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Rotator Cuff

Recovering from Rotator Cuff Injuries

A rotator cuff tear is a common cause of pain and disability among adults. Over 2 million people a year report rotator cuff injuries. This injury most often occurs in people who repeatedly perform overhead motions, progressive degeneration, wear and tear of the tendon tissue, family history (a common occurrence in some families), and heavy lifting over an extended period of time.  Rotator cuff injuries have the risk of increasing with age. Many people recover from rotator cuff injuries with Physical Therapy exercises that increase the strength of the muscles surrounding the shoulder joint and to improve flexibility. There are occasions that the rotator cuff tear can result from a single injury. This should be addressed immediately. Extensive tears may require surgery, but with early intervention and strengthening the muscles with therapy, you have a great chance of avoiding surgery.  The two types of rotator cuff injuries are acute tears that result when you fall on your outstretched arm or lift something too heavy and/or degenerative tears that result as a wearing down of the tendon. Degenerative tears usually occur in your dominant arm, and there is a likelihood of this injury being in your opposite shoulder even if you don’t experience pain.

Prevention is key to any injury, but daily shoulder stretches and strengthening exercises can help prevent future injury of the rotator cuff.  The issue with preventative care is that people tend to resort to their exercises when they are in pain. It is imperative that stretching and strengthening is done every day at home and not only when you are at the therapy office.  Physical Therapy will help alleviate the pain, and your therapist will work with a variety of modalities while you are in the office, but you must continue your plan of care to achieve optimal results and be pain and surgery free. Keeping your shoulder immobilized (without movement) for prolonged periods of time can lead to the thickening and tightening of the the connective tissue causing further complications (frozen shoulder).  It is important to not only strengthen and exercise the front muscles, but you must work the entire shoulder area, front and back, to get and keep your muscles balanced.

 

Anatomy Of An Injury

Your shoulder is made up of three bones:  your upper arm bone, your shoulder blade, and your collarbone.  The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint. The ball of your upper arm fits into the socket of your shoulder blade.  Your arm is kept in this socket by your rotator cuff. The rotator cuff consists of four muscles and their tendons that stabilize the shoulder.   Your shoulders allow you to do many things that are taken for granted: lifting your arms above your head, combing your hair, playing catch, swimming… just to name a few.  There is also a sac called a bursa that allows your arm to move freely. When the rotator cuff is injured or damaged, the bursa becomes inflamed and painful.

Symptoms of a rotator cuff injury are as follows:

  • Increased pain when you move your shoulder away from your body
  • Pain that spreads down your arm and even into your elbow
  • Difficulty lifting your arm above your shoulder
  • Difficulty holding your arm up for extended periods of time
  • Pain when performing simple tasks such as combing your hair
  • A clicking or crackling sensation when moving the shoulder
  • Increased pain and stiffness with tenderness in the inflamed area of the shoulder
  • Disturbed sleep, especially if you lie on the affected side
  • Arm weakness

 

Non-Surgical Options

Physical Therapy improves strength, flexibility, and function.  Therapy will help alleviate some of the pain, and your therapist will work with you with a variety of modalities while you are in the office, but you must continue your plan of care to achieve optimal results and be pain and surgery free.  Keeping your shoulder immobilized (without movement) for prolonged periods of time can lead to the thickening and tightening of the the connective tissue causing further complications (frozen shoulder). It is important to not only strengthen and exercise the front muscles, but you must work the entire shoulder area, front and back, to get and keep your muscles balanced.  It is imperative that stretching and strengthening is done every day at home and not only when you are at the therapy office.

Rest and ice help decrease pain and inflammation and give the torn tendons time to heal.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications to decrease inflammation and pain.

 

Flexibility Exercises

  • Doorway stretch – Grip the sides of the doorway with each hand at or below shoulder height and lean forward through the doorway until you feel a light stretch.  Keep a straight back and shift your weight onto your toes, but do not overstretch. This is a light stretch. Do this 10-20 times.
  • Side lying external rotation – Lie on the side opposite your injured arm with knees bent and injured arm across your abdomen at a 90 degree angle.  Keep your elbow touching your side, and with a light dumbbell, slowly raise the dumbbell toward the ceiling. Stop rotating your arm when you feel the strain.  Repeat 3 sets of 10. When this becomes easy, increase to 20 reps.
  • Reverse flys – Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and your knees slightly bent.  Keep your back straight and bend forward slightly at the waist. With a light weight in each hand, extend your arms away from your body.  Squeeze your shoulder blades together. Do not raise your arms above shoulder height. Repeat 3 sets of 10.
  • Lawn mower pulls – Stand with your feet shoulder width apart.  Place one end of a resistance band under the foot opposite your injured arm.  Keeping your other hand on your hip and without locking your knees, bend slighting at the waist.  As if starting a lawn mower, straighten upright while pulling your elbow across your body. Keep shoulders relaxed and squeeze blades together.  Repeat 3 sets of 10.
  • STOP any of the exercises if they are causing you pain

Therapy Goals

  • Manage your pain
  • Increase mobility
  • Strengthen and improve flexibility

Also keep in mind that healing properly from a rotator cuff injury can take a very long time. Be patient and stay committed to your physical therapist’s advice on how to care for your injury.

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Dizziness

Common Myths About Dizziness

We have all experienced dizziness at one time or another, and we certainly wonder why. Dizzy spells cannot only be uncomfortable, but they can be scary as to the uncertainty of why we are experiencing them. Occasional dizziness in adults in quite common. The sensation of “feeling dizzy” is different for every individual. Most people will equate the feeling of dizziness to that of when you spun around as a child. Vertigo is related to feeling dizzy, but it is a much more serious condition that makes you feel as though the room is spinning as you stand still. Vertigo is also common affecting nearly 40 percent of people over the age of 40 at least once in a lifetime. A key difference is that vertigo can cause nausea and vomiting. Dizziness makes you feel unbalanced momentarily, and dizzy spells can range from mild to debilitating.

Dizziness is one of the most common patient complaints reported to doctors.

Dizzy spells can also be caused by BPPV, which stands for benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. This is caused by the calcium and protein sensing crystals located in your inner ear to become dislodged and float into your inner ear canals. This will cause a brief spinning sensation. This can be corrected with Physical Therapy and not surgery. This affects 1 in 1,000 people per year. It primarily affects older adults, but it has been linked to trauma, inner ear infections, diabetes, migraines and osteoporosis. After Physical Therapy, a patient may experience a reoccurrence within five years.

Our inner ear balance system contributes to the control of our blood flow, so when we move too quickly from laying down to standing, the inner ear detects gravity, directs our blood flow to accommodate that change in position, and when that goes awry, it may cause dizziness.
Low Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin to several neurological problems including a decreased blood flow to the brain, low blood pressure, and that feeling of being off balance. Low B12 is easy to treat but often overlooked as a symptom of dizziness.

Anxiety is another factor in feeling dizziness. When you experience dizziness from anxiety, it is not your ‘spinning’ dizziness, but it is more of a feeling of being ‘out or sorts’ with visual disturbances that creates your feeling of dizziness. Many people do not want to hear that anxiety causes this for fear of it ‘being in their head’, but it may be a combination of the dizzy feeling causing fear of the unknown or it just might be in your head – your inner ear.

Mild dehydration can cause dizziness because your blood pressure drops which leads to dizzy spells or a feeling of being light-headed. It can also be a side effect of medication. There are less common causes of dizziness that are rare that should be addressed by your doctor if your dizziness continues.

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13 Must Read Tips For Back Pain-Free Travel This Summer

Summer is upon us. And summer means travel! But the best laid travel plans can be ruined by an aching lower back. In celebration of 13 weeks of summer, here are our 13 must-read tips for back pain-free travel this summer.

  1. Pack light. You are better off using 2 or 3 smaller bags instead of one large bag. Remember that you will be lifting these bags in and out of your car trunk, off airport baggage carousels, into and out of overhead bins, etc.
  2. Lift with your legs and never twist while lifting. Do not bend over at the hips when lifting. Instead bend your knees and lift using your legs. Most importantly, do not twist as twisting while lifting is one of the most common causes of back strain. Pivot with your feet so that your whole body moves instead of just twisting your back
  3. Ask flight attendants for help. If you explain you have a back condition, most flight attendants are eager to help. You’d be surprised how other passengers are also more than willing to help. If your bags are light, it’s even less of a burden to ask.
  4. Aisle seat is best. Though most people prefer window seats, for someone with low back pain, an aisle seat can be a back-saver. It allows you to get in and out of your seat easier and move around the cabin more comfortably.
  5. Do not hesitate to ask for wheelchair-assistance. If walking from your parking spot all the way to the gate will be too much for your back, ask for wheelchair assistance. This is best done when you make your reservations. This way you won’t have to carry your luggage, walk to your gate, or stand in line at security. Traveling with a letter from your physical therapist can help explain your condition and help get you the accommodations that you need.
  6. Sit with support. Whether traveling by plane or going on a road trip, maintaining proper posture when seated is important. To maintain the natural inward curve in your lower back, use a folded towel or blanket or a commercial lumbar roll.
  7. Consider packing a travel footrest. Placing your feet on something so your knees are higher than your hips can reduce pressure on your lower back. A piece of luggage is a good substitute for a travel footrest.
  8. Get up and move. Prolonged sitting tends to stiffen our back muscles and put a strain on our spine. If possible, try to get out of your seat or your car at least once every hour. Better yet, once every 30 minutes. Movement helps your circulation going which keeps your back loose and relaxed. It will help prevent blood clots too!
  9. Stretch your hamstrings and hip flexors. For long periods, when you can’t get up due to meal or beverage service, or when the seat belt sign is on for a prolonged period, do stretching exercises while seated. Like getting up and about, they can help alleviate pain and pressure from your back.
  10. Bring cold and hot packs for quick pain relief. Despite taking the necessary precautions, your back pain may still flare up while you’re away from the comforts of home. If so, try applying a cold pack or alternating ice and heat. Ice and hot packs should be easily accessible while traveling. If not, you can simply put some ice in a plastic bag and apply it to the area of pain. Plan ahead by bringing disposable hot packs that heat up when you open them.
  11. Get comfortable immediately when going on a road trip. Take the time to make sure you’re comfortable from the moment you set off on your trip. The smallest irritant in the beginning of your trip can turn into raging pain later. Don’t have your wallet, cell phone, or anything else in your back pocket, as that may throw your spine out of alignment. Reduce reaching for the steering wheel, which places more stress on the lumbar spine, neck, shoulder, and wrists. Instead, sit as close to the steering wheel as possible without compromising your safety.
  12.  Drink lots of water. The low pressure and humidity conditions on planes tend to dehydrate passengers. Getting dehydrated, especially if taking medication, is a problem for those with back, disc, and joint pain problems. Avoid alcoholic and caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea, and colas, as they act as diuretics
  13. Consult with your physical therapist at least a month before your trip. The best way to cover all your bases when preparing for summer travel is to arrange a consultation with your physical therapist. During this FREE consultation, your therapist will delve into your history of back pain, what aggravates and eases your pain, and he will give you exercises you can do to keep your back loose, relaxed, and pain-free.
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Top Ten Exercises to Help You Regain Balance and Reduce Your Risk of Falling

From the time we learn to take our first steps, we also begin to learn what it feels like to fall. Likewise, we learn to hold onto things like the edge of a table or our parents’ fingers to avoid falling. This natural avoidance to losing our balance is an important thing to have. According to the Center for Disease Control, one out of five falls will result in a serious injury such as a broken bone or a brain injury. Falls are not to be taken lightly!

On the other hand, we cannot stop our everyday pursuits because we dread of experiencing a fall. Being cautious and preventing certain actions or regions that can make us prone to falling is sensible, but such as the CDC also notes, keeping active is one method of keeping us more powerful, which can also help us stop falling. Another manner to help us construct strength and combat the possibility of falling is by exercising frequently. These ten exercises, even when performed under the oversight of your physical therapist, can help you recover your balance and decrease your danger of falling.

  1. Simple Leg Lift – For this work out, begin with a kitchen chair setting before you. Secure yourself by holding onto the back of the chair, and raise one foot off the ground by twisting your knee and bringing it up toward your midsection. (It is best that you let go of the chair back so that you are balancing on your own without help, yet in the event that you’re uncertain or insecure, keep your hand on the chair.) Hold this position for 5-10 seconds; then take a stab at shutting your eyes and holding the position for 5-10 seconds. Then switch to the other leg and do the same exercise.
  2. Weight Shifts – Another practice to start with is a Weight Shift. Stand with your feet hip-width apart. With your hands down at your sides, or on your hips, lift one foot an inch or two off the floor and hold it there for 20-30 seconds. Put it down and repeat with the other foot. Do this the most number of times as you believe you can without getting too tired. As time passes by, the objective is to slowly increase the number of reps you do. If necessary, you can use a chair with this practice to help give you increased balance.
  3. One-Legged Clock – Standing on one foot, expand your arms straight above your head, as if you are flagging 12 o’clock on a clock face. Leaving your right hand on the “12,” move your left hand to the three, six, and nine o’clock positions (stopping at every position). Return your left hand to the 12, and repeat the steps with your right hand. Presently, switch feet and repeat. To challenge yourself further, do it with your eyes shut.
  4. Tai Chi – Whether you attend a class, or follow online recordings, Tai Chi has been demonstrated to enhance balance.
  5. Yoga – Like with Tai Chi, yoga has additionally been indicated to enhance the balance of those who practice it. Once more, you can choose to take a class or follow an online course or DVD.
  6. Heel-to-Toe Walk – This practice is basic, yet compelling. Walk 20 paces forward, heel-to-toe. If necessary, do this inside arm’s scope of a wall to help you with keeping your balance. After you go ahead 20 paces, go backward 20 paces — toe-to-heel. Doing this all the time can help you recover a feeling of balance.
  7. Squats – To complete a squat, stand with your feet hip-width apart. Bowing at the knee, and not the midsection, crouch toward the floor, holding your arms straight out before you. Imagine you are sitting in an invisible chair. If necessary, keep a chair before you to help you get up and down. This exercise will help strengthen your leg muscles, which is vital for the anticipation of falls. An alternative way to squat: begin with your back and heels against a wall. Keeping your arms out before you, twist at the knee and slide down the wall to a seated like position (once more, imagine you are sitting in an invisible chair). Utilizing your legs, propel yourself back to a standing position. Having a wall behind you can be a major help when you’re beginning or if you require extra help with balance.
  8. Back Leg Raises – You can hang on to a kitchen chair while doing these leg raises, or you can put your hands on a wall, whichever is most agreeable for you. Once you have chosen your preference, you will stand on one leg while raising the other one behind you. Attempt not to lean forward or twist the knee of the leg you’re raising; simply lift your leg as far away the ground as is comfortable for you, hold it for two or three seconds, and let it back down. Do this for 10 reps, then do the same thing with the inverse leg! This helps to build back muscles and buttock muscles.
  9. Side Leg Raises – Like with the Back Leg Raises, you can utilize a divider or a chair to unfaltering yourself with. Then, standing on one foot, lift your other foot out to the side. Go as high as you are OK with, hold it for a few seconds, and let it back down. Once more, do this for 10 reps, then repeat with the other leg. This practice helps strengthen your buttocks, as well as helps with your thigh muscles and your hip muscles.
  10. Stability Ball – This ball may resemble a curiously large inflatable ball, yet it’s definitely not. Simply learning to sit on a steadiness ball can help enhance your balance. Subsequent to getting the hang of sitting on it, you can then use it in different exercises. You can sit on it while using dumbbells or you can utilize it while doing sit-ups. It’s an extremely flexible tool to help enhance balance and stability.

Even though these exercises might be a good beginning point to help you enhance your balance and decrease your danger of falling, your physical therapist may have additional exercises or variants that they may tailor specifically for you.

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Is Your Balance Setting You Up for an Injury?

It is what truly gives us the capability to walk on two legs and remains with us our whole life, balance. Our balance and vestibular system develop as we grow from an infant all through maturity. The majority of individuals don’t understand their balance isn’t ideal until they endure a sports injury, a fall, or lose their balance while showering. Regardless of your age, balance impacts your capability to be active.

CAN YOU TRULY DO THIS?

• Stand next to a counter or sink shoeless with your hand on the counter surface
• Put one foot in front of the other, with your rear foot’s toes touching the heel of the other foot
• Tenderly lift your hand up, yet keep it close to the counter on the off chance that you require to get it rapidly. Attempt to hold this for 10 seconds (just do this if you feel safe or have somebody close-by for support)
• Now try it with your eyes closed
• Do you wobble a bunch or even lose your balance? Your balance needs work!

THERE ARE NUMEROUS EXPLANATIONS BEHIND OUR DECREASE IN BALANCE:

• Changes in our vestibular framework
• Changes in bulk, adaptability and quality
• Changes in visual perception
• Decreasing reflexes
• Past injuries to lower leg, knee, hip or spinal joints

HOW BALANCE INFLUENCES SPORTS EXECUTION

The more active you are in sports, the better your balance and reflexes have to be. Numerous lower leg, knee, hip and back injuries in running, tennis and other sports are ascribed to ineffectively performing balance. By joining basic balance practices into your exercise schedule, you can set yourself up for progress and anticipate injuries, and also upgrade your sports performance.
HOW BALANCE INFLUENCES BACK PAIN

How you walk specifically impacts your back and can really be a major contributor to back pain. By enhancing balance, coordination and quality in your hips, pelvis and legs, your spine will be upheld and guided, lessening strain. This thus, helps your back work regularly without disturbance and aggravation. Balance exercises are an imperative segment of our SPINE Program for easing back issues.

ANTICIPATING FALLS

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 2.5 million grown-ups were dealt with for nonfatal injuries in crisis divisions in 2013. In more established grown-ups, falls are the driving reason for deadly and nonfatal injuries. A great many people don’t consider keeping their balance fit as a fiddle, until the point that it is too late and they fall, cracking an arm, leg or injuring their back. The uplifting news is that most falls can be prevented just by the normal practicing of your balance framework.
WHAT YOU CAN DO

You can enhance your balance, and it includes performing straightforward balance works out. Attempt this simple exercise to strengthen your balance:

CALF RAISE

• Stand facing a counter, gently touching it with your hands.
• Gradually raise-up and down on your toes.
• Repeat 10 times, rest, then complete 2-3 more sets.
• Try without holding on for a greater challenge.

The very initial step in preventing injury or fall is examining your balance and being truthful with yourself that your balance requires work. Our physical therapists are able to make a difference in enhancing your balance and vestibular system, enhancing your capability to be active, safely. Contact NJIB today to learn about our programs and the way you can get back to a lively, hassle free way of life!

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5 considerations before settling for back surgery

In our contemporary times, there is an overwhelming inclination towards quick fixes and fast outcomes. Irrespective of what it is, we always seem to want it fast. While getting fast outcomes is ideal in some situation and context, there are other situations in which fast could be dangerous.

Not taking our time when looking at our health, wellness and general well-being, is not necessarily a good idea. For instance, backaches which is one of the most common health issue plaguing many folks don’t start instantaneously or manifest out of the blue. It is gradual and evolves with time until it becomes a problem. Given this consideration, it is only expected that it will require a while to fix. Nonetheless, there are folks who assume that they can easily correct backaches with a surgery and get rid of the problem instantly.

While this seems like a great idea, it should be unequivocally stated that surgery is not the ideal decision when seeking relief from back pain.

Explore other alternatives

Mayo Clinic maintains that the majority of backaches will be alleviated during a period of 2 months. They make it abundantly clear that there are many other therapeutic and effective procedures that do not require cutting the body. While most people are oblivious to this fact, bodywork, workout, acupuncture, chiropractic methods and various bodily treatment are often more economical, less dangerous and often offer better results.

Recuperating could take forever

Interestingly, it would surprise you to know that back surgeries require much longer to heal. Therefore, it becomes clear that surgery does not offer an instant solution. It is estimated that a small procedure would take two months for recuperation and big procedure could require 4 months for full recuperation.

Based on the nature of the surgery, some folks will require assistance to perform some of the most basic and essential activities like laying down to sleep or visiting the lavatory. More so, you will have to shoulder the responsibility of catering to the surgical cut. There is a high chance that you will be placed on medications that stop you from any potentially dangerous activity, like handling a machinery or driving. It is quite common that you will be inactive for a long time.

Pain back surgery will not tackle the root of your backaches

The problem is that surgery will not tackle the underlying reason for your backache. Sometimes back aches have its roots in strenuous activities, reduction in thigh muscle vigor and strength, use of heavy machinery, muscular problems and so on. Therefore, surgery may only provide a palliative as the lifestyle factor that causes the condition will cause it to reoccur if left unattended.

Every surgery poses a threat

While every medical cautionary measure will be taken to ensure a safe surgery, it should be noted that there is still a possibility of a surgery going sour. While efforts can be made to lower the chances significantly, the possibility still exists and could be life-threatening.  The presence of an existing health problem could raise the dangers and exacerbate the situation. When you consider that there is an extensive range of possibilities when it comes to surgeries, it is only right that you undertake such procedures when it is inevitable.

You may still have persistent aches afterward

It is quite disheartening to engage in surgery without the full assurance that it will alleviate your aches. Sadly, this is the reality for many folks that opt for back surgery as there is no guarantee of relief.  Often times, a back surgery is just like stabbing in the dark.

When you take all of the following into consideration, you begin to realize that surgeries should be exclusively for life-threatening situations or severe cases with no foreseeable alternatives.

 

 

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Could your backache be coming from your thighs?

Backaches are one of the most pervasive forms of ache that is endured globally. It is estimated that as much as 80% of folks endure the discomfort of back pain at one time during their lifetime. For those who have undergone this unsavory experience, they will attest to the fact that it is a very uncomfortable and presents a lot of limitations. It is common knowledge that this condition would often have a profoundly negative effect on many aspects of your day-to-day life. In most cases, backaches will make it hard to undertake routines that you formerly enjoyed. In simpler terms, backaches have the potential of replacing your fun and exciting existence with a mundane, restricted and painful one. In the bid to tackle this menace, it is imperative that you recognize its source. While most people are oblivious to this fact, there is a possibility that the guilty body part is not your back itself but your thighs or hip.

Ways in which the power of your hip or thigh affect your back

While most people would be shocked at this statement, it will interest you to know that minimal thigh and hip power could create problems with your back. It is a natural phenomenon for your thigh muscles to lose power and vigor as you get older. The reason for this can be attributed a variety of contributors with a sedentary lifestyle being prominent. As a result, the weakness in the thigh would have a bad impact on your backbone because it no longer gives it support. This sets off aches in the back which makes it nearly impossible to engage in activities you had no problem with in the past.

An uncomplicated way to understand this situation is that the patient no longer has the required level of vigor and power in the thigh muscles to assist the backbone. Therefore, in the event that you bend your back numerous times every day, you will be putting significant strain on your back than you would if your thigh muscles were great. The effect of this would feel in the form of backaches.

Ways to identify if your thigh is responsible

Now that we have established that your thigh could be responsible for your back aches, it is expected that we verify that this is certainly the case.

Here’s how you know:

Face a mirror. Look directly at your mirror while ensuring that your head is looking forward with your backbone upright. Begin to squat while making your rear protrude. Once you are through with this process, kindly observe if: A. it was possible to make your rear protrude? B. if you experienced aching feeling in your knees? C. if either or two of your knees was bent inside?

Individuals that answer in the affirmative to all of the aforementioned lines of inquiry, should note that the problem with their backs could stem from their waist, hips and thigh areas.

Ways to restore vigor and power to your thigh muscles

An effective remedy for your backache would be to restore vigor and power to your waist and thigh muscles. While his sounds like a quick fix, it actually requires some effort and dedication. It is at this stage that is experience is required. After you select your treatment, we will start with an exhaustive examination of your bending and walking pattern. Furthermore, we will take down details of the existing strength of your thighs and tinier hip muscles. With this detail, the next line of action is to identify parts of your muscles that require help. This will be followed by a strategy that will energize your power, and provide support to your back while enhancing muscle strength to alleviate backaches.

If you require additional info on the routines that we provide for alleviating backaches, do not hesitate to contact us immediately. Our team would be glad to provide a therapeutic strategy that will alleviate your aches in short order. Do not be disheartened! Our expertise and techniques provide the impressive remedy to backaches. Let us soothe that ache. Contact us now!

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Treatment Options for Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

There are a lot of different types of problems out there that a lot of people do not know about. One of them just so happens to be spinal stenosis! Today we are going to talk about what spinal stenosis is, as well as what can cause it. Last, but not least, we are going to also talk about some spinal stenosis treatment options that people have open to them. However, before we go any further, we need to jump right into what spinal stenosis is.

Pretty much, spinal stenosis is the narrowing of the space in the spine, also called your backbone. This results in a lot of extra pressure that is placed on your spinal cord and the nerves in your back. Please note that your back is very long, and this problem can form in three different spots along the backbone. The first one can be located near the center of the column bones. The second can be found at the canals at the base of the spinal cord, and the third can be located between the vertebrae. The narrowing, of course, is going to be different for everyone and can involve a large or small area of the spine. Lower problems could result in pain in the legs, while higher problems could affect the neck area.

So what causes this kind of problem in people? Well, some say that this is actually something that gets inherited or acquired from your family. No matter how you go about getting it, this is something that you are going to want to take care of right away. To do that, you are going to have to look into different spinal stenosis treatment options that they have open for you. Please keep in mind before going over the lower treatment options that not all treatments can be used by all people. Some people will be unable to do some treatments and should always consult with their doctor first.

One way would be to take anti-inflammatory drugs. This would include aspirin, ibuprofen, among others. This is not only going to help with the inflammation of the back, but the pain as well. Some people like to have corticosteroid injections in their spinal cord and in their nerve roots. This is going to help to reduce the inflammation as well. A lot of times, this is also a great way to treat pain in the hips and lower legs. Some people can be put on restricted activity. However, this is one that is only going to help depending on the nerves that are involved. Some doctors will prescribed different kinds of exercises and, of course, physical therapy. This is going to help maintain the motion of the spine and help to strengthen the back muscles. A lot of people say that swimming is the best activity you can do. Last, but not least, you could go with a lumbar brace or a corset. This is going to provide some extra support for your back and help get you back some mobility.

Overall, it’s best to talk to your doctor first, and see which spinal stenosis treatment he thinks is going to be best for you. As said before, not everything works great for everyone and your doctor may know which is best for you.

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Severe Joint Pain and Treatments

Joint pain may be minor, and it may be alleviated on its own or with over-the-counter pain relievers. This type of pain may be caused by everything from a hard workout or a new type of physical activity that your body is not accustomed to a more serious physical injury or medical condition. When minor, joint pain may make it uncomfortable to move around freely for a few days. Some types of minor pain may go away on their own without any treatment at all. When more serious, the pain may limit movement. In severe cases, it may be difficult or even impossible for the individual to function normally and to enjoy an active lifestyle. Finding an effective treatment for severe joint pain is important because it can enable the individual to continue working and to enjoy life fully. There are several treatment options that you may consider.

MEDICATIONS
There are numerous oral medications that may be taken as a treatment for severe joint pain. When over-the-count painkillers like acetaminophen and ibuprofen are not effective, there are other remedies that may be considered. For example, there is a new line of non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs known as Cox-2 inhibitors. These may have more significant side effects, so they should be used with care and only under the supervision of a physician. In addition, other types of medications may be effective, and these include muscle relaxers and even antidepressants or anti-epileptic medications. Your doctor may provide you with information about the medications that may be best for treating your specific condition.

INJECTIONS
If you visit your doctor for treatment for severe joint pain, he or she may give you a steroid injection. Typically, the steroid also contains a topical anesthetic. This may reduce inflammation caused by injury, and it may provide short-term, long-term or even permanent relief of joint pain in some cases. In addition to a steroid injection, you may also receive an injection of hyaluronan. This is typically a treatment for osteoarthritis, and its purpose is to serve as a synthetic replacement for joint fluid.

REMOVING FLUID
Another treatment option is to remove fluid from the joint area. In cases where the joint pain is caused by pressure related to fluid accumulation, the doctor may inject a needle into the joint to withdraw the fluid. This may be completed in conjunction with an anesthetic and with assistance from an ultrasound machine. The doctor may determine if you have fluid in your joint through a physical examination.

PHYSICAL THERAPY
In many cases, a doctor may prescribe a series of sessions with a physical therapist. There are multiple treatment options that a physical therapist may employ, and these include everything from heat therapy, cold therapy, ultrasound techniques, electrical nerve stimulation and even manual manipulation. In addition, a physical therapist may work with you to improve muscle tone, flexibility, stability and strength. These can help to improve some conditions that cause joint pain.

PRICE HOME THERAPY
If you believe that your joint pain has been caused by an injury that you recently suffered, PRICE home therapy may be beneficial. PRICE is an acronym for the multiple steps in the treatment. These steps include protecting the joint by wrapping it or bracing it, resting the joint, icing it several times per day, compressing the joint with a bandage or wrap and elevating the injured area. The PRICE home therapy should not replace a diagnosis and treatment by a doctor, but it can be used as a treatment until your scheduled doctor appointment.

APPLICATION OF OINTMENTS
There are several topical creams or ointments that you can apply to the joint, and they may provide you with relief. These generally have minimal side effects, and they may be beneficial for providing relief for all types joint pain. Some over-the-counter treatments include capsaicin and methyl salicylate. Capsaicin is naturally derived from chili peppers, and it blocks the body’s ability to feel pain. Methyl salicylate is an arthritis cream. Among the benefits associated with topical ointments are the ability to apply the cream as needed and to enjoy rather fast relief. For best pain cream results, prescription strength is recommended.

If you have severe joint pain, you should spend time reviewing the treatment options to determine which treatments may be suitable for your type of pain. Joint pain can be caused by many conditions, and some conditions must be treated by a doctor. Keep in mind that some conditions may worsen over time when not properly treated, so you should consider seeking treatment from a doctor. However, educating yourself about possible treatment options before your appointment is a great way to be an informed patient.

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Lumbar Disc Herniation and Treatment Options

Disc herniations are a common cause of low back pain. Many people are familiar with the symptoms of severe dull and sharp pain in the low back. The pain can also radiate down the leg to the foot, which is also known as sciatica. Some people can experience tingling, burning, numbness, or feel like “the leg can give out at any moment.” The pain travels down a distinct pattern to the foot. The sciatic pain is worse with bending, twisting, getting up from a seated position, or coughing. Severe cases can also cause weakness in the foot or big toe. People find themselves tripping or dragging the foot.

CAUSES OF DISC HERNIATIONS

Lumbar disc herniations are usually the cause of years of use or “wear and tear” to the discs. There may be one last incident that started the pain, but usually it is an accumulation of trauma and stress to the discs. The discs are designed to be shock absorbers. Every step or movement you take results in a compression or pounding stress to the low back. Discs help absorb those forces. Discs also help the joints to increase our bending, twisting, and turning movements.

I like to describe lumbar discs of jelly doughnuts. The outside layer is a tough fibrotic layer that absorbs forces and keeps the jelly layer in the middle of the disc. The jelly is a thickened fluid filled substance called the nucleus pulposus. The jelly layer is an excellent shock absorber. However, over time small tears can start to develop in the fibrous layer, and pressure starts to force the jelly through the tears.

Sometimes the jelly layer bulges the outside of the disc layer backwards. People refer to this as a bulging disc. The jelly is still contained within the fibrous disc, but the bulging is creating problems for the nerves that travel behind the disc.

A more severe injury occurs when the jelly breaks through the fibrous layer and the jelly escapes into the spinal column, where it can compress the spinal cord or exiting nerves. The body tries to remove the jelly by breaking it down, but the removal process produces inflammation that brings more fluid to the area. More fluid in a contained space compresses the nerves even more.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

A disc herniations or bulging disc can develop slowly over weeks or with a sudden movement. Slowly developing lumbar discs injuries usually start as a constant stiffness and mild low back pain. The pain gets better with movement but increases toward the end of the day. Over time the stiffness and pain continues to get worse. People feel the pain last longer before loosening up for the day, and the pain returns earlier in the afternoon. The intensity of dull pain increases along with the low back muscle spasms. People feel very tight and restricted in their movements. Soon the pain starts to move from their low back and into the gluteal, or butt area. The pain is usually on one side but can occur down both legs in some cases. The pain radiates down the leg with movements, especially getting up from a seated position, lifting, bending, or twisting.

The sciatic pain begins to get sharper and more severe as it travels to the knee. If the condition gets worse the pain travels to the foot and even toes. It will usually only affect a 1-2 of the toes, not the whole foot. In severe cases people may lose muscle strength, especially in the big toe or foot. People find themselves scuffing their feet when they walk or dragging their foot. They might end up doing an exaggerated walk and “slapping” the foot on the ground. Some patients describe part of their leg feeling different, or experiencing a constant tingling or burning sensation down the leg.

Sudden and severe lumbar disc herniations go through the same steps, only much faster. People report feeling a “small pop,” twinge, or stab. Within hours they progress from stiffness to severe radiating sciatic pain.

TREATMENT FOR LUMBAR DISC HERNIATIONS AND BULGES

The most severe cases may require surgery to remove the disc material from compressing the spinal cord, especially if the person loses sensation on the inside of their legs and bladder control. These are the most severe symptoms and require immediate surgical intervention.

Most cases of lumbar disc herniations or bulges do not require surgery. People can make full recoveries with proper treatment. Muscle relaxers, anti-inflammatory, and pain killers are often prescribed to help get through the first few weeks, which are usually the worst.

Initial treatment goals are to reduce the pain, muscle spasms, and improve your ability to get through your day. Because the disc material is creating inflammation and pain the body tries to protect itself by creating muscle spasms in the low back. The spasms are great for protection in the early phases but they do create more pain during recovery. Chronic spasms prevent joint movement which causes more pain to be sent to the brain. The spasms also slow blood flow to the injured lumbar disc, which slows down the healing process.

Treatment will help reduce the muscle spasms and decrease pain. Light range of motion exercises will help you manage the pain throughout the day. Icing the area will also help control the pain and muscle spasms. With improvement, additional exercises can be given to stabilize the spine and help reduce the chances of future disc injuries.

Several chiropractic treatments will speed your recovery including flexion distraction therapy. Traction is a therapy that developed to help pull the joints apart and reduce the pressure inside the disc, allowing the jelly to be “sucked back toward the middle of the disc.” Traction will separate the joints by a few millimeters which will reduce the pressure inside producing the vacuum effect on the jelly. Traction will also increase the amount of blood flow to an area, which brings more healing nutrients to the area.

Traction will also increase the pain free movement of joints in the low back. People feel a comfortable stretch and the corresponding relief during the treatment. They can immediately feel a difference when standing and walking.

Traction treatments all operate under the same physics, separate the joints to increase blood flow and motion. There are some marketing companies that would like you to believe that certain traction tables are better than others. However, there has not been any outcome studies performed that show any difference between traction performed by a flexion distraction table, Lordex, or Vax D. The name brand tables cost you more for their marketing but do not provide any proven difference in results compared to flexion distraction traction therapy. The name brand tables are also not covered by insurance because they do not provide any better therapeutic results for the cost.

Chiropractic adjustments are a safe treatment and effective treatment to increase joint motion. People can feel significant pain relief within a few visits. Combining chiropractic treatment, strengthening exercises, and flexion distraction traction therapy can greatly reduce your pain and speed your recovery. Properly strengthening the injured area will reduce your chances of experiencing another lumbar disc herniation.

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