Conditions We Treat - Neck & Back

Thoracic Outlet/Inlet Syndrome:

What is Thoracic Outlet/Inlet Syndrome?

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome is a condition when blood vessels or nerves leaving the thorax get compressed. The subclavian artery, the subclavian vein, and the lower brachial plexus roots are all affected. They are compressed between the front and middle scalene neck muscles, between the first rib and collarbone, and under the shoulder blade’s coracoid process. This compression causes disturbances in normal nerve functioning and circulation. Vascular Thoracic Outlet Syndrome affects two percent of the population, and Neurological Thoracic Outlet Syndrome affects 98 percent of the population. Thoracic Inlet Syndrome is another type of thoracic syndrome as it clogs the passage of the nerves, veins, and arteries from the root of the neck to the armpit.

How can Thoracic Outlet/Inlet Syndrome be treated?

  • Treatments include: 
    • Acupuncture
    • ART and IASTM
    • Chiropractic and massage therapy 
    • Neck muscle stretching and strengthening 
    • Postural muscle strengthening 
    • Dry needling
    • Interferential current
    • Laser therapy
    • Manual therapy 
    • TENS

Sciatica

What is sciatica?

Sciatica is pain and discomfort along the sciatic nerve from irritation or compression. The sciatic nerve travels from your lower back through the buttocks and hips and down the back of each leg. The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in your body and runs from the back of the pelvis down to the feet. The most common cause of sciatica is from a slipped disc. However, other spinal conditions may also play a major role in causing sciatica. Examples of these spinal conditions include: spinal injury, spinal tumour, or a spinal infection.

What are the symptoms of sciatica?

The symptoms of sciatica are commonly exclusive to the legs and buttocks. These symptoms of usually:

 

  • Numbness
  • Pain
  • Weakness of the calf muscles
  • Tingling

 

How is sciatica treated?

Common treatments of sciatica include: 

 

  • Dry needling
  • Acupuncture
  • Nerve mobilisation
  • Interferential current and TENS to reduce pain
  • Laser therapy
  • Manual therapy
  • Rehabilitation exercises
  • Chiropractic and massage therapy
  • Ultrasound

 

Sacroiliac Joint Pain

What is Sacroiliac joint pain?

Sacroiliac Joints (SIJ) pain and dysfunction affects the lower spine and the pelvis. To form the SI joints, the right tailbone connects with the left sides of the pelvic bones. The SI joints need to form a rigid connection to provide support while also providing enough flexibility to allow for movement. Abnormal or excessive movement of the joints leads to Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction causing pain in the lower back, buttock, hip, and sciatic pain. The two primary types of SI joint pain are hypermobility or instability and hypomobility or stiffness.

 

The treatment goal is to restore full function of the joints while decreasing or eliminating any pain. Our practitioners utilise several different types of techniques and therapies to treat the condition and also recommend exercises for patients to perform at home.

How can Sacroiliac joint pain be treated?

Common Treatment Options include:

  • Rehabilitation exercises
  • Massage therapy
  • Hydrotherapy
  • TENS
  • Manual therapy
  • Chiropractic and massage therapy
  • Acupuncture
  • Bracing & support

Spinal Stenosis

What is spinal stenosis?

Spinal stenosis is when the foramen and spinal canal are narrowed. This can put pressure and compress the nerves that run through the spine. Spinal stenosis is due to the slow, degenerative ageing process of the spine and occasionally due to an injury, causing it to congeal and calcify.

What causes Spinal Stenosis?

Overgrowth of Bone

  • Bone spurs may be formed in the spinal canal due to wear-and-tear damage from osteoarthritis on spinal bones. Paget’s disease can also lead to bone overgrowth in the spine. 

 

Herniated Discs

  • Cracks in the exterior of discs can lead to the inner substance escaping and pressing on the spinal cord or nerves.

 

Thickened Ligaments

  • Over time, ligaments that hold spinal bones together can stiffen and thicken and expand into the spinal canal. 

 

Tumours

  • Tumours can form in the spinal cord but are uncommon and identifiable on MRI’s or CT of the spine.

 

Spinal Injuries

  • Displaced bone from spinal fractures may damage tissue in the spinal canal. Spinal cords and/or nerves can also be compressed due to swelling of nearby tissue from injuries or back surgery.

 

How can Spinal Stenosis be treated?

 

Treatments include:

  • Rehabilitation exercises 
  • ART and IASTM 
  • Dry needling 
  • Manual therapy 
  • Chiropractic and massage therapy 
  • Acupuncture 
  • Laser therapy 
  • Interferential current & TENS for pain reduction 
  • Ultrasound 

Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD)

What is DDD?

Degenerative disc disease (DDD) is a condition where damaged spinal discs cause pain and difficulty with spinal movements. Spinal discs act like cushioning and shock absorbers between the bones of the spine and allow the back to be flexible. Due to the low blood supply discs receive, injuries will not repair themselves and further degeneration will set in over 20 to 30 years.

What does DDD feel like?

Symptoms include pain in the neck and/or back when walking, and may extend to arms and legs. Numbness and tingling in the extremities and buttocks may also be experienced. Pain and other symptoms may come and go as well as vary in severity.

 

Causes include:

  • Loss of fluid in the discs
    • Spinal discs dry with age and their ability to absorb shocks lessen
  • Small tears of the disc’s outer layer
    • Daily activities and sports wear down the discs
  • Injuries which cause soreness, swelling, and instability

How can DDD be treated?

Common treatment options include:

  • Interferential current (IFC) for pain
  • TENS
  • Chiropractic and massage therapy
  • Laser therapy
  • Rehabilitation exercises
  • Acupuncture
  • Ultrasound
  • Manual therapy
  • Surgical intervention
  • Dry needling

Herniated Disc

What is a herniated disc?

A herniated disc is when the nucleus pulposus, or the shock absorber, of a spinal disc is pushed out of the exterior annulus fibrosis through a tear or rupture. It is sometimes referred to as a slipped disc or ruptured disc as well. 

How does a herniated disc feel?

Herniated discs occur in the lower back or neck. Depending where the disc is, leg or arm pain, weakness, or numbness may be experienced. Some people do not experience any symptoms with a herniated disc. Seek medical attention if neck or back pain travels down your arm or leg, or if numbness, tingling, or weakness is felt.

 

Some factors that can cause neck and back herniated discs include:

  • Injuries, such as whiplash
  • Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD) 
  • Genetics
  • Overuse syndrome
  • Poor posture
  • A physically demanding job

How is a herniated disc treated or managed?

Common treatment options include:

  • Interferential current
  • TENS
  • Chiropractic and massage therapy
  • Laser therapy
  • Rehabilitation exercises
  • Acupuncture
  • Ultrasound
  • Manual therapy
  • Dry needling

Low Back Pain

What is low back pain?

Lower back pain is one of the most common complaints discussed in a healthcare setting. Lower back pain is a condition that at least around 80 percent of the human population will develop at some point in their life. Back pain can arise from many different causes; however common factors include heavy lifting, acute injury, repetitive sprains, poor posture, and prolonged sitting that causes excessive strain on the spine and surrounding muscles. 

 

Other common causes of lower back pain include:

 

  • Muscle strain & ligament sprains are usually the cause of sudden and acute back pain
  • Arthritis which can be the cause of chronic back pain and can cause stenosis Bulging (slipped) or herniated disc
  • Sciatica
  • Postural and skeletal irregularities such as scoliosis
  • A broken vertebra in the spine usually due to Osteoporosis, falls and accidents
  • Inflammation of bones and other structures
  • Infection of the spine
  • In rare cases, serious medical condition such as kidney disease or cancer can be the cause of back pain

What are the symptoms of low back pain?

The symptoms of back pain can range from the aching of muscles to a burning or stabbing sensation. In severe cases the pain may spread down your leg and worsen with simple movements such as bending, lifting, standing and walking.

    Other symptoms of low back pain may include other forms of limited mobility, difficulty walking straight, and altered gait. 



How is low back pain treated?

Low back pain is commonly treated with a combination of therapies. These treatments may include a combination of: massage, manual therapy, and a progressive exercise programs intertwined with education. Acupuncture and dry needling may be involved to control the severity of pain.

 

Other treatments of back pain may include:

 

  • Laser therapy
  • Pilates & Yoga
  • Acupuncture
  • TENS
  • Rehabilitation exercises
  • ART & IASTM
  • Interferential Current
  • Dry needling
  • Chiropractic & massage therapy

Whiplash

What is whiplash?

Whiplash is a neck and upper back injury caused by strong and sudden back and forth movement of the neck, often from a car accident or fall. This impacts the soft tissues, leading to muscle strain and ligament sprains. Nerve damage may also occur, resulting in pain in arms and hands. 

 

What does whiplash feel like?

Whiplash can affect more than just neck muscles, including muscles in the head, jaw, shoulders, arms, and chest. 

Common symptoms may include:

  • Headache 
  • Jaw pain
  • Dizziness
  • Tingling 
  • Numbness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Neck pain and stiffness 
  • Muscle spasms
  • Pain in arms and shoulders  

How can whiplash be treated?

Treatments include:

  • Stretching
  • Mobility exercise 
  • Acupuncture 
  • Dry needling 
  • ART
  • Interferential current
  • Laser therapy 
  • Manual therapy 
  • Rehabilitation exercises 
  • TENS
  • Chiropractic & massage therapy 
  • Ultrasound 

Neck Pain

What is neck pain?

Neck pain ranges from dull muscle aches to sharp pains in the neck. Neck pain restrains the movement of the neck and can lead to other conditions such as headaches and migraines. The main cause of neck pain is from muscle stiffness, trigger points, and/or the locking of spinal joints. This imbalance causes spasms of muscles in the neck and shoulders, further contributing to pain and discomfort.

Neck pain can be either chronic or acute. Chronic neck pain is caused by muscle weakness and poor posture whereas acute neck pain is caused by injury, overuse, whiplash, nerve impingement, or inflammation.

 

Causes of neck pain include:

 

  • Muscle sprains, strains
  • Whiplash injuries due to a car accident, fall or head trauma
  • Overuse injuries such as repetitive neck movement 
  • Poor posture causing muscle spasm or active trigger points
  • Rigidness of thoracic spine
  • Facet joint inflammation
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Nerve impingement
  • Herniated or bulging discs
  • Fractures

What are the symptoms of neck pain?

Symptoms of neck pain include:

 

  • Pain that’s often worsened by holding your head in one place for a prolonged period
  • Muscle tightness & spasms
  • Decreased head mobility
  • Headaches/migraines

How is neck pain treated?

The most efficient way to treat neck pain is by finding the cause of the condition. For example, Myofascial neck pain; neck pain due to muscles and other soft tissue of the neck area, is resolved through a combination of chiropractic, physiotherapy, massage therapy and acupuncture to relieve pain. 

Treatment programs that are commonly utilised include strengthening and mobility exercises and patient education. Neck pain is usually resolved with a myriad of different treatments by chiropractors and physiotherapists with a combination of exercises, manual techniques, and education.

 

Common neck pain treatments include:

 

  • Manual therapy by a physiotherapist, chiropractor or osteopathic practitioner to improve neck and upper back joint mobility
  • Acupuncture or dry needling to treat pain and inflammation
  • Massage therapy to release muscle tension, improve blood circulation and mobility
  • Cold or heat
  • Laser Therapy, Ultrasound Therapy, Shock Wave Therapy in different stages to assist in tissue healing
  • Rehabilitation exercises focused on next stabilisation and postural muscle retraining 
  • TENS, and IFC modalities may be used to manage pain

Spondylolisthesis

What is spondylolisthesis?

    Spondylolisthesis is a condition where a vertebral bone slides forward over the bone below it. Spondylolisthesis commonly occurs from a small joint disturbance, altering the way the bones in the back line up. This condition can occur in individuals of all ages. Children and teenagers may suffer from spondylolisthesis who engage in activities that may stress the bones in the backs and adults may develop the condition from the natural wearing and tearing of the bones. 

    Spondylolisthesis commonly occurs in the lower back area. As a result spondylolisthesis can cause the pinching of nerve roots or spinal cords getting pinched, resulting in back pain.

What are the symptoms of spondylolisthesis?

Symptoms of spondylolisthesis may include:

 

  • Back, leg or buttock pain that intensifies while bending
  • Numbness/weakness in the legs
  • Loss of control over bladder or bowels 
  • Pain radiating from the lower back down the leg
  • Difficulty in walking

 

How is spondylolisthesis treated?

Treatments of spondylolisthesis may include:

 

  • ART and IASTM
  • Manual therapy
  • Rehabilitation exercises
  • Acupuncture & dry needling for pain
  • Ultrasound
  • Laser Therapy
  • Interferential Current
  • TENS
  • Chiropractic & Massage therapy

Piriformis Syndrome

What is piriformis syndrome?

Piriformis syndrome is caused when the piriformis muscle in the buttocks compresses the sciatic nerve. These compressions occur when the piriformis muscle spasms or clenches. The piriformis muscle can also compress the sciatic nerves due to activities such as climbing stairs, running, or for sitting in a prolonged period. 

What are the symptoms of piriformis syndrome?

Piriformis syndrome is difficult to identify because many of its symptoms are commonly shared with other back problems. However some specific identifiable symptoms may include: 

 

  • Pain, numbness or tingling in the buttocks (this is usually how the syndrome begins)
  • Pain further extending along the sciatic nerve (down the back of the thigh, calf, and foot)
  • Restricted range of motion of the hip joint

How is piriformis syndrome treated?

Common treatments of piriformis syndrome may include:

 

  • ART and IASTM
  • Manual therapy
  • Dry Needling
  • Rehabilitation exercises
  • Acupuncture
  • Ultrasound
  • Laser Therapy
  • Interferential Current
  • TENS
  • Chiropractic, ART & Massage therapy
  • Ice & heat

Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorders

What are temporomandibular joint disorders?

Temporomandibular joint disorders are pain caused by the inflammation or irritation of muscles or ligaments around jaw joints. TMJ occurs around age 20 to 40 and is more common in women. 

 

Causes include:

  • Dental procedures
  • Motor vehicle accidents (MVA)
  • Teeth grinding/clenching
  • Dislocation of the disc between the ball and socket joint
  • Arthritis in the temporomandibular joint
  • Stress
  • Acute trauma
  • An improper bite

What does a TMJ disorder feel like?

Symptoms include:

  • Jaw pain, headaches, toothaches, and earaches
  • Pain in the neck or shoulders
  • Difficulty opening mouth wide
  • Jaws that “lock” in the open or closed-mouth position
  • Clicking, popping, or grating sounds in the jaw joint when opening or closing your mouth
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Tinnitus, or ringing in your ears
  • Changes in teeth alignment
  • Swelling on the side of your face
  • Constant headache 
  • Dizziness associated with headache 

How can a TMJ disorder be treated?

Non surgical treatments include:

 

  • Hot or cold packs
  • Jaw, head, and neck exercises 
  • Breathing exercises, relaxation, meditation 
  • Posture correction 
  • Massage therapy 
  • Physiotherapy 
  • Stretching exercises 
  • Eating soft foods as they are easier on the jaw
  • Medications
  • Wearing a splint or a nightguard
  • TENS
  • Acupuncture
  • Ultrasound