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Cochlear Implants - How Do They Help?

Cochlear Implants - How Do They Help?

Cochlear implant is a medical device that provides direct electrical stimulation to the hearing nerve in the inner ear. Children and adults with a severe hearing lossmay be helped with cochlear implants. A cochlear implant is a prosthetic substitute directly stimulating the cochlea and it does not cure deafness or hearing impairment.

A cochlear implant completely by-passes the normal hearing mechanism and stimulates the auditory nerve directly by means of an internally implanted electrode assembly. The implant consists of an external portion that located behind the ear and an interior portion which is surgically implanted under the skin. An implant has a microphone, a speech processor, a transmitter and an electrode array. The sound from the environment is picked by microphone and transmitter and receiver/stimulator sends them to speech processor to convert them into electric impulses.

The speech processor placed with the microphone behind the ear, or it is a small box-like unit worn in a chest pocket. The speech processor digitizes the sound signals and sends them to a transmitter just behind the ear. The electrode array collects the impulses from the stimulator and sends those to different regions of the auditory nerve. The electrodes stimulate the fibers of the auditory nerve, and sound sensations are perceived.

A cochlear implant is very different from a hearing aid. Hearing aids amplify sounds so that they can be detected by damaged ears. Cochlear implants bypass damaged portions of the ear and directly stimulate the auditory nerve. Hearing via a cochlear implant is different from normal hearing and takes time to adjust. However, it enables many people to understand other sounds in the environment, recognize warning signals, , and understand speech in person or over the telephone.

The benefits from a cochlear implant depend on many factors, such as the age of the patient when he or she receives the implant, the hearing loss present pre or post patient developed language skills and finally the motivation of the patient and family support

Once a person is referred for cochlear implant, more testing is done which includes audio logic testing, psychological testing, medical examination, and tests performed by the surgeon. It is done to ensure that the candidate will benefit from a cochlear implant and will have the motivation to participate in the process. Once the decision is made to go ahead, the surgery is done. Sometimes it involves an overnight stay in the clinic, and sometimes it is done on an outpatient basis. Six weeks post-surgery, patient is fitted with the external microphone and speech processor and implant is activated and programmed.

The best candidates are those having severe hearing loss in both ears, limited benefit from hearing aids, medical condition that makes surgery risky. Children can be considered for cochlear implants if they have the similar conditions as adults and in addition have support from their educational institutions to development of auditory skills.

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Spinal Cord Stimulator - How Is It Beneficial In Pain Management?

Spinal Cord Stimulator - How Is It Beneficial In Pain Management?

One month, the injury is still healing, two months, just a little bit longer, three months? Well, you, believe it or not, it has probably become a chronic pain and is affecting every aspect of your life. Chronic pain may be a novel notion to accept but is now understood to be a disease and generally defined as pain persisting for longer than 12 weeks. Pain management in such cases is traditionally treated through prescription drugs, the other option being amputation.104968

This is a major cause of patients having qualms about these pills and a need for an alternative. In response to this, doctors have a new tool to help decrease the perception of pain which is a small implant placed in the back to help patients shake off the pain. This small device that could bring you back to your feet is the spinal cord stimulator.

What is spinal cord stimulation?

Theoretically, the spinal cord stimulation is a type of neurostimulation which produces an effect that interferes with the brain’s ability to interpret the signal as pain by using electrical pulses. The brain, instead, experiences it as a pleasant numbing sensation. The implant is placed which takes place in two parts i.e. placing the lead device in the spine and placing the pulse generator in abdomen or buttock.

For test stimulation, the several stimulation settings are tried so that the pulse generator can be programmed using these settings. The procedure typically takes 1-2 hours and post-procedure, patients are given a handy device to control the simulations which they are to use in their day-to-day lives.

It has been observed to reduce the pain by at least 50%. However, this too has its limitations. Typical candidates are people with chronic back and limb pain who may have a failed back or disc procedure. The most common risks associated are device-related, example, unintended movement of the leads. Serious effects include hemorrhage in the epidural space or injury to a spinal cord leading to neural damage, but these are highly uncommon.

Quick facts about it

  • The best product which works for spinal cord stimulation is a long-lasting solution with a need to change the battery of the lead device every 9 years.
  • The most recommended device today is the implant because of its compact size and the device costs is quite nominal.
  • The quality of the product matters a lot as there are ample of cheap products available on the same lines. The same can be fitted within the body via a procedure.
  • The procedure conducted is also called the pain pacemaker.
  • Earlier, the procedure was used to conduct only in the international countries, but nowadays the implant can be done in India as well. If you are apprehensive about consuming painkillers for your chronic pain, you can explore this option with your Interventional Pain Specialist.

As it is said, lasting pain can lead to damage, hence don’t wait until the damage repair has a complete null chance, rather reach out to your doctor to understand more about the concept of SCS so that you can get treated in no time. Explore the option with your "Interventional Pain Specialist". In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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Spinal Cord Stimulation - How It Can Help Manage Pain?

Spinal Cord Stimulation - How It Can Help Manage Pain?

Pain is a perception by the nervous system. When a painful stimulus is applied to a body part, the nerve endings of that part will send the sensation all the way to the brain where it is perceived as pain. If the pain is experienced by the legs or hands, then the sensation travels via the spinal cord to be perceived as pain. In case of people suffering from nerve problems, there could be cases of chronic pain, therefore conservative treatment measures may fail at times. In these people, though the pain source cannot be reduced, the perception can be reduced. This is exactly what a spinal cord stimulator does, it masks the signals that are reaching the brain, and thereby reduces the perception of pain. 

What is it and how does it work?

Spinal cord stimulator is implanted in patients with chronic intractable neuropathic pain when other conservative or surgical treatment has failed. Trial electrode/s are placed in the outer covering (epidural space) of the spinal cord, higher than the level of pain. Correct placement of electrode is confirmed by stimulating the electrodes through an external generator and different modes/intensity of current are tried to get best pain relief. Pain message is electrical in nature and reaches pain center in brain through multiple relays. Spinal cord stimulator converts electrical energy to a different feeling called neuromodulation and usually pleasant. Upon relief of atleast 60%, the device is implanted in the body like pacemaker for heart. An external remote device allows the device to be used when it is required. It is very safe and free from sideeffects of medications as no drug is used with this device.

Benefits of using stimulator 

  • Useful for people with prolonged case of sciatica and chronic regional pain syndrome
  • It reduces pain significantly
  • Improves a person’s quality of life by reducing pain (especially back and legs) which can be debilitating
  • Useful when other modalities of treatment have failed
  • Useful when surgery is not possible (either no response to prior surgeries or patient’s overall health does not allow for surgery)
  • Is a reversible option, the stimulator can be removed any time the patient feels it is not working
  • Requires minimal surgery and can be done as an outpatient procedure
  • Once trained, patients can manage the stimulator on their own
  • Is not affected by devices such as cell phone, microwaves and other electronic gadgets
  • Can be used on a trial basis before a patient opts for a permanent stimulator.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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How Can Physiotherapy Help Alleviate Cervical Spondylitis Pain?

How Can Physiotherapy Help Alleviate Cervical Spondylitis Pain?

The human body is so amazing yet sometimes, it is delicate. The condition of cervical spondylitis is one of the examples of this being the case. It is also known as cervical disc disease and is reputed to cause a pretty large amount of pain! That being said, it is not as if this pain cannot be reduced. After all, physiotherapy can make almost any situation better and this is pretty much the case with cervical spondylitis, as well!

  • Neck traction happens to be one of the popular methods prescribed by physiotherapy to help people who are suffering from cervical spondylitis pain. What is done in this process is that the neck is extended but at a very slow rate. While this may not seem like much itself, why this helps is that it goes a pretty long way in taking a lot of pressure off the discs of the spine. While it is true that neck traction is a thing which can be performed at home, it is very important to check with a professional physiotherapist to make sure that the technique that one is practicing is faultless so as to make sure that any painful accidents are not allowed to take place and make the situation worse than it already is!
  • Physiotherapy is all about engaging in activities which help make the condition better. So, when a person has cervical spondylitis pain, the therapist will spend some time with him or her so that the neck can be slowly adjusted and this will help the range of motion of the person’s neck improve by quite a large margin.
  • There are quite a few other ways to go about relieving the pain caused by cervical spondylitis by making use of physiotherapy. For example, deep tissue massage does have a large number of fans who swear by it. This is also the case when it comes to electrical stimulation. As a matter of fact, both of these are quite popular as a means to get the patient in the right condition for healing exercises to have their full effect.
  • After all the effort which is put in by the person by the way of exercise, it can be said to be important that he or she makes use of a cervical pillow, which is more commonly known as a neck pillow and a cervical collar, which can help the process of realignment. With correct physiotherapy, cervical spondylitis pain will soon be history!

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

7053 people found this helpful

Cochlear Implant - Why They Are Good For You?

Cochlear Implant - Why They Are Good For You?

Traditionally, people resort to hearing aids in order to take care of their auditory problems. The perception of hearing reduces as age progresses and people find it absolutely necessary to come up with ways by which they can improve their hearing. However, cochlear implants have become extremely popular because of the method that it uses in comparison to the traditional methods of hearing aids.

What is a cochlear implant?

A cochlear implant is an electronic medical device that replaces the function of the damaged inner ear. Unlike hearing aids, which make sounds louder, cochlear implants bypass the damaged hair cells of the inner ear (cochlea) to provide sound signals to the brain.

Who can they help?

The cochlear implant technology can help people who:

  1. have moderate to profound hearing loss in both ears
  2. receive little or no benefit from hearing aids
  3. score 50% or less on sentence recognition tests done by hearing professionals in the ear to be implanted
  4. score 60% or less on sentence recognition tests done by hearing professionals in the non-implanted ear or in both ears with hearing aids.

Many people have cochlear devices in both ears (bilateral). Listening with two ears can improve your ability to identify the direction of sound and separate the sounds you want to hear from those you don’t.

What are the benefits of a cochlear implant?

Many adults with cochlear implants report that they:

  • Hear better with a cochlear implant than with a hearing aid
  • A previous study has shown that people with a cochlear implant achieve an average of 80% sentence understanding, compared with 10% sentence understanding for hearing aids1.
  • Can focus better when in noisy environments.
  • Find it easier to have conversations with people across meeting tables, in restaurants and other crowded places.
  • Reconnect with missed sounds that they could not hear before their cochlear implant.
  • Feel safer in the world as they can hear alarms, people calling out and approaching vehicles.
  • Talk and hear on the phone.
  • Enjoy music.

​​How is a cochlear implant different from a hearing aid?

A cochlear implant is very different from a hearing aid and is appropriate for individuals for whom hearing aids fail to provide benefit. A hearing aid makes sounds louder. Sound still travels through all the portions of the ear (outer ear, middle ear, inner ear) to the hearing nerve. A cochlear implant bypasses these structures and directly stimulates the hearing nerve with electrical energy. Because hearing aids amplify sounds and rely on the hearing system to convey the message, people with severe to profound hearing loss may be able to hear, but not understand speech well. The main objective of a cochlear implant is to improve speech understanding in quiet. Clarity with a cochlear implant is usually better than a hearing aid because the implant does not make sounds louder but delivers them to the hearing nerve.

There are a number of symptoms, which people should be looking out for before concluding that they have a hearing disorder:

  1. Inability to hear properly
  2. Excessive ear pain and stress on the brain
  3. Failure to communicate properly
  4. Discomfort in the mouth or nose
  5. Other feelings of anxiety or stress that may actually be a consequence of the hearing loss problem

    If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult an ENT specialist.

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Over Active Bladder - 3 Effective Remedies for it!

Over Active Bladder - 3 Effective Remedies for it!

Overactive bladder, also known as OAB, is a condition where sudden involuntary contractions of the urinary bladder's muscular walls cause bladder storage dysfunction. It leads to sudden and frequent urges to urinate (urinary urgency), as well as unintentional leakage or urine (urinary incontinence).

This is a condition that affects both men and women and causes tremendous discomfort in nearly every aspect of daily life. The specific causes of OAB vary from case to case but it is generally attributed to infection of the urinary tract or dysfunction of the nervous system. The symptoms are intensified by unhealthy lifestyle choices such as overindulging in caffeinated drinks, spicy foods and alcohol.

There are several ways in which you can deal with the problem of OAB, depending on the nature of the case. It is necessary for you to consult a urologist for a detailed diagnosis to formulate the best treatment option.

Following are the most effective remedies to treat an overactive bladder:

1. Lifestyle Modifications: Also known as behavioral therapy, this is the first step in the treatment of OAB. It involves inculcating simple changes into everyday habits such as avoiding food and drinks that irritate the bladder, scheduling (and in some cases, practice delaying) bathroom visits, exercising the pelvic floor and bladder muscles, keeping a record of urinating habits in a 'bladder diary' for better understanding the problem, etc. You can incorporate these habits into everyday activities for an easy alleviation of the problem with absolutely no side effects.

2. Medication and Surgery: There are several different kinds of medicines and drugs that can treat the problem of OAB. The most common types are muscle relaxants that loosen the muscles of the urinary bladder to prevent involuntary contractions, and antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs that treat urinary tract infections. Many types of implants are surgically set into the pelvic area to act as electrical nerve stimulators for neuromodulation therapy. Reconstructive bladder surgery is another remedial option.

3. Devices and Products: Urinary urgency and incontinence can be managed through the external use of various devices and products which collect and hold urine or absorb leakages. These include indwelling catheters, condom catheters (for men), urine drainage bags, absorbent pads and adult diapers, and toilet substitutes such as bedpans and bedside urinals.

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Lower Back Pain - Do I Need Physical Therapy?

Lower Back Pain - Do I Need Physical Therapy?

Lower back pain is fast becoming an epidemic not just among elderly, but across all age groups. Primary causes of back pain are quite a few including lumbar hernia, disc degenerative disease (DDD), spondylosis etc., but the symptoms are usually the same excruciating pain in the lower region of the spine, followed by stiffness. Since back pain is caused due to a number of spinal problems, it manifests differently in different patients. The pain may be dull, burning or sharp. It could also be felt at a single point or over a broad area and could be accompanied by muscle spasms or stiffness or even shooting pain in one or both legs.

Back pain can also be differentiated according to time period:

  1. Acute: Pain lasts for less than three months.
  2. Recurrent: Acute symptoms reoccur over time.
  3. Chronic: Pain lasts longer than three months.

Sometimes symptoms resolve on their own, but in many cases conservative treatment, such as physiotherapy, which often work better than surgery, becomes essential. Alternate therapies like surgery, acupressure, acupuncture as well as yoga and Ayurveda also help.

Physiotherapy - Exercises that work
Since the reason for low back pain is not always same, a patient’s treatment too should be tailored for his specific symptoms and condition. This is what the physiotherapist will do design an exercise plan based on the patient’s specific problem and its cause.

Physiotherapy treatments may include:

  1. Manual therapy, which includes direct spinal manipulation aimed at improving the mobility of joints and soft tissues
  2. Strengthening and flexibility exercises
  3. Education about what do and what not to do
  4. Training for proper sleeping positions, lifting, bending, and sitting as well as for working at home and at work
  5. Use of heat/cold treatments or electrical stimulation to help relieve pain

Physiotherapy exercises help support the back and strengthen muscles so that the spine is cushioned properly. This is why physiotherapy is relevant as a treatment for backache. Treatments like traction help in lengthening the spine and relieving compression of nerves that cause sciatica, radiating pain into legs largely due to lumbar herniation. If back pain is extreme, a patient will require physical therapy along with medication, which will help in managing pain and bringing inflammation down. But in the long term, being physically active, going for walks, sitting properly and maintaining a good posture will help the most. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a physiotherapist.

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