An MRI scan is used across all medical professions to find out what is going on inside the body, much in the same way as a X-ray or ultrasound. Each different type of imaging is a form of investigation and is suitable for different issues and diagnoses. For example, X-rays are often used to look for bone fractures and ultrasound is commonly used during pregnancy for checking the growth of the baby. An MRI is often used by chiropractors because it shows soft tissues as well as bones.
Back pain is an extremely common condition and in many cases, the cause is unknown. From posture and alignment to activities we carry out on a daily basis, there are many reasons why back pain is a growing problem affecting 1 in 10 people.
Ongoing lower back pain can be debilitating, causing emotional distress and forcing sufferers to take time off work. Despite this, it is still an often overlooked condition and GPs struggle to find the root of the problem or prescribe the best treatment. Medication such as painkillers simply masks the problem rather than treating the underlying cause.
Scoliosis is a spinal condition which can affect babies, children, adolescents and adults. It causes the spine to curve into an S shape, which can sometimes make the body look uneven or cause back pain. While some babies are born with the condition, scoliosis can start to appear at any age and usually presents between 10-15 years of age. It is thought that three or four children out of every 1,000 in the UK have the condition and require treatment. Read more
Being involved in a car crash can be a right pain in the neck – in more ways than one. Not only do you have to deal with numerous phone calls to the insurance company and the hassle of repairing your vehicle, but you may also have physical injuries to deal with. The most common injury motorists suffer from after a collision is whiplash, as this can occur even in low speed collisions. Read more
Carrying around extra weight for nine months can put extra strain on the spine, and chemicals released during pregnancy can also contribute to back pain. Back pain is a very common ailment for pregnant women, which can prevent healthy sleep and regular movement, which is important for both mother and baby. Read more
Joint pain is incredibly common – it’s believed that at least one in ten people will suffer from the condition at some point in their lives, with most developing joint pain as they get older. It’s also notoriously difficult to treat, since there are a wide range of different causes, all of which require specific treatment methods to alleviate the symptoms.
Joint pain can occur in any part of the body, from the shoulders, arms and hands to the ankles and feet. However, the most commonly reported form of joint pain occurs in the knee, followed by the shoulder and then hip. More often than not, this has come about as a result of an injury or accident, whereby the bones, cartilage and ligaments within a joint or the bursae, ligaments or tendons surrounding it have become damaged.
However, not all joint pain is caused by injury. Here are some of the more common and less common causes which instigate this acute or chronic affliction.
Common causes of joint pain
- Tendonitis – caused by repetitive exercise, such as running or jumping
- Bursitis – warmth and redness surrounding the joint, exacerbated by movement
- Osteoarthritis – perhaps the most common cause of joint pain in older patients
- Gout or pseudogout – pain manifests itself in sudden, repeated attacks and the affected area becomes red and inflamed
- Hemarthrosis – bleeding into the joint space normally occurs after an injury, but can be instigated by unknown factors
- Lupus – caused by the immune system attacking healthy cells by mistake
- Scleroderma – caused by the immune system attacking connective tissue right beneath the skin
- Viral infections – viral hepatitis or rubella can cause joint pain
Less common causes of joint pain
- Osgood-Schlatter’s disease – characterised by pain and swelling in and around the knee, most commonly affecting teenagers and young adults
- Arthritis – less common kinds of arthritis include ankylosing spondylitis, juvenile arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, reactive arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis
Rare causes of joint pain
- Avascular necrosis – crumbling of bones caused by insufficiency of blood
- Behçet’s syndrome – inflammation of blood vessels
- Bone cancer
- Haemophilia – a hereditary condition which prevents the blood from clotting normally
- Henoch-Schönlein purpura – inflammation of blood vessels, normally affecting children
- Sarcoidosis – the development of small amounts of tissue inside the organs
- Septic arthritis – an excruciatingly painful and noticeably swollen joint which does not allow movement at all
- Tropical infections
As you can see, there are a myriad of causes which can bring about joint pain, with varying levels of seriousness and commonness. While chiropractors are more generally associated with the relief of back and neck pain, it may surprise you to know that they are also adept at joint and muscle treatment and can not only provide incisive diagnoses, but also bespoke treatment plans, as well. If you’re suffering from chronic joint pain which just won’t go away, see a specialist as soon as possible.
When suffering from back, joint, ligament or neck pain, it can be difficult to know which specialist is best placed to meet your needs. Should you see an osteopath or a chiropractor? What even are the differences between the two?
The reality is that while both disciplines share much in common, they do differentiate from each other in subtle but important ways. Here’s a rundown of exactly what unites the two practices – and what sets them apart.
Similarities between osteopathy and chiropractic
- The primary goal of both disciplines is pain relief
- Both share a similar philosophy in that they look for alternative methods of treating this pain, instead of surgery or medication
- Both conduct observational and tactile diagnoses to find the root of the problem
- Both manipulate the blood supply and nervous system in order to treat not only bodily pain, but also the symptoms of many other conditions, including circulatory complications, migraines and more
Differences between osteopathy and chiropractic
- Chiropractors concentrate largely (but not exclusively) on the spinal column, preventing damage of the nervous system and associated pain by achieving correct alignment
- Osteopaths attempt to improve the overall function, comfort and performance of the body by taking a more holistic approach, which generally means they treat less concentrated areas to achieve pain relief
- Chiropractors are more likely to qualify diagnoses via the use of qualitative procedures, such as blood tests, urine tests, MRI scans and X-rays – though only when necessary
- Chiropractors specialise in manipulating the vertebrae in the spinal column, while osteopaths include more muscle and tissue massaging (although chiropractors do employ these methods as well)
- Chiropractors may utilise shorter but more frequent appointments, whereas osteopaths may practice longer sessions that have longer spacing in between the two
Which should you choose to treat your pain?
The simple answer is that both chiropractors and osteopaths are fully-trained and fully-qualified specialists in many different kinds of joint and muscular injuries and complaints. It’s therefore important to find out which kind of treatment you feel works best for you, and then source a trustworthy, competent professional in that field. Above all, you should find someone who values your welfare, listens to your needs and devises an appropriate method of treatment accordingly.
At CW Chiropractic, we are members of the British Chiropractic Association and all of our staff have the experience and training to alleviate all kinds of back, neck, joint and muscle pain. We prioritise customer satisfaction above all else and are dedicated to delivering excellent service, quality of treatment and efficiency with each and every patient.
To find out more about how we can help, drop by our Canary Wharf practice or get in touch with us today.
For those of us living hectic, stressful lives in the capital, the last thing we need is for our sleeping patterns to be interrupted by chronic back pain. Waking up full of aches and pains – or worse yet, not being able to get to sleep at all because of these niggles – can have a detrimental effect on energy levels, productivity and morale.
That’s why it’s so important to not only sleep in the correct position to minimise back pain, but also to choose a mattress that’s right for you. With so many options on offer and so many (apparently conflicting) opinions about which one is best suited to easing lower back pain, it can be difficult to know where to start.
Mattresses for Back Pain
This article aims to dispense with the jargon and condense all of that information into one handy, easy-to-read guide on how to choose your ideal mattresses for back pain, as well as some concrete pointers in the right direction.
Support is key
Old-school thinking dictated that back pain is most successfully treated via a firm mattress, but that viewpoint has shifted over the years. Nowadays, experts such as the British Chiropractic Association and The Sleep Council both agree that support should be prioritised over firmness. Indeed, a mattress that’s too firm can actually have a damaging effect on your lower back, especially if you weigh more.
Weigh up your options
It’s not a hard-and-fast dictum, but a general rule of thumb indicates that the heavier you are, the firmer a mattress you’ll need. The difficulty with this logic is that the mattress industry seems to disagree on exactly what constitutes a “soft”, “medium” or “firm” mattress, but again, a rough guide indicates that those under 11 stone should choose soft, those over 16 stone should pick firm and those in between should plump for medium.
Try before you buy
The logistics of trying out a mattress before you commit to the purchase might sound tricky, but it’s easier than you may think. Many companies, including Eve, Hyde and Sleep and Nytex offer free trials, whereby you can send back a mattress at little or no cost if you’re not satisfied with it. Failing that, you can always visit a showroom and prostrate yourself on as many mattresses as you like before buying. It’ll be worth it in the long run.
This is by no means a comprehensive list, but for a starting point of where to begin, here are a handful of suggestions:
Soft mattresses for back pain: –
Silentnight 3 Zone Memory Foam
Sealy Nostromo 1400
Medium mattresses for back pain: –
Happy Beds Majestic 1000
Hyde and Sleep’s Next Gen Memory Foam
Firm mattresses for back pain: –
Tempur Original Deluxe 27
Every individual’s needs are different
It’s important to remember that everyone’s unique circumstances will dictate what mattress is right for them – there’s no panacea that will cure everyone. Latex mattresses work for some people, memory foam for others. Therefore, the time you invest in carefully choosing the right mattress for you will be time well spent; find one that balances support with comfort and gives you the best night’s sleep possible.
Seek professional advice
It should also be remembered that the information in this guide should not be substituted for advice from a GP or back pain specialist, such as a licensed chiropractor. For friendly, impartial advice in the Canary Wharf area, get in touch with us today.
It’s estimated that eight out of ten people will suffer from back or neck pain throughout their lives, with many of these suffering chronic discomfort. While medication and painkillers can help to alleviate the symptoms of such maladies for some people, they’re by no means a cure-all solution.
Self-Treat Back and Neck Pain
If you’re one of the unfortunate souls for whom taking painkillers just doesn’t seem to help, or for whom constant medication is an unattractive option, here are four alternative ways in which you might be able to address the root cause of the problem.
1. Stretch it out
Much back and neck pain arises from stiffness and tightness in muscles and ligaments. Conducting a series of stretches and movements on a regular basis (every morning before showering and every evening before bed, for example) can increase the flexibility of your joints, thus providing pain relief and reducing the chances of suffering a recurrence of the complaint in the future. If you have a willing partner to hand, gentle massaging is another great way to self-treat back and neck pain.
2. Change your diet
Did you know 70% to 80% of the discs in our spinal column consist of water? For that reason, it’s imperative you stay hydrated throughout the diet to replace these vital fluids and minimise tension on your vertebrae. Meanwhile, magnesium is well-known for its abilities to help relax strained or sprained muscles, so increasing your intake of magnesium-rich foods (such as fruit and vegetables, soy products and whole grains) can help to alleviate back and neck pain, too.
3. Take to the pool
The therapeutic effects of exercise in general should not be underestimated, and swimming in particular poses an attractive method of easing stiffness and reducing inflammation of sore muscles and joints. Be careful to choose a stroke that doesn’t cause severe discomfort and avoid over-exertion – breast stroke or backstroke can be very effective, since they avoid minimal movement of the neck. For best results, find a heated pool.
4. Adjust your posture
We often think of pain arising from an injury or accident, but much of the time chronic aches and pains are simply the result of poor habits. More than half of back pain sufferers report that they sit down for the majority of their working day – if that sounds familiar, consider purchasing or requesting a lumbar support chair for the office (and perhaps for the car, as well). Meanwhile, choosing a mattress that’s right for you will minimise any exacerbation of the issue overnight.
See a specialist
While these home remedies may help to take the edge off your back and neck pain and even reduce its long-term impact, there’s simply no substitute for the advice and treatment of a trained professional. At CW Chiropractic, we have years of experience in identifying and treating a multitude of back and neck pain complaints. To see how we can help you, get in touch today.
We’ve all complained of a ‘stiff neck’ at some point. Whether you’ve woken up with neck pain after sleeping in an awkward position, or the stiffness has gradually got worse over time, there are a range of factors involved. Modern lifestyles are responsible for a rise in neck and shoulder pain – using computers and mobile phones are the main culprit.
Reduce Neck Pain
Read on to find out how you can avoid neck pain in the first place, and how to treat it.
Avoid too many screens
As we rely more and more on computers and screens, it’s more important than ever to take breaks when we can. If you have to use a computer for work, make sure the screen is set at the correct height and eye level so you don’t have to look up or down. Mobile phones and tablets can also be a huge problem – take a look at your posture next time you’re texting someone or browsing the internet on a tablet. More often than not, your neck is forced downwards, putting extra pressure on your shoulders and upper back. Avoid looking at screens all day at work, and then all evening at home.
Spread weight evenly
Carrying a heavy weight on one shoulder can put pressure on the neck muscles, and cause other posture problems. Many of us often carry a laptop or handbag on one shoulder – try and carry weight evenly by using a backpack if possible. This is essential for young adults and children carrying heavy bags to school each day.
Sleep on your back
Certain sleep positions can cause neck pain, so be careful not to sleep on your stomach and twist the neck. The best position to sleep in is on your back, as the neck and spine remain in a neutral position. You can also buy special pillows to support the neck if you know you’re susceptible to neck and shoulder pain.
What to do when you have neck pain
Neck pain is quite literally a pain in the neck! It can stop you from getting on with daily life and doing normal activities like driving. If you have repeated episodes of neck pain, you should try a course of neck pain treatment from a qualified chiropractor. Rather than simply masking the pain until next time, manual therapy aims to reduce the risk of the pain reoccurring. Contact us to find out more.