax and trust you are doing the right thing for your health, things will go much more smoothly and you will begin to associate the adjustment with less pain and better health.

Once you have the pain concern out of the way, the other big fear is of the noise or popping associated with a chiropractic adjustment. Lots of people are afraid that those popping sounds are the bones cracking. It’s nothing as serious as all that. Think about cracking your knuckles. You often feel or hear a popping noise. It doesn’t mean that you just cracked or broke the bones of your hand. What actually occurred, just like in an adjustment, is gas pockets escaping from the joint. There is no pain to be concerned about and over time and treatments, you may notice that the sounds stop or decrease. That means that the treatments are effective and the normal flexibility is returning to the region.

The reason chiropractic adjustment is used so often is that it gently and effectively encourages the spine or joint to move back into its proper alignment. No amount of medication or pills you take will move your vertebrae into the correct position. Now that you know there is nothing to fear, consider visiting a chiropractor for evaluation and help.

While often feared originally the chiropractic adjustment is a specialized technique to promote increased flexibility of joints. The loss could be due to injury or illness. With the right information, you can overcome your fear and enjoy the benefits of treating your body in a holistic manner.

« Previous PageNext Page »