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Archive for November, 2015

Hand Numbness

Friday, November 13th, 2015

Are portions of your hand going numb?  Do you feel hand numbness in certain fingers?  Do your fingers tingle or do you get sharp shooting pains in to your hands?

 

Many people come to my office telling me that they have carpal tunnel.  In 90% of those cases, and sadly even some they have been to the MD for, it is not the correct diagnosis.

 

What is carpal tunnel?  You have an indentation within the many bones of your wrist that the muscles that control the flexion of your fingers and your median nerve passes through.  It supplies the palm of your hand and first three fingers.  When you are having carpal tunnel symptoms you are getting compression of the median nerve AT your carpal tunnel.

 

Many times, even though you have numb fingers, the compression is happening somewhere else.  Often, I find the patient’s forearm to be full of trigger points (tiny painful adhesions between the muscles) that are causing hand numbness.  You can also have hand numbness that is caused by problems with your neck.  If the small holes between the bones of your spine where your nerves exit are causing compression or pressure to build up around your nerves, whatever they supply is not going to get the message.

 

With any of these issues, your first stop should be a chiropractor.  We are trained to diagnose and treat these problems as well as many others.  If you give chiropractic care a fair chance to work, listen to your doctors recommendations and still find after a couple weeks your symptoms aren’t improving, the chiropractor can refer you on for advanced imaging or diagnostics, physical therapy or even a neurologist consult.

Are you stiff and sore in the morning?

Friday, November 13th, 2015

Have you noticed lately that you are waking up stiff and sore in the morning?  This can be related to many issues.

 

My first question for people is “how old is your bed”?  If it is over 10 years old or if it is sagging in the place you usually sleep, it is definitely time to replace it.  Even if it is a fancy Select Comfort or Tempurpedic guaranteed to last 20-25 years, I have had both models replaced due to warranty failure within 10 years.  My Select Comfort caused me to constantly tilt to the middle of the bed and my Tempurpedic excessively softened 13 years too soon.  Tempurpedic was great with their warranty  and I now have a new one.  I sold the Select Comfort on ebay.  Beds don’t last forever, even at the crazy prices they are sold for today.

 

Second question…  What position are you sleeping in?  All my stomach sleepers would spend much less money in my office and feel an awful lot better if they changed to sleeping on their side or back.  It is possible to change.  How do I know?  I have done it.  I had to start shoving pillows on one side of me to start the rolling over process and I had to be really intentional about waking myself up and flipping over in the middle of the night if I noticed I was on my stomach.  It’s a hard habit to break and you may be a little bit miserable from your lack of sleep for awhile.  Long term, your back and neck will thank you.

 

Third question…Is this an underlying issue that is just becoming obvious when you don’t have anything to think of other than sleep?  Is your neck or back hurting and are you simply ignoring it versus dealing with it?  Your body may be taking an opportunity to wake you up and let you know that you need to get back to a regular schedule at the chiropractor.  If you have never been, now may be a good time to start.  If the issue has been going on longer than a couple days, I would find a reputable, highly reviewed chiropractor and at the very least give them a call and ask a few questions over the phone.

 

 

Neck Pain From Texting and Constant Device Use

Friday, November 13th, 2015

Constant use of devices is causing “text neck” pain.  Have you noticed lately how much you look down and the neck pain that results?  Most of us spend 8-10 hours looking at a computer during the day.  On top of that when we aren’t looking at a computer screen, we are looking down at a phone, ipad, a book or a kindle.  We are often not in the best posture when using these devices.  It’s no wonder why our necks hurt and we get muscle fatigue, pain and headaches.

Our spines simply aren’t designed to support our heads that way for so many hours.  Your head weighs between 12-15 lbs.  When supported in good posture it balances well on your spine and skeleton.  When looking down, the weight is supported by the muscles in your neck and upper back and your spine is not doing the bulk of the supporting work as it should.  The result is neck pain from texting, reading and facebooking.

My advise is “be where you are at”, it is something I need to practice too.  People who email you don’t need instant communication back.  Facebook isn’t real life, it isn’t that important.  Recent research shows that people who don’t use it report higher levels of happiness and less anxiety.  Who among us couldn’t stand a little more happiness and freedom from anxiety.

On top of that, by constantly clicking between apps on our phones or ipads, we are destroying our attention spans and our ability to concentrate.  Research also shows that in the last decade the average American attention span has decreased an enormous amount.  I personally didn’t have a lot to begin with so this isn’t good news.

My recommendations are easier to say than do.  Set aside quiet hours and turn your phone off and put it away, at least put it on silent.  Make yourself have to get up to check it and put it on silent so the beeping doesn’t entice you into engaging. Set yourself a limit on how may times you can go on facebook a day and don’t keep it playing in the background on your computer.  Respond to emails in chunks if you have to be on top of things, don’t check it or respond constantly.

Part of my problem is that I love to read and often don’t do it in the best posture.  If I had to pick between giving up the ipad and giving up the book, the obvious choice is putting the ipad down.  I have been trying to leave my ipad in another room lately while I read.  Mine is old and almost dead and I am really evaluating whether or not I want a new one.  I am starting to think it might be more trouble than it is worth.  As for reading, I read either on a kindle that exclusively is a reader or a book.  If it was a kindle fire with all of my apps on, I would never actually finish a book because I would be mindlessly clicking between things.

 

So…bottom line.  Put the devices away or use them in good posture.  Your back and your brain will thank you!

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