Chiropractic Health: Ask the Doctor

Askdr

While nursing my daughter in bed, I often fall asleep while nursing her. This has resulted in a sore right shoulder and upper arm. It’s fine, unless I bend my arm behind or over my head, and then it really hurts. I’ve noticed that I can’t move my right arm to the same extent as my left arm now.

I’m not sure when weaning will happen; in the meantime, is there something I can do to relieve the pain?

What a great question! This is something that we commonly treat in our office. Being a mom, your body is under ever-changing stress as you learn to handle your growing child and adjust to the weight of carrying or holding a position during feedings.

It sounds like you are dealing with a common myofascial (i.e., muscle and soft tissue) problem that comes from the position you have to hold in order to breastfeed. There are several muscles in the shoulder that can cause pain in the area that you are describing. You most probably have formed “trigger points” in these muscles. Trigger points are hyper-irritable spots that can cause referred pain (in your case to the arm/shoulder); they often arise when the muscle is aggravated due to being overstretched or fatigued, which is most likely the case if you are holding an abnormal sleeping position while feeding your child.

You are quite right that when you wean that will eliminate the basic cause of the problem. However, if not treated prior to weaning the pain may increase and the range of motion in your shoulder decrease due to the continued aggravation of the muscles.  In the worst case you could possibly find yourself experiencing “frozen shoulder,” which would require lengthy rehabilitation to resolve.

Our recommendation to anyone suffering from myofascial pain is to have it evaluated and treated with the electro-acuscope. This is a very effective, non-invasive method of physiotherapy can often resolve these trigger points in 1-3 sessions. It is also safe for use during breastfeeding. More information on the electro-acuscope can be found at http://www.drheshmat.com/html/electro_acuscope.html

We also would recommend a modified position for night-time feedings, so as not to further aggravate the muscles in the shoulder. Some stretches for the muscles affected may also be helpful.

 

My husband is 40, and he has been having neck pains for over 8 months now. An MRI showed an inflamation/deformation of one of the disks (C8) pushing into the nerves. In particular, a nerve going down his left arm to the little finger is irritated, causing intermittent numbing and tingling pains down the left arm (especially caused by certain neck positions).  He is undergoing physical therapy and has been going through a series of ups (reduction of the pain and improvement of head mobility) and downs (worsening of the symptoms, shooting pains down the arm, muscle spasms throughout the back). He is under a daily dose of a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug and has gotten a steroid shot in the shoulder. Could chiropractic care be beneficial?

Your question about your husband benefiting from chiropractic care is a difficult one.  We do see patients on a daily basis with your husband’s symptoms and diagnosis who benefit greatly from treatment. Then again, some patients do not. It is very difficult to say who may or may not benefit on the basis of symptoms alone; however, treatment certainly won’t make his symptoms any worse. There is a good chance chiropractic care can help, and it is definitely worth a try, especially considering the amount of discomfort he is in!

Chiropractic care could help from two angles. The first angle is related to the spine itself, which would fall under “traditional chiropractic care.” Cervical spine manipulation can help decrease the pressure on nerve roots, and this would help alleviate your husband’s symptoms. The second angle is related to the muscle and tissues. A special non-invasive device called the electro-acuscope that treats myofascial (i.e., muscle and tissue) inflammation in and around the areas of pain. Many times areas of injury in the muscles of the neck can even radiate pain into the arms, so it is important to address this aspect in addition to the spinal nerve compression.

The good news is that with the right chiropractic practitioner your husband should be able to feel a difference and know whether chiropractic care will benefit him after three 30-minute treatments.  Treatments are not time-consuming or painful, and could likely help relieve his pain in a lasting way.

 

ABOUT THE DOCTORS

Dr. Alen Heshmat was raised in Los Angeles, California. He attended California State University at Northridge majoring in biology. Combined with his passion for sports and interest in medicine, he quickly found his calling in life. He completed his Bachelors and Doctorate degrees from Cleveland Chiropractic College of Los Angeles.

Dr. Letitia Heshmat was raised in Palo Alto, California and decided to pursue a career in medicine. She attended the University of California at Santa Barbara majoring in biology. She found her passion was in non-invasive medicine with a more integrated approach to healthcare. She obtained her Bachelors of Science in human biology and completed her Doctorate of Chiropractic from Cleveland Chiropractic College of Los Angeles. Dr. Heshmat also completed an additional two years of training under the supervision of Dr. Anthony Moravati, a pioneer in the integration of chiropractic and conventional medicine. Being raised in Palo Alto, she felt her expertise in the electro-acuscope could be beneficial to patients without access to this unique type of care.

“Ask the Doctor” will return again next month. If you have a question you would like to ask anonymously, or if you are a specialist interested in participating in a future “Ask the Doctor” column, please email newsletter@pampclub.org with the subject “Ask the Doctor.” Questions can also be posted anonymously.

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