Common Conditions

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

People who frequently perform tasks requiring prolonged or repeated forward or twisting hand movement, such as typing, assembling and baking, for example, can develop a sometimes debilitating pain condition known as carpal tunnel syndrome. As with almost all repetitive stress syndromes involving the upper extremities, CTS begins in your lower neck and/or upper back, where nerves begin their pathways through the shoulders down to your arms, hands and fingers. When the pathway of the median nerve gets irritated on its way to certain fingers and your thumb, the tendons around it can swell and press the nerve against the narrow passageway at the base of your palm (the carpal tunnel) and cause pain, tingling, numbness, clumsiness and weakness in the hands, fingers and forearms. Key in treating CTS is releasing pressure off the median nerve where it begins at the top of the spine, applying cold therapies to relieve swelling, forearm muscle release therapy and provide the proper arm support to allow night time rest. Rehabilitation can include stretching and strengthening exercises, and then proper ergonomic practices to prevent recurrence.

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

A variation of carpal tunnel syndrome, cubital tunnel is caused by a compression of the ulnar nerve, which passes through a tunnel at the inside of the elbow (near the bone people often call the funny bone ) on its way to the hand and ring and pinkie fingers.

Repeated flexion and extension of your elbow, or prolonged resting of elbows on a hard surface can cause the ulnar nerve to become pinched or irritated. This syndrome tends to be more common among people who lean on their elbows for long periods, or have arthritis or diabetes. Treatment is similar to treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome.

Golfer's Elbow

Golfer's Elbow

Golfer's Elbow (Medial Epicondylitis)

Similar to so-called tennis elbow, golfer's elbow is also an overuse or improper use injury, but its painful point exists on the inside of the elbow, where the forearm flexor muscles are attached. Golfer's elbow can make it painful or difficult to make a fist or to grasp and hold objects. Treatment for golfer's elbow is similar to that of tennis elbow.

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

Thoracic outlet syndrome is the painful result of the compression of the nerves and blood vessels at the base of the neck near the collar bone extending to the arm pit (collectively known as the brachial plexus ). These nerves and vessels provide control, strength and feeling to the arms, hands and shoulders. Thoracic outlet syndrome is often attributed to extensive overhead activities, like cleaning or painting, or prolonged forward-reaching activities, such as typing, assembly work, working a cash register or carrying heavy loads over one's shoulder.

Symptoms include pain and weakness in the arms, clumsiness when performing tasks with the fingers or hands, stiff and/or painful neck muscles, pain in the chest near the arm pit, or a "pins and needles" feelings in the arms or hands. Treatment includes mobilizing the neck muscles and engaging in treatments designated to keep them from entering spasm to relieve pain and arrest the condition before it becomes worse. Preventive care includes stretching and strengthening exercises to relieve pressure and increase range of motion.

Degenerative Arthritis

Degenerative Arthritis

Also known as osteoarthritis, DA typically begins to display symptoms in people as early as their twenties, and is the most common chronic condition among seniors. This often very painful condition is often a product of joint overuse or misuse, which results in a degradation of the cartilage that protects and cushions the joints. Once the cartilage becomes worn or rough, the surrounding nerves can become easily inflamed and constricted. Adjusting the spine helps to free the irritated nerves that serve all areas of the body, and loosens the supporting spinal muscles whose inflammation can limit healing circulation to those areas. Allowing increased movement and circulation helps to heal the joints and provide pain relief without potentially harmful or addictive medication. Although there is no reversal of this condition, regular adjustments can maintain the alignment of the spine and therefore reduce the rate of degeneration.

Upper, mid- and low-back pain are common complaints among adults, especially low-back pain, which afflicts millions of North Americans every year. The causes of back pain are many:

Disc Degeneration

Disc degeneration results when the cartilage that cushions the discs along the upper, middle and lower spine gets worn from overuse and the nerves become impinged or irritated. If the cartilage wears away completely, spinal discs can actually begin rubbing against one another, causing extreme pain. Often the supporting muscles get inflamed as well, further constricting the nerves and limiting blood flow to injured areas, worsening pain and suppressing the body's ability to heal. Effective treatment for disc degeneration includes spinal manipulation to relieve pain and inflammation, decompression, heat/ice therapies, and stretching exercises to help alleviate spinal pressure.

Elbow, Wrist, Hand & Finger Pain

Unless a contact injury is identified as the cause, most elbow, wrist, hand and finger pain is caused by over or improper use, which causes pain, inflammation, weakness, stiffness, numbness, burning and/or clumsiness. Injury may also be the result of muscle strain or sprain. For information on overuse injuries, please read our section on Repetitive Stress Disorders. Another common culprit is degenerative arthritis. Each of these causes of pain and limited mobility has been shown to respond well to appropriate Chiropractic care and sound at-home therapies.

Facet Syndrome

Upper, mid- and low-back pain are common complaints among adults, especially low-back pain, which afflicts millions of North Americans every year. The causes of back pain are many:

This syndrome describes a common situation in which an individual may report specific low-back pain that often travels into the hip(s) and/or buttock(s) and perhaps into the upper thigh.   Facet syndrome is often the result of spinal degeneration caused by age, overuse, poor posture or injury, and can leave the sufferer prone to quick low back pain whenever he or she makes a "wrong move" or shifts too quickly while in a prone position, as in bending or stooping.   Frequently a patient may report "throwing out their back" after something as ordinary as sneezing, indicating the possibility of facet syndrome being present. Fortunately, facet syndrome usually responds quite well to Chiropractic care, including spinal manipulation and correction, stretching, ice and heat therapies and exercises to increase range of motion.

Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a perplexing and often frustrating disorder in which the body creates pain without the presence of identifiable injury. The exact cause of FM is not definitive, but possibilities include: hypersensitive nerve cells, an imbalance of hormones designated to keep the body's soft tissues healthy, too much or too little of certain brain neurotransmitters, growth hormone or oxygen deficiency, or a traumatic onset event such as an accident or illness that brings the disorder out of dormancy.

Whatever its cause, FM can cause the sufferer to experience pain episodes, from mild to severe, that can shift from one part of the body to the other without warning or reason. FM patients may also suffer other reactions to the disorder, such as insomnia, weakness, bowel problems, headaches and a host of other symptoms.

Since it can mimic so many other disorders, it is important to have an expert in FM provide a complete physical exam before determining it is a causal factor in any chronic pain disorder. It has become a dumping ground of sorts for any hard-to-diagnose pain syndrome, but more often than not, its diagnosis is unwarranted. A far more common body pain syndrome is degenerative arthritis, which can be confused with FM due to the similarity of some symptoms.

Because it can produce random yet sometimes severe pain events, FM tends to create a vicious cycle of increased pain sensitivity and decreased exercise, the very thing the FM patient needs to flush the muscles and tissues of pain chemicals and relieve muscle spasm. Proper Chiropractic treatment can be very effective for FM patients because it helps release tense muscles and increase circulation to help remove toxic pain-producing chemicals that can get trapped inside inflamed tissues. Spinal manipulation, along with massage, proper stretching and a program of gentle physical exercise, can help restore correct nerve function so that pain episodes are less frequent or severe, and help make living with FM far more manageable.

Headaches

Headaches

Visit Callingwood Chiropractic for headache relief.

A surprising number of headaches are caused by contracted muscles and the inflammation of associated nerves in the neck. The neck itself is small relative to its importance. It is the exit point of the eight pairs of nerves that supply the head, neck, upper back, shoulders, arms and hands. Because the neck is a fragile area whose demands include holding upright a 10-15 pound head for 18-hour stretches, and because poor posture, stress and disuse cause the neck to be naturally prone to tension and stiffness, irritation of the nerves in the upper spine is disturbingly common.

Once these nerves become irritated by inflamed neck muscles, pain and dizziness can result. If the nerve irritation goes untreated, pain conditions can become chronic, inviting persistent, recurring headaches, jaw and facial pain. Adjusting the upper spinal column helps to relieve tension, increase circulation and free the nerves trapped by stiffness and inflammation. Appropriate Chiropractic treatment help restore spinal function can not only treat, but help prevent future headache episodes.

Herniated Disc

Upper, mid- and low-back pain are common complaints among adults, especially low-back pain, which afflicts millions of North Americans every year. The causes of back pain are many:

A disc is the plate that sits between two vertebrae within the spinal column. When a disc gets worn, its surface may erode enough that its thick interior fluid, which absorbs shock and keeps the spine flexible, breaks through, creating a herniated (also called a ruptured, slipped or protruded) disc. Once a disc's inner material leaks through, it can place enormous pressure on and even pinch the surrounding nerves, leading to pain, weakness and/or numbness in the head, arms, hands, legs, buttocks and, naturally, the neck and low back.  The best way to determine if a disc has herniated is to have your doctor perform an examination and perhaps an imaging test, such as an X-ray or MRI. Luckily, the majority of ruptured disc cases respond well to appropriate Chiropractic treatment by relaxing the surrounding muscles and simultaneously removing pressure on the affected nerves, allowing beneficial blood flow and movement to aid the body in repairing the damage. With proper care, the disc's outer layer will usually heal and allow for complete recovery.

Kyphosis

Upper, mid- and low-back pain are common complaints among adults, especially low-back pain, which afflicts millions of North Americans every year. The causes of back pain are many:

This condition causes a rounding of the middle back, resulting in what is sometimes called a humpback or dowager's hump. This malformation of the middle (thoracic) spine, can be caused by heredity and disorders like osteoporosis, but it is also commonly a product of poor posture.   Hunching over a book or computer or performing assembly-style tasks that require a lowering of the head can cause kyphosis, which in most cases can be reversed or arrested with Chiropractic adjustment, physical therapy and by incorporating proper posture when performing tasks. Your doctor will also suggest proper ergonomic practices and exercises to help prevent or arrest the condition.

Muscle Sprain

Muscle strain or sprain: A muscle that is overworked or used awkwardly can strain, resulting in a stretch or tear that can cause pain, inflammation and muscular weakness. Strain of the lower back in particular, during lifting, pushing or pulling, is quite common among adults of all ages.   Sudden pain when performing a task or sport indicates a muscle strain.   Most strains respond well to proper rest, ice/heat therapy, elevation to reduce inflammation and compression to support the injured area and limit its use during healing. Also beneficial is Chiropractic therapy, including manipulation of the spine to assist nerve stimulation, improve circulation and promote flushing of pain chemicals from the body, ultrasound, massage and rehabilitation exercises to prevent re-injury of the site.

A sprain is somewhat different in that it involves a stretching or tearing of the ligaments that attach to bones, but it is just as painful. Sprains usually respond favorably to the same treatments as strains.

Muscle Strain

Upper, mid- and low-back pain are common complaints among adults, especially low-back pain, which afflicts millions of North Americans every year. The causes of back pain are many:

Muscle Strain: Any sudden improper movement can produce immediate strain on the muscles that support the spine. Lifting, pushing or pulling too much weight or stretching or twisting too far or at an awkward angle can produce immediate or delayed pain caused by tearing and/or inflammation of tissues. If the strained area remains inflamed, the circulation needed by the body to heal itself is greatly inhibited, and the inflammation and injury remain, creating a torturous cycle. Proper Chiropractic care can help relax tight, strained muscles so that the body can flush the injured area, reduce inflammation and heal tears in affected muscles. Proper muscle rehabilitation can assist the healing process and help prevent further injury.

Headaches

Neck Pain

Neck pain is caused by a variety of situations, from heredity to injury to poor posture. The neck supports the upper spine, also called the cervical spine, and the nerves that begin here travel through the head, upper back, chest, and through the shoulders, elbows and down to the hands and fingers. Therefore, pain in the head, shoulders, hands and other upper extremities often begins with an injury to or misalignment of the cervical spine.

Pain in the Hips, Buttocks & Legs (Sciatica)

Pain in the Hips, Buttocks & Legs (Sciatica)

Pain in one's hips, buttocks and legs usually originates in the lower (lumbar) spine, where nerves can become irritated by inflamed low back muscles, or pinched by degenerated or herniated discs. When a nerve in the low section of the spinal column gets blocked, pressed, aggravated or otherwise robbed of normal function, the pain can radiate to any area of the body served by that nerve. The sciatic nerve is a major source of lower extremity pain because it runs through the buttock where it joins the hip and down through the leg. The condition caused by malfunction of the sciatic nerve pathway is called sciatica, and its pain typically radiates through a hip and/or buttock, down the back or side of the leg and sometimes into the foot. The pain of sciatica can be very sharp or dull, burning or shooting, constant or intermittent.

In some cases, sciatica can be caused by the sciatic nerve being crowded or pressed by the piriformis, a large muscle located in the hip/buttock region. Usually in these cases the pain radiates through the affected buttock and down the back of the leg. The condition seems to be more prevalent among individuals who are pregnant, may have one leg longer than the other, over- or under-pronation of the feet (often caused by high or flat arches) or a titled pelvis. Luckily most people suffering from piriformis syndrome are very responsive to properly administered Chiropractic care, which can restore balance and function to the lower spine, release muscles that may impinge the sciatic nerve and encourage proper nerve conductivity. Also helpful are stretches designed to keep muscles flexible and less prone to spasm and inflammation.

Repetitive Stress Disorders

Overuse injuries are caused by continued or improper motion which creates inflammation of the muscles, tendons and nerves involved in the action. RSDs are becoming more and more prevalent in the US and Canada due to the high demand of desk and assembly jobs and other tasks that require repeated movements with the hands held in front of the body. RSDs can cause mild to severe pain, numbness, loss of muscle function and weakness, and a lack of control and accuracy of movement. Disorders include the following:

Radial Tunnel Syndrome

Similar to carpal and cubital tunnel syndromes, the affected nerve is the radial nerve , whose pathway runs outside of the elbow, and is irritated by prolonged wrist or finger flexion, repeated or aggressive pushing or pulling actions, constant gripping or twisting, or overuse of a bent wrist. The symptoms of radial tunnel syndrome often get mistaken for a condition widely known as tennis elbow, and an examination by your doctor will help locate the source of your pain.   Radial tunnel syndrome is most common among people who do frequent or improper keyboard or mouse work, play musical instruments or perform other tasks requiring bent wrists and finger flexion. 

Rotator Cuff Tendonitis

Rotator Cuff Tendonitis

The rotator cuff is a group of four tendons connecting the bone of the upper arm with the shoulder blade. Its function is to raise, lower and rotate the arm, and it is commonly implicated in overuse injuries due to repeated lifting, lifting too heavy a weight, or direct impact to the area through an accident or sport. Oftentimes age and plain old wear and tear can lead to weakness and impingement of the rotator cuff tendons, and can result in shoulder pain and weakness, even an inability to lift one's arm.

Relief from rotator cuff tendonitis includes appropriate adjustment of the upper vertebrae to release impinged nerves as well as shoulder mobilization. Rehabilitation techniques include strength, stretching and mobility exercises, and proper rest, along with new ergonomic practices to help prevent its recurrence.

Tennis  Elbow

Tennis  Elbow

Tennis elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis) is most commonly a form of overuse tendonitis that can plague the tendon attached to the "outside bump" of the elbow and can radiate pain through the forearm, elbow and sometimes into the hand. Treatment includes improving function of the nerve pathway that begin in the upper spine, proper support to allow rest and healing, stretching and range of motion exercises, myofascial deep tendon and longditudinal muscle release of the forearm muscles and manipulation of the elbow.

Scoliosis

Upper, mid- and low-back pain are common complaints among adults, especially low-back pain, which afflicts millions of North Americans every year. The causes of back pain are many:

Scoliosis, or curvature of the spine, is a condition in which the spine twists unnaturally due to heredity, poor posture or degeneration of the vertebrae along the spinal column. Improper spinal alignment can cause disc compression, painful contact between vertebrae or pinched nerves. Proper Chiropractic treatment can help reduce or eliminate the symptoms of scoliosis by helping to relieve pressure on impinged nerves and irritated muscles, improve mobility and help prevent the disorder from progressing. Range of motion exercises are an important addition in helping to relieve and prevent symptoms associated with scoliosis.

Sports Injuries

Almost any sports injury can respond well to Chiropractic care, including the most common: tendonitis, strains and sprains. Sometimes the injury will be directly to the spine or its supporting muscles, as with an awkward or severe fall, an impact to or by the body, or various other causes. Sometimes the site of injury may be an extremity, in which case the application of Chiropractic treatment may be less obvious to some patients. But in almost all injuries, proper spinal function is key in healing injured tissues, restoring circulation to damaged areas and preserving range of motion as the muscles, tendons and blood vessels heal. Prescribed Chiropractic care can, in fact, help prevent many sport injuries by increasing joint function and mobility, thereby allowing the body to fend off damage.

Tendonitis

When a tendon becomes inflamed due to overuse, improper use or injury, it can cause mild to serious pain, diminished strength and limited movement. Proper Chiropractic treatment, including manipulation, appropriate rest, ice/heat therapy, ultrasound and stretching and strengthening exercises are key to healing and preventing further injury.

Whiplash

Any sudden, jarring motion that forces the head too far forward (hyperflexion) or backward (hyperextension) can dislodge bones, compress discs, tear ligaments and arteries, and severely strain muscles that support the neck and upper back. While most people associate the disorder with car accidents, it can happen in any situation where the neck is suddenly or severely jarred. Whiplash can result in severe neck and upper back pain, misalignment of the upper spine, immobility and other painful symptoms. Left untreated, whiplash can lead to permanent injury, including disc degeneration, arthritis, chronic muscle stiffness, upper extremity pain and recurrent headaches and dizziness. An appropriate course of Chiropractic treatment can help heal whiplash by restoring range of motion to the neck and diminishing muscle tension, spasm and inflammation.

Spondylosis

Spondylosis is a mechanical disorder caused by severe and ongoing muscle stiffness in the neck, which may result in the neck crooking forward. It is most common in people over 50 when a lifetime of poor posture and/or a lack of exercise have had time to create a spinal misalignment. Hunching over a desk or performing repetitive tasks, using improper head support while sleeping and other ergonomically inappropriate situations can force the upper spine into an unnatural forward angle that places direct pressure cervical discs, leading to neck pain that sometimes radiates down the arms to the hands or upward to the head, causing headaches. Spondylosis sufferers often report that their adjacent upper back muscles are tense, tender and full of knots. Treatment includes adjusting the upper spine to allow the muscles of the neck and upper back to relax, inviting circulation to flush irritated tissues and nerves, stretching exercises, and finally offering the patient ways to improve his/her posture and incorporate correct ergonomics into work and sleep habits.

Spinal Stenosis

Spinal Stenosis

Spinal Stenosis Upper, mid- and low-back pain are common complaints among adults, especially low-back pain, which afflicts millions of North Americans every year. The causes of back pain are many:

This condition is arthritis of the spine, and can be considered a normal part of aging, but just as often is the result of misuse (poor posture, improper and ongoing use of back when lifting, working or playing sports, etc.). As the intervertebral discs compress due to time or poor body mechanics, bone spurs may develop and press on spinal nerves, creating pain that limits movement. Lack of movement in turn can hasten degeneration because blood and oxygen can't assist in healing injured areas. Symptoms can include aching, tingling and burning, or reduced sensitivity in affected areas. Compression of the cervical nerves within the neck can cause headaches and dizziness. It is important to treat most cases of spinal stenosis with proper Chiropractic manipulation to aid blood flow to the surrounding tissues, assist healing and prevent a worsening of the condition. Physical therapy, decompression techniques and range of motion exercises are also often part of the rehabilitation process.

Shoulder & Chest Pain

Shoulder & Chest Pain

Shoulder: Shoulder pain is usually localized in or around a small tunnel in which 4 tendons devoted to shoulder movement pass through, called the rotator cuff. Rotator cuff tendonitis can be achingly painful and greatly limit movement of the arm above shoulder height, also known as "frozen shoulder." Frequently a patient may wake up with shoulder pain without any immediately known cause, which may suggest overuse tendonitis or something known as impingement syndrome, in which nerves and/or muscles involved in lifting the arm forward or to the side become pinched. Another common shoulder malady is bursitis, in which the tiny sacs that act as cushions between bones, muscles and tendons, become inflamed due to quick, violent or frequent motions, and can cause sharp or burning pain.

Another shoulder pain condition involves what is called the acromioclavicular (AC) joint, which is vital in certain shoulder actions. When the AC joint's components become enlarged due to degenerative arthritis, certain nerve paths and/or the rotator cuff can become pinched, causing distress. Other shoulder injuries include muscle strain or sprain. Discovering unexplained shoulder pain may require specific diagnostic procedures to isolate its exact cause, such as X-ray, MRI, CT or NCV scan, or diagnostic ultrasound. Once the source of your pain condition is determined in consultation with your doctor, you and he can work out a plan for treatment, rehabilitation and effective preventive care.

Chest: It is always vitally important to determine that heart disease is not present if you have unexplained chest pain. Never presume that chest pain should be ignored or that it will simply go away. Any person having unexplained chest pain, burning, or numbness extending into one or both arms, should seek immediate medical attention. Once heart disease has been ruled out, one can consider the possibility that the pain is caused by certain aggravating or repetitive activities, such as typing, painting or any activity that requires long stretches of upward or forward body posture, which can cause upper body pain and posture problems. Oftentimes prolonged or awkward motions can produce a sometimes agonizing condition known as Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. For more information, please read our section on this disorder.