Last month, we discussed four factors that increase a woman’s risk for back pain: a wider pelvis (resulting in greater pelvic instability due to knock-knee effect); breast size, mass, and weight; hormone levels and variability during menstruation and menopause; and adolescent growth spurts that can trigger idiopathic scoliosis three-times more commonly in women than men. We’ll continue the discussion this month…
Neck pain can arise from a multitude of causes, from trauma like sports injuries and car accidents to just sleeping in an awkward position. It can also arise from non-traumatic causes like stress, anxiety, or depression. In the past, we’ve noted how forward head posture can increase the risk of neck pain and headaches. Suffice it to say, neck pain can arise from almost anything, and many times it’s very challenging to figure out the origin!
There are nine tendons that pass through the carpal tunnel at the wrist that connect the forearm muscles to the palm-side of the fingers. These tendons are encased in sheaths, and friction and heat can build-up inside these sheaths, leading to swelling, pressure, and pain (especially during fast, repetitive tasks). As the swelling increases and pressure builds up inside the tight space of the tunnel, the median nerve is pushed into the transverse carpal ligament, which serves as the floor of the tunnel, resulting in the symptoms we commonly associate with CTS. Stretching helps reduce this tightness and friction.
Besides the usual suggestions of bed rest, taking frequent breaks, using cold packs, and the like, there are many benefits derived from manual therapies such as manipulation, mobilization, massage, and exercise.
Researchers have observed a phenomenon called “central sensitization” (CS) that is common in patients who have long-term, chronic pain following trauma such as whiplash. With CS, the patient’s ability to feel pain is abnormally high or hypersensitive, so when pain from pressure, temperature, electrical, or other sources is applied to the skin, they feel it sooner and more intensely than individuals without CS.
Because humans are bipeds—that is, two-legged animals—our spines tend to experience greater loads than those our four-legged friends. This leads to men and women experiencing degenerative conditions such as osteoarthritis much earlier in life compared with lions, tigers, and bears (and your dog or cat). Also, the majority of us (about 90%) have one leg that’s shorter than the other (average 5.2mm or ¼ inch), which can tilt the pelvis downward on the side with the shorter leg, which increases the risk for both back pain and neck pain. Fortunately, this can be rectified with a heel lift in the shoe. However, women also face unique anatomical, physiological, and social challenges when it comes to back pain…
Among a sample of 803 seniors participating in the Hispanic Established Population for the Epidemiologic Study of the Elderly, researchers found that those who increased their physical activity levels over a ten-year period had a 43% lower risk of death during the course of the study than participants whose activity levels declined or remained unchanged. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, July 2017
Migraines affect approximately 15% of the general population and are usually managed by medication. However, this traditional treatment approach is not well tolerated by some migraine sufferers due to side effects. Additionally, some people prefer to avoid the risks associated with taking some medications over the long term.
A systematic literature review of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) involving the use of manual therapies to treat migraines found that chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) is equally as effective as the medications propranolol and topiramate in the management of such headaches.