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Back Pain Treatment
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Fractures are simply a break in a bone. They can be caused due to injury, (traumatic fractures) or a pre-existing condition like osteoporosis that causes weakening of bones (pathologic fractures). There are many ways to classify fractures. All fractures fall into the major categories of simple and compound fractures. Simple fractures are fractures where bones remain inside the skin and don’t jut out. They are also called closed fractures.
Compound fractures, also called open fractures, are broken bones that penetrate through the skin. These types expose the bone and deep tissues to the environment. Compound fractures are more serious of the two. The healing here may be affected due to deep infections for which antibiotics need to be used. There are many different sub types of fractures and we’re only going to skim through them here.
- Comminuted fractures: Severe fractures in which a bone breaks into several smaller pieces.
- Avulsion fractures: A small piece of bone is completely torn off from the main bone due to fierce pulling off a part of the body.
Other types of fractures are characterised by the many different angles the bone breaks into like transverse, oblique and spiral fractures.
When a bone is broken there are symptoms like swelling that doesn’t subside on its own and pain. In such a case it’s imperative that one goes to a doctor for a diagnosis. Doctors can usually recognise most fractures by examining the injury and taking an X-ray. The X-ray also provides a clear idea about the type of fracture and the degree of displacement of the bone. And, it’s important that the patient doesn’t wait too long before approaching a doctor. This is because bones begin to heal very quickly after a fracture and the bone tissue will heal using any tissue available. This can lead to a misalignment of broken pieces of bone and cause disability and loss of function.
There are cases when X-ray may not show a fracture. This is especially common in fractures in the hip and wrist in older people. For diagnosing these, doctors will get some other tests done such as a computed tomography (CT) scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or a bone scan.
Fractures have to be treated by doctors. The doctors set the fractured bones in their proper place and hold them there so that they can heal. Setting a bone is called "reduction." Reduction without surgery is called "closed reduction." But if the fracture is serious, it’s going to require surgery with bone repositioning, called open reduction.
In extreme cases, pins, plates, screws, rods, or glue are used to hold the fractured bones in place, inside the body. Once the bone abutment has been treated, the bone is immobilised to allow the broken pieces to heal. In most cases, the fractured part is set in a rigid cast. The fractured ends of the bone can be fixed into place using metal pins connected to an external frame. This is removed after the bone has healed. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Rotator cuff is the name given to four muscles and their tendons, which keep your arms in your shoulder sockets, allowing you to lift your arms and do day-to-day stuff like combing your hair, cutting vegetables etc.
The shoulder joint is a very important joint of the body and this is why any tear that happens in the rotator cuff can be devastating.
Tears can happen in rotator cuff due to a number of factors like injury and degeneration due to age. Tears that happen due to an injury to the shoulder are called acute. Degenerative tears are tears that happen due to degeneration of the tendon over time.
Common causes of degeneration are lack of proper blood circulation, which impedes the rotator cuff’s ability to repair itself. Repetitive stress is another cause where we stress the tendon by repeating the same shoulder motions again and again while playing games like tennis, cricket etc. and doing jobs that require us to extend our arms upwards a lot. Lifting heavy objects can also lead to tears.
Chronic shoulder and arm pain are good reasons for you to see your doctor. If you suffer from pain in your shoulder at rest, while sleeping on the affected shoulder or pain while lifting and lowering your arm, then there is no time to wait.
The doctor will do a physical examination by moving your arm in different directions. He may follow it up with X-rays and MRI to check how big the tear is in your rotator cuff.
Once confirmed that you indeed have a rotator cuff tear, your doctor will start the treatment. The goal of any treatment is to reduce pain and make your shoulder joint work properly again.
Nonsurgical treatments include rest, using of a sling to protect the shoulder and modifying your daily activities. This means you may not be able to do activities that cause shoulder pain. Your doctor can also prescribe pain and anti-inflammatory medicines. Strengthening and physical therapy bring up the rear of this type of treatment.
What you must remember is that nonsurgical treatment relieves pain and improves function in the shoulder, but does not improve shoulder strength. The size of your tear may also increase over time.
Surgery, which attaches the rotator cuff to your bone, is done if you suffer from continuous pain and symptoms over a year or so. If you have a large tear, conservative treatments will not work and surgery will have to be resorted to.
If you have been suffering from chronic shoulder or arm pain, waiting and watching is definitely not an option. You must visit an orthopedic surgeon at the earliest. Remember, if treatment is not started soon enough, your rotator cuff tear will get larger and will require only surgery.
Osteopenia is a medical condition that gradually causes thinning of bone mass. While the thinning mass is not considered as severe, the real danger looms when osteopenia aggravates to osteoporosis, resulting in a bone fracture. Osteopenia is mostly witnessed in people above the age of 50. The difference between the diagnosis of osteopenia and osteoporosis lies in the measure of bone density.
Osteoporosis, on the other hand, is the loss of bone mass due to the deficiency of calcium, magnesium, vitamin D and other minerals and vitamins. Osteoporosis can lead to broken bones, height loss, acute pain and humpback. It is estimated that over 54 million people in the US suffer from osteoporosis.
Bone mineral density (BMD):
The calcium deposit in the bone is measured by the bone mineral density (BMD) test. This test rightly estimates the chances of bone fracture in a person. Furthermore, it helps a doctor to distinguish between osteopenia and osteoporosis. Being non-invasive in nature, this test can be performed anytime on areas such as hip, shin bone, spine etc. BMD can either be measured by plain radiographs or DEXA. The latter is a form of X-ray that has lesser exposure to radiation. Post the test, a score is given based on the calcium availability of the bones.
How is a BMD comprehended?
Every BMD result is evaluated in the form of T-score. The T-score is derived by comparing the result of the BMD with a normal person in the 30’s having the same race and sex. The difference of score between a healthy individual and a patient affected with osteoporosis or osteopenia is referred to as Standard Deviation. A patient with a T-score in the range of (-1SD) to (-2.5SD) is considered a prime candidate for osteopenia. A patient having a T-score lesser than -2.5SD is diagnosed with osteoporosis.
Risk factor for osteopenia or osteoporosis:
While not everyone runs the risk of getting either osteopenia or osteoporosis, there are certain risk factors attached to it:
- Gender: Women run a higher risk of getting affected with osteopenia or osteoporosis.
- Race: Women who belong from the Caucasian or Asian origin run a higher risk of getting these diseases.
- Age: Most people tend to get these diseases above the age of 50. Humans have a tendency of losing close to 0.5 percent of bone every year after a certain age.
- Family history: A person with a family history of osteopenia or osteoporosis has more than 50% chance of getting either osteopenia or osteoporosis.
- Lifestyle: Poor diet, excessive smoking, alcohol, lack of exercising etc. goes a long way in contributing towards these diseases.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a medical condition wherein the bone becomes fragile and breaks easily even with a minor fall. The bones of spine, wrists and hips get affected the most. These fractured bones lead to severe pain and can force a person to become immobile. A spine fracture can even lead to a loss of height.
What is parathyroid hormone?
Parathyroid is a naturally occurring hormone that regulates the amount of calcium present in the body. They mitigate the risk of bone breakage in the body for a patient suffering with osteoporosis. These hormones are injected into the body on a daily basis to maintain the normal flow of calcium in the body.
How does the treatment work?
Treatments are available in the form of drugs and injections. A doctor can prescribe drugs, if the patient is at an increased rate of bone breakage. The parathyroid hormone helps to protect the bone from breaking, but have no role when the bone actually breaks. The body has a natural process of breaking a bone and rebuilding it by itself. Osteoporosis sets in motion when this process of bone formation is disturbed.
When does a doctor prescribe hormonal treatment?
If a patient has undergone a number of vertebral compression fractures and the condition has not improved, a doctor might suggest to undergo parathyroid hormone treatment. The treatment requires nursing support due to a patient’s delicate bone condition. A maximum dosage of 20 micro grams of parathyroid can be injected for a time duration not exceeding 2 years.
Things to know about the treatment:
- Be informed: It is good to be well informed about the course of the treatment, treatment duration, plausible problems etc. This will help a patient to be on top of the decision making process. The helpline of the 'National Osteoporosis Society' can be reached to understand the preparation required for a patient to undergo the treatment.
- Take the right dosage at the right time: Parathyroid injections should be injected on a daily basis for a maximum time period of 2 years. These injections are taken daily at the same time. It should be ensured that none of the injections are skipped without the prior approval of a doctor. The injection, which lasts for 28 days, needs to be stored in a refrigerator. In case a patient is travelling, special bags are available that has space for storing gel packs.
- Side effects: Most patients do not report any side effects, but they do exist. Possible side effects include dizziness, arthralgia, depression and headache. These symptoms often suggest that your body is reacting to the parathyroid hormone treatment. A doctor may or may not prescribe any further drugs to address these symptoms.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Muscle strain or muscle pull is a condition, which is characterized by damage to the muscles or its adjoining tendons. Undue pressure can be exerted on the muscle when you are carrying out routine activities such as sudden lifting of heavy things or playing contact sports. The damage to the muscle is usually in the form of partial or complete tearing of the tendons and fibres attached to the muscles. The small blood vessels in the muscles can also be damaged by the tearing of the muscles, leading to local bleeding and bruising.
The symptoms of muscle pain are:
1. You will experience pain even while resting
2. There will be bruising, swelling and redness around the affected area
3. You will experience weakness of the muscles and tendons
4. The movement and mobility of the muscle will be impaired
5. You will experience pain when you use the affected muscles
The causes of a muscle strain are:
1. Playing contact sports can lead to injuries
2. Lifting heavy things
3. Exercising without a proper warm up routine
5. Sleeping on one side only for a long period of time
6. Not stretching properly
7. Falling from a height
The treatments for muscle strains are:
1. Pain medications: You can opt for pain relieving medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications to help combat the associated pain of a muscle strain.
2. Rice: Rice stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation. This treatment is usually the first step after suffering a strain, before opting for medications. This treatment prevents further aggravation of the problem.
3. Compress: You can alternate between hot and cold compress to reduce the swelling and pain.
4. Stretches: Once the affected area has healed, it is important for you stretch the muscles to improve their mobility and strength.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Every day we use our hands the most to get everything done. From drinking water to typing on the keyboard (and today on mobile phones); from holding the newspaper still when reading it to taking down academic notes- we use our hands for everything. But our hands like all other parts of the body have the capacity to carry out their functions. At times, we unknowingly put a lot of strain on our hands and they start to pain. Hand pains are quite common in everyone and it is equally common to practice certain exercises to control them quickly.
If you experience frequent pains in the hands, these are some of the exercises you can resort to.
Fist: You do not always make a fist while punching people. Sometimes you make a fist to tighten your hand muscles and nerves and smoothen the blood flow in your hands. This helps in reducing the pain in your hands to a great extent. In fact, folding your hand to a fist can also help in preventing hand pain.
Finger Bends: Bend each finger tightly towards your palm for at least a minute and then release it. Do it separately for each of the five fingers on your hand. This would ease out the tension in each of the fingers and normalize blood flow. This helps in curing any finger pain that you might be experiencing. It is especially a great exercise to prevent pain from developing in your thumb and index finger.
Thumbs Up: Usually, we show the thumbs up sign to signal all is well and best wishes to people. But it is also an exercise if continued for some time. All you have to do is place your palm on a table and curl all your fingers except the thumb inwards. Stretch the thumb outwards and hold it in this position counting up to ten. Then curl your thumb towards the palm. This exercise too helps in stretching the muscles.
Wrist: An important part of the hand is the wrist. The wrist joints are a very crucial set of bones and they tend to get injured very fast. They are also delicate enough to be sprained if the hand is turned abruptly. To avoid such injuries, strengthen the wrist and reduce wrist pain, a lot of wrist exercises are also prescribed. The simplest one is to extend your hand and move the wrist in anti-clockwise and clockwise directions.
Thus, these are some of the ways in which you can ease the pain in your hand in no time and go about normally with your daily chores.
Adhesive capsulitis is the medical term for a frozen shoulder, which can be caused due to a variety of reasons. Scar tissues can grow in the shoulder joint when the said joint becomes thicker. This development keeps the shoulder from rotating in a normal manner, which can lead to a frozen shoulder. The most common symptoms of this condition include severe pain and stiffness as well as inflammation. Here are the causes and ways to treat this condition.
Causes: A frozen shoulder can be caused due to a sports injury as well as an accident. Also, a hormonal imbalance can cause this condition. A weak immune system may cause inflammation in various joints of the body, which makes motion difficult. Also, diabetes can give rise to a frozen shoulder as a side effect. If you have a sedentary lifestyle and do not exercise often enough, or have just been through surgery which has led to a prolonged period of inactivity, then you can be prone to this condition. Surgery will also leave your tissue and adhesions sensitive to inflammation. Scar tissue may end up forming in very extreme cases, over a period of at least nine months. This can limit your motion.
Risk Factors: Besides diabetes, hormonal changes and inactivity, people who have been through a stroke or surgery are most susceptible to this condition. Also, patients who are suffering from thyroid disorders can end up developing a frozen shoulder too.
Physical Therapy: One of the most recommended ways to deal with this condition is with physical therapy. This kind of therapy will help you in stretching your shoulder so that you get back some motion over a period of time. This process can take anywhere between a few weeks to a few months, depending on the severity of your condition. You must ask your doctor about other treatment options if this kind of therapy does not show results even after six months of intense and regular practice. Physical therapy can also be practiced at home, once you have learnt the technique from a physiotherapist.
Medication: One of the other ways to deal with a frozen shoulder is with the help of medication. Anti-inflammatory and pain relieving medicines can soothe the discomfort. These include aspirin, ibuprofen, as well as naproxen sodium. Also, if you are undergoing a lot of pain, the doctor can administer a steroid injection in the shoulder joint.
Surgery: If medication and physical therapy do not help in treating the condition effectively, then one can go in for an arthroscopic surgery to remove the scar tissue with a small incision and other kinds of surgery for breaking the adhesions as well. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Torn cartilages are quite a common form of injury occurring in the human body. While one can’t always be too cautious of injuries, one can still try to be conscious of their muscles and do not move about in an abrupt manner to cause injury to themselves. Further, even though torn cartilages are very common, they are quite painful and most often they occur in the knee. Here are some tips to ensure that your torn cartilage heals well and you are exposed to less pain during the healing period:
Rest: You must take rest. While it is advised to take bed rest, humanly it is impossible to spend all day in bed. Thus one can move about a little but avoid walking and straining their legs and knee too much. At times crutches can be taken while taking a few steps in the room.
Ice Therapy: Putting ice bags in the affected area helps in relaxing the muscles and reducing the pain quite a lot. Though previously people adhered to putting hot water bags, the scenario is slowly changing to ice therapy.
Compress: When you are suffering from a torn cartilage, the doctor often puts a bandage on the knee to compress the area. This is done so that the muscles are brought together and they can heal on their own with time and rest.
Elevate the Knee: Often it is seen that during such cases, the knee or the hands are rested in an elevated platform. This platform is created with the help of a pillow mostly. This lets the cartilage get time to rest and heal on its own.
Avoid Strenuous Activities: This includes jumping, running, jogging, kicking etc, when it comes to the legs and writing, lifting weight etc. when it comes to the hands. These activities require a lot of strength and power and most of all the use of the cartilages. Since the cartilages are torn and in their healing mode, it is best to avoid such activities for a certain amount of time to not put pressure on the cartilages and damage them further.
Painkillers: It has been already mentioned that the healing period can be painful. Thus, the doctor may prescribe some painkillers to ease the pain during this time.
Thus, these are some of the easiest ways to deal with a torn cartilage. The recovery period may be painful, but it happens to many people and is completely healable in nature.
As you age, the cartilage cushioning your joints starts wearing down, causing the bones to rub against each other. This causes osteoarthritis, which is a type of degenerative disease caused. The rubbing of the bones causes inflammation of the joints. The joints of the arms and legs along with the lower back are most commonly affected by this condition.
Here are some common symptoms, which indicate that you are suffering from osteoarthritis:
1. Pain and tenderness: An aching back, knees, neck and hip with severe pain are some of the most common symptoms of osteoarthritis. The pain caused during the early stage of arthritis is classified into tenderness and pain. A sharper pain may be felt while moving the affected joint in a certain way. Tenderness is the discomfort experienced when the joint is pressed along with visible swelling in the affected area.
2. Joint stiffness: Joint stiffness is another early symptom of osteoarthritis. It refers to the wooden feeling, which makes a person feel slow and sluggish. The urge to rest or go to bed should be resisted. Warming up the joints with gentle exercise or moving around cause relief. It also helps in reducing the stiffness and you can continue your regular activities with more ease.
3. Abnormal sensations: When the cartilage wears down, the rubbing of the bones against each other may lead to some abnormal sensations. Grating of the joints is common in people with osteoarthritis. One may feel that their joints are cracking or clicking while moving.
4. Loss of flexibility: People who are in their early stages of osteoarthritis may face difficulty with moving the areas which are affected. This joint stiffness and pain may lead to a loss of flexibility or loss of range of motion. Range of motion refers to the extent up to which one can move his joints normally. In case you are not being able to bend your knee fully or as far as you would have done it normally, you might be experiencing osteoarthritis.
Loss of flexibility occurs slowly and gradually. A person may hurt his back unusually during a football game or may experience a stiff back in the morning after waking up. This gets more intense with time. In the later stages, you may experience joint pain even while resting.
In case you experience any symptoms of osteoarthritis, you must consult a doctor immediately. The doctor will provide you with a plan aimed at managing and getting a quicker relief from the pain caused due to osteoarthritis. Several over-the-counter medicines, braces for supporting affected joints and range of motion exercises are also effective ways of managing osteoarthritis.