While travelling this past week, I was pleasantly surprised to hear my favorite podcast covering the story of a young woman with a medical mystery that was then helped by chiropractic.
Listen to the podcast first, then read on for more.
Hope you enjoy!
Podcast #42 Blindspot – Reply All, Gimlet Media
So, what did you think? Were any of you repetitively telling the podcast to go see a Chiropractor as you were listening to this?? Just me? Feel bad for my hubby who had to listen to me talk through this podcast and then rant for about 20 minutes afterwards on how I couldn’t believe the reporters didn’t interview the Chiropractor and ended the podcast still not fully understanding what SCM syndrome is and how it can be treated with chiropractic care.
The podcast didn’t explain what SCM syndrome is or why it can successfully be treated with Chiropractic care so I thought I would.
Sternocleidomastoid syndrome is the myofascial dysfunction of the SCM muscle that results in active trigger points that can refer pain along the head, face, and around the ear. These trigger points are typically a result of biomechanical dysfunction in the neck, upper back and shoulder girdle region that includes postural dysfunction and segmental spinal joint dysfunction.
The sternocleidomastoid muscle is an anterior neck muscle that flexes the head to the side and rotates the head. It consists of two branches that attach from the head (behind the jaw) to the sternum and to the clavicle. Myofascial dysfunction of this muscle can result in active trigger points (“knots”) that can refer pain to other areas of the body. Trigger points of the SCM can refer pain to areas of the head, face, and around the ears. These trigger points can also affect the musculature of the eyes resulting in dropping eyelids, twitches, or blurry vision, to name a few. The SCM also plays an important role in proprioception (via the cervical vertebrae C2 and C3), meaning it relays a lot of sensory information letting the body know where it is at in space; dysfunction of this area can lead to symptoms such as disequilibrium, vertigo, dizziness and nausea.
SCM trigger points can occur as a result of biomechanical dysfunction of the neck, upper back, and shoulder region. Abnormal posture (forward head and rounded shoulders), dysfunctional muscle movement patterns, and spinal and joint fixation all can cause and contribute to this cascade of symptoms. Treatment of this syndrome involves myofascial (soft tissue) therapy to reduce the active trigger points and pain; Chiropractic adjustments/manipulations to reduce pain and restore proper muscle function and movement patterns; therapeutic stretches and exercises to correct posture and movement patterns.
Chiropractors are well educated and trained in the diagnosis of neuromusculoskeletal conditions. Chiropractors utilize the patients reported symptoms (history), a physical examination diagnostic tests and imaging to help make these diagnoses. Chiropractic manipulation is a manual therapy treatment that uses a physical force to help restore mobility and function of spinal segments and extremity joints; because we are using a physical force we always want to properly diagnosis a condition and discern a biomechanical condition from a pathological condition so that the patient can get the appropriate treatment they need to get better, whether that is included chiropractic or requires a different medical intervention.
- Missaghi, B. Sternocleidomastoid syndrome: a case study. J Can Chiropr Assoc. 2004 Sep; 48(3): 201–205. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1769463/
- Murphy, D. The Strenocleidomastoid Syndrome. Dynamic Chiropractic. April 12, 1991, Vol. 09, Issue 08. http://www.dynamicchiropractic.com/mpacms/dc/article.php?id=44247