Category: Managing Pain
Published: Friday, 27 June 2014 02:59
Low back pain plagues many of us and, as we age, our susceptibility increases.
Many of our patients present with low back pain. Although caused by numerous different reasons, we find it is mostly due to musculo-ligamentous strain, the term used for soft tissue (muscles, nerves, ligaments, tendons) injuries of the lumbar spine. Some other conditions which cause low back pain are facet joint problems in the spine, sacroiliac joint disease, piriformis syndrome. Spinal changes can also lead to disk herniation causing low back pain, shooting leg pain. The changes can also cause narrowing around the spinal cord (called spinal stenosis) or narrowing around nerve roots (called lateral foraminal stenosis).
Unless you have defined lesion, a defined problem that can be corrected surgically in the low back, it's helpful to try everything else beforehand - that's what we advise patients. Nerve blocks are often helpful, as are medications and a program of physical therapy, spinal cord stimulation, and/or chiropractic therapy. We believe in a multi-discipline approach to pain relief and try these avenues before we recommend surgery. In many cases, patients find relief without the risk and extended recuperation of a surgical procedure.
As we age, we need to be mindful of our movements. This area bears most of your body weight, which means that sudden movements, improper posture, or repetitive strenuous activity can cause pain. Of course, physical activity and even a minimum amount of exercise on a regular basis can help decrease lower back pain. But sometimes just minor movements seem to aggravate the condition. So what do we do?
- Chiropractic manipulation can help realign the spine and offer some relief to the site of the pain.
- Physical therapy can help improve your range of motion and expand your tolerance for increased physical activity and stretching.
- Acupuncture and acupressure have also proven to be effective pain relieving treatments.
- Massage therapy helps to relax the muscles that often cause the discomfort as does reflexology.
- It's important to visit a Pain Management Specialist to map out a clear treatment program developed especially for you and your lifestyle.
Call us today for an appointment or ask your doctor for a referral and start feeling relief from your debilitating pain.
Category: Managing Pain
Published: Tuesday, 27 May 2014 02:56
We're all excited to see Summer, when we can move outside to where all the action is. BUT - with all of the sitting, couching and general malaise of winter, we sometimes forget that our body is not used to kneeling in the garden, playing frisbee with the kids, or adding an extra golf game to our activities...
There are some simple steps you can take to prevent painful strains and sprains as you increase your physical activity in the warm weather.
- Go Swimming - Water Therapy is extremely effective for relieving back pains, leg cramps and loosening up painful joints and muscles. If you are not in a regular exercise routine, swimming is a gentle program to help you to begin.
- Get Biking - A low impact, high aerobic avenue for low back pain, strengthening our core body muscles and improving your balance.
- Drink More Water - that's right - water! Especially for patients with disc problems. Hydration is key in for replenishing your fluid levels as they diminish during outside activity.
- Sleep - insomnia seems to worsen in the warm weather months. Changes in schedule, vacationing in different locations, heat and humidity can all affect your sleep habits. Try to keep to your sleep schedule and feel free to go ahead and tak a 10-20 "power" nap to help combat fatigue.
- Check your feet - give those flip flops a rest when you're not on the beach or at the pool and select a sturdier shoe if possible. Shoes or sandals without any support to them can throw off a body's entire alignment and cause knee, hip and back problems.
Generally, getting OUT makes us all feel better - less aches and pains, more motion and movement - just remember to start off easy and take these simple precautions to maximize the most of your summer days.
Published: Thursday, 01 April 2010 10:05
Everyone you speak to these days is glad to see the winter weather go: plummeting temperatures, snow storms, and icy roads have kept folks inside far too long, glued to the weather reports with the hope of that first 50° day.
The good news is that the mercury has started to rise and warmer days are here!
However, during those winter months, we always see an increase in worsening conditions. Following long periods of limited movement and outside activity, patients are complaining of stiff joints and muscle aches. This leads to further inactivity and even depression in some people.
While it’s true that the cold, wet winter weather may not be the kindest to our aches and pains, it’s our mental attitude that also affects the degree of discomfort we feel. If you think you can’t do any physical activity, then you probably won’t even try. If you wake up every morning and focus on your pain and its limitations, you set the tone of the day.
In controlled testings, studies show that when two sets of patients were given the same drug but instructed that their results would be different (one would feel relief and one would not), the outcome was exactly what each expected, rather than the actual effects. In other words, even though both groups were given the same drug, the group that expected relief, experienced relief. The group that heard the suggestion that the drug may NOT help, found no relief.
With Spring on our doorstep, it’s the perfect time to try to adjust your attitude - and your pain.
Instead of thinking of all of the things you can’t do, concentrate on the things you CAN do. Turn your attention to the healthy parts of your body and use those parts.Even minimal, gradual activity will help.
To perk up your state of mind, try Music. Listen to some of your favorite songs. Create new playlists. Research some of favorite hits and see if there are new artists that may fit into your favorite genre. And, if the music moves you, get up and dance! Dance down your hallway. Dance in your living room. Dance while you brush your teeth. You can even dance while you’re sitting down! It’s a great way to get yourself moving and feeling good at the same time.
While we tend to “nest” in Winter, Spring is usually a time to purge. Try a little Spring Cleaning to clear the clutter in your mind and your closets. Start the new season fresh by getting rid of old clothes (especially those we wear in cold weather!), reorganizing coat closets, linen closets, and
Catch up with Friends. Make plans to get together - out of the house. After you commiserate on the horrible winter you’ve shared, talk about your plans for Spring or your upcoming vacation. Join a book club. Start a rotating monthly card game.
Set Goals. Even small ones. Maybe it’s as simple as walking to the end of your entry way. Then to the end of your driveway. Then to the corner. Park at the far end of the parking lot. Make at least one of your daily meals a healthy one. If you start out small, you feel incredibly satisfied as you achieve each of your simple goals and, eventually, your renewed confidence will lead you to try new, more healthy