Whiplash is a neck injury due to forceful, rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck, like the cracking of a whip. This motion can damage the structures of the neck including muscles, ligaments and discs. Whiplash most often occurs during a rear-end auto accident, but the injury can also result from a sports accident or other traumas.
Adhesive capsulitis is the stiffening of the shoulder due to scar tissue, which results in painful movement and loss of motion. The actual cause of adhesive capsulitis is a matter for debate. Some believe it is caused by inflammation, such as when the lining of a joint becomes inflamed (synovitis), or by autoimmune reactions, where the body launches an “attack” against its own substances and tissues.
Often called a stiff or “frozen shoulder,” adhesive capsulitis occurs in about 2% to 5% of the American population. It affects women more than men and is typically diagnosed in people over the age of 45. Of the people who have had adhesive capsulitis in 1 shoulder, it is estimated that 20% to 30% will get it in the other shoulder as well. Physical therapists help people with adhesive capsulitis address pain and stiffness and restore shoulder movement in the safest and most effective way possible.
Arthritis is inflammation of one or more of your joints. The main symptoms of arthritis are joint pain and stiffness, which typically worsen with age. The most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis causes cartilage — the hard, slippery tissue that covers the ends of bones where they form a joint — to break down. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that first targets the lining of joints (synovium). Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, affecting millions of people worldwide. It occurs when the protective cartilage on the ends of your bones wears down over time.
Although osteoarthritis can damage any joint in your body, the disorder most commonly affects joints in your hands, knees, hips and spine.
Osteoarthritis symptoms can usually be effectively managed, although the underlying process cannot be reversed. Staying active, maintaining a healthy weight and other treatments may slow progression of the disease and help improve pain and joint function.
The main goals of arthritis treatments are to reduce symptoms and improve quality of life.
Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the open spaces within your spine, which can put pressure on your spinal cord and the nerves that travel through the spine to your arms and legs. Spinal stenosis occurs most often in the lower back and the neck.
While spinal stenosis may cause no signs or symptoms in some people, other people may experience pain, tingling, numbness, muscle weakness, and problems with normal bladder or bowel function.
Spinal stenosis is most commonly caused by wear-and-tear changes in the spine related to osteoarthritis. In severe cases of spinal stenosis, doctors may recommend surgery to create additional space for the spinal cord or nerves.
Despite its name, degenerative disc disease is not a disease, but the degradation of the joints in the spine. Injuries, car accidents, and immobility are all examples of things that can cause your joints to begin to breakdown over a period of time.
The rubbery discs between the vertebrae normally allow for flexing and bending of the back, like shock absorbers. In time, they become worn, and they no longer offer as much protection as before.
Without protection, it can continue to progress and cause pain, stiffness, decreased mobility and overall decrease in quality of life.
Disc herniation is most often the result of a gradual, aging-related wear and tear.
A herniated disc refers to a problem with one of the rubbery cushions (discs) between the individual bones (vertebrae) that stack up to make your spine.
A spinal disc is a little like a jelly donut, with a softer center encased within a tougher exterior. Sometimes called a slipped disc or a ruptured disc; a herniated disc occurs when some of the softer “jelly” pushes out through a tear in the tougher exterior.
A herniated disc can irritate nearby nerves or even the spinal cord and result in pain, numbness or weakness in an arm or leg. On the other hand, many people experience no symptoms from a herniated disc if is not putting pressure on any nerves. Most people who have a herniated disc don’t need surgery to correct the problem.
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) acts like a sliding hinge, connecting your jawbone to your skull. You have one joint on each side of your jaw. TMJ disorders — a type of temporomandibular disorder or TMD — can cause pain in your jaw joint and in the muscles that control jaw movement.
The exact cause of a person’s TMJ disorder is often difficult to determine. Your pain may be due to a combination of factors, such as genetics, arthritis or jaw injury. Some people who have jaw pain also tend to clench or grind their teeth, although many people habitually clench or grind their teeth and never develop TMJ disorders.
In most cases, the pain and discomfort associated with TMJ disorders is temporary and can be relieved with self-managed care or nonsurgical treatments. Surgery is typically a last resort after conservative measures have failed, but some people with TMJ disorders may benefit from surgical treatments.
Sciatica refers to pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve, which branches from your lower back through your hips and buttocks and down each leg. Typically, sciatica affects only one side of your body.
Sciatica most commonly occurs when a herniated disk, bone spur on the spine or narrowing of the spine (spinal stenosis) compresses part of the nerve. This causes inflammation, pain and often some numbness in the affected leg.
Although the pain associated with sciatica can be severe, most cases resolve with non-operative treatments including chiropractic adjustments.
Sacroiliitis (say-kroe-il-e-I-tis) is an inflammation of one or both of your sacroiliac joints — situated where your lower spine and pelvis connect. Sacroiliitis can cause pain in your buttocks or lower back, and can extend down one or both legs. Prolonged standing or stair climbing can worsen the pain.
Sacroiliitis can be difficult to diagnose, because it can be mistaken for other causes of low back pain. Treatment might involve physical therapy and pain-management treatments and chiropractic adjustments.
Cervical discs absorb shock between the bones. The bones, ligaments, and muscles of your neck support your head and allow for motion. Any abnormalities, inflammation, or injury can cause neck pain or stiffness and decreased motion. Helping the spine regain this mobility helps ensure the body heals without any loss of motion.
Pelvic imbalances can lead to an inordinate amount of stress on the legs and consequent serious injuries. These types of injuries are usually best treated with an effective regimen of chiropractic care.
Heel spurs don’t always cause pain. In fact, heel spurs often show up unexpectedly on X-rays taken for some other problem.
Heel spurs occur in at least half the people who have plantar fasciitis (PLAN-tur fas-e-I-tis), a painful condition involving the thick tissue that runs between your heel bone and your toes.
In the past, doctors often performed surgery to remove heel spurs, believing them to be the cause of the pain associated with plantar fasciitis. In treating plantar fasciitis now, doctors rely more on ice, arch supports (orthotics), physical therapy and pain medications, and surgery is rarely performed.
70% of all headaches are musculoskeletal. It is estimated that nearly every American will experience head and/or neck pain in his or her lifetime. 157 million workdays are lost each year due to head and neck pain costing some 55 billion dollars in lost productivity. 1.3 million school days are lost annually due to head and neck pain in children. Ironically, unlike lower back pain, most people do not actively seek treatment. Instead, they self-medicate or depend on prescription drugs for what is at best only temporary relief without addressing the underlying causes.
Common injuries of the shoulder/arm area are often the result of poor posture, muscle imbalances, or repetitive strain from daily activities such as carrying a shoulder bag. It is important not only to rehabilitate the affected muscles and joints, but also to provide the patient with alternatives for postures and movements that cause the problem.
The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint, keeping the head of your upper arm bone firmly within the shallow socket of the shoulder. A rotator cuff injury can cause a dull ache in the shoulder, which often worsens when you try to sleep on the involved side.
Rotator cuff injuries occur most often in people who repeatedly perform overhead motions in their jobs or sports. Examples include painters, carpenters, and people who play baseball or tennis. The risk of rotator cuff injury also increases with age.
Many people recover from rotator cuff disease with physical therapy exercises that improve flexibility and strength of the muscles surrounding the shoulder joint.
Sometimes, rotator cuff tears may occur as a result of a single injury. In those circumstances, medical care should be provided as soon as possible. Extensive rotator cuff tears may require surgical repair, transfer of alternative tendons or joint replacement.
Plantar fasciitis (PLAN-tur fas-e-I-tis) is one of the most common causes of heel pain. It involves inflammation of a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes (plantar fascia).
Plantar fasciitis commonly causes stabbing pain that usually occurs with your first steps in the morning. As you get up and move more, the pain normally decreases, but it might return after long periods of standing or after rising from sitting.
Plantar fasciitis is more common in runners. In addition, people who are overweight and those who wear shoes with inadequate support have an increased risk of plantar fasciitis.
Common injuries occurring in the ankle, foot, and heel areas come about as a result of unequal bearing of weight by the legs and feet. These imbalances can often cause undue stress to be exerted on the joints of the feet and ankles.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a hand and arm condition that causes numbness, tingling and other symptoms. Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by a pinched nerve in your wrist or neck which is a condition known as “Double Crush”.
A number of factors can contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome, including the anatomy of your wrist, certain underlying health problems and possibly patterns of hand use.
Bound by bones and ligaments, the carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway located on the palm side of your wrist. This tunnel protects a main nerve to your hand and the nine tendons that bend your fingers.
Compression of the nerve produces the numbness, tingling and, eventually, hand weakness that characterize carpal tunnel syndrome.
Fortunately, for most people who develop carpal tunnel syndrome, proper treatment usually can relieve the tingling and numbness and restore wrist and hand function.
Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) is a painful condition that occurs when tendons in your elbow are overloaded, usually by repetitive motions of the wrist and arm.
Despite its name, athletes aren’t the only people who develop tennis elbow. People whose jobs feature the types of motions that can lead to tennis elbow include plumbers, painters, carpenters and butchers.
The pain of tennis elbow occurs primarily where the tendons of your forearm muscles attach to a bony bump on the outside of your elbow. Pain can also spread into your forearm and wrist.
Rest and lifestyle changes along with rehabilitation help alleviate this type of pain.
Injuries to the elbow, wrist, and hand areas commonly occur as a result of poor posture, physical injury, or repetitive physical strain. They can be rehabilitated with a combination of spinal mechanic exercises, relief from the aggravating activity, and braces and splints designed to alleviate pressure from affected areas.
Back pain is one of the most common reasons people go to the doctor or miss work and a leading cause of disability worldwide. Most people have back pain at least once.
Fortunately, you can take measures to prevent or relieve most back pain episodes. If prevention fails, simple home treatment and proper body mechanics often will heal your back within a few weeks and keep it functional for the long haul.
Surgery is rarely needed to treat back pain.
Achilles tendinitis is an overuse injury of the Achilles (uh-KILL-eez) tendon, the band of tissue that connects calf muscles at the back of the lower leg to your heel bone.
Achilles tendinitis most commonly occurs in runners who have suddenly increased the intensity or duration of their runs. It’s also common in middle-aged people who play sports, such as tennis or basketball, only on the weekends.
Self-care strategies are usually necessary to prevent recurring episodes. More-serious cases of Achilles tendinitis can lead to tendon tears (ruptures) that may require surgical repair.