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Pain Tips

Back Pain - Can Acupuncture Reduce It?

Back Pain - Can Acupuncture Reduce It?

Almost 8 out of 10 individuals have low back pain eventually in life. It is one of the top reasons people look for medical treatment. It is likewise the number one reported reason for acupuncture therapy.

Acupuncture started in China over 2,500 years back. It includes inserting slim needles at specific points on the body. As per traditional Chinese practices, the body has more than 2,000 of these points. They are associated by pathways or meridians, which make a stream of energy called Qi (pronounced "chee").

The impacts originate from the centre of our nervous system. The release of chemicals into the muscles, spinal rope, and cerebrum are then triggered.

The process:

  1. To begin with, your acupuncturist will get some information about your medical history. This will help him in exploring the various trouble giving points as avoiding those that may lead to an aggravation of the problem. Also, with this information, the acupuncturist will also be able to arrive at the exact treatment that will suit your body and system, as well as the symptoms that you may be experiencing.
  2. He or she will then examine your tongue's shape, shading, and covering, feel your heartbeat, and perhaps play out some extra physical examinations depending upon your health. This helps in understanding the various patterns related to sleep, exercise, diet and digestion. In keeping with these findings, the acupuncturist will then home in on the exact points that require treatment.
  3. Keeping the aforementioned in mind, he/she will then appoint the appropriate treatment plan to address your specific condition.
  4. To start the needle therapy treatment, you lay easily on a treatment table while exact acupoints are determined on different points of your back.
  5. Lastly, the fine needles are then tenderly set. The needles are usually sterilised and new before they are inserted.

Benefits for back pain:

  1. It enhances the body's self-healing process by stimulating the acupuncture points.
  2. Releases your body from chronic pain and specifically helps the lumbar region in better balance so that back pain is avoided.
  3. This method warms the body and creates a more congenial environment for pain-free good health.
  4. Protects it against pathogens.
  5. Contains natural liquids. Changes those liquids into other usable types of energy for the body.
  6. Strengthens the immune system.
  7. Improves sleep.
  8. Improves the digestive framework.
  9. Gives you a sense of well-being

Apart from infrequent throbbing and soreness at the acupoints, there are no such side effects if you visit an established acupuncturist. If practised by an experienced acupuncturist, the technique is highly effective and beneficial. Additionally, acupuncture is the safest therapy for back pain.

Individuals suffering from continuous back pain have observed needle therapy to be useful. Numerous Pain Clinics now utilize needle therapy as a standard treatment.

Neck Sprains and Strains - Know Triggers For It!

Neck Sprains and Strains - Know Triggers For It!

A neck strain and sprain is not a serious injury. However, they can still cause significant dysfunction and pain.

Causes of Neck Strain

The anatomy of the cervical spine is such that it not only houses, but also protects the spinal cord. Along with this it supports the head and allows it for mobility and motion. But this area, which allows the spine to be flexible can also leave it vulnerable for injury.

Triggers for the onset of neck muscle strain can be:

1. Too much time spent in an uncomfortable position, such as humping over the steering wheel while driving, bending over the computer monitor, talking on the phone while placing it in the crook of the neck.

2. Sleeping on a very high or too firm pillow can lead to an uncomfortable position of the head thus leading to the strain of the neck

3. Carrying heavy objects on one side of the body

4. Any trauma that might have impacted the neck, such as an accident, whiplash or a fall that might have had a head landing

Most events of a neck muscle strain or the soft tissue sprain, such as the tendons and ligaments lead to stiff neck along with pain in shoulders. There is also pain and difficulty in moving the neck or head.

Neck muscle strain remedies

Minor strains in the tendons, ligaments and muscles of the neck usually heal within a day or two. But till the symptoms subside, there are a few self care remedies that are effective in reducing the stiffness and pain. These are:

1. Application of cold or ice packs: The cold reduces the inflammation, which in turn allows the strain to heal. This ice pack should be applied for 20 minutes interval in the first 24 hours.

2. Application of heat: Heat helps in bringing the nutrient rich blood to the affected area in order to stimulate a healing response. Moist heat as well as heat from a hot shower or bath can be used. Some people might find relief from applying heat wraps such as thermacare.

3. Over-the-counter or OTC medications: Anti-inflammatory medication, such as naproxen and ibuprofen reduces inflammation, thereby leading to the reduction in pain. Pain relieving medicines such as acetaminophen can also be taken as this reduces the perception of pain.

4. Massage of the affected area: A gentle massage in the affected area helps in stimulating the blood flow of the area which in turn helps in a quick healing.

Middle Ear Infection - Everything You Must Know!

Middle Ear Infection - Everything You Must Know!

The human ear is divided into three parts, namely the outer, middle and inner ear. All these parts function in coherence with each other and help us in converting vibrations into sound and information. The middle ear consists of the air space between the inner ear and the outer ear and contains the bones that transmit the vibrations of the outer ear and translate them into information. This area is prone to infections, especially among children and thus may cause discomfort or pain

Symptoms of middle ear infections-
Middle ear infections primarily tend to manifest themselves as inflammation of the tissues and buildup of fluids. Some of the symptoms are mentioned below.

Infections in children - Middle ear infections primarily occur in children although it can occur in adults as well. Some of the common symptoms could be:
a. Ear pain either sitting or standing up and especially while lying down
b. Irritability and crying, which is infants could translate to more than usual crying 
c. Problems with sound and difficulties in hearing
d. Fluid buildup causing balance related problems
e. Discharge of fluid in certain cases
f.  Unable to sleep and also loss of appetite
g. Some cases children may have high fever

Causes of middle ear infections-
The primary cause of middle ear infection is due to the presence of bacteria or virus in the area. The Eustachian tube, which runs from the middle ear to the back of the throat, is connected to nasal passages as well. Any infection that affects the throat or the nose may also affect the middle ear through this tube. Primary causes for the infections could be:
a. Cold or flu-like symptoms which then infect the middle ear as well
b. Otitis media, which is the buildup of fluid and inflammation either due to the presence of bacteria and viruses or even without it. 
c. Seasonal infections which are common during late autumn or winters
d. Air pollution is also known to be a factor
e. Infection from others, especially in the case of children when they are part of a group care
f.  Children from 6 months to 2 years are also susceptible to middle ear infections as their immune systems are much less developed.

Treatment of middle ear infections-
Usually, middle ear infections resolve on their own within a day or so. You can try warm compress with a soft piece of cloth to ease the pain. However, if pain persists for too long then antibiotic medications may be required to fight the infection with pain relief medications to lessen the pain and discomfort.

Constipation Post Back Surgery - How To Avoid It?

Constipation Post Back Surgery - How To Avoid It?

For people recovering from back surgery, constipation is quite common and causes discomfort or pain. There are several aspects of back surgery which may lead to constipation. They include anaesthesia, changes in diet, stress and the use of some pain relieving medicines.

Symptoms:

  1. The symptoms of constipation are:
  2. Pain and bloating in the abdomen.
  3. Nausea and vomiting.
  4. Hard stools and the inability of bowel movement.

Ways to prevent constipation:

Here are several simple ways by which you can prevent or minimize pain or discomfort due to constipation after back surgery.

  1. You should increase your daily activities as early as possible after back surgery. You should walk regularly.
  2. You must reduce the use of narcotic medicines and use only what is needed for controlling pain. Narcotic medicines slow bowel movement and cause constipation. Use non-narcotic pain-relieving medicines to prevent constipation.
  3. You can use fibre laxatives, stool softeners or combination products after back surgery to prevent constipation.
  4. Drinking a lot of water and non-caffeinated fluids is very important. You should also have apple cider juice and prune juice, which are effective natural laxatives.
  5. You should eat natural fibre-rich food for intestinal stimulation. These include whole grains, cereals, fresh fruits and vegetables. It is best to avoid cheese, meat and processed food. Instead of large meals, you must have frequent, small meals throughout the day.

Medicines for constipation:

Non-prescription medicines can be taken for preventing or treating constipation after back surgery.
Here is a list of some effective medicines that relieve constipation:

  1. Bulk fibre laxatives, which add bulk to stool and encourage water to stay in the colon. These medicines need up to three days to show effect.
  2. Stool softeners or emollient laxatives help in softening stool by making fluids mix with them.
  3. Stimulant laxatives take action by stimulation of bowel contractions for moving stool out. They are effective and start working very quickly.
  4. Combination laxatives perform the functions of laxatives and stool softeners together.
  5. Suppositories also perform the dual function of stool softening and acting as laxatives. The colon gets contracted, and stool is pushed out and as the stool gets softer, it can pass easily.
  6. Enemas perform the function of bowel movement stimulation. Liquids are injected into the rectum, up into the colon. This stimulates the colon, and stool is passed.

Constipation occurs commonly in patients after undergoing back surgery. This may cause utter discomfort and pain. You should take proper precautions and remedies in case of constipation after back surgery.

After Surgery Pain - How To Manage It?

After Surgery Pain - How To Manage It?

The word 'surgery' is often dreaded by most patients. Be it an invasive oral surgery or a keyhole gallbladder surgery, it does not evoke a ready "yes" in most patients. There are too many patients who are ready to be on long-term medications if they could avoid the surgery and its complications. While there could be swelling, bruising, tingling, and many other symptoms, the one feared by most is the postoperative pain. What happens after the effect of the anesthetic wears off can leave many patients in a very anxious and fearful state. The trick is to prepare oneself - not just for the surgery but for the after effects.

Before the surgery, a detailed discussion with the doctor on the following is very important:

-  A complete list of medications including supplements so that the medications used during and after surgery to avoid any potential drug interactions

-  Type and severity of the pain - This will help you anticipate and be prepared for the pain after the surgery.

-  Pain tolerance/threshold - Letting your doctor know your tolerance levels can help them prescribe an appropriate pain killer

After the surgery, the following are some ways to cope with the pain:

- Pain killers - Don't wait for the anesthesia effect to completely wear out. Take the pain killer much before the pain starts so that the onset of pain is delayed or nullified.  For severe cases, opioids may be used to manage immediate postoperative pain.  However, in most cases, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen are used. They may also be used up to a few days after surgery to ease the pain and inflammation, depending on the type of surgery.

- Topical creams/lotions - In cases involving skin incisions, this help reduce the pain in the skin along the incision.

- Compression stockings - In addition to reducing blood clot, they also reduce pain in the legs.

- Physiotherapy - If there is a joint involved, doing physiotherapy after surgery is extremely beneficial. In addition to reducing pain, they also help improve mobility.

- Sleep - Sufficient sleep (more than you normally would) promotes healing and helps your ability to cope with the pain.

-  Heating pads and ice packs - If these are your regular remedies for pain, feel free to use them even in postsurgical pains.

-  Reduce Stress - This will help you cope better with the pain and heal faster.

A given patient and a given surgery are a unique combination. No two patients will react the same way to a particular surgery. Postsurgical pain can be managed very effectively with a little planning.

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Breast Lumps - Ways To Treat Them!

Breast Lumps - Ways To Treat Them!

Feeling a lump on your breasts can be a terrifying moment. 'Cancer' is the first thing that comes to mind but in reality, most lumps in the breast are not caused by cancer. Apart from cancer, breast lumps can be caused by non-cancerous growths, injuries and infections. The only way to correctly diagnose the cause of a lump in the beasts is through a biopsy. Hence, this is the first step towards treating a breast lump. From here on, treatment will depend on the cause identified.

Mastitis or Breast Infection:

Mastitis is a painful infection of the breast tissue often faced by women who are breastfeeding. It can be treated with heat treatment and antibiotics. Massaging the breast while taking a warm shower or applying a warm compress. This will open up the milk ducts and should be followed by nursing the baby or using a breast pump to relieve the swelling and pain.

Abscess:

Antibiotics are the first line of treatment against an abscess but this is effective only if given in the initial stage of the infection. In later stages, an abscess will need to be surgically drained.

Fibroadenomas:

This is a non-cancerous tumour often found in young women. It is often difficult to distinguish between a Fibroadenoma and a cancerous tumour and hence these are usually surgically removed.

Fibrocystic Changes:

In some cases, the breast itself is composed of knotted, rope like tissue. This is known as having fibrocystic breasts. If a new lump presents itself on fibrocystic breasts, a mammogram and an ultrasound are performed to evaluate the lump. In most cases fibrocystic changes do not require any medication or surgery.

Breasts Cysts:

Cysts can be defined as fluid filled lumps. In some cases, these cysts become apparent at the time of ovulation and disappear after the period. In other cases, it may need to be drained with a thin needle. Cysts often recur and need to be re-drained.

Fat Necrosis and Lipoma:

Fat necrosis is a lump caused by an injury to the fatty tissue in the breast. Lipoma is a fatty growth within the fatty tissue. In both these cases, no treatment is required but if it causes any problems, it can be removed.

Breast Cancer:

If the biopsy reveals the presence of a cancerous tumour, you must immediately consult an oncologist. Treatment options for breast cancer include chemotherapy, radiation, surgery and hormone treatment.

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Knee Replacement - Know Procedure Of It!

Knee Replacement - Know Procedure Of It!

Knee is a hinge joint where the lower leg bone tibia meets the thigh bone femur. During osteoarthritis, cartilage or ligament defects and degenerative arthritis, knee replacement surgery is recommended worldwide to get relief from extreme pain. Knee replacement surgery, also known as knee arthroscopy, is a surgical procedure, in which the affected knee joint is replaced with synthetic material. The most likely candidates for total knee replacement are the patients with severe destruction of the knee joint coupled with progressive pain and impaired function.

Modern technological advances have made computer-assisted knee replacement surgery extremely popular around the globe. In this surgery, the surgeon is assisted by a computer to remove the optimum amount and angle of the bone, which otherwise is done by inspecting manually. This is an excellent example of surgery through a small incision and it eliminates the chances of human error. Perfect alignment and balance is achieved and hence longevity is also increased to 20 - 30 years. Knee replacement surgery is also specific to gender as the anatomy of male and female patients is different.

There are many types of knee replacements, most common being the total knee replacement or Total Knee Arthroplasty. In addition, there is a partial knee replacement, bilateral knee replacement, revision knee replacement and knee arthroscopy.

In knee replacement surgery, the worn out surfaces of joints of the knee are replaced with an artificial implant of plastic and metal. The lower end of the femur bone is removed and replaced with a metal shell. The upper end of the lower leg bone (tibia) is also removed and replaced with a channelled plastic implant with a metal stem. A plastic ball is also added under the kneecap depending on its condition. These artificial components are commonly referred to as prosthesis. The design of these highly flexible implants replicates knee, with the rotating knee replacement implants assist in backward and forward swing of the legs.

Patients whose knee joints have been damaged by either trauma or progressive arthritis should consider total knee replacement surgery. Post-surgical hospital stay after knee joint replacement is usually three to five days. The surgery has a very high success rate and shows dramatic improvement after a month. This improvement is most notable one month or more after surgery. The pain caused by the damaged joint is reduced significantly when the new gliding surface is constructed during surgery. Initially, patient will walk with the help of a walking aid until the knee is able to support full body weight. After six weeks, patient can walk comfortably with minimal assistance. Patients with artificial joints are prescribed to take antibiotics during the course of any elective invasive procedures including dental work. Physiotherapy is an essential part of rehabilitation and it will increase the muscle strength and patient can enjoy most activities, except running and jumping.

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Flat Foot Pain - How To Tackle It?

Flat Foot Pain - How To Tackle It?

Excessive and persistent pain in the feet, as well as the ankle joints, could point at the existence of a condition known as flat foot pain. This happens due to the difference between a normal foot and a flat foot. While a normal foot will have an upward arch under the foot, right in the middle, the flat foot does not have such support. This arch is usually formed by the tendons and ligaments that help in rendering support to the foot as well as stabilising the rest of the body. When these tendons and ligaments become weak, the arch begins to diminish before finally disappearing, which leaves the patient with a flat foot.

This can be a painful condition. Let us look at the ways in which it may be cured.

  1. Foot Wear: When you are suffering from this condition, it is important to wear comfortable and supportive footwear like shoes, sandals and slippers which can support the arch and help in giving stability to the rest of the body. Besides looking for shoes that will provide the right amount of comfort, one can also use additional support like insoles that will help in giving comfort while you are walking, standing or running.
  2. Orthotics: These are tools that can be recommended by your doctor in order to help in minimising the pressure that one feels in the foot. The orthotics usually distribute this pressure by giving much needed additional support to the arch of the foot. These tools also help in realigning the foot’s ankle with its bones as well as the joints, which can help in successfully treating this condition to a great extent. They are usually customised as per your exact foot shape and size, as well as the problem you are facing so that you have plenty of support when you are using your feet for varied activities.
  3. Arch inserts and wraps: If your normal shoes are lacking the arch support that you require for flat feet, then you can also invest in arch inserts and wraps which will reduce the pain and prevent it from reoccurring. Also, these will help you to remain standing or walking for longer periods of time, as they add that extra bit of support to your feet for normal functioning.
  4. Surgery: If the various non-surgical treatments do not help you over a period of a few months, then it may be time to speak with your podiatrist or orthopaedic specialist so that you can go in for a surgery that will fix this problem. This kind of surgery will help in stabilising the feet and ankle bones by applying corrective foot support.
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Joint Pain - Know Ayurvedic Remedies For It!

Joint Pain - Know Ayurvedic Remedies For It!

In Ayurveda, joint pain is known as 'Sandhigata Vata'. Arthritis and Joint pain are among the most prevalent problems faced by adults, mostly old people. As per ayurveda, 'vata Dosha' Is responsible for joint pains and other discomforts associated with it. Natural remedies and proper lifestyle techniques can be utilized to balance the 'vata' to lessen the occurrence and severity of joint pain. Factors including,old age, obesity, injury and strenuous physical activities (that require a lot of joint movements) are responsible for disturbing the balance of your 'vata'.

The following are some ayurvedic home remedies that can be utilized to treat joint pain:

1. Massage therapy - Warm coconut, castor, mustard, olive or garlic oil can be utilized to massage the affected areas to lessen the intensity of pain. If you massage the affected joints with natural oils, it improves blood circulation and relaxes the swelling and stiffness in the region.

2. Hot And Cold Compress - Cold and hot compresses can be utilized to ease your joint pain effectively. Heat compression decreases the pain, increases the blood circulation and relaxes the swollen joints and muscles. On the other hand, cold therapy lessens the inflammation of the affected joint. Place hot and cold towel alternatively on the affected area to achieve immediate relief from persistent pain.

3. Fenugreek - Ingest a teaspoon of ground fenugreek seeds and drink a glass of lukewarm water. Fenugreek has anti inflammatory and antioxidant properties that make it effective for joint pains.Follow this remedy every morning on a regular basis to achieve optimal results.

4. Turmeric - Add a pinch of turmeric and a teaspoon of honey in a glass of lukewarm water and drink this solution on a regular basis for a week. Turmeric contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which makes it an excellent remedy for treating joint pains.

5. Apple cider vinegar - Add 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar and a little honey to a cup of lukewarm water. Drink this solution twice daily, before your meals. Apple cider vinegar has alkalizing effect, which makes it an effective remedy to remove the toxins that are responsible for causing joint pain.

6. Healthy diet - A balanced diet that comprises a lot of green leafy vegetables and fresh seasonal fruits is good for your joints. The uncontrolled intake of fatty food, dairy products, and high sodium diet must be avoided in order to avoid arthritis and joint pain.

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Heart Attack - How To Administer It?

Heart Attack - How To Administer It?

Heart attack, also known as myocardial infarction, is a severe condition where the death of the heart muscle occurs because of the loss of blood supply. The blood loss usually happens because of the blockage of a coronary artery. Due to electrical instability, ventricular fibrillation is caused. Heart attacks may result in permanent brain damage or even death.

  • Symptoms of Heart Attack: There are many early symptoms and signs of heart attack, which should be recognized. Symptoms of a heart attack vary from person to person. Here is a list of the primary heart attack symptoms:
  • Chest Pain and Discomfort: Chest pain is the basic symptom of a heart attack and occurs in different forms. The chest pain has a pressure, fullness and squeezing sensation and starts from the center of the chest. The pain may go away and re-occur and may spread down to other limbs of the body.
  • Headache, ToothacheThe chest pain occurring due to a heart attack spreads all over the body and the jaw. Even the back and head are affected. Sometimes pain in these regions is present while chest pain is absent.
  • Shortness of BreathA gasping sensation or feeling shortness of breath is another common sign of a heart attack. Such breathing difficulty is called dyspnea. The shortness of breath occurs before or during the chest pain.
  • Nausea and VomitingThe feeling of nausea or sickness in the stomach is another possible symptom. It is accompanied by belching or burping and sometimes, the heart attack is associated with a feeling of indigestion. Nausea is more common in women. Vomiting also occurs alongside nausea.
  • General Epigastric Discomfort: In several cases, patients describe the pain of a heart attack as stomach pain. The pain is heavy and uncomfortable and persists for several minutes.
  • SweatingPerspiration or sweating occurs during a heart attack and the patient experiences cold sweat in avid amounts.

Emergency Treatment for Heart Attack: 

  1. A person who has a heart attack should be rushed to a hospital.
  2. Several tests are carried out to detect the cause of the attack. A 12 lead EKG is carried out to supervise electrical activity within the heart and detect the damaged areas.
  3. Blood tests are undertaken to check enzymes and in certain cases, cardiac catheterization is required where pictures of the blood vessels are examined.
  4. Emergency medicines are given to the patient to stop the formation of blood clots and include aspirin, heparin and other drugs. Other medicines are given for thrombolytic therapy, which dissolves already formed blood clots. They work to reduce heart damage. Nitrates are also used.

A heart attack is a severe condition and must be attended to immediately. Emergency treatment procedures are essential to save the life of an affected person.

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