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Whiplash is an injury to the neck caused by a sudden head movement, usually extension.
Whiplash injuries are most often associated with motor vehicle accidents, especially those where the vehicle is hit from behind. Whiplash can also occur during sports and falls. The head is thrown in one direction and rapidly recoils in the other. This causes excessive stretching and possible tearing of the muscles and ligaments in the neck. Whiplash is essentially a sprain or strain of the cervical joints.
- pain (worse with movement)
- loss of range of motion
- tenderness in shoulders and upper back
- tingling or numbness in the arms
- jaw pain
- tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- sleep disturbance
Early intervention and chiropractic treatment is necessary for adequate healing and strengthening of the delicate neck structures. Chiropractic adjustments, mobilisations and exercises lead to a more rapid recovery than prolonged immobilisation or use of a cervical collar.
If you or anyone you know, is experiencing any of these symptoms due to a whiplash injury, call us on 02 9252 2825 to book a consultation.
What is Fascial Manipulation and how can it help you move, live and feel better?
I am a physiotherapist with over 25 years of experience. I treat the usual work related ergonomic injuries and the back and neck pains that often result from working in an office at a computer most of the day. I am able to provide ergonomic and postural advice and exercises. I can assess joint and muscles injuries both acute and chronic. My special interest is in running injuries, problems that persist or areas of multiple regions of pain or tightness etc. The injuries that don’t seem to want to go away but nothing specific has ever been diagnosed. I now use a whole body technique called Fascial Manipulation to help assess multi region issues and see if they are connected.
Fascial Manipulation is a holistic manual therapy technique devised and refined by Luigi Stecco an Italian physiotherapist over the past 40 years and being further refined and researched by his children who are both medical practitioners and researchers. It is a developing field and technique that is growing around the world but is very new to Australia.
But what is fascia? Fascia is the soft tissue that covers every cell, muscle, muscle group and organ etc in our bodies. (It is the white bit around meat!) Until recently it has been ignored by anatomists, even though it covers everything and most of our neural receptors are within it. There is the superficial fascia (the skin and neural receptors) and the deep fascia (more muscle related). The iliotibial band (ITB) and the plantar fascia in the foot, are the best known parts of the fascial system, because they are some of the densest fascial places within the body. Fascia is usually a lot thinner in other areas – but just as important!
Whereas muscles attach bone to bone, fascia through its spiraling interconnected, multi directional layers, connects our feet to our heads to our hearts, lungs and hands etc. Many muscles also attach into fascia as well as onto bone and so fascia has the ability to transfer forces throughout many areas of the body. It has the ability to cause muscle dysfunction and timing issues, for example have you had a muscle that you have tried to strengthen but nothing changed? It could be a fascial system block.
As well as affecting the tension of the fascia around muscles the fascial tension around organs can be altered, which can cause symptoms like constipation, bloating, recurrent throat or voice issues, reflux, cysitis, and palpitations to name only a few.
Fascial or soft tissue tension over time and years and/ after suffering a number of injuries and/or illnesses etc, can result in various areas of the fascia tightening up and exerting force at a point of compensation, often away from the site of breakdown or pain or dysfunction. The body has an amazing ability for compensation, so part of the Fascial Manipulation treatment, especially for internal dysfunctions where the organs are involved, aims to restore some ‘give’ and flexibility to the body’s fascial system by releasing areas where adhesions have formed and prevented normal movement. The body can operate very well even without perfect fascial flexibility but if it reaches a point where the compensations are no longer possible then injuries/pain/internal dysfunctions can begin to have an affect on our lives.
Fascial Manipulation technique has a number of points throughout each part of the body, very similar to acupuncture points. In the initial assessment, your present, as well as your past injuries, illnesses, surgery, trauma etc are taken into account and the whole body is assessed to locate the most efficient points to release for your condition.
If the right points have been found then 50% improvement or more should occur with the first treatment or with internal dysfunctions improvement over the following week should occur. Some purely musculo-skeletal conditions can be resolved in 1-3 sessions, whereas depending on the internal dysfunctions or complicated cases with multiple conditions/injuries etc may take longer. Generally the treatments are spaced out one week apart to give the body time to adjust to its new tensioning and after about 3 sessions at least one month is recommended between treatments, if required, to allow the cells of the fascia to regenerate.
The treatment can be quite tender and often remains sore for about 2-3 days after the treatment session. This is normal and part of the healing process, as the treatment involves causing friction to the points that are found to be densified. The friction heats up the ‘stuck’ densified hyaluronic acid layer until it becomes fluid once more and thus small areas of inflammation are created. The points may stay sore but usually the condition being treated is improved, immediately for musculo-skeletal issues and over one week for internal dysfunctions.
Fascial Manipulation works well on any sports injuries, back and neck injuries, overuse injuries, chronic injuries and for people who have developed multiple areas of pain or issues in their bodies.
Within 1-3 sessions you will know if it will work for you! Once treated, the areas that were previously ‘blocked’ are now able to move as they are supposed to making exercises more likely to work and help strengthen the targeted areas. With internal dysfunctions, by removing the fascial tension the organs are more free to move in the rhythm they need to work, (all organs have small amounts of movement.), thus minimising unusual symptoms. Fascial Manipulation cannot change pathologies but may be able to help pre-pathological states with the internal organs. The treatment points do not involve manipulating the internal organs, instead the points are located at sites where tension has been found to concentrate for example along the abdominal muscle sheath or feet.
Jaw pain is no laughing matter!
The jaw, also known as the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), is one of the most frequently used joints in the body. It is used for talking, eating, sucking and yawning. The TMJ muscles activate and oppose gravity to keep the mouth closed. When the mouth is slightly open, the TMJ is relaxed.
If you are experiencing pain in the TMJ, this is usually caused by an imbalance in joint movement because of poor bite, bruxism (clenching or grinding), or joint problems such as inflammation, trauma and degeneration.
The following may be indicative of TMJ dysfunction:
- Headaches in the temporal region
- Point tenderness in jaw muscles on the sides of the face
- Pain on full open or full close
- Lateral deviation of the jaw during movement
- Pain while eating
- Chewing food on one side instead of evenly across both sides
- Waking from sleep with jaw pain
- Breathing from the mouth instead of the nose
- Clicking during jaw movements
- Jaw locking
- Malocclusion, missing teeth or dental decay
- Clenching or grinding of teeth (bruxism)
- Bad habits such as chewing gum, biting nails, leaning on the chin and smoking
- Difficulty swallowing
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Stomach sleepers
- Poor cervical and thoracic alignment
Everyday tasks such as sleeping, brushing your teeth or eating tough foods can be become difficult and painful.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms above, physical therapy such as chiropractic adjustments, massage and acupuncture can decrease pain, restore function and limit degenerative changes.
I’m in pain, do I go to a Physio or a Chiro?
Throughout my years in practice, I quite frequently get asked this question. So I thought I would blog about it this week, and clear up a few misconceptions, at least from the chiropractic end. I would like to start by saying that contrary to popular belief, chiro’s and physio’s do like each other and get along very well! The truth is, each has a special part to play and neither can think of doing the work of the other.
I have patients that I have suggested see a physio in addition to the work that I do with them. Physio’s help with rehabilitation exercises post injuries, after I have worked on their spinal alignment. Physio’s do a great job in prescribing strengthening and reconditioning exercises, muscle release, stretching and joint mobilisation.
My area of expertise is in the human spine and improving the communication between the brain and the rest of the body. I do this by removing interference along the spine. People typically come in for low back pain, sciatica, headaches, neck and shoulder pain which can result from sitting too long at their desks. My job is to find misalignments of joints along the spine and remove them. This takes pressure off joints, reduces inflammation around nerves and allows muscles to relax and start working properly again. If a patient has a chronic (long standing) condition, they would really benefit from strengthening exercises.
In my practice, I focus on posture correction. I correct posture by releasing stuck tissue deep within the spine and then realigning joints along the spine. After that, strengthening exercises are recommended and seeing a physio is a great idea! I don’t claim to be able to properly guide a rehabilitation program and so referring to someone who does it very well is a must. Similarly, purely strengthening muscles around the spine isn’t the complete answer either, so looking at spinal alignment is necessary too.
So the answer is this. If you are in pain, or not, you need to find the therapy that best works for you. Both have great roles to play, and I would consider seeing both.
Chiropractic has also been used for years as preventative alternative medicine, and in my opinion, getting a spinal assessment early, before pain, is a great idea. You could learn a lot about your body and see how great your body was designed feel. It is not necessary to be in pain to see one of us. So care for your spine. It is the only one you have. Never stop looking for answers or the therapy that will give you the best results. There are many, great quality practitioners out there, be it physio’s or chiro’s. It is your job to find the right one, and what works best for you.
Dr Aline Dahdah
It is bad to crack your back?
“To “crack” or “not to crack?’ That is the question.
If you constantly feel like you need to crack, it’s time to get yourself checked out!
“I always make my back “crack”, “it feels good”. If this is you, and you know exactly how to twist to make that one spot “crack” and you get relief from doing it, then you need to know that something else is going on.
When we injure our bodies or sit for too long hunched over, our body twists, and continues to add twists with every injury. At the crucial point of twist or compensation it is easier for us to make it “crack”.
This feels good, because it signals the same numbing pain pathway to the brain, just like a chiropractic adjustment does. The difference? Whereas a chiropractic adjustment is targeted to correct a misalignment in a particular direction, a crack you get from twisting your back means two things: first, that you are moving an area of compensation, not the cause of your pain! And, secondly, you are making that area of compensation worse, as you twist trying to achieve that crack.
Remember that getting chiropractic care allows you to rediscover the freedom to think, feel and move the way your body was designed to! So the answer is, don’t “crack” it if you feel like it and instead get your chiropractor to do it for you, in a safe and correct way.
Chiropractic adjustments correct mis-alignments in your spine that your body cannot self correct. This takes off added pressure on the spine, and removes the “weak links” in your spine that make you more prone to injury. Once these mis-alignments are removed, information runs freely with out interference along your spinal cord, to and from your brain.
Our friendly, experienced chiropractors are always here to help you rediscover your freedom in your body, so give the clinic a call on 9252 2825 now.
Dr Aline Dahdah
For thousands of years acupuncture has been used as a way of treating pain. But how does it do it?
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) theory, the body can be divided into 14 standard meridian lines and 8 extra meridian lines. Pain is caused when one of these lines is blocked. For example, if you have a rotator cuff injury, the likely affected meridian will be the small intestine meridian. If you have pain in the legs, the gall bladder or stomach meridian may be affected. The location of the pain is a direct determinant of where the needles will be inserted.
Other factors determining where the needles will be inserted include:
- overall condition of the body;
- type of pain you are experiencing – aching, sharp, tension and moving pain;
- your overall energy level, plus tongue diagnosis and pulse diagnosis; and
- your emotional state.
When pain occurs, acupuncturists generally view it as either a blockage or lack of circulation through the meridian. The acupuncturist’s job is then to clear the blockage or increase the flow through the meridian line.
Now this doesn’t mean that the an acupuncturist will necessarily just put a needle in to the point of the pain. When another type of therapist does this, it is referred to as “dry needling” and is very different to acupuncture. Acupuncture has its own version of this, which is much more gentle and a lot less painful.
Side effects – the only known side effects of traditional acupuncture include:
- it does nothing;
- the problem can get worse before it gets better; and
- other signs and symptoms (that weren’t being treated) get better.
Quay Health 9252 2825
Level 6, 10 Bridge Street Sydney
How to sit at your desk
The buzz in Quay Health this week was around the arrival of our brand new ABCA seat wedges! The question was “how will this help my posture at my desk?” These wedges that look like flattened out triangles, are designed to be sat on, with the fatter part under your bottom and the thinner part trailing down your thighs. They are designed this way to help change the structure of your lower back into the natural curve. When this happens the upper part of your back then naturally sits in it’s correct curve and makes it difficult to slouch. By tilting the hips, your joints stack as they were designed to. The posture wedge allows you to sit in a correct posture without much effort on your part.
To ensure that you get the full benefits of the seat wedge, make your desk space posture friendly. Bring your keyboard, mouse and telephone closer so that your elbows are positioned close to the sides of your body. In this way, when you get lazy at your desk it will be harder for you to slouch forward than if your elbows were a lot further away from your body.
Always remember to keep your screen around eye level and avoid keeping things you reach for too far away! Nothing beats postural breaks, so drink plenty of water to ensure those frequent toilet breaks, which give you a chance to stretch your legs and your spine!
Happy correct sitting every one!
Dr Aline Dahdah, Chiropractor
To book an appointment to see Dr Aline call 9252 2825 or visit www.quayhealth.com.au