Our spine is made up of twenty-four individual vertebra stacked on top of each other. To allow for flexibility and movement, there is a cushion, or “disc” in between each pair of vertebra. As we age, these discs can wear, becoming progressively thinner over time. This leads to a cycle of arthritic changes, including bone spurs and narrowing of the opening where our nerves exit the spine. Sometimes your nerves can become “pinched” in these narrowed openings. This results in pain, numbness or tingling into your arm along the path of the irritated nerve.

This problem is common, affecting half of the population by age 40 and up to 85% percent of the population by age 60, with men affected slightly more often than women. Symptoms of this type of arthritis include pain or numbness in your neck, arm or shoulder area. Neck stiffness, limited range of motion and headaches are common. Some patients report temporary relief when placing their affected hand on top of their head.

You should avoid prolonged reading or sustained positions where your head is rotated, laterally flexed or looking up. Avoid any position that causes an increase in radiating pain. Avoid high impact activities, like running, when they cause any increase in pain. Low impact activities like walking, water aerobics and yoga may be helpful.


Here is a brief description of the treatments we may use to help manage your problem.

Joint Manipulation

Joint Manipulation

Your chiropractor has found joints in your body that are not moving freely. This can cause tightness and discomfort and can accelerate unwanted degeneration i.e. arthritis. Your chiropractor will apply a gentle force with their hands, or with hand held instruments, in order to restore motion to any “restricted” joints. Sometimes a specialized table will be used to assist with these safe and effective “adjustments”. Joint manipulation improves flexibility, relieves pain and helps maintain healthy joints.

 

Therapy Modalities

Therapy Modalities

We may apply electrotherapy modalities that produce light electrical pulses transmitted through electrodes placed over your specific sites of concern. These comfortable modalities work to decrease your pain, limit inflammation and ease muscle spasm. Hot or cold packs are often used in conjunction, to enhance the effect of these modalities. Another available option is therapeutic ultrasound. Ultrasound pushes sound vibrations into tissues. When these vibrations reach your deep tissues, heat develops and unwanted waste products are dispersed.

 

Myofascial Release

Myofascial Release

Overworked muscles often become tight and develop knots or “trigger points”. Chronic tightness produces inflammation and swelling that ultimately leads to the formation of “adhesions” between tissues. Your chiropractor will apply pressure with their hands, or with specialized tools, in order to release muscle tightness and soft-tissue adhesions. This will help to improve your circulation, relieve pain and restore flexibility.

 

Therapeutic Exercise

Therapeutic Exercise

Muscle tightness or weakness causes discomfort and alters normal joint function, leading to additional problems. Your chiropractor will target tight or weak muscles with specific therapeutic stretching and strengthening to help increase tissue flexibility, build strength, and ease pain. Healthy, strong, and flexible muscles may help prevent re-injury.

 

 

 

After this initial course of treatment we will reassess your progress. We will determine the need for any additional care after your reassessment.

Pillow Selection

Sleep Posture

To avoid neck and upper back pain from improper neck support:


  • Select a pillow that will hold your head in a neutral position while sleeping on your side or back.
  • Avoid excessively thick or multiple pillows.
  • Choose a fiberfill or feather/down pillow as these are usually better than foam.
  • Consider a commercially available pillow that promotes good neck posture.
 

Workstation Ergonomics

Workstation Ergonomics

Ergonomics is the science of adjusting your workstation to minimize strain in the following ways:

  • Wrists should not be bent while at the keyboard. Forearms and wrists should not be leaning on a hard edge.
  • 
Use audio equipment that keeps you from bending your neck (i.e., Bluetooth, speakerphones, headsets).
  • Monitors should be visible without leaning or straining and the top line of type should be 15 degrees below eye level.
  • Use a lumber roll for lower back support.
  • Avoid sitting on anything that would create an imbalance or uneven pressure (like your wallet).
  • Take a 10-second break every 20 minutes: Micro activities include: standing, walking, or moving your head in a “plus sign” fashion.
  • Periodically, perform the “Brugger relief position” -Position your body at the chair’s edge, feet pointed outward. Weight should be on your legs and your abdomen should be relaxed. Tilt your pelvis forward, lift your sternum, arch your back, drop your arms, and roll out your palms while squeezing your shoulders together. Take a few deep cleansing breaths.
 

Glucosamine & Chondroitin

Glucosamine

Glucosamine Sulfate and Chondroitin Sulfate are usually formulated together. The combination may help arthritis sufferers.


  • Select a pillow that will hold your head in a neutral position while sleeping on your side or back.
  • Take 1500mg of Glucosamine & 1200 mg of Chondroitin daily 
  • After 8 weeks decrease your daily intake to 750 mg/day
 
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