Neck Pain

Your cervical spine connects your brain stem to your spinal cord. It is an area rich in blood vessels and other soft tissue, such as ligament and tendons. Neck pain is slightly less common than back pain but no less important or treatable.

Neck pain can occur anywhere in your neck, from the bottom of your head to the top of your shoulders. It can spread into your upper back or arms, and may limit how much you can move your head and neck. Most neck pain is caused by activities that strain the neck. Poor postures such as slouching or sitting at a computer, activities that have you extend your neck like painting a ceiling, or sleeping with your head in improper positions, are a few things that can cause neck pain. These postures or activities can lead to neck strain, muscle spasm and swelling of the neck joints. Neck pain can also be caused by an injury such as A fall, or whiplash from a car accident. Other more serious conditions can also cause neck pain, degenerative arthritis, stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal), herniated discs, or infection, can also cause neck pain.

Symptoms generally start as a feeling of knotted or stiff achy muscles, that may limit neck motion, however, sometimes you may also have severe neck pain. The pain may extend into your shoulders, upper back, between your shoulder blades, or into your arms. The muscle tightness may also cause headaches. If there is pressure on a spinal nerve root, you might have pain that shoots down your arm. You may also have numbness, tingling, or weakness in your arm.

Most minor ligament or tendon injuries in the neck will subside with proper care, including rest, ice or heat application, If your symptoms do not resolve within a few days it is advisable to visit your chiropractor to have it evaluated and treated. Early treatment can keep your acute neck pain from becoming chronic and long-lasting.


Sciatica is a term used to describe pain traveling in the distribution of the sciatic nerve. Sciatica is a symptom caused by a disorder occurring in the low wback (Lumbar Spine). The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the human body it begins at the 4th and 5th lumbar vertebra (L4, L5).it then runs vertically downward into the buttock, back of the thigh, behind the knee into the calf and further downward to the feet.

Sciatica generally affects one side of the body. The pain may be dull, sharp, burning, there may also be intermittent shooting pain beginning in the buttock traveling downward into the back or side of the thigh and/or leg, and may be felt in the feet. Sometimes symptoms include tingling and numbness. Sitting and trying to stand up may be painful and difficult. Coughing and sneezing may intensify the pain.

Compression of the sciatic nerve can cause any of the above-cited symptoms.The most common causes of sciatica are Herneated discs, Degenerative disc disease,Spinal stenosis, and Spondylolisthesis. It may also be caused by pressure from the piriformis muscle which lays below the gluteal (buttock) muscle.Spinal tumors or Infections can also cause sciatica but they are rare. Generally the nerve damage is not permanent and paralysis is seldom a danger. However, if there is increasing trunk or leg weakness, or bladder and/or bowel incontinence this is an indication of Cauda Equina Syndrome, a serious disorder requiring emergency treatment.

Myofascial Pain Syndrome

Myofascial pain syndrome is a chronic painful muscle or joint condition that can be localized to one muscle or joint or maybe more widespread. This syndrome is caused by trigger points, which are small very tender knots in the muscle that cause pain when touched. The trigger points affect muscle and fascia, a sheet or band of fibrous tissue that covers, separates, and binds muscles, organs, and other soft tissue structures of the body. The pain can be localized or it can radiate pain to other distal areas.
Myofascial pain syndrome causes a deep persistent pain or aches in the muscle or joint, it produces muscle stiffness and can cause difficulty sleeping. Common areas of pain are the jaw, head, neck, pelvis, back, arms, and legs, but it can affect any muscular area. The pain generally worsens over time and can cause complications, such as muscle weakness due to the inactivity, or guarding of muscles due to the pain. Myofascial Pain Syndrome can be caused by different muscle injuries, poor posture, overuse or repetitive stress of muscles, improper body mechanics or tension, stress, and anxiety. The symptoms of myofascial pain syndrome Are similar to Fibromyalgia but are not as widespread throughout the body.


Fibromyalgia (FM or FMS) is characterized by chronic widespread pain and allodynia (a heightened and painful response to pressure). Its exact cause is unknown but is believed to involve psychological, genetic, neurobiological and environmental factors. Fibromyalgia symptoms are not restricted to pain, leading to the use of the alternative term fibromyalgia syndrome for the condition. Other symptoms include debilitating fatigue, sleep disturbance, and joint stiffness. Some patients also report difficulty with swallowing, bowel and bladder abnormalities, numbness and tingling, and cognitive dysfunction. Fibromyalgia is frequently comorbid with psychiatric conditions such as depression and anxiety and stress-related disorders such as posttraumatic stress disorder. Not all fibromyalgia patients experience all associated symptoms

The cause of fibromyalgia is unknown. However, several hypotheses have been developed including “central sensitization”. This theory proposes that fibromyalgia patients have a lower threshold for pain because of increased reactivity of pain-sensitive nerve cells in the spinal cord or brain. Neuropathic pain and major depressive disorder often co-occur with fibromyalgia – the reason for this comorbidity appears to be due to shared genetic abnormalities, which leads to impairments in monoaminergic, glutamatergic, neurotrophic, opioid and proinflammatory cytokine signaling. In these vulnerable individuals, psychological stress or illness can cause abnormalities in inflammatory and stress pathways that regulate mood and pain. Eventually, a sensitization and kindling effect occurs in certain neurones leading to the establishment of fibromyalgia and sometimes a mood disorder. The evidence suggests that the pain in fibromyalgia results primarily from pain processing pathways functioning abnormally. In simple terms, it can be described as the volume of the neurones being set too high and this hyper-excitability of pain processing pathways and under-activity of inhibitory pain pathways in the brain results in the affected individual experiencing pain. Some of the neurochemical abnormalities that occur in fibromyalgia also regulate mood, sleep, and energy, thus explaining why mood, sleep, and fatigue problems are commonly co-morbid with fibromyalgia

Exercise improves fitness and sleep and may reduce pain and fatigue in some people with fibromyalgia. In particular, there is strong evidence that cardiovascular exercise is effective for some patients.

Menstrual pain (primary dysmenorrhea)

Menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea) are pains in a woman’s lower abdomen and pelvis that occur when her menstrual period begins and may continue for 2-3 days. Primary dysmenorrhea has no underlying gynecologic problem that cause the pain, are as secondary dysmenorrea has organic causes that need to be addressed.

Menstrual pain can range in severity from a mild annoyance to severe cramping that can be so painful that they interfere with a woman’s regular activities for several days.

Menstrual cramps are the leading cause of absenteeisem in women younger than 30 years. 50% of women who have menstrual periods experience varying degrees of discomfort, with 15% being temporarily disabled by her symptoms.

When menstruation begins the old uterine lining breaks down, and this tissue is expelled. This process also releases compounds called prostaglandins which cause the uterine muscles to contract. Women who have high levels of prostaglandin experience more intense contractions of their uterus and more pain. Other substances known as leukotrienes, which are chemicals that play a role in the inflammatory response, are also elevated at this time and may be related to the development of menstrual cramps. The cramping sensation is also intensified when clots or pieces of bloody tissue from the lining of the uterus pass through the cervix, especially if a woman’s cervical canal is narrow.

In addition to cramps in the lower abdomen, a woman may also experience additional symptoms such as low back pain, leg pain, and pain down the legs, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, irritability, and weakness.

Many women take pain medication to help relieve symptoms; this treatment may cause other symptoms or side effects such as GI upset or bleeding. Alternative forms of pain relief may be achieved by using heat on the the pelvic area, and massaging the lower abdomen and low back. Regular physical exercise can also be helpfull in alleviating menstrual cramps, especially prior to the start of a period. Eating foods rich in calcium, supplementing with antioxidants such as vitamin E, and taking omega 3 fish oils, vitamin D and magnesium can all be beneficial in helping control pain and cramping. You should also avoid eating sugar, white bread and flower, and limiting red meat, alcohol and cigarette smoking.

Chiropractic treatment can be beneficial in reducing menstrual pain through the use of heat, soft tissue massage, acupressure, and spinal adjustment; many patients have experienced marked decrease in their menstrual pain and cramping, as well as the other associated pain symptoms.

You should always have your pain evaluated by your gynecologist to have the cause of your pain determined prier to attempting any treatment.

Pregnancy and Conception

Chiropractic treatment can help alleviate many painful and uncomfortable symptoms during pregnancy. During pregnancy, the body secretes hormones that help to relax ligaments. These hormones are produced to let the pelvis expand during delivery. However, because they affect all ligaments in the body the laxity can cause any joint, especially spinal joints, to become loose and unstable, leading to malfunction and pain. The rapidly increasing abdominal weight changes the center of gravity causing a swayback posture. This puts stress on the joints and muscles in the low back creating misalignments, which in turn cause discomfort and pain.

Low back pain is the most common reason that pregnant women seek chiropractic care. The pain can range from mild discomfort to being debilitating, with stabbing or shooting pain into the legs and buttocks.

Mid-back pain is also a frequent complaint, due to the postural changes in the low back and the breasts becoming denser and heavier. Headaches and migraines due to postural or hormonal changes are other frequent complaints during pregnancy.

There are no known contraindications to chiropractic care throughout pregnancy, and generally is a method of choice, because it helps without using medications, a benefit to the mother and baby.

Chiropractors are trained to work with women who are pregnant or who are trying to conceive. With gentle spinal and pelvic adjustments, soft tissue manipulation and massage, chiropractic can help the patient remain as comfortable and pain free as possible. Keeping the spine and pelvis aligned and functioning through pregnancy can also make labor and delivery less stressful. Many women who receive chiropractic treatment throughout their pregnancy have less back labor, as well as shortened labor. Many symptoms that may occur with pregnancy can be alleviated or reduced with chiropractic therapy. Low back pain, sciatica, leg cramps, mid-back pain, neck pain, headaches, and carpal tunnel symptoms can all be relieved.

Woman having difficulty with conception may also benefit from chiropractic. Many fertility issues may be the result of stress, malfunction of the nervous system, nutritional deficiencies and poor lifestyle habits. Chiropractic works towards restoring the body’s natural function through the use of chiropractic spinal and pelvic adjustments, along with manual muscular manipulation, hormonal balancing with acupressure, nutritional counseling, exercise and lifestyle counseling. Chiropractic can also be used in conjunction with traditional approaches to fertility issues and can aid in the success of medical procedures such as IVF.

I have had success in helping women through their pregnancy and beyond, as well as success in dealing with infertility. Call for a complimentary consultation to see if I may be able to help you.

Facet Syndrome

The facets are the parts of the vertebra in the neck and back which form joints that enable spinal motion. Facet joint pain (facet syndrome) is common in people with back and neck pain. The facet joints produce pain when arching back (extending), as the irritated facets push together, they cause inflammation and pain as the sensitive nerve endings in facet joints become activated. The resultant pain causes a forward bent posture in an attempt to move the joints away from each other.

Facet joints are a major source of both acute and chronic neck and lower backa pain, the facet joint capsules undergo significant strain with lifting or prolonged sitting, and if degeneration (arthritis) is present, the symptoms are worse. Other causes such as injury of the neck, as with a rear end automobile accident, (whiplash), or the low back with lifting and or twisting to one side causes a deformation of the facet joint capsules, thus resulting in pain

The facet syndrome is often associated with chronic pain from the degenerative process often associated with arthritis. The front part of the vertebra with the disc generally astarts the degenerative process, as the height of the vertebra decreases, undue stress is placed on the facet joints which start to degenerate themselves causing additional inflammation and allowing for less pain free motion

The lower back, facet joint syndrome is characterized by: low back pain; pressure or soreness at the level of the involved joint; buttock pain, anterior or posterior thigh pain generally not below the knee, and possibly groin pain. The pain is worse with rotational movements; and during extension with respect to flexion. There is increased pain in transition from sitting to the standing, and reduced range of motion with stiffness in the morning.

Facet joint syndrome in the neck follows a similar course. Injuries to the facets are common in whiplash accidents and for those whose job demands looking up or holding the head and neck in extension, such as painting a ceiling. Keeping the head turned or cocked (cradling the phone with your neck) can also cause facet joint neck pain. The pain from the neck facet joints can radiate into the arms, between the shoulder blades and into the chest, and this pain can mimic a heart condition.

Restoring proper function of the facet joints helps to relieve pain, and improve flexibility and motion, making chiropractic therapy the treatment of choice for all facet joint pain.

Tail Bone Pain (Coccygodynia)

Tailbone pain or Coccygodynia, is a condition that can cause persistent pain at the very bottom of the spine (Coccyx). Coccygodynia is felt as a localized pain and is usually worse when sitting or with any pressure on the bottom area of the spine. The condition is more common in women, it is usually caused by local direct trauma, falling on your backside, or giving birth. On rare occasions, an infection or tumor can also cause pain in the coccyx.

The various terms are all used to describe a set of symptoms in the tailbone that can be caused by various injuries or conditions. Treatment may vary depending on the underlying cause of the symptoms and the severity and duration of the symptoms.

Coccygodynia symptoms may consist of one or all of the following:
– Pain that is markedly worse when sitting
– Local pain in the tailbone area that is worse when touched or when any pressure is placed on it
– Pain that is worse when moving from a sitting to standing position
– Pain that is worse with constipation and feels better after a bowel movement.

The coccyx is the very bottom portion of the spine and consists of three or more very small bones fused together. The coccyx is made up of between three and five separate or fused vertebrae. While it was originally thought that athe coccyx is always fused together (with no movement between the vertebrae), it is actually not one solid bone, and there is some movement between the bones permitted by the fibrous joints and ligaments. The coccyx is connected to the sacrum with ligaments, and there is limited movement between the coccyx and the sacrum as well.

Women are more susceptible to coccyx injury because the women’s coccyx is rotated, leaving it more exposed to injury, Women also have a broader pelvis so sitting places more pressure on their coccyx, and Childbirth is a common cause of coccyx pain.
It is difficult to determine the cause of coccyx pain. In many cases the exact cause of the pain is not known, pain can by caused in the coccyx if an injury or some type of excess pressure on the area causes the bones to move beyond their normal limited range of motion, resulting in inflammation and localized pain. An injury to either the ligaments or disc may cause pain. The bones of the coccyx can be fractured, and in rare cases a tumor or infection in the coccyx can be a primary cause of tailbone pain. Generally the cause of coccydynia will be one of the following.
– Local trauma. A fall on the tailbone. This is probably the most common cause of coccygodynia.
– Childbirth. During delivery, the baby’s head passes over the top of the coccyx, and the pressure created against the coccyx can sometimes result in injury to the coccyx structures (the disc, ligaments and bones). While uncommon, the pressure can also cause a fracture in the coccyx.
– Pressure. Certain activities that put prolonged pressure on the tailbone, such as horseback riding and sitting on hard surface for long periods of time, may cause the onset of coccyx pain. Tailbone pain due to these causes usually is not permanent, but if the inflammation and symptoms are not managed, the pain may become chronic.
– Tumor or infection. Rarely, coccydynia is due to a tumor or infection in the coccyx area that puts pressure on the coccyx.

The diagnoses of coccygodynia is achieved through medical history and physical examination to check for a mass or tumor that could be a cause of the pain, and palpation to check for local tenderness which is the most common finding. If the coccyx is not tender to palpation, the pain is most likely referred from another structure such as the lumbar spine from ether disc herneation or degeneration. Diagnostic tests, such as x-ray or MRI, may also be performed in order to rule out other potential causes of the pain.

Initial treatment typically consists of: Applying ice or a cold pack to the area several times a day for the first few days after the pain starts, then applying heat or a hot pack to the area after the first few days. You should avoid sitting for prolonged periods, or placing any pressure on the area as much as apossible. You can use a custom donut or u-shaped pillow to help take pressure off the coccyx when sitting. If the tailbone pain is caused or increased with bowel movements or constipation, then increased fiber and water intake is recommended.

If the pain is persistent or severe, non-surgical treatment such as: Manipulation, gentle stretching, ultrasound, or electrical stimulation can be beneficial. After attaining sufficient pain relief so that movement is not too painful, daily low-impact aerobic activity is started, as the increased blood flow brings healing nutrients to the area and encourages the body’s natural healing abilities. The additional benefit of aerobic activity is the release of endorphins, the body’s inherent pain relieving process.

If conservative care fails to give adequate relief, surgical removal of the coccyx may be indicated.

Shoulder Pain

Shoulder pain that causes a decreased ability to hold objects, decreases arm mobility, or persists when the arm is at rest require immediate attention. Shoulder pain that lasts for more than a few days should be seen by a professional.

Shoulder pain often stems from the neck. Chiropractors typically check form a connection between the neck and shoulder pain first. Chiropractic treatment is extremely effective in treating shoulder pain, regardless of its connection tot he neck or not. Ice packs, heat, and gentle chiropractic care through manipulation are typically enough to naturally heal the pain. Regular chiropractic visits and stretches at homes are excellent ways to keep your shoulder healthy and functional