Supraspinatus trigger points

The supraspinatus muscle is one of the muscles that makes up your rotator cuff. It attaches from the scapula to the humerus. It functions mainly to laterally rotate the arm as well as stabilize the shoulder joint. It also assists in abduction of the arm. This muscle can often harbour stubborn trigger points. These points refer pain into the shoulder, down the arm, into the elbow, and even into the forearm if irritated enough. These points can be effectively treated with trigger point massage therapy.

Trigger points.

Trigger points are knots of contracted muscle or connective tissue that form as a result of overload stress. Once formed these points will produce pain, refered pain, weakness, and stiffness. Trigger points can also mimic other conditions such as Carple tunnel syndrome and sciatica. Trigger points will on go away on their own, they must be manually released.

Condition Of The Month: TOS!

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Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS)

The term “thoracic outlet” describes an area at the base of your neck, just above your collarbone. Some important nerves and vessels pass through this outlet on their way into your arm. Compression of these tissues causes a condition called “thoracic outlet syndrome” which results in pain, numbness or tingling in your arm.

Several different factors can cause Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, commonly referred to as TOS. Sometimes TOS is caused from tightness in the muscles of your neck and chest, other times the space between your first rib and collarbone is too small. People who have an extra rib (cervical rib) and people who have recently suffered a neck injury may have a greater chance of having this problem.

The condition is aggravated by poor posture and by occupations that promote “slouching,” i.e., computer users, assembly line workers, supermarket checkers and students. Swimmers, volleyball players, tennis players, baseball pitchers and occupations requiring prolonged overhead activity. i.e., electricians and painters are also prime candidates for TOS.

Symptoms of TOS include arm pain, numbness, tingling and possible weakness. Neck, arm and hand pain may begin slowly and are often aggravated by elevation of the arms or excessive head movement. Loss of grip strength is possible.

Conservative treatment, like the kind we provide, has been shown to be effective at treating TOS. Through our careful exam we have identified your specific sites of compression and will use some of the following treatment to help:

You should avoid carrying heavy loads, especially on your shoulder i.e., carpet rolls. Briefcases, laptop cases or heavy shoulder bags should be lightened. Bra straps may need additional padding or consideration of replacement with a sports bra.

If you or someone you know suffers from any of these symptoms, call our office today. Our team has knowledge and tools to help you feel better quickly!

TMJ dysfunction

Temporomandibular joint dysfunction is a blanket term that refers to pain and dysfunction of the jaw muscles and the tempomandibular joints which connect the mandible to the skull. The most common symptoms are pain and restricted mandibular movement as well as grinding noises coming from the joint. This condition is more common in women then in men, and affects a large portion of patients suffering from fibromyalgia. Trigger points in the muscles of mastication are frequently involved in TMJ dysfunction. Trigger points in the pterygoid and masseter muscles for example will not only refer pain into the tempomandibular joints, but will also cause a dysfunctional movement pattern that can restrict range of motion. Trigger point therapy can be an effective modality to treat TMJ dysfunction.

Trigger points and fibromyalgia

Myofascial pain syndrome (trigger points) and fibromyalgia are often confused to be the same condition and while there is a lot of interrelatedness between the two they are not quite identical. The clinical definition of a trigger point is “a hyper irritable spot associated within a taut band of skeletal muscle that is painful on compression or muscle contraction, and usually responds with a referred pain pattern distant from the spot”. Trigger points form from an overload trauma to the muscle tissue. This is contrasted with fibromyalgia which is defined as “a medical condition characterized by chronic widespread pain and a heightened pain response to pressure. Other symptoms include tiredness to a degree that normal activities are affected, sleep problems and troubles with memory. Some people also report restless leg syndrome, bowel and bladder problems, numbness and tingling and sensitivity to noise, lights and temperature. It is also associated with depression, anxiety, and post traumatic stress disorder”. Fibromyalgia will also present with localized tender points which are often mistaken for trigger points. Where these two conditions become somewhat interrelated is via the nervous system. Fibromyalgia patients suffer from a super-sensitization of the nervous system causing hyperirritability and pain. Myofascial trigger points can be caused by,or be the cause of, super sensitization. An active trigger point will irritate the sensory nerves around it eventually leading to super-sensitization. Trigger points have also been showed to form of become active due to super-sensitization. Both of these conditions can perpetuate the other, leading to layers of pain and symptoms. This being the case, trigger point therapy can have a very positive effect on decreasing the severity of pain and symptoms in patients suffering from fibromyalgia.

Upper Crossed Syndrome/Desk Neck

Upper crossed syndrome

Your posture plays an important role in your overall health. Poor posture leads to chronic strain and discomfort. “Upper crossed syndrome” describes poor posture that results from excessive tightness in your shoulders and chest with weakness in your neck and mid-back. This combination forces your shoulders to roll inward and your head to project forward.

To help understand how upper crossed syndrome causes trouble, think of your spine as a telephone pole and your head as a bowling ball that sits on top. When the bowling ball is positioned directly over the top of the upright post, very little effort is required to keep it in place. If you tip the post forward and the ball begins to roll over the edge of the post, significantly more effort would be required from the muscles trying to hold it there. This effort results in chronic strain of the muscles of your neck and upper back.

The chronic strain is uncomfortable and may also lead to neck pain, upper back pain, headaches, TMJ pain, and ultimately- arthritis. This postural problem is exceptionally common in computer workstation users.

Correction of this problem is accomplished by stretching the tight muscles, strengthening weak muscles, and modifying your workstation. Treatment is aimed at reducing and eliminating symptoms through the use of Chiropractic adjustments, soft tissue release, acupuncture and trigger point therapy.

Our Condition of the Month: ITB Syndrome

Iliotibial Band Syndrome

Your iliotibial band is a fibrous band of tissue running from the crest of your hip, down to your knee. A muscle near the crest of your hip called the tensor fascia lata, attaches to this band to help control movements of your leg. Your iliotibial band passes over the point of your hip and over another bony bump on the outside of your knee called the lateral epicondyle. When the band is too tight, it can become painfully inflamed as it repeatedly rubs over the top of either of these bony projections. Irritation at the bony bump near the knee is called iliotibial band friction syndrome.

The condition usually presents as pain on the outside of your knee that becomes worse with repetitive knee flexion or extension. This condition is the leading cause of lateral knee pain in runners, especially slower “joggers.” The pain usually develops 10-15 minutes into the workout. You may sometimes feel or hear a click during movement. Symptoms generally ease at rest. Running on slick “wintry” surfaces may aggravate the condition. Excessively worn running shoes may be a culprit.

This problem is commonly caused by weakness in your gluteal muscles. When these muscles are weak, the muscle that attaches to your iliotibial band must contract harder to stabilize your hip. Having one leg longer than another is a known aggravating factor.

Runners should minimize downhill running and avoid running on a banked surface like the crown of a road or indoor track, as well as wet or icy surfaces. Runners should reverse directions on a circular track at least each mile. Bicyclists may need to adjust seat height and avoid “toe in” pedal positions. Avoid using stair climbers or performing squats and dead lifts. Sports cream and home ice massage may provide some relief of symptoms.

Condition Of The Month: Pregnancy-Related Low Back Pain

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Low back pain during pregnancy is quite common. In fact, between 50-75% of all pregnant women will experience low back pain. The pain is usually caused from rapid changes in weight, posture, gait and hormones.

The average woman gains between 20-40 pounds throughout pregnancy. This weight gain moves your center of gravity forward, causing your pelvis to tilt and your lower back to sway – placing excessive stress on the ligaments, discs, and joints of your spine.

Pregnancy-related low back pain typically starts between the fifth and seventh month of pregnancy, although a significant portion of women experience pain sooner. Symptoms often begin at the base of your spine and may radiate into your buttock or thigh. Discomfort is often aggravated by prolonged standing, sitting, coughing, or sneezing. Your symptoms may increase throughout the day, and some patients report nighttime pain that disturbs their sleep. The extremes of activity seem to contribute to pregnancy-related low back pain – with increased risk for both “sedentary” and “physically demanding” lifestyles. Patients who have suffered with back pain prior to pregnancy are more than twice as likely to re-develop back pain during pregnancy.

Be sure to tell your doctor if your symptoms include fever, chills, bleeding, spotting, unusual discharge, cramping, sudden onset pelvis pain, light-headedness, shortness of breath, chest pain, headache, calf pain or swelling, decreased fetal movement, or symptoms that radiate beyond your knee.

Unfortunately, pregnancy related low back pain occurs at a time when your medical treatment options are limited. Not surprisingly, over 90% of prenatal health care providers would recommend drug-free treatment, including the type of alternative therapy provided in this office. Studies have shown that chiropractic manipulation provides significant relief of pregnancy- related low back pain. Almost 75% of women undergoing chiropractic care report significant pain reduction with improved ability to function.

Most patients will also benefit from continuing aerobic exercise throughout pregnancy. The US Department of Health and Human Services advises that healthy pregnant women may begin or continue moderate intensity aerobic exercise for at least 150 minutes per week. Women should not begin “vigorous” exercise during pregnancy, but those who were preconditioned to vigorous exercise may continue. Be sure to check with your doctor prior to initiating or increasing any exercise program while you are pregnant.

Be sure to take frequent breaks from prolonged sitting or standing. You may find benefit by using a small footstool to alternate feet while standing. Sleeping with a pillow between the knees in a side lying posture may help you to rest more comfortably. You should wear shoes with good arch supports. In some cases, your chiropractor may recommend a sacroiliac belt or pelvic support belt to help relieve your pregnancy-related low back pain.

Condition of the Month- Snapping Hip

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Snapping Hip

The muscle responsible for flexing your hip toward your trunk, is called the Psoas. This muscle begins on your lower spine and passes through your pelvis to attach onto the top of your femur (thigh bone). Along this course, the muscle travels across the front of your hip socket and over several bony prominences. If the muscle is too tight, its tendon may rub over these “bumps”. This occasionally produces an audible snapping sound, hence the moniker, “snapping hip”, aka “psoas tendinopathy”.

The tendon can be irritated by an acute injury, but more commonly from overuse- particularly repeatedly flexing your hip toward your trunk. The condition is also known as “dancer’s hip” or “jumper’s hip”, as movements associated with these activities are known culprits. Likewise, the condition is frequently seen in athletes who participate in rowing, track and field, hurdling, running (especially uphill), soccer, and gymnastics.

Your symptoms may include a “snapping” sound or sensation when you flex and extend your hip- although many cases are silent. Repeated rubbing causes inflammation and subsequent deep groin pain that can radiate to the front of your hip or thigh. Long-standing problems can trigger weakness or even limping.

The diagnosis of snapping hip is frequently overlooked. In fact, some studies show that identification is often delayed more than two years, while other potential causes are pursued. Fortunately, your problem has been recognized, and our office has several treatments to help you recover.

Psoas problems often start when one group of muscles is too tight, while another is too loose. Your home exercises will help to correct this problem. Depending upon the severity of your condition, you may need to avoid certain activities for a while. You should especially avoid repetitive hip flexion. Prolonged seated positions can encourage shortening of your hip flexors so be sure to take frequent breaks. Patients with fallen arches may benefit from arch supports.

If you or someone you know suffers from this condition, call our office today. Our doctors are experts at relieving many types of pain including hip injuries.