DiabeticNeuro

What’s Causing My Toes to Become Numb?

What causes numbness in toes

If you’re dealing with numbness in your toes, it can really get you down. It may make it difficult to stay active, cause you to trip and fall, or even make it painful to just walk around.

If foot pain or numbness makes you change the way you walk, it can cause issues like knee pain or back pain. In addition, the loss of feeling can result in foot injuries you might not be aware of.

Sometimes, toe numbness can go away on its own. In other cases, its a symptom of a serious health condition. Here’s what you need to know about the possible causes of toe numbness and what to do about it.

What is Toe Numbness?

Toe numbness describes the loss of feeling in your toes, but it can also involve some related symptoms such as:

  • Tingling
  • Burning
  • A pins-and-needles sensation

The symptoms can sometimes extend upwards to the foot and leg as well. And it may only affect one side of your body or both.

What Causes Numbness in Feet and Toes?

A wide variety of health conditions can cause numbness in feet and toes. The most common causes include:

How is Numbness in Toes Diagnosed?

To start diagnosing the cause of your toe numbness, the doctor will speak with you about your medical history and symptoms. Then they’ll perform a physical examination. That may include testing your sense of feeling in your feet, such as checking your ability to sense temperature.

Depending on what they find, they may use diagnostic tools like MRI and CT scans to check for conditions such as spinal issues or a stroke.

Nerve conduction studies may also be used to check for pinched nerves. This test uses an electric current passing through the nerves to check if the nerve signals are being transmitted normally. 

Treating Chronic Foot Numbness

If your toe numbness doesn’t go away on its own and sticks around for several months, it’s referred to as chronic. There are a number of options for treating chronic foot numbness.

The appropriate treatment will depend on the underlying cause for your toe numbness. But there are also some things you can do to relieve the symptoms and reduce the risk of developing cuts and sores.

  • Wearing soft, thick socks, such as diabetic socks
  • Wearing well-fitting shoes or custom orthotics
  • Checking your feet daily for cuts (use a handheld mirror to check the bottoms of your feet)

FAQs About Numbness in Toes

How do I get rid of numbness in my toes?

There are a number remedies that can help reduce numbness in your toes, including getting better footweare or custom orthotics. But to actually get rid of the numbness for good, you should see a doctor for help identifying the cause.

Is numbness in toes dangerous?

No, having numbness in your toes is not considered dangerous. However, it is sometimes a symptom of a serious condition, so its a good idea to get it checked out. The only real direct danger that comes from numb toes is the risk of falling due to being unable to feel the ground with your feet, and the risk of developing wounds on your feet.

Will numbness in toes go away?

It depends on the cause and the particular case. In some cases, numbness in toes will go away on its own. In other cases, it will go away and return periodically. And sometimes, it sticks around for good and requires treatment to get any improvement. So if you’ve tried simple remedies (like ensuring you have proper shoes) but your toe numbness remains, you should consider getting it checked out.

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Sprain vs Strain: What’s the Difference?

Strain vs sprain which is worse

Sprains and strains are two types of injuries that can affect the soft tissues in your body. They share a number of symptoms, but there are also a few important differences.

The main one is that they affect different soft tissues:

  • Sprains affect ligaments around your joints, which are the bands of tissue that connect your bones to other bones and cartilage.
  • Strains affect muscles or tendons, which are the cords of tissue that connect muscles to bones. 

To help you tell these two injuries apart, get to the bottom of which one you have, and find out how to treat it, let’s take a closer look at sprains vs strains.

What are the Symptoms of Sprains and Strains?

Symptoms of Sprains

Sprains typically occur due to falling, twisting, or other force that causes a joint to move out of its normal range of motion. Some signs of a sprain can include:

  • Commonly occurs in joints such as the wrists, ankles or knees
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Limited movement
  • A popping sensation when the injury occurred
  • Bruising around the joint

Symptoms of Strains

Strains can occur either suddenly or gradually over time. They can be caused by things like running, jumping, or lifting a heavy object. The common symptoms of strains include:

  • Commonly occurs in the legs, back, or feet
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Limited movement
  • Muscle spasms
  • Muscle weakness

Strain vs Sprain: Which is Worse?

As you can see from the symptoms above, sprains and strains are quite similar. In addition, many of the same treatments are used to heal both issues. 

So neither of these injuries is necessarily worse than the other. Much more important is the severity of the injury. That’s because both sprains and strains can range from mild to severe. In mild cases, your soft tissues may be overstretched or twisted, while in severe cases these tissues can be completely torn.

Mild sprains and strains can heal in as little as two days and are often treated with rest and ice packs. But severe cases can take months to recover from and may require treatment such as physiotherapy or even surgery.

When to See a Doctor

There are a few symptoms to look for that are signs that your strain or sprain is not likely to heal on its own and will require treatment:

  • The pain and swelling increases over time
  • Difficulty standing or walking without pain
  • Limited movement
  • Numbness
  • Fever
  • A deformity of the joint

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should see a doctor. Treatments such as physiotherapy can speed up your recovery, reduce the risk for complications, and keep the problem from coming back. 

Prevention of Strains and Sprains

There are a number of measures you can take to reduce your risk for these injuries:

Sprain vs Strain FAQs

How long does it take for a sprain or strain to heal?

It depends on the severity of the injury. It can take as little as a couple of days up to several months. But getting treatment such as physiotherapy can speed up your healing time, increase the likelihood of a full recovery, and prevent the injury from reoccurring.

Do sprains heal on their own?

Mild sprains can heal on their own with simple rest. For moderate to severe cases, treatment may be required. The treatment may be as simple as getting an exercise plan from a physiotherapist, or in the most severe cases, surgery may be required.

Is it OK to walk on a sprained ankle?

The primary treatment for mild sprains is rest, so you should avoid walking on a sprained ankle if possible, especially during the first 24-48 hours. If you can’t avoid walking, you should consider protecting the injury with an ankle brace.

After 48 hours, and if any swelling has subsided, you can start gradually putting weight on the ankle again.

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Dealing With Chronic Heel Pain? Here Are Some Ways You Can Get The Pain Under Control

Chronic heel pain

Heel pain can interfere with your ability to exercise or even just get around. If it doesn’t go away on its own, you may need professional treatment to deal with it.

There are a number of possible causes and even more options for treatment. Here is what you need to know about what causes heel pain and how to manage it.

Chronic Heel Pain Causes

One of the most common causes of heel pain is plantar fasciitis. This is an inflammation of the tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot. One way to help identify it is that the heel pain will be on the bottom of the heel and tends to be at its worst during your first few steps in the morning.

Another common cause of heel pain is Achilles tendinitis. This condition involves inflammation of the Achilles tendon, which runs down your lower leg to your heel. Similar to plantar fasciitis, the pain tends to be at its worst in the morning, but the pain will focus on the back of the heel.

Some other possible causes for heel pain include:

Relieving Chronic Heel Pain

To get some relief from your heel pain, there are some simple remedies you can try. 

  • Give it a rest: Try to avoid activities that put excess strain on your heels, such as running or standing for long periods.
  • Apply ice: Put an ice pack on your heel for up to 20 minutes at a time, three times daily.
  • Take an Aspirin: Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs are effective at relieving the most common forms of heel pain.

Chronic Heel Pain Treatment

While sometimes heel pain can go away on its own or with the simple remedies listed above, other times it can be more stubborn. If you’ve been dealing with heel pain for several weeks or longer, it may be a sign of an issue that needs treatment. 

In those cases, getting professional help is the best way to uncover the cause of your heel pain, solve it, and prevent it from coming back.

Some of the options for treatment include:

Prevention of Chronic Heel and Foot Pain

Once you get some relief from your heel pain, you’ll probably want to know everything you can do to keep it from coming back. Here are some tips:

  • Ensure your footwear fits properly, replace your shoes before the cushioning wears out, and consider getting some orthotic insoles.
  • Lose excess body weight to reduce the amount of stress on your heels.
  • Take the time to properly stretch and warm-up before exercise.

Dealing With Chronic Heel Pain? Here Are Some Ways You Can Get The Pain Under Control – FAQs

What does it mean when your heels hurt all the time?

There are many possible causes for heel pain. The only way to know for sure what caused it is to visit a doctor. 

Is heel pain a sign of cancer?

Yes, in rare cases, heel pain can be a sign of cancer. That’s because cancer can sometimes cause a painful lesion on the heel bone. However, there are many other causes for heel pain that are much more likely. See a health care professional for a thorough analysis of your pain.

When should you see a doctor for heel pain?

There are a few symptoms that can be signs that your heel pain is caused by a serious health condition and is not going to go away on its own. If you have any of these symptoms, you should see doctor:

  • Severe pain and swelling
  • Severe pain following an injury
  • Fever
  • Being unable to walk normally
  • Being unable to bend your foot downward or rise up on your toes
What’s Causing My Fingers to Become Numb?

What’s Causing My Fingers to Become Numb?

If you are dealing with numbness in your fingers, it can make even the simplest of tasks seem difficult. The loss of feeling in your fingers may prevent you from doing anything that requires a light touch or precision, such as using cutlery or signing your name.

But numbness in fingers is more than just an irritation. It can actually be a sign of a variety of health conditions. So to help you uncover the source of your finger numbness, we are going to look at some of the most common causes and what you can do about them.

What is Finger Numbness?

Finger numbness refers to the loss of feeling in your fingers. It can also involve a number of related symptoms affecting your fingers including:

  • Burning
  • Tingling
  • A pins-and-needles sensation
  • Weakness
  • A feeling of clumsiness

Causes of Finger Numbness

There are many possible causes of numbness in fingers. Here are some of the most common causes and the additional symptoms that will help you figure out the source of your finger numbness.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a repetitive strain injury. It occurs when repetitive motions or overuse causes a nerve in your wrist to get pinched or obstructed.

  • Numbness usually affects the thumb, index finger, and middle finger

Cervical Radiculopathy

Cervical radiculopathy involves the inflammation or compression of a nerve root in your neck. It’s commonly caused by a spinal issue such as a bone spur or herniated disc resulting from an injury or aging-related changes.

  • Numbness and weakness may also affect the shoulder, arm, and hand

Diabetes

Diabetes affects your body’s ability to regulate your blood sugar levels. Blood sugar is an essential source of energy for many systems in your body, which is why diabetes causes a wide range of symptoms.

  • Numbness, pain, and tingling may also affect the feet
  • Increased thirst and hunger
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Frequent urination
  • Cuts and bruises take a long time to heal

Raynaud’s Disease

Raynaud’s disease is a condition where blood flow to certain areas of your body is periodically restricted. It’s caused by a dysfunction in your blood vessels that cause episodes of numbness that can last from a few minutes up to several hours. Sometimes these episodes can be triggered by stress or cold temperatures.

  • Numbness may also affect the toes, ears, or nose.
  • Affected areas turn white and feel ice cold.
  • When numbness goes away, the affected areas throb and turn red.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder, which means it involves your immune system attacking your own body. In RA, the immune system attacks the joints, and it can cause numbness in fingers and hands. The exact causes of the condition are unknown.

  • Joint tenderness
  • Joint pain
  • Joint swelling 

Ulnar Nerve Entrapment

Ulnar nerve entrapment happens when a nerve in your arm gets irritated or compressed. Most often, the compression happens behind the inside of your elbow. It can be caused by an injury, overuse, or even just leaning on your elbow for long periods.

  • Numbness in fingers tends to affect the pinkie fingers and ring fingers.

How to Treat Finger Numbness

There are many options for treatment when it comes to finger numbness:

  • Rest the hand and wrist
  • Apply ice to the affected area
  • Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs like Advil
  • Hand therapy is a specialized type of physiotherapy that can resolve many conditions affecting the hand and arm.
  • Functional braces or splints can keep your wrist or elbow in a natural position to avoid aggravating the condition.
  • Chiropractic care or massage therapy can help solve nerve issues
  • Acupuncture can relieve symptoms, stimulate circulation, and promote healing

Can Exercise Help With Finger Numbness?

Depending on the cause of your finger numbness, exercises and stretches may help. However, if the cause of your finger numbness is a repetitive strain injury, doing the wrong exercise could make matters worse.

To get the best results, you should consider getting help from a physiotherapist. They can identify the cause of finger numbness, determine if exercise and stretching will help, and then guide you through the process. They can also provide a plan to prevent the issue from returning.

Numbness in Fingers FAQs

What causes numbness in tips of fingers?

Finger numbness can have many causes, whether it affects just the tips of your fingers or your whole hand. However, if you experience additional symptoms, or numbness only in specific fingers, it can help you identify if you have one of the conditions listed above.

How do I get rid of numbness in my fingers?

The best treatment to resolve numbness in fingers depends on what caused it. The first step is seeing your doctor to get a diagnosis. But there are a few things you can do to relieve your symptoms. This includes resting your hand and wrist, applying ice, and taking anti-inflammatories.

Are numb fingers a sign of diabetes?

Yes, numb fingers can be a symptom of diabetes. But diabetes also causes a range of other symptoms that can help you identify it. For instance, it causes circulation problems throughout the body, so the numbness will likely affect your feet as well. Some other symptoms of diabetes include fatigue, blurred vision, and extreme hunger.

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Simple Ways to relieve Stress and improve your Mental Health

Stress is a normal part of everyday life. Everyone experiences stress, but it’s not always a bad thing. For example, when you’re preparing for a job interview, some stress can be expected and it can sometimes motivate you to perform well.

However, stress is a problem when it becomes constant or overwhelming. It can cause changes in your body that negatively affect your immune system, sleeping habits, mental health, and more. 

This leads to symptoms like anger, sadness, anxiety, irritability, headaches, and sleeplessness. Over time, stress can contribute to serious health conditions such as high blood pressure and heart disease. Some people even experience stress rashes and hives.

Thankfully, there are a lot of techniques for helping you deal with stress. They range from simple mental exercises to guidelines for managing your daily schedule. The wide range of methods available means that you should be able to find options that will work for you in different situations. 

 Here are some effective coping techniques for overcoming stress:

Take a Breather

Controlling your breathing is one of the easiest ways you can calm your body and feel more relaxed. It’s also a technique you can do wherever you may be—whether it’s the office, in traffic, at home or outdoors. There are several different breathing methods you can try, but a simple one to start is to just focus on taking slow, deep breaths. Breathe in through your nose while slowly counting to three, hold it for one second, and then slowly exhale while counting to three again. Go ahead and try it right now while you read this. 

Meditate On It

Meditation involves focusing your attention and blocking out all your nagging thoughts. Besides relieving stress, meditation has been shown to help alleviate symptoms of a range of conditions, from chronic pain to asthma.

There are many different types of meditation, but the one that most people are familiar with is mantra meditation. This method involves closing your eyes, choosing a calming word or phrase, and then repeating it in your mind. The mantra gives you something to focus your attention on while avoiding distracting thoughts. Among meditation’s many benefits, it can retrain your mind to be better focused and block out unwanted and anxious thoughts.

Hug a Loved One

This tip may sound silly or simple, but you may not realize just how beneficial hugging can be. Research shows that a simple caring touch from a loved one can make a real impact on your health. That’s because it releases oxytocin, which causes relaxation, lowers blood pressure, and results in a decrease in stress hormone levels such as cortisol.

Shorten Your To-Do List

Setting goals and priorities is a good thing. It can help you stay on top of your responsibilities and can give you a sense of accomplishment. But your to-do list can also be a major contributor to your stress when it becomes unmanageable. So whittle down that list of tasks so it’s more realistic.

To help guide you, start keeping track of how often you are able to complete everything on your daily agenda. Then start making adjustments until it becomes the norm.

Talk it Out

When you’re dealing with stress on your own, every little problem can seem worse than it actually is. In this way, your distorted perception of problems can contribute to your stress. 

But speaking to someone you trust, like your family or friends can help you get some perspective. By helping you see things from another point of view, you may realize that an issue that was stressing you out was not as bad as you thought. Talking with others can also give you more confidence to deal with situations by receiving helpful feedback.

Get Help From an Expert

Mental health professionals like counsellors and therapists are experts at stress management. Besides knowing the different techniques, they understand how to help you use them properly and find the best solutions for you.

Getting expert help may be easier than you think, and wellness clinics such as Activa Clinics, help with assessing your specific needs and creating a treatment plan customized for your needs. 

Don’t Ignore It

Remember, stress is normal, but being overwhelmed by it isn’t. You shouldn’t learn to live with chronic stress as part of your daily routine. It can seriously impact your mental state and overall health. But with some simple techniques and a little help, you can overcome it.

Contact us to book an appointment if your stress is causing anxiety or depression issues.

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Is Back pain Linked to Causing Headaches?

New Research Reveals the Back Pain/Headache Connection

Back pain and headaches often go hand in hand. There have long been theories about how the two conditions are related. But the latest research reveals that the connection may be stronger than anyone thought.

It shows that if you suffer from one of these issues, it doubles your risk for developing the other one. 

These findings could change the approach to treating these conditions and help get relief for people who suffer from them.

The Study

The research was published in the Journal of Headache and Pain. Here are some highlights:

  • It studied the link between chronic headaches and persistent low back pain.
  • Researchers reviewed 14 existing studies.
  • The studies had sample sizes ranging up to 400,000 people.
  • Every study they reviewed suggested there’s a connection.
  • The connection is even stronger for people who suffer from migraines.

How Are They Linked?

It’s still unclear exactly how the two issues are connected. But there are a few theories.

Pain Signals

One possibility is that it’s related to how people feel pain differently. Researchers say that genetic differences in how pain is signalled could mean that some people are just more likely to feel pain from these conditions and to be more sensitive to it.

The Vicious Cycle

Another explanation is based on psychology. It says that chronic pain can lead to a vicious cycle. That’s because pain can cause mental health issues which then increase your sensitivity to pain. So as your pain worsens, so does your mental state, and vice versa. This cycle increases your chances of ending up with both conditions. 

Underlying Issues

And for some people, the cause may be an underlying health issue that leads to both headaches and back pain. That can include things like poor posture, vitamin deficiencies, injuries, and certain diseases.

What Does This Mean for Treatment?

The findings highlight the importance of taking a whole-body approach to health care. It shows that the old-school philosophy of treating these conditions separately is not the most effective solution.

According to the researchers, combined treatment is the answer. They say that whenever a doctor is treating one of these issues, they need to ask about the other and tailor the treatment accordingly.

Chiropractic Can Help

You probably know that chiropractors are experts at treating back pain. But chiropractic care has also been proven as an effective treatment for chronic headaches.

That’s because the adjustments and spinal manipulations that chiropractors perform can alleviate stress on many areas of your body—including the nerves and muscles that cause headaches.

Chiropractors also have the training to provide advice for relieving both back pain and headaches. That includes recommendations on posture, ergonomics, nutrition, exercises, stretches, and relaxation techniques.

Take a Whole-Body Approach

The adjustments and advice chiropractors can provide make them a great starting point for your treatment. But you shouldn’t stop there. You should talk to your healthcare providers about creating a whole-body treatment plan. Since your health issues can often be connected or come from sources you might not expect, this is the best way to uncover the root causes and ensure they don’t return.

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Heart attack symptoms and first aid

Believe it or not, there are about 2.4 million Canadian adults living with diagnosed heart disease. That means they have a buildup of plaque in their arteries that makes them more likely to suffer a heart attack.

With that kind of prevalence, it’s a good idea to learn how to spot the signs of a heart attack, what to do when one strikes, and how to prevent heart attacks before they happen.

How to spot a heart attack

A man having heart attack

If you’re in an emergency situation where you think someone is having a heart attack, it’s tough not to panic. In those hectic moments, one way to know what heart attack symptoms to look for is to remember “the four P’s”:

Pain

  • Squeezing chest pain
  • Pain that spreads to the jaw, neck, or arms
  • Back pain (happens more commonly in women)

Paleness

  • The skin may be paler than normal and may even go bluish

Pulse

  • The pulse can be both rapid and weak

Perspiration

  • The skin may be cold and sweaty

Other possible symptoms

While the four P’s are a good starting point, the possible signs of a heart attack don’t end there. They can also include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Light-headedness 

Soft signs

To make matters even more complicated, some people only experience “soft signs” of a heart attack. These soft signs are more common in the elderly, women, and people with diabetes.

  • Mild chest discomfort (it may come and go, lessen with rest, or gradually get worse)
  • Fatigue
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Gastric discomfort

What to do

If you or someone you’re with is having a heart attack, here are the steps you should take:

Call 911

A Phone Calling 911

When calling 911, you should try to stay calm, speak clearly, and listen carefully. Also, be ready to provide any necessary location information like the address and nearest intersection. Also, stay on the line until the call taker says it’s ok to hang up.

If you need to ask someone to call 911 for you, ask them to let you know once the ambulance is on the way. This ensures you’re not left wondering whether help is coming.

Here are a few more helpful tips for making a 911 call

Position

Have the person sit on the floor with their back leaning against a wall with their knees bent. This is the best position because it can relieve pressure on the heart, and also helps prevent injury in case the person collapses.

Give them an aspirin

Something you can do for first aid, in some cases, giving the person having a heart attack an aspirin can stop a heart attack in its tracks. It does that by dissolving blood clots in the arteries. You can use a plain, normal-strength aspirin and ask the person to chew it, as that’s the quickest way to get it into the bloodstream.

If possible, you should avoid aspirins that are enteric-coated (those are the smooth, colored ones often labeled as “safety coated”) because they take longer for the body to absorb. Also, make sure the person is not allergic to aspirin.

Perform CPR

If the person collapses and becomes unresponsive, you should begin CPR until help can arrive.

According to the Canadian Red Cross, if you don’t have any CPR training, a compression-only method is acceptable. That’s because unless you’re dealing with a child, or an adult who’s suffering a respiratory issue (like drowning or an asthma attack), there’s already enough oxygen in their blood.

That means you don’t have to remember the ratio of breaths to chest compressions, you can simply start pushing hard and fast in the center of the chest. To get the right speed (about 100 compressions a minute) you can do it to the beat of the song Stayin’ Alive.

Use an AED

Many buildings now have automatic external defibrillators (AED) that offer the best chance of saving someone from cardiac arrest (which means the heart stops beating). And with their automated voice directions, you don’t have to remember anything, just follow the instructions.

What causes heart attacks?

Now that you know some ways to spot a heart attack and what to do about it, let’s look at what causes them and how to prevent them before they happen.

A heart attack occurs when blood flow to one section of the heart gets cut off (usually by a blood clot) and that section of the heart begins to die.

Having a buildup of plaque in the heart’s arteries makes these blockages much more likely. But there are many things you can do to improve heart health and reduce your risks.

Maintain a healthy weight

There are some weight loss programs that make it easier to lose weight. They do that by solving imbalances such as hormonal issues that contribute to unhealthy eating and weight gain. When combined with regular exercise, these programs can help you achieve a healthy weight and keep the excess pounds off.

Quit smoking

A pair of hands breaking a cigarette in half.
Our Smoking Cessation Programs make quitting easier by combining a range of therapies.

It may seem like an insurmountable challenge if you’re a long-time smoker. But people tend to be more successful when they seek out some help to drop the habit. So consider looking into a smoking cessation program or talking to your doctor about the prescription options.

Get cardiac rehab

If you have a number of risk factors for heart attack, or have already been diagnosed with some form of heart disease, a cardiac rehabilitation program can help. These are customized programs that can involve an exercise plan, nutritional consultation, education, and more. Because they are tailored to patients with heart issues, they ensure that the exercise is always kept at a safe level of intensity, and is designed to help you get the most out of your efforts.

Man Experiencing Neck Pain

Relieve your Neck Pain with these Techniques

Neck pain is a common issue. That’s not surprising when you consider how much time most people spend hunched over a desk, a smartphone, or a steering wheel.

It’s often caused by a strain in the neck muscles due to poor posture. However, there are many types of pain that can affect your neck, and there are even more possible causes.

Sometimes it’s a sign of an injury or serious condition and will need medical attention. Other times it’s normal, such as a dull pain at the end of a long workday. This guide will help you tell the difference between the two, and teach you some simple techniques to get neck pain relief.

When to see a pro

Woman Seeing a Neck Pain Specialist

When you’re wondering if you need professional help for your neck pain, here are some signs to look out for.

  • The pain started after an injury
  • The pain lasts more than a week
  • The pain is severe
  • The pain prevents you from performing your normal activities
  • The pain is accompanied by other symptoms like headache, weakness, and pain spreading to other areas

These symptoms show that your neck pain might be caused by more serious conditions like a pinched nerve, herniated disc, or arthritis—and that you should seek help. There are many options when it comes to getting treatment from a medical professional. Physiotherapists, chiropractors, and massage therapists are just some examples of the healthcare providers who are experts at dealing with neck pain.

On the other hand, if it seems like your dealing with a run-of-the-mill muscle strain, here are some simple neck pain remedies that you can do yourself.

Stretch it out

Here are a few simple stretches you can do pretty much anywhere, including while seated at your desk or in the car. When stretching, keep your moves slow and smooth, and stop once you start to feel the stretch. In other words, avoid pushing it too far!

  • Touch your ear to your shoulder ten times on each side.
  • Roll your shoulders in a circular motion, six times forward, then six times backward.
  • Lower your chin towards your chest, and hold for about 20-30 seconds, then slowly raise it back up.
  • Tilt your chin up towards the ceiling and hold for about 10 seconds, then slowly lower it back down.

Cool it off, heat it up

Applying ice to your sore neck can act as an anti-inflammatory. It reduces both pain and swelling. On the other hand, heat is useful for relaxing stiff muscles.

One thing to keep in mind is you shouldn’t use heat continuously, as that can increase swelling. So if you’re using heat, apply it for 20 minutes at a time and take breaks, or alternate between heat and ice.

Sleep well

Woman Sleeping With A Support Pillow

Getting enough sleep is important for so many aspects of your health, and neck pain is no different. Proper sleep is an essential part of the healing process, and when you don’t get enough sleep it can actually make your neck pain worse. This can lead to a vicious cycle where your painful neck prevents you from sleeping, and your lack of sleep makes your neck worse.

One way to break the cycle is to get yourself a cervical neck pillow. These pillows are specially designed to properly support your neck. They keep your neck and spine in a neutral position which will help with healing. Having your neck properly supported is also very comfortable, so a good cervical pillow will help you get to sleep.

And one more tip when it comes to sleep is to avoid sleeping on your stomach. This is the worst sleeping position for your neck as it causes you to have your head turned to the side for hours at a time. If you’re a long-time stomach sleeper, it can be difficult to change that habit, but you should give it a shot. Try sleeping on your back or side, because either one is better than stomach sleeping.

When in doubt, get checked out

If you’re not sure if your pain is caused by normal strain or an injury, its best to play it safe and get it checked out. That’s because even minor injuries can become more serious if they’re left untreated.

On top of that, the neck is particularly vulnerable to injuries. That’s because it has to be flexible to allow a wide range of motion, but it also has to support the weight of your head. It’s all held up by seven small bones stacked from the top of your shoulders to the base of your skull. Those bones also act as a housing for the spinal cord and arteries that carry blood to your brain.

It is arguably one of the body’s most complicated areas, with the many important nerves, blood vessels, and joints all together in one small space. So you should take good care of it. If you have any suspicion that you’ve been injured, have a professional take a look.

neck pain from computer

Avoiding Repetitive Strain Injuries

When you hear the term “workplace injury”, what probably comes to mind is a job that involves some obvious safety hazards like working with heavy equipment. It’s easy to forget that simply using a computer can put you at a real risk of injury.

Repetitive strain injuries (RSI) such as carpal tunnel syndrome are common among workers who use computers. These injuries typically involve pain in your hands, wrists, arms, shoulders, or neck. 

They’re the result of repetitive motions and overuse that gradually damage your muscles, nerves, and tendons. Once you get an RSI, it can be very painful to perform even simple actions like clicking a mouse.

One way to prevent an RSI is to avoid repetitive tasks. But when you have to use a computer to perform your job, avoiding those tasks is not an option. So here are some ways you can reduce your risk of injury:

Take Regular Breaks

A man running.
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Taking regular breaks is one of the simplest and easiest ways to reduce your risk of suffering an injury from repetitive strain. Frequent short breaks are better than one long one, so you may be able to split up your existing breaks into smaller chunks. That means you won’t have to reduce your workflow.

If possible, you should stand up and walk around during your breaks. Remember that the important part is taking a break from using your computer, so there’s nothing stopping you from performing other tasks. For example, getting up to go to the printer or photocopier can count as a break.

Improve Your Posture

Remember the advice your parents gave you about not slouching? They were right. Having proper posture will reduce your risk and make you more comfortable as you work.

Besides avoiding slouching, you should avoid bending the wrists. So adjust your chair so you can use your keyboard while keeping your arms and wrists straight and level with the floor.

To avoid straining your neck, ensure your computer screen is straight in front of you and the top of the screen is at eye-level. Your keyboard should also be directly in front of you with enough space at the front (about six inches) to rest your wrists when you’re not typing.

Another tip is to keep your mouse as close to you as possible. This will help you avoid leaning forward and reaching as you work.

Use Ergonomic Equipment

a man having wrist pain

There is a range of ergonomically-designed equipment that can reduce your risk when using a computer. That includes keyboard and mouse wrist mats that help you keep your wrists straight. Headsets can also be a big help if you need to talk on the phone while typing, as they eliminate the need to squeeze a phone between your head and shoulder.

There is also software to help you work more comfortably. For example, speech-to-text software can help by minimizing the need to type. And there’s free software that allows you to use your mouse without clicking. It works by automatically clicking for you when you hover the cursor for a set amount of time.

Get Help From a Physiotherapist

Physiotherapists are experts at preventing these types of injuries. They can use manual therapy, exercise programs, and other treatments that will improve your flexibility, endurance, and resilience to RSI. 

With their understanding of biomechanics, physiotherapists can also analyze your posture and the way you perform repetitive tasks to make recommendations on how to improve. And if you are suffering from an RSI, physiotherapy is one of the best ways to relieve pain, restore your range of motion, and speed up the healing process.

Woman with Plantar Fasciitis

Don’t Let Plantar Fasciitis Stop You in Your Tracks

If you follow sports news, you probably know that plantar fasciitis is a common injury. Often there are stories about professional athletes being sidelined for weeks because of it. For some, the injury causes pain that lasts for months or even years.

So if you live an active lifestyle and want to keep it that way, it’s a good idea to take some preventative measures.

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar Fasciitis

This injury affects the plantar fascia. That’s the tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot from your toes to your heel bone. Normally, that tissue behaves like a shock absorber and supports the arch of your foot.

The injury is caused by too much tension and stress leading to small tears in that tissue. Because it’s related to stress and overuse, it’s common among runners and athletes in high-impact sports.

But you don’t have to be running marathons to get plantar fasciitis. Sometimes, just wearing shoes that don’t provide proper support can be enough to cause it. In fact, plantar fasciitis is among the most common causes of heel pain.

What Does it Feel Like?

The symptoms typically involve stabbing pain near the heel, which is at its worst with your first steps in the morning. And the pain tends to intensify after exercise rather than during it.

How to Prevent or Heal It

Whether you’re being proactive to avoid an injury, or have already felt the pain of plantar fasciitis, here are a few things that can help:

Stretch it Out

  • Toe stretches: Sit in a chair and cross one leg over the other. Then grab hold of all your toes and gently pull them up towards you.
  • Calf stretches: Stand near a wall with one foot in front of the other, then lean towards the wall while keeping your back knee straight and your heel on the ground.
  • Towel curls: Lay a hand towel on a smooth floor, then sit in a chair and put one foot on it. Then, using only your toes, scrunch the towel towards you bit by bit.

Go Low Impact

High-impact activities like running and jumping put stress on the plantar fascia. So, focusing more on low-impact exercise is a great way to stay active while avoiding heel pain. Some good examples include swimming, cycling, rowing, and elliptical.

Get a Foot Massage

Foot Massage

Some runners swear by massage as a way to relieve the pain of plantar fasciitis. There are methods that make it easy to do yourself, such as sitting in a chair and using your foot to roll a hard, round object (like a bottle or a ball) back and forth.

But a massage therapist can do a better job. Through treatments like deep tissue massage, they can relieve soft tissue strains, improve circulation to the injury, and help you heal quicker.

Get Some Support

Getting some good orthotic inserts or orthotic shoes can make a world of difference. Firstly, by providing proper support and cushioning, they can provide some immediate relief from pain. Secondly, orthotics will take the stress off your plantar fascia, helping you to heal quicker.

In addition, when you’re suffering from heel pain, it can cause you to change your walking style as you try to accommodate it. This can lead to issues in other areas of the body, by putting added stress on your knees and hips for example. But orthotics avoid this problem by accommodating for your pain while keeping you moving naturally.

The most important thing is to make sure you get your orthotics custom made because the ones you can buy off-the-shelf can actually make matters worse. That’s because they’re a one-size-fits-all solution, in contrast to custom orthotics which take into account your unique issues and needs.

To design custom orthotics, a specialist will assess your injury, the shape of your feet, and the way you move. They’ll also take an impression of your feet to ensure your orthotics are perfectly tailored to you.

Start Living Pain Free

Now that you know some of the ways to prevent plantar fasciitis and relieve foot pain, it’s time to put them into action. Try out the methods above and you’ll see how easy it can be to leave foot pain behind you.