What's News at Tulsa Spine and Rehab
From the Mailbag: A listener writes, “Dr. Riley, I was recently in a car wreck and diagnosed with whiplash. What exactly is whiplash? And what should I do about it?”
Whiplash is typically a neck injury that can occur during a rear impact or when you are rear ended in an automobile accident. Whiplash can also caused by different types of trauma or physical abuse. Whiplash occurs when the head is acutely thrown back into flexion. You go back and then forth. This puts a lot of stress on the muscles and ligaments in the neck – beyond the normal range of motion. Whiplash is the damage to the ligaments and soft tissue in your neck and it results in kind of generalized neck pain.
It’s an epidemic. Obviously, we live in such a forward world, and I’m sure with your job and you sit at a desk and your head is down at your computer. We’re already very forward, you know when I say forward; arms out, head down. It’s exacerbated by at lunch you’re doing this, at home you’re doing this, watching TV with your wife. You guys are both like this, heads down, repetitive motion with your hands.
What happens is, when my head is continually looking down it’s going to create a lot of stress and pressure on my upper back and neck. It might create some weakness which could contribute to the problem as well. Overuse injuries, I’m sure you’ve heard about Carpel Tunnel Syndrome, different types of neurological things from your elbow; that repetitive motion like typing.
So, it’s just we already live in this environment and I think it’s exacerbated and made so much worse by a lot of this, so get off your device. Get up. Start moving around.
I’m scheduled for an epidural steroid injection. Can I utilize chiropractic or physical therapy after the procedure?
Absolutely. I’ve spoken a bit in the past about epidural steroid injections—this is a very common, conservative treatment option for disc problems and nerve root irritations typically occurring in the neck and low back. These problems are often an inflammatory response or a bulging or herniated disc.
Sitting at a desk may be productive for your job but it can be unproductive for your body. One potential problem – upper cross syndrome. “Desk jockeys” – those who work at a desk for all or most of a workday are susceptible to this ailment.
Sitting all day can catch up to you, that’s why I encourage people to get up and walk around while at work. We live in a “lean forward” world where everything is in front of us. And this creates imbalances.
You start to develop very tight muscles in your upper back in your trap muscles. People carry a lot of stress in their upper back – the trap muscles. You also get very tight pectoral muscles and they become shorter and your shoulders begin to round.
At this point you develop weakness in the front of your neck and in your rhomboids. This is the musculature that runs horizontal to our shoulder blades – it pinches our shoulders. So we have a “X” of tightness combined with weakness. This leads to cascading effects and problems develop in other areas. Typically, patients with upper cross syndrome come in complaining of general neck problems that get progressively worse.
Tulsa Spine and Rehab deals with upper cross syndromes by first determining what the problem is and then deal with the mobility issues or the tightness in the two muscle groups. So once we get something moving we want to focus on the stabilizers in the neck. Strengthen that neck and those rhomboids. Once we start to open some things up, your chest is going to open up a little bit, your neck muscles will start working properly. Those rhomboids are going to pinch your shoulder blades and it will bring your head a little more upright and erect. This will take a lot of pressure and load off of your neck.
It’s basically the result of bad posture. Technically, it’s just coined as an upper cross syndrome. Once we get something moving properly, we turn our focus and start to address where we might be weak as well and that’s why stability on the back end is so very important.
You don’t have to be working at a physically taxing job all day to experience some significant aches and pains. Why not get it checked out and get some relief? Call Tulsa Spine and Rehab at (918) 743-3737.
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