Archive for pain

Why your back can cause limb pain

If you have persistent or recurring headaches or pain in your limbs or joints that can’t be explained, it could be coming from your back.

You may experience referral pain in one part of your body but it comes from another part, most commonly from your spine.

This is because our spines are very complex with many nerves that are connected to other parts of our body.  Problems with the spine, such as an injury, disc bulge or disc herniation may not necessarily present as back pain.  They can sometimes appear as knee, hip, arm or leg pain.

So how do you know when the pain you experience in one part of your body is coming from your back? There are three ways to identify if your joint or limb pain is really back pain.

  1. Do you have any back pain along with your joint or limb pain?

If you have back soreness that accompanies your joint or limb pain, it may be your back causing pain in multiple areas of your body.

2. Are you experiencing back stiffness that is limiting your range of movement? 

Stiffness in your back may be a sign of disc bulge, with the pain from your spine travelling down a nerve to another part of your body.

3. Does the joint or limb pain keep returning and your health professional can’t find an obvious cause?

If there is no obvious cause for pain on one part of your body, it could be due to pain referring from your spine.

Chiropractors are trained to identify and treat the cause of pain that refers from the spine. Early diagnosis and treatment is important to avoid more complicated health problems.

To learn more, or if you need help with identifying and treating the cause of suspected referral pain contact Lane Chiropractic Pottsville on 6676 2270.

Why do my knees hurt?

We love our knees when they work.  But just as much as knees help us run, dance, jump and play, they can also cause a lot of pain and immobility at any age.

There are three main reasons for knee pain.

  1. Injury

Knees are always getting bumped and bruised, especially when they belong to children. Aside from bruises, there are many common types of knee injury:

  • fractures. This is a key cause of knee injury and can occur in any of the knee bones or the kneecap (patella). Knee fractures are most often caused by falls or accidents, such as motor vehicle accidents. Complications of weak bones caused by osteoporosis can also result in a knee fracture
  • anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury. This is a popular injury for football and basketball players. You’ll definitely know if you’ve done your ACL because the pain is excruciating. The ACL is one of four ligaments that connect your shin bone to your thigh bone. Over-stretching of this ligament, often due to a sudden change in direction while walking, running or playing sport, can cause this injury. A popping sound may be heard when the ligament is over-stretched or torn, and the knee will swell in the following hours
  • torn meniscus. The meniscus is rubbery cartilage that acts as a cushion between the shin bone and thigh bone. It can be torn when you suddenly twist your knee while it is bearing weight, such as when quickly standing up from a squat
  • patellar tendinitis. Tendinitis can occur in both children and adults, and is often caused by rigorous exercise that results in inflammation of the patellar tendon. This tendon connects the shin bone and knee cap, and is most often impacted by exercises such as running, skiing, jumping and cycling
  • iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS) often occurs in runners, hikers and weightlifters. Constant flexing and extending of the knee impacts the iliotibial tendon, which becomes inflamed and causes pain along the side of the knee.
  • Arthritis

There are many types of arthritis that cause knee pain.  Some of the most common types include:

  • osteoarthritis, which occurs when the cartilage of the knee deteriorates with age
  • rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune illness that can impact any joint in the body, including knees
  • pseudogout occurs when joint fluid develops calcium containing crystals and can commonly occur in knees.
  • gout, that involves uric acid crystal build up in the joint, most often occurs in toes but can also occur in knees
  • septic arthritis occurs when the knee joint becomes infected, causing swelling, pain and redness. It can accompany a fever. This type of arthritis requires immediate medical attention due to the infection.
  • Mechanical issues

Sometimes we can have genetic or mechanical issues that cause knee pain.  Some of the more common mechanical issues include:

  • poor alignment caused by hip, feet or ankle issues. If you have biomechanical problems with your hips, feet or ankles, this can cause the knee to move at an unnatural angle, which puts pressure on the knee joint
  • popliteal cyst. Otherwise known as a baker’s cyst, it is a fluid-filled bulge that can occur at the back of the knee. This is a mechanical issue that can result from arthritis and often heals on its own once the cyst pops
  • osteochondritis dissecans. This is a joint disorder that affects adolescents and children, and involves cracks that occur in cartilage resulting in pain and swelling. It is thought to occur as a result of trauma caused by injury or repetitive stress on the joint
  • patellofemoral pain syndrome. This occurs when the knee cap doesn’t track properly in its groove and causes pain. A dislocated knee cap also causes knee pain
  • bursitis. Each of our knees has 11 bursae, which are small sacs of fluid that reduce friction so tendons and ligaments can glide smoothly over knee joints. Inflammation of any of these sacs is called bursitis, which causes pain and limits mobility.

Other mechanical issues can be caused when a piece of bone or cartilage breaks off and floats in the knee joint space, causing irritation.

How to protect your knees

It’s never too late to take actions that help your knees.  Here are just some of the things you can do to ease pressure on these important joints.

  1. Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight causes stress on your knees, while being too underweight can cause weaknesses and make you more susceptible to injury.
    1. Maintain muscle strength and flexibility. Having good muscle strength and flexibility allows you to achieve a full range of motion and reduce the risk of knee injury.
    1. Be careful during sport. Some sports such as football, soccer, skiing, running, weightlifting and contact sports can put you at higher risk of knee injury. Make sure to have the right equipment, such as good quality sporting shoes, stretch before exercising, and try to avoid sudden sharp movements of your knees as much as possible.

When knee pain is not your knee

In many cases, knee pain actually has nothing to do with the knee but is caused by back pain. This is due to referral pain, where a bulging disc in the spine may present as knee pain because the nerves that branch off the lower spine send pain down the nerve to the knee.

To learn more or for relief from knee pain contact Lane Chiropractic Pottsville on 6676 2270.

Beware bad posture can cause heartburn, incontinence and other health issues

Bad posture can cause neck, joint and back pain but it also causes a number of other health issues such as heartburn, incontinence and constipation, according to Harvard Medical School.

Modern work and life involve spending many hours sitting at desks, looking down at smartphones or lounging on the couch. Harvard Medical School has found that poor posture causes many health concerns such as poor balance, headaches and breathing difficulties, as well as:

1. Incontinence. Poor posture promotes stress incontinence, when you leak a little urine if you laugh or cough. Slouching increases abdominal pressure, which puts pressure on the bladder. The position also decreases the ability of the pelvic floor muscles to hold against that pressure.

2. Constipation. Poor posture on a toilet, hunched over with your knees lower than your hips, can promote constipation. This position makes it harder for the abdominal muscles to help move faeces out of the body.

3. Heartburn and slowed digestion. Slouched posture after a meal can trigger heartburn caused by acid reflux (when stomach acid squirts back up into the oesophagus).

To avoid health issues caused by poor posture, it’s important to develop a habit of ensuring good posture by maintaining a neutral upright spine position with shoulders back and down at all times. 

It’s a good idea to do core strengthening exercises such as yoga and Pilates to support your posture. 

If you think your spine may be out of alignment and impacting your posture, contact your chiropractor for an assessment.

For more information about how to maintain good posture contact Lane Chiropractic Pottsville on 6676 2270.

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Five ways to ease muscle pain

It’s not uncommon to get muscle pain up to 48 hours after exercise. Even if you haven’t been to the gym or completed a triathlon, you can get muscle pain from working in the garden, or doing strenuous household chores.

The good news is that normal muscle soreness is a sign that your body is getting stronger. Muscle pain is often associated with something called delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), which occurs when your workout has created tiny tears in muscle fibres.  The pain occurs as the fibres repair and become even stronger. A burning sensation in the muscles is due to a build-up of lactic acid that often occurs immediately after intense exercise, but this tends to resolve itself fairly quickly.

Muscle soreness often goes away by itself within a few days. However, while the muscles are healing, it can be uncomfortable and restrict movement. Try these quick tips to ease your muscle pain.

  1. Rest

As your body recovers, it needs time to heal.  If you can, take some time out and rest the muscles to give them a chance to heal faster. 

2. Do gentle exercise

Even when resting muscles, it’s still important to keep joints and muscles moving for overall better mobility. Try doing some gentle exercise such as a walk, gentle stretch, or a swim.  Swimming in particular is great for easing those sore and stiff muscles.

3. Get a massage

Massages are a great way to ease muscle tension by improving blood flow and mobility. We have fantastic massage therapists right here in Pottsville.

If you can’t afford a massage, try a foam roll.  Place the foam roller on the floor underneath the sore area and roll your body over it. You can buy foam rollers from exercise equipment stores, and check out online videos about how to use them.

4. Have a salt bath

Epsom salts are great for alleviating muscle pain and inflammation.  Try some Epsom salts in a warm bath with a bit of lavender oil to aid relaxation.

If you don’t like the thought of a bath, you can carefully apply a heat pack to relieve muscle soreness. But be careful to apply the heat pack for no longer than 10 minutes at a time.  There is a risk with heat packs of burning yourself if too hot, or with causing inflammation to muscles and joints, which could make the problem worse.

If the heat isn’t working, try a cold pack to reduce inflammation and nerve activity. Also only leave this on for 10 minutes at a time, and never put ice packs directly onto the skin.

5. Eat antioxidants

While it may seem easy to take an anti-inflammatory such as Panadol, there is emerging evidence that antioxidants may be more effective in relieving muscle soreness. For example, watermelon has an amino acid called L-citrulline, which can reduce muscle soreness.  Other foods to try include cherries, ginger and pineapple. Antioxidant supplements such as fish oil and curcumin (found in turmeric) may also help. Using topical arnica on the skin can also relieve muscle soreness.[1]

The best way to prevent muscle soreness is to stretch before exercise, and to work your way up to vigorous activity rather than jumping straight into it.  Also, ensure to keep well hydrated throughout exercise so that the muscles have more fluid during intense activities. It’s a good idea to have regular chiropractic, massage or acupuncture treatments to help keep your joints and muscles in peak condition.

However, if you experience ongoing muscle pain even without exercise, or pain that continues for more than a few days, see your health professional.

Chiropractors can help alleviate muscle pain that is associated with joint dysfunction and restrictions in the body. This allows muscles to move much more freely, and helps to reduce the risk of future injury.

For more information contact Bruce at Lane Chiropractic Pottsville on 6676 2270.


Ten tips to get a good night’s sleep

Sleep is just as important as a nutritious diet and exercise to maintain good health. A lack of sleep can lead to health issues such as a weakened immune system, mood problems like anxiety and depression, memory problems, high blood pressure, weight gain, and an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease.

However, getting a good night’s sleep is easier said than done in today’s busy world. In addition to work and home pressures, we are often bombarded with information from smart devices that can make it very hard for us to wind down at the end of the day. To help solve your sleeplessness issues, here are ten quick tips you can try for a good night’s sleep.

1. Get some sunlight

Your body naturally acts in accordance with its circadian rhythm, which is your natural internal alarm clock that lets your body know when to wake and sleep. Many of us spend too much time inside during the day, which impacts this rhythm. Try to get some natural sunlight each day, with sun protection, to help your natural body clock and improve your sleep.  If you can get yourself up early enough, try to watch the sunrise each day. Not only is it magical, but the sun’s first light helps to put you in a great mood and gives you energy for the day ahead. Getting up early to see the sunlight will also help you set up a pattern of going to bed a little earlier at night.

Blue lighting, which comes from our televisions, computers and smart devices, affects our circadian rhythm and keeps our bodies awake.  It also reduces hormones such as melatonin, which help us relax and get to sleep.

2. Reduce blue light exposure

Many new devices now have blue light filters that you can turn on when working on, or watching the screen. If your device doesn’t have an in-built blue light filter you can either wear glasses that block blue light, download apps that block blue light on your computer and smart devices, or avoid television, computers and smart devices such as mobile phones for two hours before bedtime.

3, Reduce your caffeine intake and avoid caffeine after 3pm

Caffeine can stay in our bodies and stimulate the nervous system for up to eight hours, making it difficult to sleep when caffeine is consumed late in the day.

Try to limit the amount of caffeine you have throughout the day, replacing it with water to hydrate your system, and avoid drinking caffeine after 3pm.

4. Try to maintain a sleep routine, and avoid lengthy daytime naps

Set yourself a sleep routine that includes consistent sleeping and waking hours each day, and a bedtime routine that helps prepare your body for sleep.

When you get into a regular sleeping and waking routine, it helps your body’s circadian rhythm and supports the production of the right levels of hormones, such as melatonin, that help you sleep.

As part of this routine try to avoid daytime naps wherever possible.  While short power naps can be beneficial, longer or irregular napping in the day can impact your circadian rhythm, which puts your body’s natural sleep clock out of time.

5. Avoid alcohol

Contrary to popular belief, alcohol doesn’t help you sleep and, in fact causes problems such as sleep apnea, snoring and disrupted sleep patterns. It also dehydrates the body, which impacts the ability to have a sound night’s sleep.

Replace alcohol with water – but not too much and not too late at night so you aren’t getting up to go to the toilet in the middle of the night.

6. Create a bedroom for sleep

Our sleep environment goes a long way to ensuring our comfort levels and a sound night’s sleep.  If your room is draughty or impacted by noise or light from outside, you won’t get a good night’s sleep.

Consider the temperature, smell, noise, light and furniture in your bedroom, including even the colours you use in your bedroom, and what will make the environment the most comfortable for you to get a good sleep.

Also invest in a comfortable and supportive bed, mattress and pillow that will help reduce your risk of joint and back pain.  Aim to achieve the most relaxing, quiet, clean and safe space you can get to optimise your sleep.

7. Avoid a big meal before bed

While your stomach may be rumbling and that midnight snack is tempting, aim to keep it light otherwise your body will be working hard to digest food, and this will make it difficult to get a deep sleep.

Conversely, avoid going to bed hungry otherwise your stomach may be getting you up during the night for a feed. Try to maintain a comfortable feeling in your stomach before going to bed. Sometimes a banana and glass of milk can do the trick.

8. Clear your mind

Stress is a big factor that impacts our ability to sleep. There’s not a lot you can do late at night to solve all the stressors in your life, so there is no point stressing about them when you need to sleep.  In fact, you’ll deal with stress and make better decisions after you get a good night’s sleep.

Try listening to calming music, or try meditation, a warm bath, reading a book, deep breathing or positive visualisation to help calm your mind before bed.  Your bedtime routine could incorporate some of these practices so that, over time, your body knows that any of these practices indicates it’s time to go to sleep.

9. Exercise regularly but not before bed

Exercise is a great way of burning up excess energy, reducing stress, and helping your body relax for a better night’s sleep. Exercise also releases those “feel good” hormones, endorphins, that help to reduce stress, depression and anxiety, which can impact sleep.

However, keep the exercise to daylight hours and avoid exercising before bed to reduce the risk of stimulating the nervous system and increasing hormones such as adrenaline that will keep you alert and awake.

10. Assume the sleep position

When sleeping, try to avoid sleeping on your stomach because it can cause neck problems, which then leads to pain and discomfort that in turn impacts sleep. 

Try to get in the habit of going to sleep on your side or on your back because this will reduce your risk of pain and discomfort, and will also provide a greater ability to breathe easier, and therefore sleep better.

If you still suffer from lack of sleep despite trying all of these methods, you may need to contact your health practitioner to confirm that you don’t have an underlying medical condition that is impacting your sleep. For example, sleep apnea causes sufferers to stop breathing during sleep, which severely impacts the quality of their sleep.

For more information about some natural approaches to helping you get to sleep contact Lane Chiropractic Pottsville on 6676 2270.

How to tell if you have carpal tunnel syndrome

If you have tingling or numbness in your fingers, nerve pain in your wrist or hand, weakness in your hand, or swollen fingers you may have carpal tunnel syndrome.

What is carpal tunnel syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve, which runs from your spinal cord down the arm through the carpal tunnel, is compressed. The carpel tunnel is a narrow passageway in the wrist that has just enough room for tendons and nerves to pass through it. If any of your tendons become swollen, the median nerve can be compressed in the small passageway. This causes a significant problem because the median nerve controls movement for some hand muscles, and the sense of touch for the thumb and some fingers.

You may have carpal tunnel syndrome if:

  • you experience tingling or numbness, such as pins and needles, in your fingers or the palm of your hand
  • nerve pain in your wrist or hand that can spread up your arm or down to your fingers
  • weakness in the muscles in your hands, making it hard to grip things
  • swollen fingers.

Carpal tunnel syndrome may be caused by factors such as a wrist or arm sprain or fracture, repetitive use of the wrist and hand, rheumatoid arthritis, fluid retention, a cyst or tumour in the carpal tunnel, diabetes, thyroid issues, and kidney disease.

How to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome

There are a number of ways to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome such as:

  • ensure your wrists are correctly positioned in a neutral, almost straight position when using a keyboard or mouse. Avoid flexing the wrists in either direction
  • if your job involves heavy use of power tools, take regular wrist breaks and gently rotate your wrists to keep them mobile
  • avoid repetitive movements as much as possible. If your job requires repetitive wrist movements, such as for typing or maintenance work, take regular wrist breaks
  • physical therapy exercises and yoga that strengthen wrist mobility
  • medical treatment for underlying conditions such as thyroid problems, diabetes or arthritis.

Chiropractic treatments can be very effective at relieving carpal tunnel syndrome through light techniques and mobilisation to restore joint function in the wrist, and may help sufferers avoid surgery. For more information contact Lane Chiropractic Pottsville on 6676 2270.

Three ways to ease a tension headache without medication

With so much going on in the world right now, it’s not surprising that many people are coming to chiropractors with tension headaches.

A tension headache is a mild to moderate dull, aching pain in the head. It often feels like a tight band or pressure across your forehead, or on the sides or back of your head.  You may also experience scalp tenderness and a dull ache in your neck or shoulder muscles.

Tension headaches can be caused by various factors such as stress, dehydration, lack of sleep, and dietary imbalance. There are three key ways to ease a tension headache without medication.

  1. Try a cold compress

Pain is often caused by inflammation in tissues. A cold compress can help alleviate this pain. Try relaxing with a cold compress for 10 minutes on, and then 10 minutes off. If the cold compress doesn’t provide relief you can try a heat pack but ensure to drink plenty of water so that the heat pack doesn’t cause dehydration and make the headache worse.

  • Relaxation techniques

Try relaxing in a dimly lit room by lying down and focusing on deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation. Make sure to drink water before the relaxation session in case the headache is the result of dehydration.

  • Allied health care

Allied health care such as chiropractic, massage and acupuncture can provide relief for tension headaches through gentle techniques that work with the needs of your body.

There are a number of things you can do to prevent tension headaches such as:

  • drink plenty of water each day to avoid dehydration
  • try to use relaxation techniques, even if it’s just deep breathing, as part of your daily routine to reduce muscle tightness
  • ensure to maintain a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables
  • don’t smoke and limit your intake of alcohol, caffeine and sugar
  • try to get eight hours of sleep each night
  • exercise at least three times each week, even if it’s just a 20 minute walk.

For more information about how to reduce your risk and frequency of tension headaches contact Lane Chiropractic Pottsville on 6676 2270.

Three reasons to get a health check before starting a new exercise or sport

With spring already upon us, and summer just around the corner, it’s time to get our bodies beach ready, right?

But before starting a new exercise program, or re-starting exercise after the winter hiatus and COVID couch quarantine, there are three key reasons why it may be a good idea to consult your health care professional first.

1. Avoid injury

If you haven’t done exercise for a while, or are starting a new exercise program, you may increase your risk of muscular, joint or back injury. It’s advisable to get an assessment to determine any existing joint or muscular stiffness or weakness, so that your health care practitioner can advise you about steps to take so that you can avoid strain or injury when you exercise.

2. Identify the right exercise program that will deliver the best results for you

Sometimes we’d like to try a new sport or exercise, but it may not be the best fit for our body, particularly if you are susceptible to any musculoskeletal weakness. Your health care practitioner can look at your musculoskeletal system and your biomechanics to determine if the exercise or sport that you’d like to do puts you at greater risk of injury.  Then, they can either identify an alternative exercise program that may be better suited to your body type, or provide advice about measures that you can take to help reduce your risk of injury.

3. Check your heart health

With many of us confined during COVID quarantine measures, we have probably spent more time on the couch this winter than in previous years. Suddenly starting strenuous exercise could put strain on the heart and may result in cardiovascular issues. It’s a good idea to check your heart health, even with a quick visit to your GP, so that you maintain a healthy heart during exercise.

It’s much better to be safe than sorry when it comes to starting a new exercise program, so that you can avoid injury or too much strain on the body and be able to continue your exercise without the interruption of injury.

Lane Chiropractic in Pottsville is offering free 15 minute spinal and biomechanical health assessments during September. Get your free assessment before starting your new spring/summer exercise program to give your body the best chance of avoiding injury. To book your no obligation, free back and joint health check call 6676 2270.

Is your home office doing you harm?

Every week I see people with back and neck pain purely because they don’t have the right home office set up and are sitting still in one position for way too long.

When we are at a workplace, rather than home, we often tend to move around more to talk to colleagues, grab a cup of coffee, buy lunch, go to the printer etc. This activity tends to cease when working from home, and we can often forget to take those computer breaks that are critical to helping our minds and bodies reset.

To save you back, neck and joint pain – and reduce visits to your chiropractor, check out these simple tips on the attached Sunrise video for your home office set up.

For more information and advice contact Lane Chiropractic Pottsville on 6676 2270

Why do our joints crack?

Do you ever wonder why your joints crack? There are a few simple reasons.

Our bodies tend to creak and groan at the best of times, especially as we age.  This is often due to a condition called crepitus, which describes any grinding, creaking, grating, cracking, popping or crunching that occurs when your joints move.  Sometimes the sounds your body makes can be loud enough for other people to hear.

Often, crepitus is painless and doesn’t mean anything is seriously wrong.  However, if it occurs with symptoms such as pain or trauma, there may be a more serious underlying medical condition so it’s wise to consult with your health practitioner.

Here are some of the common reasons why your body may get a little noisy especially around the neck, back and joints:

Articular pressure changes

Facet joints are where the back of adjacent vertebrae join together. Inside each facet joint is synovial fluid, which lubricates the joints.  Tiny gas bubbles can form and eventually collapse within synovial joints. As they are released, they can create a cracking, crunching or popping sound, which is harmless.

Ligament or tendon moving around bone

Ligaments and tendons both attach to bones. A ligament or tendon may make a snapping sound as it moves around a bone and/or over each other. This occurs because our muscles and tissues are too tight, or when they become less elastic as we age.

Bone-on-bone grinding

Facet joints degenerate due to osteoarthritis or disc generation, which results in less cushioning between the vertebrae. This can cause adjacent vertebral bones to rub against each other, causing a grinding noise or sensation.

Chiropractors can relieve the symptoms of crepitus. If you need any help alleviating creaks, cracks, pops and groans in your body contact Lane Chiropractic Pottsville on 6676 2270.

Article information courtesy of Veritas Health