Forest Hills Rehabilitation Blog

Learn about treatment options, latest news, insights and articles from top clinical professionals. 

Concussion Prevention in Children

Concussion Prevention in Children If your child participates in sports, there may be a cause for concern as it pertains to head injuries and concussions. Concussions can happen at any time, especially if your child is involved in a high impact sport like ice hockey. A groundbreaking study on Canadian junior ice hockey published in the November 2010 edition of Neurosurgical Focus uncovers alarming head injury/concussion data and trends that raise many questions about the safety and well-being of teenagers and young adults who participate in this popular sport. So what is a concussion? Basically, a concussion occurs when trauma to the head and neck causes a vigorous, unnatural impact to the brain. In most cases, the side-effects of a concussion are short-lived and appear as a headache. However, in some situations, a concussion may result in impaired brain function. So how do you prevent a concussion? Besides wearing a helmet, it’s crucial for children to learn neck-strengthening exercises. The strength and stability of the muscles of the neck and trunk will help minimize the impact of injuries and the likelihood of concussions in high impact sports like football and hockey. For children (and young adults) participating in sports, an evaluation from a licensed chiropractor or physical therapist can help determine potential areas of weakness and instability. Information from the evaluation will help your chiropractor and physical therapist design a neck-strengthening program that can help avoid serious injury and possible concussions due to weak neck muscles. Is it Really Possible? It’s almost impossible to prevent concussions, but it is possible to reduce their risk. One of the easiest and most effective ways to reduce the risk of a concussion is to wear a protective helmet. Even if a sport does not require the use of a helmet, we strongly suggest that you encourage your child to use one anyway. The earlier you can instill this habit, the better. Teach them that a helmet is not an option but a necessity. If children begin wearing helmets at an early age, they will be more likely to use them as they grow older instead of thinking that a helmet is not ‘cool’ enough. The first rule for your child’s safety should be: “If you want to play, you need to wear a helmet.” Chiropractic and Physical Therapy For Concussions What is the damage caused by a concussion? Concussions can be detected years after they occur in MRI scans as ‘white spots’. The meaning of these spots is often debated, along with the long-term impact of a concussion. Regardless of the severity of concussions, you want to minimize them as much as possible. Concussions have been known to cause temporary visual impairment, speech impairment, balance issues, memory loss and other problems. How long these effects last depends upon the severity of the concussion and the time between when the concussion occurred and when it was treated. Chiropractic and Physical therapy can help Your chiropractor and physical therapist can work closely with other health professionals responsible for your child’s safety. The therapist can help your child by creating a structured, personalized neck strengthening and core strengthening program. This will minimize the risk of concussions. If your child works closely with a coach, a trainer and a chiropractor or physical therapist, he or she will be able to handle the physical stress associated with the sport. When it comes to the head and neck region, an ounce of prevention is certainly worth (more than) a pound of cure. Give our office a call and set up an appointment to discuss how we can help your young athlete be safe and injury free. Phone: 718-520-8480 or 888-595-7282

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Health Update: Neck Pain

Neck Pain – Can Chiropractic Really Help? Neck pain is a very common problem affecting up to 70% of the adult population at some point in life. Though there are specific causes of neck pain such as arising from a sports injury, a car accident or “sleeping crooked,” the vast majority of the time, no direct cause can be identified and thus the term nonspecific is applied. There are many symptoms associated with patients complaining of neck pain and many of these symptoms can be confused with other conditions. Wouldn’t it be nice to know what neck related symptoms are most likely to respond to chiropractic manipulation before the treatment has started? This issue has been investigated with very favorable results! The ability to predict a favorable response to treatment has been termed, “clinical prediction rules” which in general, are usually made up of combinations of things the patient says and findings from exams. In a large study, data from about 20,000 patients receiving about 29,000 treatments, was collected and analyzed to find out what complaints responded well to chiropractic treatment. The results showed that the presence of any 4 of these 7 presenting complaints predicted an immediate improvement in 70-95% of the patients: 1. Neck pain; 2. Shoulder, arm pain; 3. Reduced neck, shoulder, arm movement; 4. Stiffness; 5. Headache; 6. Upper, mid back pain, and 7. None or one presenting symptom. Items not associated with a favorable immediate response included “numbness, tingling upper limbs,” and “fainting, dizziness and light-headedness in 4-12% of the patients. The “take-home” message here is that was far more common to see a favorable response (70-95%) of the patients compared to an unfavorable response (4-12%), supporting the observation that most patients with neck complaints will respond favorably to chiropractic treatment. So, what do we do the chiropractors at Forest Hills Rehabilitation do when a patient presents with neck pain? First, after gathering preliminary information such as name, address and insurance information, a history of the presenting complaint is taken. This consists of information including what started the neck complaint (if you know), when it started, what makes it worse, what makes it better, the quality of pain (aches, stiff, numb, etc.), the location and if there is radiating complaints, the severity (0-10 pain scale), timing (such as worse in the morning, evening, etc.), and if there have been prior episodes. Various questionnaires are included that are scored so improvement down the road can be tracked and a past history that includes a medication list, past injuries or illnesses, family history and a systems review are standard. The exam includes vital signs (BP, pulse, height, weight, temperature and respiration), palpation, range of motion, orthopedic and neurological examination. X-ray and/or other “special tests” may also be included, when needed. A review of all the findings are discussed and after permission to treat is granted, a chiropractic adjustment may then be rendered. A list treatment options may include: Adjustments; Soft tissue therapy (trigger point stimulation, myofascial release); Physical therapy modalities; Posture correction exercises and other exercises/home self-administered therapies; Education about job modifications; Co-management with other health care providers if/when needed. Please visit our chiropractic forest hills page for more information: or call anytime toll-free: (888) 595-7282

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Joint Pain – Chiropractor at Forest Hills Rehabilitation

Is Joint Pain Slowing You Down? Any injury that affects the ligaments, cartilage or bones can contribute to joint pain. Joint pain can affect any part of the body from your neck to your feet. Joint pain is common amongst seniors, but anyone can be affected by it. It can occur all of a sudden, and can be sharp and painful (acute joint pain). On the other hand, it can last longer and can be dull and achy in nature (chronic joint pain). One of the causes of joint pain is bursitis (inflammation of the bursae). The bursae are fluid-filled sacs that cushion and pad bony prominences, allowing muscles and tendons to move freely over the bone. Arthritis, traumatic injuries, sprains and strains can contribute to joint pain. At times, joint pain may be associated with tingling, numbness, or weakness. Symptoms like these should be reported to a physician as quickly as possible. Joint pain can trigger muscle compensations across your body, which is the body’s way of helping you cope with the joint pain. Overcoming Joint Pain In most cases, joint pain can be treated with progressive, supervised exercise which is exactly where your physical therapist can help. Exercising will also help you reduce or maintain your ideal weight, which helps decrease stress on weight-bearing joints like the hip and knee. Walking is the easiest exercise. No special equipment is needed, other than a good pair of walking shoes. Parking further away from your destination will help increase walking distance. Using the stairs instead of the elevator is another way to get some extra exercise. If you have joint pain, a warm bath and massage can provide some short-term pain relief. Your physician may ask you to get some rest, and seek the advice of a licensed physical therapist. Gradual, progressive stretching is a good way to reduce joint pain. Please consult a physician or a physical therapist before you start stretching. Physical Therapy and Joint Pain Joint pain is an indication that you may need professional help. It may be a result of an undetected condition or an injury. Your physical therapist will conduct a detailed evaluation to determine the cause of your joint pain. Expect your physical therapist to ask questions to get to the root of the problem. These questions include: What caused your pain? Which joint hurts? Is the pain on one side or both sides? How long have you had this pain? What is the nature or type of pain? Have you injured yourself in any way? To learn more about how physical therapy can help you deal with joint pain, please call us today and schedule an appointment. We don’t want you to experience any type of pain, and as the experts in joint motion and muscle strengthening, we would like to do everything possible to assist you. Our goal is to help you lead a pain-free lifestyle.  

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Treating Neck Pain and Headaches

The Neck and Headache Connection Patients with headaches also commonly complain of neck pain. This relationship is the rule, not the exception and therefore, treatment for headaches must include treatment of the neck to achieve optimum results. The term, “cervicogenic headaches” has been an accepted term because of the intimate connection between the neck and head for many years. There are many anatomical reasons why neck problems result in headaches. Some of these include: The first 3 nerves exiting the spine in the upper neck go directly into the head. They penetrate the muscles at the top of the neck near the attachments to the skull and therefore, any excess pressure on these nerves by the muscles or spinal joints will result in irritation and subsequent pain. The origin or nucleus of the 5th cranial nerve called the Trigeminal, innervates the sensation to the face and is located in the upper cervical region near the origin of the 2nd cervical spinal nerve, which innervates sensation to the back of the head up to the top. Therefore, problems located in the upper neck will often result in pain radiating up from the base of the skull/upper neck over the top of the skull to the eyes and /or face. The 11th cranial nerve that innervates the upper shoulders and muscles in the front of the neck arises from the top 5 to 7 spinal cord levels in the neck. Injury anywhere in the neck can result in spasm and pain in these large muscle groups. Other interconnections between the 2nd cervical nerve and trigeminal/5th cranial nerve include communication with the 7th cranial / facial nerve, the 9th cranial / glossopharyngeal nerve, and the 10th cranial / vagus nerve. These connections can affect facial muscle strength/movements, taste, tongue and throat movements, and stomach complaints such as nausea from these three cranial nerve interconnections, respectively. When patients seek treatment for their headaches, a thorough examination of the neck, upper back, and cranial nerves is routinely performed for the above reasons. It is common to find upper cervical movement and vertebral alignment problems present in patients complaining of headaches. Tender points located between the shoulder blades, along the upper shoulders, on the sides of the neck and particularly, at the base of the skull are commonly found. Pain often radiates from the tender point over the top of the skull when pressure is applied in the upper neck/base of the skull area. Tenderness on the sides of the head, in the temples, over the eyes, and near the jaw joint are also common. Traction or pulling the head to stretch the neck is often quite pain relieving and this is often performed as part of the chiropractic visit and can also be applied at home with the use of a home cervical traction unit. Chiropractic adjustments applied to the fixated or misaligned vertebra in the upper neck often brings very satisfying relief to the headache sufferer. Exercises that promote movement in the neck, as well as strengthening exercises are also helpful in both reducing headache pain and in preventing occurrences, especially with stress or tension headaches. courtesy: Forest Hills Rehabilitation

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