How chiropractic integrates a children’s song
To quickly identify each of the parts of our body, we have names for them. The importance of being able to designate a specific region of our anatomy is evident in the children’s song, “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” – a song that gets its catchy tune from an adult number, the 1883 Cornish folk song “There is a Tavern in the Town.”
Just as the origins of a preschool song can be unexpected, it often surprises patients when the origin of pain in the head and extremities is the spine. In other words, even if we want to divide up the parts of our body by naming them, we should recognize how they are integrated as part of the same system.
For instance, nerve impingement in your neck (cervical spine) can lead to a headache. Similarly, a subluxation in your lower back (lumbar spine) can result in foot numbness and contribute to joint pain in the knees. This referral of pain into other areas of the body is called radiculopathy or radicular pain.
Nerve compression is not always what’s going on in the body. Sometimes pain is referred from joints and muscles, in which case it’s called sclerotomal pain, a pain condition that is particularly challenging because it doesn’t coincide with a specific nerve path.
The neck’s role in joint and muscle pain
You can feel issues in your neck as a tension headache, which is also called a cervicogenic headache since it arises from nerve compression in the cervical spine.
“In most cases a combination of joint and muscle dysfunction in the neck causes pain to be referred … to the head,” said Pennsylvania chiropractor Kimberly Filipkowski, DC. The neck is also often responsible for pain in the arms. “Patients often confuse cervical radiculopathy and carpel tunnel syndrome,” Dr. Filipkowski added.
Role of pelvis and lower back
The neck is tricky with its potential to contribute to complex pain syndromes, but the lower back can send pain elsewhere as well. Pain that shoots down the back of your legs is often diagnosed as sciatica, but that’s not always what it is. Sciatica stems from sciatic nerve compression in the lumbar spine. Muscle and joint pain in the legs can be referred from dysfunction in the pelvis and lower back, creating similar symptoms to sciatica.
“One pelvic muscle that often does this stretches from the tailbone to the hip [and] is called the piriformis,” said Filipkowski. “[W]e refer to pain generated by this muscle as ‘piriformis syndrome.’”
The right chiropractor
As indicated above, it can be challenging to properly diagnose pain conditions. That’s why your choice of a chiropractor is critical. At Health Star Clinic, chiropractic is part of an integrative team approach designed for faster, more holistic recovery. Get help now!