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Chiropractic and Dizziness

Dizziness is a common condition seen in the Chiropractic office. Individuals with cervicogenic (coming from the neck) dizziness will usually present with neck pain and may also experience headaches.

Neck pain may only occur with palpation (when touching certain areas of the neck); therefore, many people may not realize that their neck is a problem. Cervicogenic dizziness may occur in the absence of an injury or may occur months to years after a head or neck injury. Approximately 20-50% of people who have sustained a whiplash injury will experience symptoms of dizziness, vertigo, or decreased balance. These symptoms can be coming from the vestibular system, central nervous system, or neck. Dizziness may also occur as a result of arthritic changes, herniated disc, instability of the cervical vertebrae, muscle spasm, or postural adaptations such as scoliosis. Cervicogenic dizziness may occur gradually with continual worsening of symptoms or the onset may be rapid.

Faulty mechanics of the neck due to injury, muscle tightness, or poor posture may cause a sensation of dizziness. This is due to the connection between the nerve receptors in the upper neck and the vestibular system (inner ear and balance). The nerve receptors in the neck supply information about your head position and help with balance. This balance information works together with information from your eyes and inner ears to tell you what position your body is in with relationship to gravity and the ground. This gives you a sense of balance.

If the neck receptors are not providing the correct information and do not agree with the signals coming from the eyes and inner ears, the brain may get confused. This can result in the symptoms associated with cervicogenic dizziness. This connection between your neck, eyes, and inner ear also helps to improve your hand eye coordination, postural control, and balance. Therefore, damage or altered mechanics of the neck receptors may result in a sense of dizziness or disequilibrium and may decrease your coordination.

Chiropractic is a very effective treatment for cervicogenic vertigo as it is able to address joint dysfunction in the neck which is a major cause of the condition. The joints of the neck provide the brain with major input as far as head and body positioning. Joints that are fixed or immobile give the brain bad input and may cause vertigo. Chiropractic adjustments normalize the function and position of the joints and allow the joints to send the brain correct positioning information.

Is Your Child Developing ‘Tech Neck?’

“Text Neck” or “Tech Neck” is when there are changes to the shape of a child’s spine due to bad posture. This can be caused by spending too much time looking down at a smart device, or by being hunched over a computer.

You can tell by looking at someone’s posture from the side. Does their head jut forward? Are their shoulders rounding forward?

More often than not these changes can be present without symptoms. Over time, text neck tends to get worse and can lead to headaches, neck pain, shoulder pain, and mid or lower back pain. It can even cause numbness and pain into the arms and hands and may lead to behavioural issues and difficulty concentrating.

Whilst this used to be more common in office workers, it’s now not uncommon to see children as young as 12 suffering from text neck.

What can you do?

Prevention is better than cure!

– Start the day with stretches. When you wake up your child in the morning, take five minutes to help them stretch. Stretching helps them to stay flexible and can help take strain and stress off the spine. It’s crucial to do this before they spend the whole day sitting at school or starting an activity in which they’ll be seated.

– Make sure your child gets at least 1 hour of physical activity every day.

– When using smart devices encourage your child to have them at eye level and not on their lap. Ensure their head isn’t hanging from their shoulders. A great way to encourage good posture is to have your child balance a book on their head while using their device. There are also many ipad stands on the market that can be placed on a table so your child is looking straight ahead.

See here for ways to hold your mobile device
Ways to hold your phone

– Ensure adequate hydration. The discs of the spinal column are mainly made up of water; therefore, it is important to stay hydrated during the day, in order to maintain flexibility and health.

– Limit screen time. Limiting screen time and helping your child to find a balance between the online world and the real world is important. This might be easier said than done, but to help your child stay healthy, it’s important to help them find other activities to fill their time.

If in doubt – please ask a chiropractor. Many of our patients report a big improvement in their posture after starting chiropractic care. Of course – the worse your posture, the more work can be involved, so correcting the problem sooner than later is advised!

Migraine Headaches

 

migraine

Those who suffer from migraine will know too well that it is much more than just a headache. It can strike anywhere and any time, often without warning.

Migraine affects about 15 in every 100 people in the UK and is most common in adults aged between 20 and 50. Women are twice as likely to suffer from the condition as men.

Migraine is a complex entity, usually characterized by unilateral head pain of a pulsating or throbbing quality. Clinically, migraine is subdivided into five phases: prodrome, aura, headache phase, headache resolution and postdrome. The prodrome is experienced by about 60% of migraine sufferers and is characterized by mood changes, food cravings, increased or decreased appetite, nausea, numbness and tingling, an inability or difficulty to speak and clumsiness/weakness of one side of the body. This is followed by an aura phase, experienced by about 20% of migraine sufferers, typically characterized by bright dots of lights in the visual field and saw tooth crescents of light. Following the aura phase, the headache begins, lasting anywhere between 4-72 hours. The headache is then followed by the postdromal phase, which is characterized by fatigue, irritability, mood changes and food intolerance.

Dysfunction of the cervical spine can be related to pain in the head /migraine, via the trigeminocervical complex (figure 1). In simplified terms this involves convergence of the greater occipital nerve (second cervical nerve, C2), with the trigeminal nerve (cranial nerve, V1) as it conveys pain sensation from the periphery towards the brain. This convergence can result in the brain interpreting pain as if it were originating in the head, when actually it may be originating in the joints of the cervical spine, thus resulting in a headache.

Figure 1

Chiropractic care may reduce the severity and frequency of migraine headaches, particularly in those patients with a cervicogenic/neck component to their migraine. Furthermore, the amount of medication required by migraine sufferers is often reduced during and following care. Some patients even report their migraines stop altogether! This can have a profound effect on people’s lives. Frequent migraines can be debilitating and can render a person unable to work, unwilling to socialise or even to get out of bed.

Find studies on migraine headaches and chiropractic here

Many patients find relief of migraines through chiropractic care. Please don’t suffer! If you would like to arrange a consultation, please call one of our clinics to make an appointment.

 
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