Advice Blog


Gardening

Gardening Tips for Low Back Pain Management

With the change of seasons, we find ourselves tackling our gardens ready for summer time.  

 

Even though gardening is not considered as a sport it is very physical and time consuming, resulting in the body being in the same position for long periods of time. 

 

Gardening involves a lot of forwarding bending and at times can result in us twisting ourselves into awkward positions.  

 

These can result in spinal and surrounding structures to be strained and therefore resulting in back pain.

 

We have put together some helpful tips for you to incorporate into your gardening regime in order to prevent or manage any low back pain you may experience due to gardening. 


Warm up First 

 

It is a good idea to warm the muscles up first prior to gardening, as you would with any other type of work out.  This could be a brisk 5 minute walk with or without some gentle stretching. Below is a few stretches that will help to loosen the low back ready for gardening. 

 

If you already suffer with low back pain we would advise that you speak with your Chiropractor or healthcare practitioner in order for them to advise you on what stretches would be most appropriate for you.

 


Lifting Technique 

 

Incorrect lifting technique is a common trigger for low back pain.  Even more so when you have been gardening for a long period and make a sudden movement.  

 

 

To lift correctly, begin by squatting and not bending the waist.  Use both hands to hold object, keeping it close to your body and slowly straighten legs as you lift.

 

Try to limit the amount of lifting you do by either using lifting aids or asking someone to help.

 

 Another tip would be to half your lifting load, such as putting half the soil into a bucket to carry or half the water in a watering can.


Take regular breaks

 

Be conscious to keep a track of time, and don't stay in the same position.  Get up and move around, try some light stretches and try out different positions.  

 

Try to avoid carrying out the same job for a long period of time.  Switch between jobs so that you are alternating your posture set ups.  


Use support aids

 

Try to use support aids to make you feel more comfortable such as chairs or cushions.  Getting up and down from positions, especially up from the ground, can be a difficult task so use aids to help you alter your height.  


Use correct equipment 

 

It is worth investing into the correct gardening equipment for your needs.  As these will aid you and prevent you from over compensating in order to get the job down e.g long handed tools can help to eliminate bending.


Ask for help

 

Do not be afraid to ask family, friends, neighbors etc for help.  If a task is is too much for one person or you are suffering with any discomfort as someone to help or take over.  It is important to understand your own limitations.


 

If you are experiencing some pain following a gardening session then the following may be useful:

  • PRICE (protection, rest, ice, compress and elevate).
  • Find your pain free movements and try to avoid any painful movements.
  • NSAIDS, over counter pain killers (always read label).
  • Use support aids.

The above listed are not conclusive to the type of pain, and you may find that you do not fit into a particular area. Therefore it is important to seek professional health if you are experiencing pain. 

See your Chiropractor if you are in pain

Chiropractors specialise in assessing, diagnosing and managing conditions of the spine. They are highly trained in finding the cause of pain in the spine. In the UK they undergo a minimum of four years’ full-time training. Importantly, chiropractors are regulated by law and must work within strict professional and ethical boundaries.

 

Before starting treatment, a chiropractor will do a full assessment. This will involve taking details about your condition, current health and medical history, and performing a physical examination. Sometimes it may be necessary to refer you for other tests, such as X-rays, MRI scans or blood tests. It is important for your chiropractor to gather as much information about your back pain as possible so that the most precise diagnosis can be made.

 

Your chiropractor will then explain what is wrong, what can be done and what you can expect from chiropractic treatment.

Chiropractors are best known for manual treatments such as spinal manipulation, where they use their hands to free stiff or restricted joints, or mobilisation, which is the gradual moving of joints.

 

But they may also use other recommended treatments such as certain types of acupuncture, electrotherapy, stretching exercises and rehabilitation, all of which form part of a chiropractor’s package of care. Your chiropractor may also offer lifestyle advice to help recovery and to prevent repeated episodes of back pain.

 

If your chiropractor does not think you can be helped by chiropractic treatment, you may be referred back to your GP or to another health professional. Chiropractors do not prescribe medication, so if this is needed, you may be referred back to your GP. As chiropractors support a joined-up approach to care, they may ask if they can send a brief report to your GP.

 

Many people who suffer long-term back pain benefit from regular, supportive chiropractic care to reduce the risk of recurrent episodes.

 

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EXERCISE - THE NEW PRESCRIPTION

1. For Living Longer – Jogging

 

A US study showed that adults over 65 who ran or jogged for at least 30 minutes 3 times per week were as healthy as young adults in their 20s.[1] This might not sound important, but your walking style is a key indicator of mortality, so the longer you can stay spritely on your feet, the longer and healthier your life should be. Meanwhile, another study found that light jogging (between 70-120 minutes per week) was linked to the lowest mortality rate compared to sedentary people and heavy runners - so little and often is key here. [2]



2:  For Improving Memory – Dancing

 

A study from 2017 found that all exercise can help reverse the signs of ageing in the brain, but dancing more than any other sport.[1] The study, which focused on adults in their late 60s who took part in a weekly dance class, found that all participants showed an increase in the hippocampus region of the brain, which can be affected by diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia, as well as more general age-related decline.
https://www.newswise.com/articles/new-study-jogging-keeps-you-young


 

3. For Back Pain – Active Therapies

 

Many GP appointments are connected to muscle and nerve problems- and these are often based in the back. If you suffer with back pain, you will know that it can affect your movement and sleep and leave you feeling quite low. Luckily, help is at hand in the form of gentle stretching.  Also, research shows that active therapies, such as chiropractic treatment, are a great option for managing back pain and to create optimal alignment, balance and symmetry. 


4. For Depression and Anxiety - Walking

Science agrees - walking outdoors has been linked to a reduction in stress and a boost in mood, particularly for those who have just been through a negative life event such as a serious illness or the loss of a loved one. Brisk walks have also been shown to help women deal with anxiety and stress that's sometimes associated with menopause. Movement helps your brain to release endorphins, the feel-good hormones that can reduce the perception of [pain as well as depression and anxiety. 


5. For Bone and Muscle Health – Weight Training

 

Experts are increasingly suggesting a bit of strength training goes a long way when it comes to better bone and muscle health. As we get older, we start to lose muscle mass, which can leave us prone to falls, as well as making it easier to gain weight. So think of strength training as insurance for your later life. While this could mean leading to lift lightweights, it can also mean strength exercises using your own body weight – such as sit-ups or squats. It’s really never too late to start. A study of 90-year-olds found that 12 weeks of strength training improved their muscle tone, ability to balance, general power and walking speed.

 

 

Don’t forget 150 minutes (just over 21 mins daily) is the minimum moderate exercise the NHS recommends for adults to stay healthy! And the best part is, it’s freely available to most of us, small things make a big difference. Movement is the new medicine!



Taking Care of Yourself

New Year New You

 

When it comes to good physical and mental health, it's not a big surprise that research has shown January is the worst month of the year. All contributed to by the days being short, cold, and wet (let's not forget the come down from the festive period), and the summer feeling so far out of reach.

 

This January we wont let these feelings get to us, the tough year that was 2020 is finally behind us and we are looking forward to a better a new year, with hope and a chance to start a fresh. 

Exercise

There have been constant challenges affecting our ability to get in to our usual routines with lockdowns and gym closures, BUT there are still so many ways to get active again. So, how can we build ourselves up to become active again? 

 

  • Start walking - Getting active again doesn't always require you to sign up to a gym or or to run for miles on end. Start with 15-20 minutes per day or do a 1 mile routine around your village. For some needed motivation you can create a playlist to listen to, or an audio book, or even use the time on your walk to do your phone calls. 
  • If you are working from home, stand while doing so, if you have those facilities, or have regular breaks. Once or twice a day use a break to do some form of exercise or use that time to go outside. Fresh air is great for the lungs! 
  • Couch to 5K is great way to ease yourself in to running, and great for beginners. We have had many patients who have discovered a love for running using this programme which gently builds you up over a 9 week plan that be adapted to suit you. There are many Apps to help track your progress and guide you. The NHS have a great app, complete with podcasts and a trainer who tells you when to start and stop: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/couch-to-5k-week-by-week/ 
  • Live online exercise classes & video PT sessions have bought the gyms to our homes. Better than a DVD, that we may or may not do, these sessions are live and booked in which gives us a level of commitment to dedicate time to exercise. You also save time with travelling to and from the gym! Working closely with local personal trainer Richard Ford, we have seen our patients kept motivated and benefit from his continued online support, work out sessions, and nutritional plans through these tough times. For more details visit :https://integrafitness.co.uk/

Once restrictions are eased there will be even more for you to do!

Stress

How can we relax and alleviate some stress?

 

Watch a light hearted/funny movie or even some videos - let's face it, who doesn't like watching funny cat and dog videos.

 

Do something you enjoy, whether that's getting lost in a good book, drawing, painting, walking etc. It doesn't matter what it is, just find some time in your day to do it. It may spark some old habits you once enjoyed!

 

Switch off from your work life - once the time comes at the end of your working day, turn your laptop, emails or your phone off. Separate yourself from it to give you that time to focus on you.

All of these things contribute to your mental health and overall wellbeing to make you feel better, so if you are feeling low..

 

Talk to someone, as 'another problem shared is another one halved' as they say.

 

Reach out to others who you may feel needs some support and you can always do this virtually or over the phone - please do not be afraid to reach out! 

 

Although talking therapies, counsellors and hypnotherapists may not be providing face-to-face appointments, they are still supporting patients via video sessions.

 

Our Clinical Hypnotherapist/Psychotherapist Sue Pitman DHP, HPD, MNCH(Reg) is here to help, for more details please visit her page: https://www.thewhitchurchclinic.co.uk/twc-other-therapies/hypnotherapy/


Make Inside Feel Better

The Public Health Sectors are launching the 'Better Health - Every Mind Matters' campaign to support the nation's mental wellbeing with the encouragement that 'When things aren't so good out there, make inside feel better'. The campaign is being supported by the NHS, local authorities and a range of mental health charities, health organisations, as well as other charities and commercial sector partners. 

They have very helpful information and advise about anxiety, low moods, stress, sleep and others. 

 

To find the information you may need on The Every Mind Matters Platform, please click the image below.


Avoid Back Pain This Christmas

Surprisingly, Chiropractic Clinic's around the country see an increase in patients with back aches and pains which have appeared during the Christmas period. There are many ways you can hurt your back at Christmas; whether it's bending and lifting heavy items like Christmas trees, furniture or even the turkey can easily strain your back or exacerbate existing aches and pains.

If you do hurt your back or neck during the holidays, your first thought might be to put your feet up on the sofa and watch some festive films and wait until the pain disappears. Although this may seem like a tempting option, it is much more beneficial for your back to keep your muscles moving. 

So, our first tip..

Keep Active

We know it's easier said than done, as the Christmas period for most means to relax, BUT that doesn't mean sitting on the sofa for 2 weeks eating your body weight in sugar. Prolonged periods of rest is bad for your joints and we are designed TO MOVE! So, try and get at least 30 minutes of gentle to moderate exercises 3-5 times per week in order to keep your joints and muscles healthy and your mind happy. Whether that's starting your days with a brisk walk out in the cold, fresh air or following an online exercise/pilates class.

Wrapping

We are all guilty of this, we sit on the floor, cross-legged, for a long time wrapping that never-ending pile of presents. This is not the best position for your and can cause extra strain on your neck and lower back. Why not try standing or sitting at a table instead. Another good way, standing at your ironing board as this height can often be adjusted to suit you and does not require you to be slouched over too much. 

Tree's a Crowd..

When it comes to putting up your decorations like the Christmas tree, get some help. The more help the better, even with the stages before the decorating; we have to get them from somewhere, so be mindful when digging them out from the attic or loft, always have someone else with you. When decorating be sensible, use a step where necessary. Don’t overstretch, don't take short cuts or move in awkward ways that your body isn’t used to!

When carrying heavy boxes or bending down to get that turkey out of the oven, be sure to bend and lift properly, squatting and using the knees rather than bending at the waist. 

 

Cleaning and Cooking

It's so stressful making sure your home is clean for your visitors, never mind the mammoth task of cooking for everyone, so try and delegate your load. Split the cleaning up amongst family members and even with the cooking if you trust others enough. But if you are like most people and would prefer to take full control of the Christmas Dinner then try to avoid being stuck over that stove for hours-on-end. Do some bits and bobs the day before, like the veg for example! 

 

Travel 

Always get yourself comfortable before you start your travels, making sure you are sat upright and your mirrors are correctly adjusted; especially your rear-view mirror. Because lets face it, it's so easy to slowly sink and slouch during a long journey, so use that mirror as a gage to know whether you need to sit up more. HAVE A BREAK, make a stop or two at a service station to stretch those legs, as well as some fresh air. 

 

...and most importantly, have fun this Christmas! 

 

From us at The Whitchurch Clinic, we hope you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

 

Clinic Products and Prices

Clinic Products & Prices

 For more information contact us on 02920 617700 or email info@thewhitchurchclinic.co.uk


 

 PRODUCT                          PRICE

 

Airprene Reinforced Wrist Support                                    £ 6

Cherrystone Hot Water Bottle                                            £14.99

Cherrystone Neck                                                              £14.99

Cherrystone Rectangle                                                      £14.99

Cryoderm Gel 4oz                                                              £10

Cryoderm Gel 16oz                                                            £19.20

1 Metre Exercise Band                                                       £3

Hotspot Tub 200ml                                                             £14.99

Kinesiology Tape                                                                £6.50

Lonsdale Ankle Support                                                     £7

Lonsdale Open Knee Support                                            £ 6

Lonsdale Elbow Support                                                    £6

Lonsdale Wrist Support                                                      £5

Massage Ball – Small (Orange)                                         £1.60

Massage Ball – Medium (Yellow)                                       £ 2.50

Massage Ball – Large (Blue)                                              £ 3

Maternity Brace                                                                  £20

SI Belts                                                                               £30

Snowdrop Roll On 50ml                                                     £6

Theraflex Ice Pack                                                             £4

Wheatbag (Unscented)                                                      £14.99


Work Station Ergonomics

Ergonomics : Tips to help you at home!

With an increase in the number of people working from home we have seen a surge in problems related to our patients home setup.

 

Many people find themselves using a computer for a large part of the day, and during these difficult times it's happening even more so.

 

Incorrect workplace design and layout can contribute to work related injuries (such as repetitive strain injuries), whilst correct chair height, adequate equipment spacing, and good desk posture can help you stay comfortable.

 

 

Quick Top Tips

  • Take short frequent breaks, we're built to move. Many working from home are missing the mini-breaks they had working in an office environment, less distance to the kettle! 
  • Set an alarm/timer every 30 minutes to remind you to change position and correct posture.
  • Build postural stretches and exercises in to your daily routine.
  • Mix up your tasks during the day to use different muscle groups. 
  • Consider a standing desk to help vary the pressure on different parts of your body
  • Those using laptops consider having a separate monitor or wireless mouse and keyboard so that you can position all well. 
  • Reduce screen time by listening to audio books or podcasts during your spare time, instead of watching TV or using phones.
  • If you aren't able to access a computer chair remember to support your lower back with extra cushions.
  • When choosing where to set up consider appropriate natural light, screen glare, and sight line. Ideally position somewhere you can occasionally look in to the distance to reduce eye strain (so not facing a wall or with sunlight directly behind you).

As home working seems likely to continue long term, more patients are considering investing in their own desks and office equipment. For our suggestions on how to set up your workstations, equipment ideas and more, please read on below.

 

 

Desk

  • Consider investing in a variable height desk to allow you to easily vary your posture without having to interrupt your work or meetings.
  • Variable height desks allow for bespoke adjustments to suit your height, so can eliminate the need for footstools and ensure optimal positioning for you.
  • Make sure you have plenty of space to work with so that you are not cramped (see document holder below).

Chair

  • Ideally, use a swivel chair with wheels or glides to allow easy chair movement.
  • Adjust the height of your chair so that your feet rest comfortably on the floor or, if this makes your chair too low in relation to the desk, use a footrest. 
  • Your position when sitting, your knees should be about level with your hips, and the seat of your chair should not press into the back of your knees. Your spine should be against the back of the chair and your shoulders relaxed back and down.
  • If your chair can’t be adjusted so that your back is straight, place a cushion between the curve of your lower back and the back of the chair.

 

Monitor

  • Position the monitor should be roughly an arm’s length away. The top of the screen should be at eye level or just below so that you look down at a slight angle to your work.
  • If you wear bifocals, position the monitor lower than normal to compensate for needing to look through the bottom of your lenses. Raise your chair until you can view the monitor without tilting your head back. This may mean that you have to raise the keyboard and use a footrest. Alternatively when working at the computer, use a pair of single-vision lenses with a focal length designed for computer work.

 

  • Reduce glare and reflections, by ensuring neither you or the monitor face the window. Tilting the monitor slightly downwards can help with glare, and adjust the monitor’s brightness to a comfortable level.
  • Remember to rest your eyes every 30 minutes or so, by looking away into the distance.

Keyboard

 

  • Arm position should be such that you are able to have your forearms close to horizontal and your wrists straight when using the keyboard, and your elbows close to your body. 
  • Align with the monitor and directly in front of you, so that you don’t have to twist or rotate to use it.

 

  • Put reference documents either between the monitor and the keyboard or directly alongside the screen in a document holder so the keyboard is not pushed too far back on the desk, disrupting your posture.
  • The keyboard should not be so close to you that your wrists rest on the sharp edge of the desk.

Mouse

  • Consider using an ergonomic mouse to better align you shoulder and reduce strain on your arm and neck.
  • Position your elbow close to your body to help with arm and shoulder alignment and reduce strain.
  • The mouse should fit the size of your hand so that it is comfortable to work with. 
  • Your wrist should be in a neutral position (minimal bend in any direction at the wrist) when you use the mouse, and your fingers should be able to rest on the push buttons between actions. 
  • If possible position the mouse on the desk so that the weight of your arm is supported by the desk. 

Laptops and Tablets

 

 

Laptops were designed for short term or mobile use; however, this portability means that people often use them at an unsuitable work height and this may result in discomfort over a long period. There are several ways to address these problems such as

 

 

 

 

  • Docking the laptop into a desktop computer at a suitable workstation.
  • Connecting the laptop to stand-alone equipment such as a separate screen, keyboard and mouse. 
  • Transferring your information onto a desktop computer if working for long periods. 
  • Use on a desk where possible with a suitable chair.
  • If on lap use a tray over a cushion to elevate the laptop, and the tray will insure the fans aren’t blocked.
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Corona Virus (COVID-19) Update

The COVID-19 situation continues to change rapidly, so I wanted to let you know what we're doing at TWC to protect our colleagues and visitors, while ensuring we continue to provide you with access to the care you need.

 

We endeavor to stay open as long as it is safe to do so. The safety of our colleagues and visitors is paramount. We are monitoring advice from the Government and the World Health Organisation, and reviewing our plans daily.

 

We are following the guidelines and advice that is being constantly updated by our governing bodies as well as Public Health England/Wales.

 

However we do ask that if your or any of your family members are feeling unwell to follow government advice and contact us to rearrange your appointment as soon as possible.

 

For further Government and NHS advice from on symptoms and self-isolation click on the links below:

 

NHS Advice: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

GOV.UK Advice: https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response 

How we are responding to COVID-19

Whilst we are always hygiene conscious at TWC, we are stepping up our measures in clinic to ensure the safety of our patients, staff and the general public.

 

As always, we are :

  • Ensuring to disinfect the bench and change head roll in between every patient.
  • Wash our hands and use hand sanitiser between each patient contact or wearing disposable gloves that are changed for each patient.
  • Hand sanitiser and tissues are available to use for all our patients in reception and the treatment rooms.

However we will now also be:

  • Leaving 15 minutes gaps between appointments to avoid patients having to use the waiting area and giving us plenty of time to clean.
  • Regularly disinfecting door handles, surfaces, taps and our payment terminals in between patients.
  • Asking patients to touch as little equipment as possible when in clinic.
  • No longer shaking hands with you all.
  • Asking that you chose to pay with card rather than cash where possible.
  • We will not be charging any late cancellation fee's to those who call to us with less than 24 hour notice as they need to self-isolate and recover.
  • Taking our patients temperatures to assist with public health screening.
  • Spacing chairs in our waiting area to assist social distancing.

 

Any concerns you may have regarding your appointment you can contact us on 02920 617700 or email info@thewhitchurchclinic.co.uk 


headaches

This month we cover the vast topic that is headaches!
Our Blogs include:

  • Do You Suffer From Migraines? What Makes them different from headaches, and how should you treat them?
  • Cervicogenic Headaches - A Right Pain in the Neck! Could your neck pain be causing your Headaches? 
  • Tension Type Headaches - Discover more about this very common type of headache, it's potential triggers and how to treat it.
  • Cluster Headaches - A rare but extremely debilitating Headache
With any new or unusual symptoms it is always important to visit your GP or Chiropractor to rule out any other disorders before reaching a diagnosis yourself. Any one experiencing severe sudden onset of headache at the back of the head should seek medical advice immediately.

Cluster Headaches

Cluster Headaches

These are a rare type of headache that affects about 1 to 2 people in every 1,000. Onset is normally between 20-40 years of age, and they are 3-4 times more common in men than women. Approximately 1 in 20 people with cluster headache have a family member who also has the condition. Unlike migraine, it is more common in men than women (by five to six times). It is also more common in heavy smokers. As with all forms of headache, cluster headache occurs in children but it is less common than in adults.

What are the Symptoms?

The symptoms of cluster headache are characterised by unilateral (one sided) pain, although the affected side may vary each cluster period. The pain is usually centered over one eye, temple or forehead, and can even be a combination of all or spread to other regions making diagnosis difficult. They usually last 15-180 minutes, and can occur from once every other day to up to 8 times a day. Pain is often characterised as excruciating.

Attacks can be associated with one or more of the following, on the same side of the face as the headache:

  • conjunctival injection (redness of the white sclera of the eye)
  • lacrimation (tears)
  • nasal congestion
  • rhinorrhoea (runny nose)
  • forehead and facial sweating
  • miosis (constricted pupil)
  • ptosis (drooping eyelid)
  • oedema (swelling)

During a bout of cluster headache the pain is often experienced at a similar time each day. The headache often starts at night, waking people one to two hours after they have gone to sleep. The pain usually reaches its full intensity within 5 to 10 minutes, and lasts at this agonising level for between 30 and 60 minutes.

 

Episodic cluster headache

80% of cluster headache attacks occur in periods lasting 7 days, to 1 year, separated by pain-free periods of 1 month or longer. The bouts (or “clusters”) often occur at the same time of year, and can then disappear for several months or even years. The reason for this seasonal timing is not completely known, although it is one of the key aspects of diagnosis, and may involve a brain area called the hypothalamus.

 

Chronic cluster headache

 

The remaining 20% of people do not have these pain free intervals, and are said to have “chronic cluster headaches”. Attacks occur for more than 1 year without remission or with remissions lasting less than 1 month.

Diagnosis

There is no special test to diagnose cluster headache, diagnosis is based on your of all your symptoms, and you may be referred for an MRI scan to rule out other causes for the pain starting suddenly.

What Triggers a Cluster Headache?

  • Alcohol is one well known trigger of cluster headache, often bringing on the pain within an hour of drinking. Avoid alcohol during a cluster period once the bout is over you will be to drink alcohol again.
  • A significant number of people find that strong smelling substances such as petrol, paint fumes, perfume, bleach or solvents can trigger an attack. During an episode of cluster headaches you should try to avoid these things.
  • Some people find exercise or becoming over heated will bring on an attack, so again avoiding these is the best advice during a bout.
  • Research has showed that heavy smokers are at an increased risk of developing chronic cluster headache so giving up smoking or cutting down is worth considering.

Treatment

Whilst there is currently no cure for cluster headache, the treatment has become much more effective in the last 10 years.

 

Acute treatment

Quick treatment is key.  Ordinary painkillers that you can buy over the counter are not usually effective, as they take too long to work. Oxygen is one of the safest ways to treat cluster headache. You need to breathe the oxygen in at a rate of between 7 and 12 litres per minute. The treatment usually starts to work within 15 to 20 minutes. For some people the attack is delayed rather than stopped altogether. Your GP will be able to order oxygen for you.

 

Sumatriptan injections have been found to reduce the pain within 10 minutes during an attack. Sumatriptan and zolmitriptan nasal sprays do help some people, although the onset of action maybe slower than the injection.

 

Preventative treatment

The most common preventative treatments are medication based.  The migraine trust website gives further details of specific medications.  Also avoid triggers as much as possible. The migraine trust gives further details on medications or see your GP.

 

Information cited from:

https://www.migrainetrust.org/about-migraine/types-of-migraine/other-headache-disorders/cluster-headache/

 

http://ihs-classification.org/en/02_klassifikation/02_teil1/03.00.00_cluster.html

As with any new symptoms it is always important to visit your GP or Chiropractor to rule out any other disorders before reaching a diagnosis yourself.

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Cervicogenic Headaches - A Right Pain in the Neck!

These headaches are very common and because they happen regularly, often people refer to them as "just a normal headache". However headaches usually happen for a reason, and for many people chiropractic treatment can be a very effective way of treating these headaches. It is one of the most common types of headache that we see as chiropractors see, and they can be very severe, and often have a profound effect on the lives of sufferers. 

What is Cervicogenic Headache?

A cervicogenic headache is caused by referred pain from the soft tissues and joints of the neck. When these structures are inflamed often a headache will result. Headaches generated by muscular trigger points are classified as 'regional pain syndrome', and very much overlap with these type of headaches.

 

The neck has a number of nerves that travel over the skull and if these nerves are irritated they will refer pain to various locations. Pain may radiate to the forehead (frontal region), the eyes (orbital region), the temple, and the ears.

 

Signs of cervicogenic headache are:

  • Pain around neck or base of the skull, may project to other areas of the head
  • Pain aggravated by specific neck movements
  • Restricted neck movement
  • Tenderness of neck muscles
  • Abnormal posture

Cervicogenic Headache Causes

The current theory is that they can be caused by abnormal movements or posture of the neck; osteoarthritis/spondylitis; or even post-whiplash injury.  All can lead to restriction of the joints, particularly the upper neck at the base of the skull. Occasionally the headache can be aggravated by neck movement and muscular trigger points as detailed above.

Treatment

Chiropractic treatment for cervicogenic headaches is very similar to that of tension type headaches. These headaches can be tough to manage as many of the factors that cause the headaches in the first place are external, i.e. posture or sleeping position. Chiropractors can help through:

  • Soft tissue massage
  • Trigger point therapy
  • Acupuncture/dry needling
  • Spinal manipulation/mobilisation
  • Home exercises/stretches
  • Ergonomic and postural advice

Other treatments that might help with headaches available at TWC:

  • Hypnotherapy for stress management and help reduce tension
  • Deep tissue massage to help release trigger points
  • Diet advice for food intolerances/allergies i.e. gluten or dairy

This website provides links to multiple recent studies in to the affectiveness of chiropractic and the treatment of cervicogenic headaches:

http://www.chiro.org/LINKS/headache.shtml#Cervicogenic

 

A 2005 article reviews the diagnosis and treatment of cervicogenic headaches:

http://jaoa.org/article.aspx?articleid=2093083

As with any new symptoms it is always important to visit your GP or chiropractor to rule out any other disorders before reaching a diagnosis yourself.

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Tension Type Headache

This is the most common type of primary headache: its lifetime prevalence in the general population ranges in different studies from 30 to 78%. A number of studies have appeared after the first edition of The International Classification of Headache Disorders that strongly suggest a neurobiological basis (coming from the nervous system), at least for the more severe subtypes of tension-type headache (TTH).

The most common triggers of TTH reported are anxiety, emotional stress, depression, poor posture, and lack of sleep, although the evidence for each of these (except stress) is poor. Physical exhaustion is also a common cause of TTH, so make sure you are getting enough sleep! 

Tension-type headache Vs migraine

If you have TTH, it will produce a mild to moderate pain, whereas the pain of migraine can reach disabling severity. Normal movement during everyday activities shouldn’t aggravate it, unlike a migraine, which can be aggravated by movement. There is an overlap in the triggers of migraine and TTH, as both may be brought on by stress or tiredness. Head and neck movements are important triggers in patients with TTH, whereas hunger and odour were significantly common triggers in migraine.

Classifications

Tension headaches are divided in to episodic and chronic. Episodic tension-type headache is further categorised into infrequent and frequent subtypes.

 

Episodic infrequent – They occur less than once per month, so between 10 and 12 times per year.

 

Episodic frequent - At least 10 episodes occur for 1-15 days per month, for at least 3 months.

 

Chronic or New Daily Persistent Headache - Last more than 15 days per month on average, for more than 3 months. Can last for hours or may be continuous.

 

The pain is typically bilateral (right and left), pressing or tightening in quality, and of mild to moderate intensity, and does not worsen with routine physical activity such as walking or climbing stairs. There is no nausea, but photophobia (light) or phonophobia (sound) may be present. 

Treatment

Over the counter medication, such as Aspirin or paracetamol, does help some sufferers, but long term use is not advised due to the wider problems prolonged taking of these drugs has on your body. Paracetamol overuse can even cause headaches when you stop taking them, due to withdrawal.

 

Chiropractic may be able to help if your headaches are caused by trigger points in the neck or jaw that refer pain to the head, which can amalgamate to feel like a tight band. A trial treatment period of 3-4 sessions will give you a good indicator of how effective management will be. Treatment can involve:

  • Soft tissue massage
  • Trigger point therapy
  • Acupuncture/dry needling
  • Spinal manipulation/mobilisation
  • Home exercises/stretches
  • Ergonomic and postural advice

Research looking into the efficacy of chiropractic and the treatment of tension type headaches are available at:

http://www.chiro.org/LINKS/headache.shtml#Chronic_Tension

 

Information cited from:

https://www.migrainetrust.org/about-migraine/types-of-migraine/other-headache-disorders/cluster-headache/

 

http://ihs-classification.org/en/02_klassifikation/02_teil1/03.00.00_cluster.html

As with any new symptoms it is always important to visit your GP or Chiropractor to rule out any other disorders before reaching a diagnosis yourself.

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