Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
Mckinzie Treatment For Spine
Arthritis and Pain Management
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (Tens)
Back Pain Treatment
Pain Management Counseling
Epidural And Spinal Anesthesia
Cancer Pain Management
How does hot and cold treatment work s?
The hot and cold treatments work on various joints or muscle areas and are very effective in lowering pain as well as providing more mobility to the affected areas. Both these therapies try to enable the healing forces within the body and hence improve on the conditions which cause arthritis pain.
Heat treatment therapy: Heat therapy uses the principle of the expansion of material when warmer. If heat is applied to an affected area, it dilates the blood vessels, improves and stimulates blood circulation and also reduces muscle spasms. Heat treatments are very effective in soothing stiff joints and tired muscles as they encourage the flow of blood to the areas being treated. Some of the options available for heat treatments would be:
1. Heats patches that are disposable
2. Heating belts made for specific parts of the body
3. Moist heating pads
4. Simple hot water in a tub
5. Paraffin wax and Mineral oil
6. Hot oil massages
7. Warms showers or baths
8. Warmed towels or clothes used as a hot compress
Cold treatment therapy: Cold uses the very opposite principle of heat therapy to provide pain relief to arthritis patients. Cold has the properties of being able to constrict blood vessels and slow the flow of blood, thus resulting in numbing the area and reducing pain. Cold treatment is also very effective in reducing swelling as it can fight inflammation very effectively. It is mostly useful in cases of acute and chronic pain and is a very good pain reliever. Some of the options available for cold treatments would be:
1. Cold compress by using ice in a waterproof bag with a towel covering it to protect the skin.
2. Buying a medically manufactured ice pack or bag
3. Buying ice gel packs from the medical store which can be frozen and then used
4. Making ice packs at home by mixing water with rubbing alcohol and then freezing it
5. Taking ice bath by pouring ice into the bath tub.
Managing pain depends on the type of pain you are experiencing. Below is a summarized account of the different types of pain one might go through and how to come out of it.
Incisions: In case the delivery occurs by the caesarian procedure, you might have to endure pain from the incisions. The pain generally lasts till all the incisions heal, so you will require pain medications to get relief from the pain.
Uterine contractions: The uterus needs to return to its normal size after the delivery. The pain from these contractions tends to increase with subsequent pregnancies. Like incisions, pain medications will be administered to help you get relief from the pain.
Vaginal dryness: A woman s vagina tends to be dry while she is breastfeeding. This can cause pain if you want to indulge in sexual intercourse. In this regard, lubricants (preferably water based) are a good way to treat vaginal dryness.
Engorgement of the breast: When a woman starts lactating, her breasts tend to become fuller and thus, cause minor but persisting pain. A breast pump (used to extract milk from a woman s breasts), in this case, can relieve you of such pain.
Back pain: Pregnancy related stress and strain can often lead to back pain. This back pain usually stems from holding the baby and breastfeeding it. If it so happens, you can consider changing your posture while breastfeeding and taking warm baths twice a day to get rid of the backaches.
Joint pain: There may be pain in your joints such as the one in your wrists, hands and feet. This usually occurs due to all the chemical changes that your body undergoes during pregnancy. Pain medications and stretches can help ease this sort of a pain.
Pain in the legs: Post pregnancy leg pain is caused because of all the fluids that are administered intravenously. Once the content of fluids in the body reduces, the pain tends to subside. However, any sign or symptom of blood clots or visible redness in the legs might warrant medical attention at the earliest.
Headaches: This is the most common type of pain that can result from a pregnancy. Headaches are caused due to hormonal imbalances, insomnia and stress that you may experience. It is advisable to not take any pain medication in this regard as painkillers can interfere with your bodily hormones even more, given that headaches are usually not something to worry about. Drink plenty of water and try to get ample rest; this should take care of the pain automatically.
Causes for heel pain:
1. Sprains or straining the leg: Exercising is one of the most common culprits behind heel damage. Wearing the wrong shoes over prolonged periods, which can cause your balance to be shifted and will lead you to put strain on your heels and cause pain. Falling or spraining during exercising or training can also cause heel pain.
2. Fractures: Stress or hairline fractures can occur even without impacts or trauma and also cause pain. It will slowly build up over time. In such cases, you should immediately consult a doctor and take remedial action.
3. Achilles tendon: A common cause for heel pain, the Achilles tendon connects the calf muscle to the heel. If this is torn or damaged, it can cause pain in your heel.
4. Arthritis: The deposition of uric acid crystals in parts of your body may result in arthritis; this is a fairly common cause for heel pain as well.
1. Change in shoes: Shoes play a major role in the development of heel pain. You will either need to change the shoes or adjust the heels to ensure that they are at an equal and comfortable height and keep your posture natural and balanced.
2. Foot supports: There are specialized heel supports and wedges, which you can wear with the footwear. These supports help redistribute weight from the problem areas and uniformly distribute it among the other parts of the foot. Heel cups are also another form of supports you could try.
3. Pain relief medications: Sometimes aspirin or ibuprofen may be required to numb and dull the pain, if getting through the day becomes difficult or you are in the middle of work.
4. Resting: Sometimes resting is the only medication you can take to relieve the pain as it can only subside once the underlying conditions are corrected.
5. Ice packs: Cold compress and cold therapy would definitely help in numbing the area and providing temporary pain relief.
It is however, advisable to visit the doctor if the pain persists and take specialized medical care in more complicated cases wherein the pain is prolonged.
Heat therapy for lower back pain
Heat works well with lower back pain as it can dilate blood vessels and improve circulation within the tissue. This will help in circulation and also result in lowering the pain. Heat therapy will also loosen up other muscles in the area and help soothe sore areas which have been taking the burden along with the lower back muscles. Some of the techniques that can be applied are:
1. All day heat wraps: These are specially manufactured belts or wraps which wrap around your abdomen and keep tightness and pressure on your lower back as well as supplying heat.
2. Electric heating pads: These are mechanized heating pads which generate heat with electricity. You can place them under you back and then either sit or sleep with it positioned behind you. However, ensure that you don t keep these for too long as they could burn your skin.
3. Hot Compress with towels or hot water bags: Use a clean towel and heat it over a conductive surface and apply it on your lower back. You can also use hot water bags for the same purpose.
Cold therapy for lower back pain
Cold therapy uses the principle of constriction of blood vessels as well as slowing circulation. This will help numb the area and thus help relieve the pain. Some of the ways these can be administered are mentioned below.
1. Ice towel: In this method, soak a towel in ice cold water, wring it to dry it and then apply on your lower back. This will numb the pain without transferring the sting of the cold or damaging your skin.
2. Ice packs: Put about half a kg of ice in a plastic Ziploc bag and pour water over the ice to just about cover it. Push out the air out of the bag and then lock it. Use this ice pack with a towel to ensure that you back doesn't get wet.
3. Ice gel packs: These are ready made packs, which can be bought from medical stores and kept frozen to be used whenever you need it in order to relieve lower back pain.
Abdominal pain. In the abdominal area, there are different areas that experience pain due to different reasons and need to be managed well.
Incision pain: if you had a cesarean section, then the incisions will itch and pain. Pain killers can be used for relief but the incisions will take some months to completely become normal. If there are associated symptoms like redness or bleeding, then it is a cause for concern.
Uterine contractions: with the uterus shrinking back to its original size after delivery, there are lot of contractions which can be painful. This will subside over the next few days but can be severe and take longer for second and third deliveries. This should be completely gone by the sixth week checkup.
Vaginal or perineal pain: if you have had normal delivery, then there would be an enormous amount of pressure in the vaginal and perineal (area between the vagina and anus) areas. There could even be tear in some cases (created by the doctor or accidental during birth) and would need repair. This can be more severe compared to other pains and will take longer to disappear. There could also be dryness in some women. The following will help ease the pain:
1. Ease the pressure on the bottom by lying down as much as possible and resting
2. Apply a cold gel pad to the area
3. Warm baths
4. Pelvic floor exercise which help healing by improving blood flow
5. Use warm water to wash the area and pat dry to reduce the itching sensation
6. Keep the area clean to avoid infection both to yourself and the baby
7. Topical creams may be used in some areas to relieve both the pain and the itching
Breastfeeding pain: an improper latch (the way the infant sucks) can lead to breastfeeding pain. A lactation consultant or a nurse can help train the mother and the infant. Breasts filled up with milk can also lead to painful, engorged feeling. Breast pumping or hand pumping can help relieve the pain.
These pains, though not deniable, can be managed with a little extra care so you can enjoy the newfound joy of motherhood.
To this effect, in addition to pain killers, the most inexpensive and easily available modes of pain management are heat and cold. Though all are not aware, there are specific instances where heat and cold should be used as listed below.
Heat: some of the common modes to heat therapy include heat pads, warm baths, paraffin wax system, hot water bottles, air-activated heat pack, or warm oils. Heat acts by improving blood circulation and nutritional supply to the body parts and is best suited for stiff joints and muscle soreness.
Some common ways to heat therapy include:
1. A warm shower or bath in the morning - this will ease morning stiffness and get you ready for exercise.
2. Apply a heating pad on the sore/stiff areas for up to 20 minutes - use optimal, bearable temperature to avoid skin burns.
3. Wrap the affected area for 15 to 20 minutes with a moist heat pad. A wet towel can be put in the freezer and then warmed up in the microwave. Moist heat pads are also available with local pharmacies.
4. Warm mineral oils can be applied to the stiff joints of hands and legs. Leave it in place for 15 to 20 minutes before washing it off.
5. For sore hand and foot joints, warm paraffin wax can be applied using the equipment available at drug stores. This will help ease the pain and soreness. Soak in a warm whirlpool.
Contrary to heat therapy, cold therapy acts by reducing blood flow to the affected area and numbing the nerve endings, thereby reducing the perception of pain. It works well for acute pain cases like fresh injuries and post-exercise inflammation.
1. A cold wrap with ice cubes can be applied to the painful area for about 15 to 20 minutes. This can be repeated if required after a break.
2. Alternately, a wet towel can be put in a plastic bag and kept in the freezer for 15 minutes and then used as a cold pack.
3. The affected joint can be submerged in a container of ice and water.
4. Cold gel packs are available at stores - these won't leak, will stay cold longer and can be easily wrapped around a joint.
Cryotherapy, as cold therapy is also called, is not as effective as heat therapy, though it does provide immediate relief.
Migraine vs. Headache: know the difference
How to differentiate between a migraine and headache?
When you feel pain or pressure in your head, it may become difficult for you to assess whether you are experiencing a common headache or a migraine. Let's understand how different they are from each other.
A typical headache usually affects both sides of your head and varies from a mild to moderate pain. It can last from 30 minutes to up to a period of one week.
Some specific areas which get affected by a headache are:
- Back of your neck
Factors that trigger this headache type are a muscle strain, stress or anxiety.
A migraine, on the other hand, is also a type of a headache which results in an acute throbbing sensation in one part of your head. Usually, migraine headaches are highly painful. Migraine pain makes it difficult for a person to carry out his/her daily tasks. Symptoms or signs associated with migraine attacks are:
- Sensitivity to sound or light
- Pain in the temples
- Temporary loss of vision
- Pain behind your ear or eye
What are the common causes of a migraine?
- Hormonal imbalances in women - fluctuations in oestrogen, especially during menopause or pregnancy seem to trigger a migraine
- Drinks like wine and extremely caffeinated beverages
- Foods such as salty foods, aged cheese as well as processed foods can trigger the migraine attack.
- Medications - vasodilators such as nitroglycerine and oral contraceptives can intensify migraine pain.
How to treat a headache?
Fortunately, you can get rid of stress-induced headaches through over-the-counter treatments, which include:
How to treat a migraine?
If you experience migraine attacks less frequently, these medicines may give you quick relief:
- Triptans, such as rizatriptan (Maxalt) or almotriptan (Axert)
- Antinausea medicines, such as chlorpromazine (Thorazine), promethazine (Phenergan) or prochlorperazine (Compazine)
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as acetaminophen, naproxen sodium, aspirin or ibuprofen
Some preventive tips:
- Make changes in your diet such as avoid such foods, including caffeine and alcohol which are believed to trigger headaches.
- You can also try muscle relaxation exercises, yoga or meditation to ease the migraine attack.
Related Tip: 8 Common Migraine Triggers You Must Stay Away From
Most of us, experience back pain due to incorrect posture or longer duration of sitting.
Sometimes you may experience back pain because of exertion - you spent the entire day doing the same kind of job or maybe you bent in a wrong manner while picking up your child. However, the actual cause of your spinal agony may not be very clear, but it pays to be aware of the possible reasons that can cause backache. It is good to consult a doctor if your back pain is consistent and recurrent.
Here are few of the causes:
1. The position of your pelvis
The pelvis consists of three bones that can shift depending on which muscles become weak or stiff. This brings about a pull in the muscle of the lower back, resulting in severe strain to this area. You should consult a physiotherapist for suggestions regarding the best exercises for strengthening your pelvic area.
2. Weak abdominal muscles
A cause of your back pain can be weak stomach muscles. Abdominal muscles play an important role in balancing out the constant bending that your back muscles perform. When you've weak abdominal muscles, your spine is not able to maintain proper balance, resulting in severe stress on the spinal column.
3. Disc injuries
Located between the bones of your spine, discs perform the function of a shock absorber. Physical injury to these padded cushions can cause them to break open, leading to a condition known as herniated disc. This can then bring about pain in the back area.
Few precautions that can be taken for a hurting back. Despite the causes, there are certain precautions that you can take, which are:
- Avoid sitting in a bad posture, that is, keep your back straight as much as you can. Pull and stretch your body in continual intervals to keep it relaxed.
- Consult the right physician instead of doing exercise that can aggravate your pain.
- Take a break from work and go for short walks, every couple of hours.
If you would like to consult with me privately, please click on 'consult'.
The stabbing pain that you experience around the neck and shoulder region should never be ignored as they may indicate health problems that require medical attention. There are certain points that you need to keep in mind the if you experience prolonged pain in these areas of the body.
1. Neck injury? your neck and shoulder pain should be seen as a warning sign that you need to take a look at the neck injury you may have sustained during a rear-end automobile accident. More specifically, whiplash injuries that happen when the head experiences a sudden backward and forward jerk, straining the tissues of the neck.
2. Pain in these areas of the body could indicate abnormalities in the vertebrae of your neck such as herniated disc, causing added pressure on the nerves of the spinal cord.
3. Your neck and shoulder pain complaint may also point towards muscle strains. Lifestyle factors like working long hours in front of laptops or desktops leave you with no time and zero energy to exercise, resulting in serious neck and shoulder pains.
4. Your neck and shoulder pain may also indicate the problem of cervical spondylosis. This is a degenerative disc disease, which is characterised by severe pain that originates from the neck and radiates till the shoulders.
5. Even heart problems, such as a heart attack can cause pain in the shoulder and the neck. When this happens, the condition is known as referred pain.
6. Adopting an improper body posture during lifting of heavy materials can induce pain in your body parts, with neck and shoulders being the most vulnerable areas.
7. You may be suffering from a condition known as rotator cuff injury in which the group of ligaments and muscles that support the shoulder get injured during lifting or playing any sport.
To avoid aggravating the pain from becoming more severe, you shouldn't ignore any ache that arises from these areas.
If you would like to consult with me privately, please click on 'consult'.
Related Tip: 6 Effective Ways to Keep Away Body Pains, esp. When Temperatures Dip