Posts Tagged ‘pain management’

I Can’t Move my Neck!

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

“When I woke up this morning, I couldn’t move my neck!  Every time I try to move it, I feel sharp pain on the left side of the neck shooting down into the shoulder blade.  It just came out of nowhere!”

Chances are, you are suffering from a common condition called torticollis, which literally means, “twisted neck” after the Latin terms of “torti” (twisted) and “collis” (neck).  The common name for this is “wry neck,” and it’s basically a painful muscle spasm, like a “Charlie-horse” but located in the neck muscles.  Usually, a person wakes up in the morning with this and the cause is often related to sleeping with the window being open or a fan or air conditioner blowing on you.  It can also relate to a “cold settling in the muscle” after a cold or flu virus.  Trauma such as falling or a car accident can also cause torticollis. However, most of the time, patients with torticollis are not sure what caused the abrupt onset of symptoms.

Usually, torticollis will gradually improve over a 2 week time frame. However, it only takes a few days to a week (at the most) if you receive chiropractic adjustments.  Most importantly, without treatments, the sharp pain can last a week and can severely limit your activity, often prohibiting work as well as your desired “fun” activities.  Hence, most people prefer having this treated as opposed to “waiting it out.” In some cases, it can last longer than a month and in rare cases even longer, so getting this treated is highly recommended.  Also, try to get in for a treatment immediately before the muscle spasm really sets up.  We find this to be the most effective approach.  Here are a list of symptoms and treatment suggestions for torticollis:

Acute Torticollis Symptoms

  • Muscle spasms
  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Neck and spine contortion (neck twisted to right or left side of body)

Pain Relief Treatments for Acute Torticollis

  • Chiropractic neck and spinal adjustment
  • Analgesics
  • Heat packs
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Rubs and ointments (Icy Hot, BioFreeze)
  • Massage with essential oils
  • Sleep / Relax
  • Supportive cervical collar


Yours In Health!

Nathan Cokeley D.C.

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Low Back Pain: Why Is It So Common?

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

This question has plagued all of us, including researchers for a long time!  Could it be because we’re all inherently lazy and don’t exercise enough? Or maybe it’s because we have a job that’s too demanding on our back?  To properly address this question, here are some interesting facts:

  1. The prevalence of low back pain (LBP) is common, as 70-85% of ALL PEOPLE have back pain that requires treatment of some sort at some time in life.
  2. On a yearly basis, the annual prevalence of back pain averages 30% and once you have back pain, the likelihood of recurrence is high.
  3. Back pain is the most common cause of activity limitation in people less than 45 years of age.
  4. Back pain is the 2nd most frequent reason for physician visits, the 5th ranking reason for hospital admissions, and is the 3rd most common cause for surgical procedures.
  5. About 2% of the US workforce receives compensation for back injuries annually.
  6. Similar statistics exist for other countries, including the UK and Sweden.


So, what are the common links as to why back pain is so common?  One reason has to do with the biomechanics of the biped – that is, the two legged animal. When compared to the 4-legged species, the vertically loaded spine carries more weight in the low back, shows disk and joint deterioration and/or arthritis much sooner, and we overload the back more frequently because, well, we can! We have 2 free arms to lift and carry items that often weigh way too much for our back to be able to safely handle. We also lift and carry using poor technique. Another reason is anatomical as the blood supply to our disks is poor at best.  That makes healing of disk tears or cracks very difficult. Risk factors for increased back injury include heavy manual lifting requirements, poor or low control of the work environment, and prior incidence of low back pain.

Other risk factors include psychosocial issues such as fear of injury, beliefs that pain means one should not work, beliefs that treatment or time will not help resolve a back episode, the inability to control the condition, high anxiety and/or depression levels, and more.  Because there are so many reasons back problems exist, since the early 1990’s, it has been strongly encouraged that we as health care providers utilize a “biopsychosocial model” of managing those suffering with low back pain, which requires not only treatment but proper patient education putting to rest unnecessary fears about back pain.

Yours In Health!

Nathan Cokeley

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Chiropractic Care for Chronic Pain and Headaches

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

I practice pain management on a daily basis. Most people see a chiropractor because they’re in pain. My patients consult me because they have a grabbing painful back that is keeping them up at night or neck and arm pain that won’t go away and is taking over their life. I might see a young woman with debilitating migraines; an athlete suffering from an injured shoulder; or a painter whose livelihood is threatened by the pain of a repetitive stress injury.

Like my medical colleagues, when I have a patient in pain, I try my best to alleviate it as quickly as possible, but there are differences.

As a conservative practitioner who does not treat organic disease, I appreciate the patient who has already been to medical specialists who have ruled out an organic cause-such as cancer or infection — for the patient’s pain. Rather, the pain disorder has been considered “functional”, a disturbance of function rather than disease. Most of my chiropractic practice is in what can be called “functional medicine”.

A spinal adjustment is one form of therapy used to treat restricted spinal mobility and function. The goal is to restore spinal movement and, as a result, improve function and decrease pain. Additional treatments as well, such as ultrasound, electrical muscle stimulation and exercises may be beneficial towards the overall treatment goal.

Yours In Health!

Nathan Cokeley

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