What links the symptoms..?

Here comes one of the really fun bits about being a Chiropractor. I’m often told something like:

‘I’ve got a stabbing pain under my shoulder blade, by neck’s stiff, my back’s been dodgy for years, I get occasional pins & needles in my hand (just on one side), and I’ve been getting more headaches recently, oh and my jaw’s gone clicky. But I don’t think these things are related to each other, and I haven’t had an injury.’

As a Chiropractor the question for me is ‘why?’

Why would all this stuff just start up, with no apparent cause or injury? Once you can answer that then you’ll know how the symptoms started and what can be done to fix it. Time for the Sherlock bit.

Experience tells me that, more often than not, symptoms relate to one another, and often there is a single ‘root cause’ behind all of it.

So using the above example:

  • Pins and needles is a sensation caused by a compressed nerve (not lack of blood flow as we somethings assume)
  • The nerve that goes to the hand starts in the neck
  • The same irritated nerve passes by the shoulder blade, where the muscles have tightened
  • Most headaches begin with neck stiffness and muscle tightness
  • A stiff joint and tight muscle at the top of the neck can create tension at the hinge of the jaw
  • General neck stiffness is usually a result of poor posture, especially using phones and tech, but there’s usually another factor involved to push it over the threshold to cause pain
  • Has the neck tightened more easily because of tension working up from the low back – which has been problematic for years?

This sort of detective work allows a really specific treatment plan to be made. The symptoms can be treated. And the cause of the symptoms can be treated. And the related issues of posture and structural imbalances can be treated.

Moreover, when the symptoms, the condition, the mechanics, the lifestyle, the postural imbalances are all understood, then the plan can be altered and adapted with time and with progress.

5 years of undergraduate training, and further compulsory postgraduate continued professional training, make most Chiropractors pretty good detectives!