Archive for June 2020

Neck Pain

Device Overuse and Neck Pain

When people use their smartphone, tablet or laptop, they frequently adopt an awkward posture in which their head rests on their shoulders. This forward head pose, or “text neck,” puts additional pressure on the spine, arms, and upper back muscles which can contribute to musculoskeletal discomfort. Researchers are also studying how the use of electronic devices impacts posture, which may raise the risk of spine, shoulders and upper back pain.

In a report conducted in 2018 by University of Nevada, researchers from Las Vegas analysed survey results from 412 university students, employees, faculty and alumni about their use of mobile and tablets and related musculoskeletal symptoms. The study team found that 55 per cent of daily users reported at least mild neck and shoulder pain rates, which is greater than the general population. In fact, 10 per cent of the frequent users in the study reported serious device-related neck and/or shoulder pain. Just about half (46 per cent), however, said that they stopped using their device when they felt discomfort.

The researchers added that regular device users, particularly younger people with no dedicated workspace, often used their device in awkward positions, such as sitting on the floor with their legs folded, or laying on their stomach or side while looking down at their device. These postures can place undue stress on the spine, shoulders and upper back, leading to pain and musculoskeletal discomfort.

The study team also observed that women were more than twice as likely to experience device-related pain (70 per cent versus 30%). While this can be explained in part by women being more likely to sit on the floor with their legs crossed while using their device (77% vs. 23%), the researchers hypothesise that the anatomical differences between men and women may be a primary driver of the disparity.  Women also have slimmer arms and fewer body mass / strength. Their shorter arms and narrower shoulders, while typing on their device, may also result in more extreme postural stress.

Such results worry researchers as tablets are becoming more common for family, educational, and company use, which in the years to come could put a greater burden on the health care system. Experts recommend sitting in a chair with back support to reduce the risk of musculoskeletal pain associated with tablet use; placing the screen slightly below eye level; using an external keyboard; typing at 90 degrees with the elbows bent; taking mini breaks to stretch; and performing forward posture correction exercises.

If you continue to experience pain associated with device use, consult with us at your earliest convenience. Book online here

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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Repeated Movement and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Perhaps the most well-known of all the potential contributing factors to carpal tunnel syndrome is involved in jobs and activities that require rapid, repetitive hand movements that can put increased pressure on the median nerve as it passes through the wrist. Other contributing factors are, diabetes, thyroid dysfunction, inflammatory arthritis, pregnancy, birth control usage, and obesity.

What can someone do if they begin to experience tingling and numbness, or carpal tunnel syndrome-related pain and weakness without giving up their livelihood or hobby?

First, understand that the pressure on the carpal tunnel can increase substantially when the wrist is bent, especially when inflammation is present which can affect the median nerve. So, if a movement sometimes results in numbness, tingling, or unpleasant sensations in the hand and wrist, look for ways to maintain a more relaxed position in the wrist. This may also require the use of more ergonomic, wrist-friendly devices.

For the patient with carpal tunnel syndrome, an Osteopath may also advise wearing a splint overnight to keep the wrist from bending during sleep. It is also necessary to take regular breaks (for example, every 30 minutes), so that the injured wrist and hand can relax. Or if necessary, move to a separate task for a brief time before returning to the job that puts the greatest pressure on the hand.

Here are three excellent workout choices for increasing the strength of the finger, thumb, wrist and forearm, which will stretch the soft tissues in the wrist and improve resistance to the activity:

“Push-ups” for the thumb-finger: Place the pads of your fingers and thumbs together in front of you and keep your fingers straight, spread apart and point down. Push your hands together (try to touch your palms) and push them apart by bending and repeating the motion. This simultaneously stretches all five digits and all palm / forearm muscles.

Shake them out: … as if you shake your wet hands to get them dry. Continue that every hour for as long as one to two minutes.

Place your palm on a wall, elbow straight, fingers pointing down and pushing your palm as far as you can into the wall. Reach forward and with the other hand take the thumb out from the wall and stay for 20-30 seconds. Change hands and spread again. This can be repeated every hour, two to three times per hand.

Of course, consult your Osteopath so that he or she can take a look at your patient history and examine the entire course of the median nerve to identify any other factors that may contribute to the symptoms associated with your carpal tunnel.

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Link Between Back Pain and Bladder Problems

Link Between Back Pain and Bladder Problems

While undergoing Osteopathic care, it is not unusual for a patient to experience an enhancement on an issue that seems unrelated to their main problem. For example, a patient with a temporomandibular condition may report a reduction in their jaw symptoms following care in the neck or upper back muscles. Or treatment to strengthen the function of the hip can also support the ankle or knee. In this article, we will look at how therapy for low back pain may help a patient who also has bladder problems.

There are many potential causes of bladder problems, but one contributing factor is the weakness of lower pelvic muscles. It therefore makes sense that some patients may benefit from therapies addressing pelvic function disorders. A 2018 Cochrane systematic review concluded that lower pelvic muscle training is more successful than either placebo therapy or no care for certain individuals with bladder problems. This is the place where back pain comes into play.

It is estimated that more than 80 percent of us will be affected by back pain during our entire life. We also change our daily activities to escape pain, both consciously and unconsciously. These irregular movements may place additional stress on other parts of the body. In the case of the lower back, it is common to alter the function in the waist and pelvis.

A November 2019 research published in the Craniovertebral Junction & Spine Journal reached the conclusion that people with lumbar degenerative disc disease, spondylolisthesis, and failed back surgery symptoms are more likely to exhibit unnatural spino-pelvic alignment. Over time, these people may develop secondary conditions in the hip or pelvis, which may impair the function of soft tissues, including muscles, in the region. Or, in the same way, injury to the hips/pelvis may lead to abnormalities in the lower back, which may be the reason why the patient sought treatment in the first place.

Osteopaths are trained to examine the patient’s medical record and to perform a comprehensive examination of the patient as a whole in order to understand the factors contributing to the patient’s primary complaint. That is why it is important to note all symptoms, including those that seem insignificant or that may be embarrassing. If a patient with low back pain has a history of bladder problem and the examination identifies abnormal pelvic posture, therapy is likely to address improved function in both the pelvis and the lower back to deliver the best results.

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Using Traction to Treat Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Using Traction to Treat Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is the most common peripheral neuropathy affecting approximately 4-5 percent of the general population and approximately 10 percent of working adults. Osteopathic care for patients with CTS usually requires many of the same treatments as those used for conditions such as neck and back pain, such as joint compression, relaxation, precise exercises, and dietary guidelines to minimise inflammation. In some cases, patients with pain in the neck and back may benefit from traction. Could the people suffering from CTS also take advantage of the traction applied to the wrist?

A Canadian journal published in 2004, reported a series of cases involving four patients with confirmed CTS who underwent a mechanic traction treatment method involving between five and twelve 5-minute treatment sessions over a 3-month period. The results showed a recovery in the nerve conductive tests that lasted up to one year after the end of treatment.

In a study published in October 2017, 181 CTS patients were assigned either mechanical traction (two therapies per week for six weeks) or regular medical therapy. The basis used by the researchers for a successful outcome was whether or not the patients had chosen to undergo carpal tunnel release surgery within the following six months.

According to the researchers, 43 per cent of participants in the usual care group were exposed to carpal tunnel surgery in the allocated time frame compared to only 25 percent of patients in the mechanical traction group. The researchers concluded that mechanical traction appeared to be an effective conservative treatment option for CTS patients. Treatment guidelines recommend that patients exhaust all non-surgical treatment options before considering surgery, unless otherwise justified.

However, as with any musculoskeletal problem, it is important to identify all the factors contributing to the main complaint of the patient. In the case of a suspected CTS, median nerve compression in the wrist may or may not occur. Likewise, median nerve compression can occur anywhere else along the course of the nerve from the neck to the hand. It is also possible to see non-musculoskeletal causes of swelling in the carpal tunnel that need to be addressed in conjunction with other health care professionals in order for the patient to achieve an adequate outcome.

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Neck Pain

Neck Pain in Office Staff

Neck discomfort is the second most common reason patients seek Osteopath treatment, and it’s an issue with office staff in particular. One study estimated that neck pain affects 42-69% of those who work in office environments. Many such individuals will experience recurring episodes of neck pain, and can develop chronic, ongoing neck pain in at least one in six. While Osteopathy offers a safe and effective way of managing neck pain, there are many first steps that an office worker can take to reduce the risk of neck pain.

Taking a daily walk can be a successful technique for avoiding neck pain according to one study. In the report, which in the previous three months included 387 office employees without spinal symptoms, researchers asked participants to wear a pedometer and note any signs of spinal pain during the next year.

16 per cent of the 367 participants that completed the study reported the onset of neck pain. The results showed that for every 1,000 steps a participant averaged each day, their risk for neck pain fell by 14 percent. The researchers concluded that increasing daily walking steps protect those who work sedentary jobs from the onset of neck pain and managers should formulate and test strategies to encourage walking, to reduce the incidence of neck pain among employees.

What about other ways of doing exercise? A meta-analysis of data from two randomised control trials involving more than 500 participants showed moderate-quality evidence that taking part in a workplace exercise programme can reduce the risk of developing a new episode of neck pain by up to 68 percent. Participants completed stretching and mobility testing twice a day at work and twice a day at home during the first exercise. The second trial included a mix of strength, stability, aerobic, and body awareness activities that included three days a week, over a nine-month time span, health details, ergonomic training and stress reduction training.

While a condition such as neck pain cannot be completely avoided, the evidence suggests that regularly engaging in physical activity may substantially lower the risk. It is important to receive Osteopathic treatment as soon as possible for those who experience neck pain, which can lead to quicker symptom relief and minimise the risk of recurrence of neck pain and chronic neck pain.

We are open for business under strict new safety measurements, ensuring ever precaution is undertaken to protect your health. We are open in Glasgow and Ayr for booking here if you are suffering from neck pain or any other symptoms please don’t hesitate to contact us.


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