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Chronic tension shoulder office work pain hurt headache back Emsworth chiropractic chiropractor osteopath osteopathy headache neck migraine muscle business Hampshire injury posture

Solving the mystery of: Chronic shoulder tension

Chronic shoulder tension. Knots in your upper back. Stiffness, headaches, neck pain. Sounds familiar? Yep- we see chronic shoulder tension a lot in clinic- but allow us to explain why simply treating the shoulder isn’t going to solve the issue.

Firstly, muscles don’t work alone.

Our body moves and functions through a combination of movements in a coordinated group of muscles, ligaments, fascia, tendons and joints. Back pain is our bread-and-butter as chiropractors, and we know from both research and experience that pain in the back doesn’t necessarily mean a problem in the back. That pain could be caused by a problem somewhere completely different- something that often causes a bit of confusion when you come to see us for pain in one area and we end up treating somewhere completely different.

Chronic tension shoulder tension office work pain hurt headache back Emsworth chiropractic chiropractor osteopath osteopathy headache neck migraine muscle business Hampshire injury posture latissimus bodybuilding strength stamina stability exercise training health fitness sport

Here’s why…

Let us paint you a picture. You work in an office. You’re stuck at a desk all day, sitting on your behind, slouched and worn out by 5PM. Your shoulders are tight and sore, and you can feel the knots building up in your upper traps, giving you a thunderous headache by the end of the day. Now, you know those knots and tense muscles are going to cause problems of their own, so you had an upper back massage two days ago and they should be feeling better… but they’re not. So is the problem the upper traps and shoulders, or is it something else?

Chronic tension shoulder tension office work pain hurt headache back Emsworth chiropractic chiropractor osteopath osteopathy headache neck migraine muscle business Hampshire injury posture latissimus bodybuilding strength stamina stability exercise training health fitness sport
The latissimus dorsi muscle- isn’t it a beauty?!

Let’s look at the latissimus dorsi.

It’s a muscle that originates from the spinous processes of T7-L5, the iliac crest around the top of the pelvis, the thoracolumbar fascia in the middle of our back, the lower border of the shoulder blade and the lower 3/4 ribs. (Yep, it’s massive!) All those fibres attach to the humerus (the long bone in the top of your arm). Why are we talking about a muscle in the lower back? Surely a muscle in the lower back controls the lower back, right? Wrong. The lat dorsi actually serves to extend, adduct, flex and internally rotate the shoulder, and lends a mere helping fibre or two to extend and laterally flex the spine. (In case you’re interested- it also helps with our lung function and breathing. Safe to say, it’s a pretty important muscle.)

So, back to you sat at your desk.

You’re slouching, your lumbar spine is curved and unsupported, so your latissimus dorsi is stretched beyond the norm and the fibres can’t fire properly. As a result, the muscle can’t complete the role it’s supposed to, the upper trapezius steps in to help and is left to do all the hard work controlling the shoulder itself (Just like that last project your boss asked you and Jane to do together and Jane left it up to you to do all the hard work- thanks Jane….) This leads to imbalance and weakness in both the lats and lower traps not to mention a very grumpy upper trapezius. You’ve tried treating the site of the pain (with that amazing back, neck and shoulder massage) and it feels better for a day or two afterwards but then it comes back.

Chronic tension shoulder office work pain hurt shoulder tension headache back Emsworth chiropractic chiropractor osteopath osteopathy headache neck migraine muscle business Hampshire injury posture
The Posture Oblique Sling Source: tonygentilcore.com

It’s fairly obvious by now that the problem with your tight and knotty upper traps isn’t caused by your shoulders- it’s something further afield.

So we have to look elsewhere- we look at your lower back and find that your latissimus dorsi is, surprise surprise, not happy with life. Now we’ve found that we also need to look at the Posterior Oblique Sling.* The POS includes the latissimus dorsi, glut med (in the back of the hip) and the thoracolumbar fascia (in the middle of our back.) *NB When we talk about one of the “slings” in the body, we’re talking about a specific group of muscles, fascia and ligaments which all work together to stabilise and mobilise the body.

Guess what we find when we examine you?

Your lat dorsi isn’t firing properly, which is throwing off the stability in the posterior oblique sling. Your lower back is stiff and restricted, and you can’t laterally flex properly- further compounding the problem with the latissimus dorsi (remember us saying it helps with lateral flexion of the lumbar spine?) So you can see how you’re caught in a vicious circle of dysfunction creating more dysfunction, and, in your case, leading to chronically tight shoulders that just never seem to get better!

The above is just an example of a classic case we often see in clinic.

Now, there are approximately 640 muscles in the human body, all intricately involved with the others in a chain of movement, that can have a chain of consequences if something in that chain misbehaves. To state the obvious again- each person we see is an individual, and the way dysfunction comes about is different for each person, as is the way in which the body adapts to that dysfunction.

As chiropractors, our job is to work out what’s going on and why (and then work with you to get it better) and this often involves looking at areas that might be quite far afield from where the actual pain is felt- but as you can see, there’s a reason for that.

Back pain children chiropractic Hampshire Emsworth babies shoulder tension
Source: simplebackpain.com

P.S. Poor posture affects kids too!

So where to begin? How can you improve your posture and reduce pain and problems? We’d suggest starting with some simple exercises, and downloading your copy of “Understanding Pain” which will help you get to grips with chronic pain, what’s going on in your body and how you can take back control!

Alternatively, and perhaps best- is to seek professional help and get a diagnosis and treatment plan put in place. You can get started by booking your appointment today.

 

St Georges Day Charity Dog Walk Success!

Earlier this year, we organised the St Georges Day Charity dog walk around Thorney Island in aid of Hounds for Heroes. Due the the success of the trial event, we have begun organising the next St Georges Day dog walk for Sunday 23rd April 2017! We already have renewed support from The Emsworth Business Association and have a new sponsor which is a local organic dog biscuit company – Beautiful Joe’s to treat our furry friends. Attend the event on Facebook here so you can keep up to date.

 

St Georges Day dog walk acorn health hounds for heroes

Hounds For Heroes are a charity based in Petersfield who provide specially trained assistance dogs to injured or disabled men and women from the UK Armed Forces and UK Civilian Emergency Services. Hounds For Heroes provide all specialist training, in addition to covering pet food and vet bills for life for each of these talented pups, at a cost of £30,000 per dog.
Dog Walk Details
Suggested donation is £5 per dog, dogs can bring their owners, family members and anyone else who would like to come along! Additional sponsorship forms can be found online here: http://houndsforheroes.com/get-involved/document-downloads/sponsorship-form/
 
Starting Point: Thornham Lane, just past the Thornham Marina.
Some parking spaces (20 spaces max) have been kindly offered to our event by Thornham Marina – All dogs must be kept on leads here due to heavy vehicles moving around on site.
 
The full walk is approx 8 miles around the Island (approx 3.5 hours). Why not take a picnic and enjoy some refreshments at St Nicholas’ Church or Thorney Island Sailing Club, near the halfway point.
 
For those with little legs looking for a shorter walk there is a gate-to-gate option that doesn’t take you around the full island. Please be aware that livestock graze close to the path so dogs should be under their owner’s control.
 
All donations made will be presented to Hounds for Heroes.

Pain in the butt!

Little muscle- BIG pain! We wanted to tell you about a classic case that appeared in clinic this week as it may also help you – a lady in her mid 30’s came into clinic with excruciating pain and tingling sensations radiating down the back of her thigh. Good old ‘Dr Google’ had suggested this could be sciatica which had got her really worried.

On examination, we found a nasty little group of what are called “trigger points” (focal areas of hyperirritability within a muscle) in her gluteus minimus muscle, and palpation of these reproduced the exact pain she had been experiencing. But what is this? The referred pain generated from trigger points in the gluteus minimus is notorious for activating other trigger points in the TFL, quadriceps, gastrocnemius, hamstrings, and peroneal muscle groups- in fact, gluteus minimus referred pain is often referred to as “pseudo-sciatica”, as it so closely mimics the symptoms of sciatica.

What commonly causes a glute min trigger point?
– Walking or running on uneven ground
– Sitting on a wallet (hello chaps- we’re talking to you!)
– Limping (from a foot or lower leg injury)
– Driving long distances or sitting for long periods
– Sacroiliac joint dysfunction

Fortunately, with a comprehensive treatment programme which addresses the many components of this problem, this issue can be resolved swiftly and successfully in clinic, helping to relieve what is a literal “pain in the butt“!

Butt!? What is TRUE Sciatica?

Learn more with our online course – Understanding pain here.

Learn more here: https://acorn-health.thinkific.com/courses/understanding-pain

You may also be interested in reading:

Understanding Pain

Stay Ski-fit on the Slopes!

Hot Yoga: This Girl Can!

Save a life

As of October 2014, you are no longer required to display your tax disc in your car. Why not put your holder to good use today and you may save a life.

The Acorn Health emergency tax disc can hold vital information that an emergency first responder can use to save your life in a accident. Please note all personal details are kept hidden to passersby while in the car tax disc holder.

Download, print and fill out the below pdf to start benefitting. This is a free document that anyone can utilise so please share our link.

Acorn Health Emergency Tax Disc 2015


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Website Created by WebHolism