Condition Break Down
Everybody experiences a headache at some point in their life. You can feel them on the back of your head, temples, the forehead, behind the eyes, or the entire head. If you experience a mild headache once or twice a year, that’s really not significant. But if you’re someone who experiences a headache 1x a month, 1x a week, or even every day, why live with pain when you can do something about it?
In a study done with 48 migraine patients, 60% of them had complete elimination of their migraines by reducing muscle tension with trigger point injections and dry needling (aka acupuncture). There is no doubt that acupuncture should be the first line treatment for headaches and migraines.
Vertigo could be due to restrictions in your neck. Vertigo/dizziness are difficult to differentiate and are often used interchangeably. Often they are felt in combination. Vertigo is a false sense of movement of the self or the environment. Usually the the movement feels like a spinning sensation or the sensation of being pulled to one side. Dizziness is a feeling of faint, lightheadedness, a feeling of imbalance or unsteadiness, a vague spaced out or swimmy head feeling.
Vertigo can be caused by many issues (see link to my article for detailed info), but one cause that is often overlooked restrictions of neck musculature. A muscle called your SCM plays an important role in gathering sensory information necessary to keep you balanced. This has been known since the early 1960’s, but is all too often overlooked in the healthcare field. If SCM restrictions are the root cause of your vertigo/dizziness, total elimination of symptoms are possible.
If your ear is hurting, you should always rule out infection first. But what if infection has been ruled out and you still have pain in your ear? It is possible your ear pain could be coming from your jaw. Don’t believe me? Try putting 1 finger in each ear and open up your mouth. You will feel the back part of your jaw move down and out of your ear.
The TMJ is your temporomandibular joint and this joint allows for movement in the jaw. TMJ syndrome develops when you have excessive restrictions in your muscles that open and close the jaw.
Typical signs of TMJ syndrome are:
• Pain in your jaw worse with chewing
• Headaches on the temple region
• “Popping” and grinding sounds in your jaw
• Clenching during the day and/or night
• Pain in the ear
A bursa is a fluid filled sac that is located where friction occurs (usually where tendons and muscles pass over bumps in your bones). By reducing friction, the muscle and tendons are protected.
Inflammation in the bursa commonly occurs due to trauma (eg. a car accident, falling off a bike, falling off a ladder) and overuse. Overuse is commonly seen in athletes and those who have jobs with strenuous repetitive motions.
Tendons attach muscle to bone. Everytime you move a muscle, you are putting a pulling force onto that tendon. If the tendon becomes inflamed, we call it tendonitis. This condition can develop from trauma, infection, and from repetitive use. If you do a repetitive activity for extended periods of time, you put a great deal of force onto your tendons and the chance of developing tendonitis is greater. Runner’s tend (pun inTENDed!) to have it in their legs, construction workers in their shoulders, and acupuncturists in their hands.
Through repetitive use, a muscle and the surrounding myofascia gets tight and restricted. This increases the tension on a tendon and reduces blood flow to an area, resulting in pain. Acupuncture and Acupressure relieve that tension on the restricted myofascia, which increases blood flow, reduces inflammation, and decreases pain.
Acupuncture/Acupressure is highly effective at relieving muscular and myofascial restrictions. An example of a myofascial restriction would be a sore “knot” that you feel on your neck. If you press or use acupuncture on the knot, the knot unravels and your pain is relieved. The technical term for a “knot” is a trigger point and these trigger points can be found throughout your entire body.
Almost every orthopedic condition is affected by myofascial tension. By reducing myofascial restrictions you increase blood flow to the affected areas which speeds up healing, decreases inflammation and reduces pain.
Neuropathy is a general term used to describe any problem with a nerve. Neuropathies are commonly caused by compression of a nerve by muscular, connective tissue, and bony structures.
A well known example of a neuropathy caused by compression would be carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when there is compression of the median nerve as it passes through your carpal tunnel, which is formed by connective tissue.
An example of muscular compression would be Piriformis syndrome, which creates symptoms similar to sciatica. The piriformis is a large, deep muscle in your buttocks that when it gets tight can compress the sciatic nerve, causing pain to run down your buttocks and leg.