neck pain

Central Sensitisation

I often have people come into my office who have been dealing with pain for a long time. These people suffering from chronic pain are often frustrated, depressed and anxious. Anything they do may set off their pain, they’ve tried “everything” and sometimes they feel there is no hope and that they just have to “live with it”. In the article “Where pain lives” the author discusses how science is learning that chronic pain isn’t just “acute pain that goes on and on”.

There are several possible mechanisms of how chronic pain starts, propagates and persists, but they all take into account that pain doesn’t equal tissue damage. Meaning that patients with chronic pain no longer have injured or damaged tissue (muscles, ligaments, discs, nerves) that might’ve have long ago been a mechanism for pain, but suffer from the brain creating “circuits” that constant re-live the pain or becoming hypersensitive to any form of stimuli, known as “central sensitisation”.

It is important for people living with chronic pain to understand what they are going through and the specific brain changes that have allowed their pain to continue and then take steps to rehab and strengthen their body knowing that “hurt does not typically mean harm”. There are no pharmaceutical means to treat this type of pain yet but there has been a lot of success using “Cognitive Behavioral Therapy” and graded “non-pain contingent” exercises. I have always said that my “ideal” practice includes a pain psychologist for this reason.

This article contains a lot more detailed information and deserves a read. I hope you will take the time and learn something from it and if you have more questions please feel free to contact me at Pro-Motion Chiropractic.

https://aeon.co/essays/to-treat-back-pain-look-to-the-brain-not-the-spine

Whiplash

Now that the snow is starting to fall, soon the roads will become a bit more dangerous. There’s nothing like the helpless feeling of sliding towards the car in front of you as your anti-lock brakes shutter and try to gain a grip on the ice beneath you. Whiplash is the most common injury following a car accident and can occur even at very low speeds. Here are some interesting statistics about whiplash that may surprise you.

Whiplash Statistics

  • Most injuries occur when traveling less than 12 mph
  • A read-end collision generally causes more damage to the cervical spine than side or frontal collisions do
  • Whiplash injuries are more severe in women and children because their necks are smaller
  • Whiplash injuries occur 5 times more often in women than men
  • Symptoms of whiplash can often appear weeks or months after an accident
  • In 75% of patients, symptoms of whiplash can last 6 months or longer
  • Victims of whiplash lose approximately 8 weeks of work
  • Whiplash injuries occur more often in people 30 to 50 years of age
  • A whiplash injury can increase your chances of chronic shoulder and neck pain
  • People suffering from chronic pain due to whiplash injuries often have abnormal psychological profiles
  • More than 60% of people who have whiplash injuries require long-term medical follow-up
  • More than 50% of those who have whiplash injuries will still have chronic pain 20 years after the injury
  • Pre-existing health conditions such as arthritis will lead to greater severity of injury and greater pain

Signs of a Whiplash Injury

After an accident, you are likely to feel some pain and limited ranges of motion. Even if the pain is minimal, it could worsen hours after the crash. Some signs of whiplash can include:

  • Pain when moving your head side to side
  • Tenderness
  • Headaches at the base of the skull
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Memory problems
  • Tingling or numbness in the arms

Signs and symptoms of whiplash usually develop within 24 hours of the accident, which is why it is crucial to seek medical treatment immediately. If you’ve had an accident please let a professional make sure you are ok. You don’t want to be one of the 50% who has chronic pain 20 years after the injury.