Hip Weakness: A Common Pathway to Orthopedic Injury

Hip weakness is not just an annoyance; it can lead to a variety of orthopedic injections.

Even if the weakness is not severe or flares up only now and then, it can ever lead to more serious issues in the back, legs and feet. Keeping the hip and core muscles strong is key to preventing weakness in the hips.

Understanding Hip Weness

The gluteus muscle group – or the glutes – controls the motion of the hip joint and the legs.

The gluteus medius is of particular importance, as this muscle works to pull the leg out to the side and rotate the thigh. It also helps to keep the pelvis level when you are standing and walking.

Hip weakness can be caused by injury, nerve problems in the spinal or disease in the hip joint. In many cases, however, the exact cause is unknown.

Some medical experts believe that poor posture may be a contributing factor. If you tend to sit hunched over or slumped to one side, or if you stand with all of your weight on one hip, you may be at greater risk for weakness in the glutes.

Also, if the hip flexor muscles at the front of the hip become tight, weakness can result in the gluteus muscles at the back and side of the hip.

Problems Resulting from Hip Weakness

Weak hips commonly cause problems with walking and balance, but it may be behind other issues in the body as well.

When the glutes become weaker, the thighs can rotate and pull inward abnormally. This puts extra strain and stress on the knee as well as the ankle joints and leg muscles.

Recent research published in Sports Health, as well as studies performed by the University of Wisconsin, point to weakness in the hip as a possible cause of other orthopedic injuries. Knee problems such as patellofemoral stress syndrome, iliotibial band friction syndrome, patellar tendonitis and bursitis can result from weakness in the hip joint and surrounding muscles.

Weak hips also may lead to other leg problems such as Achilles tendonitis, lower back pain or related spinal issues.

Strengthen Your Core to Stay Healthy

Boosting the strength of the glutes and the core muscles (of both the back and abdomen) can provide increased stability and proper alignment of the hips, helping to avoid further injury.

A basic core strengthening program, performed for about 20 to 30 minutes a few times each week, can keep the hips healthy. Planks, bicycle crunches, bridges, step-ups and lunges are also an important part of a comprehensive core exercise program.

Core workouts also may include the use of a stabilization ball, rocker board or medicine ball.

Any indication of developing hip weakness should be evaluated by an orthopedic doctor or sports medicine physician. Doctors recommend beginning a regular regimen of strengthening exercises early in life, to most effectively preserve the health of the hips and prevent weakness through the aging process.

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Common Causes of Orthopedic Pain

Some of the most common orthopedic problems are discussed here:

Arthritis

This is a condition which is characterized by pain, aching, swelling, stiffness and swelling around the joints. It is most commonly observed in people over the age of 65. But people from all age groups can be affected. It causes severe activity limitation and lots of pain. Initially, physical exercise and activity are advised and surgery is considered at a later stage.

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that is most commonly seen in middle aged and older adults. As you grow older the joint cartilages break down. It greatly limits the movement of joints and hinders normal functioning. It is painful and is one of the most common ailments that are seen in an orthopedic doctor's clinic.

Rheumatoid

This is a disease which causes severe inflammation of the joints. Lumps are formed and the appearance of the joint is also changed. This is also known as an autoimmune disorder where the body's immune system attacks its own healthy tissues. If not properly monitored, this disease causes a lot of damage to the healthy cells and organs of the body.

Fractures

Fractures are the most common reasons why patients visit an orthopedics' clinic. Whether open or compound fractures, they must be treated and rectified as soon a possible.

Back pain

Back pain could be due to many reasons, but if you experience back pain with restricted movement, you need to check with an orthopedic for any ailments related to the backbone.

Neck pain

The main reason for neck pain could be strain or damage to the muscles and ligaments of the neck. Abnormalities in the vertebrae can cause severe pain in the neck.

Lower back pain is considered as the most common orthopedic problems today. The main cause for lower back pain is strenuous activities. It is also caused by improper exposure to continuous vibrations. Sometimes it is even caused by the degeneration of the vertebre. Obesity is also noted as one of the most common causes of lower back pains. This is because if you have poor muscle tone, it causes strain and the back aches continuously.

In short each muscle and bone in the body that forms the musculoskeletal system could be a contributor to orthopedic ailments. So, it is always advised to keep your bones and muscles fit. Exercising everyday is the key to maintaining muscle strength and keeping your bones and joints working. Simple workouts like running, jogging, stretching and aerobic exercises keep you healthy and full of energy. You can fit them in your daily routine. Lack of exercise can absolutely have an adverse effect on your bones, muscles and overall health too.

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Chronic Pain – How to Heal With Spiritual Prescriptions (Part One)

Having completely reversed fibromyalgia, for over 20 years now people have asked me the same question, over and over. How? How did you heal? How did you reverse the pain and get off of medications? Honestly, that was the wrong question.

They should have been asking me “why” I healed? Because the “why” is the driving force that stirred the energies with in me. My “why” was that deep down I believed that I could. Deep down I believed in something more. I just knew there had to be more.

Honestly, I learned to heal by asking the right questions. The questions that most folks do not ponder and the questions that became the driving force of my adult life.

So, now I want to share some of those questions with you … maybe they will inspire you to look and move in a different, more helpful and healing direction if you are living with chronic pain as I was so many years ago. (It was 20 years ago that I completely reversed Fibromyalgia).

Where have we come to learn that our bodies are going to break down and turn against us? Why have we resolved to believe that our body breaking down is inevitable?

Where did we learn to be afraid of our amazing, infinite, intricate divinely ordered bodies?

Do we really have control over our health? Or is our health predestined and pre-determined by genetics, science, or a spin of the terminal illness roulette wheel?

Why do some people heal and others do not?

Could our thoughts, fears, and beliefs about ourselves and our world be making us sick?

I am going to challenge you in this article to reframe what you believe is possible because I believe that we can live in a world without chronic illness and pain, in bodies that are healthy.

I am going to share with you the “why” and “how” I came to believe this and how viewing illness and pain from a spiritual and energetic perspective can reverse and eliminate symptoms from our physical body. And we'll see how “spiritual prescriptions”, not medical prescriptions, are the answers to my questions.

I first started living with daily pain I was 28 years old and had just enrolled in nursing school. Eight months later I found myself injured and it would be the start of 10 years of daily chronic pain and illness.

Entrenched in western medicine I would end up living in a wheel chair, get diagnosed with fibromyalgia, became addicted to prescription drugs and told by my doctors that I would not walk independently ever again.

So how is it I write this today – free of pain, free of illness, free from signs and symptom of fibromyalgia and take no prescription drugs?

I run, practice yoga, cross-train with high intensity cardio workouts.

How did I come to heal my life and my body?

Was it western medicine that cured it? Was it because “God” loves me more than other the patients I saw at the spine and sport medicine clinic? If surgery was the answer why did I have three? Why would not the first one be enough?

The truth is, It was not medicine surgery or pills that cured me. It was not absolutely romantic or alternative medicine that treated me .

It was my willingness to embrace every aspect that divine spirit was trying to show me, do for me and through me to direct me towards my purpose … to stand here today to deliver this message.

It was my willingness to let spirit show me what the miracle of our life really looks like.

It was my willingness to embrace what was happening to me and my body from a spiritual and energetic perspective and to move towards it rather than away from it.

I learned to embrace the pain and learn from it rather than annihilating it with drugs, procedures, surgeries, and steroid injections. This was the beginning of my healing and for those that are willing to look at a healing from a new perspective, it can be the beginning of their new healthy body as well.

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How To Stretch Your Calves and Get Rid of Shin Splints For Good

Shin splints are caused from the Tibialis Anterior and / or the Tibialis Posterior actually starting to pull away from the periosteum (or connective tissue that covers the bone). This is caused when the muscles are too tight creating trigger points, or knots. The trigger points begin to inhibit ROM and literally begin to pull at the attachments and tear them away from the bone. Yes, Ouch! This will cause pain down the front, outside of the shin from the Tibialis Anterior. Pain down the back, inside of the shin bone and close to the ankle will be from the Tibialis Posterior.

The Tibialis Anterior is located on the front, outside of your shin bone, or tibia. It is attached to the outside of the leg, under the knee, goes all the way down the front of the bone, crosses over the ankle, and hooks under the big toe. It's responsibility is helping to lift the lower leg when taking a step up or moving it in any way.

The Tibialis Posterior is located behind the tibia, deep on the backside of the bone in the posterior compartment, and hooks under the ankle. It's responsible for inversion of the foot and plantar flexion (lifting the foot). It's also the main stabilizer for the lower leg. So if it gets tight and / or forms trigger points you can experience imbalance and begin to compensate in your gate (or the way you walk). Sometimes the imbalance will make its way up into the hips and now we have a new set of issues.

Who Can Get Them?

Anyone can get them. However, people who are on their feet for long periods of time (runners, athletes, nurses, doctors, constructors workers, etc) have a higher chance of experiencing shin splits at some point in their life. Women who wear high heels through the day also have a tendency to get them because the angle the foot is at causes the muscles to become overworked and develop trigger points.

How They Form:

• When you're on your feet repetitively for long periods of time
• Run on hard surfaces
• Have flat feet
• Have misalignment in the hips, knees, and / or ankles
• Lack of stretching
• Poor circulation
• Poor support in you shoes
• Wearing high heels for long periods of time

Treatments:

• Stretching / Yoga
• Foam rolling
• Self Massage
• Professional Massage
• Check your shoes for support
• Rest
Ice

How To Stretch Your Calves

Stretching your calves with a stretching band or strap will help to address both the Tibialis Anterior and Posterior. To do so you can lay on you back on a mat, rug, or carpet with both legs straight in front of you. You may use a stretching band, strap, towel, or even a belt for this stretch.

Wrap the band around the ball of your right foot and lay back slowly. Then using the band slowly raise your right leg to where you feel resistance in the calf muscles. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth to help get oxygen to the muscles and help them to relax and release. Once they let go at this point you can stretch a little farther.

To target the Tibialis Anterior a little more you can slowly turn your toes inward, rotating at the ankle slowly, and pointing the big toe where it attaches. Then gently flex the foot again to the original position and press into your heel to address the Tibialis Posterior.

You can bend the opposite knee for a more intense stretch if you like. Then, relax your leg back into starting position and repeat on opposite side. Repeat a few times on each side.

Discomfort is expected but you do not want pain. If you experience pain while trying to stretch the muscles are probably too tight. You may need to do some self massage first on the calves before you stretch to alleviate some tension. However, if the Trigger Points that have developed are severe an NMT (Neuromuscular Therapy) massage will be more effective to release the muscles and give you relief.

Extra Tips

Foam rolling or using a self massage stick will help the Tibialis Anterior, but it's rather difficult to address the Posterior using these because of its location. If they persist seek out a highly skilled therapist who is knowledgeable about this subject.

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Have Sciatica?

SCIATICA

In my office, sciatica is one of the most common reasons people seek our help. We see first-hand how frustrating this condition is and how it leads people from living their life. It often follows someone from working, sleeping, and enjoying life. Fortunately, there are ways for people to free themselves from low back pain and sciatica.

What exactly is sciatica?

As the name implies, sciatica is an irritation or inflammation of the sciatic nerve that begins in the low back and buttock and then travels down the leg. Five nerves (L4, L5, S1, S2, and S3) bundle together to form the sciatic nerve. Irritating any combination of these nerves can result in sciatica. The pain can be described as dull, achy, sharp, toothache-like, pins and needles, numbness and tingling or even similar to electric shocks; it can be local or travel down the nerve as far as the foot in one or both legs. In severe cases, it can cause sensory loss and paralysis in a lower limb. Unpleasant indeed.

Causes?

Sciatica is always a symptom of an underlying cause such as: disc herniation, degeneration in the spine, bone spurs, spinal or pelvis misalignment or sometimes something as simple as a tight muscle. The key to correcting sciatica is to find the cause. Some of the best ways to determine the cause is with a specialized examination, thermography, and structural x-rays – all things that are routinely completed in our office. CT scans and MRI reports can also be helpful if they are available.

What can I do for relief?

Some general home care instructions for sciatica include:

  1. Ice in 15 minute intervals. In some cases, heat may be beneficial as well. Use what has worked for you in the past.
  2. Intermittent movement. Never stay in one position too long, especially if it is uncomfortable. Find the position that is most comfortable and try to move within the boundaries of comfort.
  3. A prolong extension stretch has been shown to help by holding the position that gives the most relief 5-10 times per day.
  4. Choosing “anti-inflammatory” foods can help – avoid sugary foods and alcohol which can exacerbate inflammation.

The above are general recommendations that may be helpful in lessening your pain. However, specific spinal and pelvis adjustments and exercises have been shown to be extremely effective in treating the cause of the problem – saying goodbye to sciatica pain will allow you to start living your life again.

Be Well,

Dr. Jon

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Why Winter Is a Pain in The Joints!

The poet, George Herbert said, “Every mile is two in winter”. Your Great Aunt always said she could “feel” a storm was brewing … if you suffer from joint pain those words probably resonate with you during the cold winter months.

But why do joints feel stiffer and more painful in cold weather? Why is it that a brisk walk in the crisp winter air leaves you being almost unable to get your key in the front door when you return home?

A good way to imagine what is going on inside those stiff and achy joints is to imagine the tissues surrounding the joint as a balloon. When air pressure is low, the balloon (the tissues) around the joint will expand a little. These expanding tissues then put pressure on the joints, making them feel stiff, tight or painful. So if you hear someone “predicting” the weather by the feelings in their joints, they may just be correct …

Whether your aches and pains seem to be linked to changes in the weather or not, there are two simple steps you can take to lower the risk of those painful flare ups:

1: Eat Well
It may seem like healthy eating is the predictable answer to all health problems, but there are certain foods that can go a long way in helping to manage joint pain and discomfort.

These include:

Omega-3 fatty acids (such as salmon and nuts which can less inflammation).

Vitamin K (such as spinach, cage and kale that contain pain alleviating properties).

Vitamin C (such as oranges, red peppers and tomatoes that can help to manage cartilage loss as a result of arthritis.

2: Keep Moving
One of the reasons for cold weather being linked to joint pain is that people are less likely to exercise regularly when it's cold and wet outside. Exercise helps to lubricate joints to prevent pain – so where spending the winter months curled up on the sofa may seem appealing, your joints certainly will not thank you for it.

If the wrath of the winter weather seems just too harsh to exercise outside at all, then why not join a gym or simply take part in some home based workouts? If you suffer from joint pain, remember to choose low-impact aerobic exercises that are gentle on the joints. Walking, yoga and Tai Chi are all great ways to increase your range of motion. Gentle weight lifting can also help in building strong muscles for joint support.

Here's a joint-healthy winter!

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Physiological Change In Someone With Chronic Pain

Living with chronic pain takes a major toll on your mental frame of mind. It is very challenging to keep a positive outlook, when simple tasks become monumental efforts, due to the pain. A negative outlook can lead to depression and extremely intensify the physical pain.

Dealing with chronic pain makes it very hard to stay focused on any other type of task. The pain can become consuming.

Chronic pain is described as suffering longer than expected, due to an injury or illness. Chronic pain, like arthritis and joint pain, can alter the hormones in the brain, and this neurochemical change may increase a person's susceptibility to pain.

This may escalate to other parts of the body, and areas that do not normally hurt will begin to feel pain. According to the Journal of Neuroscience, pain will alter the brain both anatomically and physiologically.

When living with pain on a daily basis, getting quality sleep can be very difficult. A lack of quality sleep results in low energy. Add sleepiness and chronic pain together, and tolerance levels are sure to drop, and a person may get irritated more quickly.

Depression is the number one psychological issue that is common among patients with chronic pain. Often times, feeling depressed can hinder treatment results, and even worsen the medical condition.

Observe the following statistics:

1. The American Pain Foundation has noted that more than 30 million individuals, living in the United States, suffer with pain lasting more than 12 months.

2. More than fifty (50%) of people who have pain, also complain to their doctors that they feel depressed.

3. Individuals with pain, that hinders their independence, are said to be at a higher risk of becoming depressed.

Physical pain triggers a mental response in every body. If you have pain, especially due to arthritis and joint pain , for example, you may also feel angry, agitated and irritable.

Depression often goes undiagnosed and in turn is left untreated. It is the pain that takes center stage on most doctor visits, and not a psychological disorder, such as depression and all the negative implications that accompany it (such as sleepiness, lack of energy, social withdrawal, and loss of appetite).

Other physiological changes in people who suffer with chronic pain include, but are not limited to:

Feelings of anger; ability to think clearly; reduced self-esteem; increased stress within the family and household; fear of causing more injury and pain; financial concerns; reduced sexual activities, and despite the stress of having to deal with legal and / or work-related issues.

Individuals that live with pain could interpret comments from well-meaning friends and family members as negative, and this could trigger an angry thought and response. For instance, if a loved one gently reminds a person to “take their prescribed meds”, it may be interpreted as, “You are not trying hard enough”. Another, well-meaning statement, could be something like, “have you tried …”. And it may be a message that is received as, “you read one article on my condition, and you think you know more about than I do”. Of course, there are some comments that can be ignoreant, such as, “you do not look sick”, which may be interpreted as, “since my illness is not physically visible, it is not real”. One of the best statements that a loved one can make to someone who deals with chronic pain is, “I'm sorry you are in pain, and I wish that I could take it from you.” These type of words are received in a positive manner, and the patient will hear, “I am here for you and I love you.”

In a recent study, eighteen (18) adults with chronic back pain were observed. MRI's were conducted six months prior, and six months after treatment. In addition, brain scans were also conducted on participants with pain, and also on sixteen (16) additional participants, who did not suffer with chronic pain. It was found that some areas of the brain (specifically the cerebral cortex) were thinner in patients with chronic pain.

During the brain scans, the participants were asked to conduct cognitive tasks, which included the ability to distinguish one visual target from another. Although both groups did well on this mental test, the individuals with pain showed more brain activity. Pain demands attention from the brain, and it is assumed that for this reason, patients needed to exert more mental effort, to remain focused on a certain task.

When the body is healed of pain, the brain is also restored, because the link between the mind and the body is intertwined.

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What Help Will A Pain Center Provide Me?

Anyone that suffers from chronic pain is told that they will find the best treatment in a pain center that specializes in their type of pain. But many of them will have questions before admitting themselves, with some of the most common and frequently asked questions are:

1) What type of facility or institute exactly?

2) What kind of doctors will be on staff?

4) What should be expected once I am admitted?

5) Would this be the only place I am required to attend or will I have to go to other facilities?

6) If there is Physical Therapy involved, will it be in the facility?

These are just a few of the questions that are asked by patients suffering from chronic pain whose doctor is referring them to such a facility. It is not unusual for a patient with chronic pain not to have any idea what to expect or know what can be done for them that will help with their pain.

What Is A Pain Center?

Stereotypically, this type of facility is where various doctors provide solutions to a patient that is suffering from chronic pain. The type of chronic pain that responds the best for those admitted to this type of facility are those with arthritis, back pain, and different forms of cancer. Other types of chronic pain that are helped by being admitted to a facility that focuses on pain relief would be those who suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome, migraine headaches, and shingles.

Why Do Primary Care Doctor Refer Patients Elsehere?

When a primary care doctor has provided the medications that they know and the patient is still suffering, they may feel that in their patient's best interest, referral to a pain center is needed. There has been a lot of research done by doctors and others over the past few years. And with that research, many doctors have become specialized in chronic pain associated with their specialty.

There are also the doctors that are an anesthesiologist, which pain management is their specialty regardless of what is causing the chronic pain. The specialist doctors, as well as an Anesthesiologist, will work within these facilities as well as with hospitals and their own offices.

Various Methods And Treatments Available

Typically, a pain center offers a combination of several different therapies, which may or may not include medication as well. There is also treatments that include massage therapy, nerve blocks, and physical therapy. A facility that focuses on pain management and relief may use these different types of therapy individually or in coordination with one another.

The facility will look for a therapy that is the most effective treatment of a patient's pain relief as well as any swelling or stress they may be experiencing. They are a great source for finding solutions to help with acute pain by way of performing diagnostic services so they can determine where a patient's pain is originating.

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What Should You Look For In a Pain Management Clinic?

There are as many as fifty million Americans that suffer from chronic pain from some type of disease or illness.

Chronic pain can be debilitating and keep a person from living an active and full life. Today, there have been great breakthroughs on how to treat this type of pain and often it is done through a pain management clinic.

This type of clinical can often help a person through the chronic pain that they've been suffering from that other pain treatment methods have not. This is because the clinic is focused on diagnosing what is causing the chronic pain and finding the best way to manage it.

Some people suffering chronic pain will seek a clinic that specializes in specific regions of the body to have their pain diagnosed.

This type of clinic that focuses on regional areas of the body are often better able to provide and prescribe pain management treatment that eases the pain. This can enable them to participate in activities and live a fulfilling lifestyle.

What Should You Look For In A Pain Management Clinic?

The types of chronic pain vary for everyone and as such, the treatment this type of clinic offers will vary as well. And because there are so many different forms of pain treatment, it can be hard for one clinic to handle them all, which is why we see so many different types of specializing clinics today.

And because each clinician may have a different focus, it is important for a patient to do their homework before registering into a clinic.

The first topic a patient needs to clarify is what type of pain do they treat and what method or methods do they use? The patient should also verify credentials of the specialist that are staffed or licensed to work in the pain management clinic that they are considering, as well as the clinic itself.

When the patient has found a pain management facility that they are considering, they should schedule a time to visit with the team and tour the facilities. If they are comfortable with the team and the facility, they will make faster progress in managing their pain at the clinic.

Some questions a patient should ask themselves when trying to determine if a clinic is a good match are:

· Is the staff compassionate and respectful?

· Does the staff have the same beliefs you do and the same goal in mind?

· Are the treatment plans developed according to an individual's need?

· Do they involve the patient in designing a treatment plan?

· Are family members involved in the patient's treatment plan and goals?

· How is the patient's progress monitored and tracked within the pain management clinic?

· Does each member of the team assigned to a patient confer with each other about the patient's progress?

· What frequency does the team communicate with the patient and their family members about the patient's progress?

· What is the follow-up procedure once the patient is discharged?

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What Can You Expect From PT In Helping You With Chronic Pain Management?

When your body is suffering from chronic pain, you may think the recommendation of using physical therapy as a method of pain management is strange. But surprisingly, experts have come to the conclusion that it is probably one of the best decisions you could make in getting that much-needed relief you're looking for.

Your doctor may prescribe or recommend a series of sessions to help with your chronic pain because it has been determined it helps their patients to move better and easier. And when you are able to move better and easier, it makes you feel better all over. As the saying goes, the only thing to fear is fear itself, meaning you take fear on head-on and it is not as fearing. The same is to be said about managing physical pain. To address your physical pain, one must get physical.

There Will Be Homework

Once your doctor has recommended this type of therapy to help with your pain, you will most likely need several sessions. They may be daily for a short period of time, followed by weekly or monthly sessions. The physical therapist will most likely give you exercises to do at home in addition to your sessions. Some exercises will be recommended when your pain more active.

How PT Provides Pain Management

The best way to look at this type of therapy is that it is a highly focused and intestinal workout. It is focused on where your pain is with consistent of intense movements to provide you pain relief. It is not an effort to burn calories or burn fat. The goal is to target the muscles in the areas where you feel pain, so those joints work better and have more support.

In a physical therapy session can include one of or a combination of the following moves to help with pain management :

Aerobic Training (Low-Impact): These workouts are great to get our heart rate revved up without abusing your joints. A low-impact Aerobic workout may be fast walking or riding a stationary bike to get your body warm up prior to starting the strength exercises that will follow.

Exercises for Strengthening: Your physical therapist will have some exercise equipment and machines that will be used in providing you pain management. They usually consist of resistance bands which you'll be instructed how to use them in a variety of ways.

You'll also be instructed on how to use the weight of your body weight as a way of managing your pain. Moves like lunges, push-ups and squats among some others. These are things that will work your core muscles like your back, belly, and glutes along with other body parts.

Exercises that will Provide Pain Management: These are the moves that target specific areas where you are experiencing your pain. They provide pain relief because they will make you more flexible and stronger.

Stretching Exercises: These exercises are gentle and are great for pain relief management. A warm-up time is recommended before starting them, which your therapist will guide you through that first and advise you on when to stop so that you do not over-stretch. You will most likely be given a routine to follow at home using these stretching exercises to help you continue managing your pain there.

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A Pain Clinic Can Help With Chronic Pain

For many people, it is hard to understand the value of a pain clinic. Living with chronic pain is not something that anyone wants to do. There are many people who do live with this type of pain are on a prescription merry-go-round of painkillers. And while those prescriptions are an immediate help, there are adverse side effects of taking them for too long a period too.

What has become a reckless intake of painkillers by those that suffer chronic pain has made the health care community see the value a clinic like this can provide. They have multiple approaches and options to pain management and focus on the individual as a person. They are not just masking the pain, but looking for the best and safest possible results of pain management.

It has been determined by looking at survey results, almost sixty percent of those surveyed that suffer chronic pain were undergoing treatment through pain clinics for 12 months experienced a major reduction in their chronic pain.

Some of these clinics have a focus on one treatment method. Such as methods that utilize steroid injections to reduce any inflammation. These injections may also relieve any back pain or headaches that often come with or are the result of chronic pain.

Multiple Treatments Are Offered

Today these types of facilities use a variety of treatment providers that employ a variety of specialists from different areas of the medical field. They share information about the patients with each other and then coordinate a care plan that will get them the best results possible. Between each of these health care providers, there may be the following specialists involved:

· Anesthesiologist

· Family Physician

· Internist

· Neurologist

· Physical Medicine Specialist

· Physical Therapist

· Psychiatrist

· Psychologist

Any medications that are prescribed to a patient by a doctor working through a program sponsored by a pain clinician includes pain medications, anti-anxiety medications that reduce a patient's tension, NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories), steroids for inflammation reduction, muscle relaxers, as well as anticonvulsants or antidepressants that can aid in controlling specific nerve pains treated by the patients.

A pain clinic may offer non-drug therapies as well which can include one of the following:

· Acupuncture

· Biofeedback

· Breathing Exercises

· Cold and Hot Therapy

· Family Therapy

· Individual Therapy

· Massage Therapy

· Physical Therapy

· Self-Hypnosis

· TENS Therapy

Before a patient admits themselves to a pain clinic, they should verify the clinic is accredited and will fulfill the basic requirements that are appropriate for their specific type of pain and the medical care that is needed. A clinic that has received certification by the American Academy of Pain Management is an indication that it has gone through and passed a peer-reviewed compliance process that thoroughly checks the establishment.

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The History Of Pain Management

The cause of pain was recorded on tablets made of stone in ancient times, as well as what treatment was used for managing it. Some of the treatments that were used were heat, pressure, the sun, and water.

During these times, any pain was regarded as the effect of demons, evil, or magic and the victors, priestesses, shamans, and sorcerers would use various techniques to manage someone's discomfort. Some of those techniques included the use of herbs, which may be part of a treatment today or rites were given and ceremonies performed for a person to have relief.

The notion that the human brain and the nervous system had a role that was important to our sensitivity of pain was first observed by the Greeks and the Romans. During the Renaissance, Leonardo da Vinci and his colleagues began to believe that the central organ was the human brain when it came to knowing this sensation.

As such, there were people who suffered from pain every day of their life because there were no pain killers or pain relief treatment of any type.

But with the medical knowledge and technology we have today, that is no longer necessary. Today, medical experts have found different methods of pain management that can either eliminate it altogether or ease a person's pain. It was during the nineteenth century when scientists first discovered that cocaine, codeine, morphine, and opium were used for pain relief. And what may surprise some is that one of today's common pain relievers, aspirin, was actually made from these drugs.

Pain And How We Manage It Today

Anyone that is alive today has experienced some type of pain. If you are a rare person that has never experienced pain, you may wonder what exactly is pain and why is pain management necessary? Whether you know it or not though, you have experienced pain. As an unborn child, as a young infant, you have experienced pain. You simply were not able to recognize pain. But that does not mean you were not experiencing it.

The difference with the pain as an unborn child or a newborn baby and the pain some adults have, the level of handling the pain will vary. Pain is a compound feeling and is different from one person to another. Even if two people have identical illnesses or injuries, their level and type of pain will be different.

In the primary stage of pain, it provides us an indication that there is something wrong and if a person experiencing that pain needs to schedule an appointment with their doctor. But when a higher level of pain is reached, it can make life miserable and this is when having the ability to manage it is beneficial.

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Pain Management Centers Can Provide Relief

For someone who suffers from chronic pain, pain management centers offer a wide range of relief treatments. They are often referred to as pain management clinics, and both will utilize an approach that is considered multidisciplinary that encourages those with chronic pain people to have active participation in managing that pain so that they can gain control over their lives again. These centers do not focus as much on the pain itself as they do the whole person.

What Do These Centers Do?

The focus and the offerings will vary between the different.

One thing they all have in common is assigning a team of health professionals to each patient. Each person on that team has a specific area of ​​expertise that focuses on and they work together with the same goal of getting the patients relief from chronic pain.

The team of health care providers at pain management centers will include doctors and non-physician professionals that specialize in diagnosing the cause of a patient's chronic pain and determine the best process to manage it. The group of providers involved with a patient may include physical therapists, psychologists.

The team may also include alternative and complementary therapists like acupuncturists or a massage therapist. These people will work together and compile a pain management program for the patient.

Pain Relief and Pain Management Strategies

At pain management centers , a patient's therapy plan is tailor to the specific needs of the patient. Things taken into consideration are the patient's individual circumstances and their preferences. The treatments recommended by the team will be dependent on the cause of the patient's chronic pain. The various treatment options can include any of the following:

Medication: Patients are often prescribed medication treatment before they receive any other form of therapy. These medications can include:

  • Antidepressants: These drugs were originally intended to treat patients experiencing depression. Research has found that they are also helpful in relieving some types of pain. One of the doctors on the pain management center team may prescribe antidepressants to help a patient with chronic pain sleep.
  • Corticosteroids: This is a prescription only drug that doctors on the team may prescribe for patients with severe infection.
  • Non-aspirin: These would be drugs like acetaminophen to treat minor pain and could have combined with other medications for greater relief of pain.
  • NSAIDs: This is an OTC such as an ibuprofen or naproxen which is for treating inflammation and pain. One member of the health team may also prescribe a stronger version to the patient.
  • Opioid: This is a pain medication which is a morphine type of drug that a member of a patient's team will prescribe it for short-term if the patient is having acute pain, such as experienced by cancer patients.

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Dogs, Gremlins and Pain

I have previously written about Gremlins and suggested sending some of those who beset me, to visit those who do not open and read my articles. I wish I could get heard from everyone who do and find out how their week has been. Did those who read my articles avoid the gremlins I sent out? What about those who do not read my articles? Did they have a particularly bad week? Was it really the gremlins that bother me deciding that he or she was a juicier target than I was?

In some ways, my week has been better and in many ways, it has been no better.

I am still dealing with a car with two flat tires. Christmas may be the real culprit here, as I have no money to buy new tires. This means that each morning I have to remember to attach the compressor to the tire and inflate it to the correct pressure. The right side mirror is broken again. This time it is Ann's fault. This takes the score to at least one in her favor on who has hit the garage wall the most. At least I believe it does. It is always possible she could remind me that the pain can overwhelm me and make my memory inaccurate.

At least there is duck tape and there are some wonderful colors and designs as well as the boring gray default color. Moreover, I have a compressor and can blow the tire up each day.

Oh! The Pain!

My shoulder still hurts from my fall on December 18 last year. My doctor tells me he wants to wait until February 1 and see if it still hurts. If it does not then we can assume it was the quarter-sized breeze on the top of the shoulder. If it still hurts then the tear in the labral is the cause and he will need to do surgery. This surgery will effectively take my right arm out of service for the next 3 or 4 months. This will be problematic for me as my left arm has RSD / CRPS and it hurts horribly to use it. Right now, the right arm also hurts horribly if I use it. My problem is that the pain staying in my right arm and shoulder after the 6-week healing period may be because of RSD / CRPS. The pain from every other trauma I have suffered since being condemned with this devil-spawned disease has stayed, so why should this continued pain do anything else?

Actually, I do not really care about the pain as this is my life and what is one more pain? It is not as if this is something new. I will just deal with it as I have every other pain I have. It does give me something to moan about, because and we all like to moan sometimes do not we?

My wife, Ann, had a scare with a possible blood clot and is finding it hard to walk. The pain in her leg and foot is now constant. Fortunately, we have health insurance, no mean feat in our current society. We were able to go to the hospital and get an ultrasound scan to check that there was no blood clot. It still hurts but at least it is not life threatening.

And then there are the dogs

Then there is the problem of the dogs. We have three dogs. This may not seem to be a problem for many of you. It certainly is not one for Ann. I personally do not like dogs. I know, I know! Why then, do we have three? It is a little complicated, but I will try to explain. It is fascinating, so if your nate is loose, read on and let's get it tightened.

By 2010, our main dog, Misty, was getting old and becoming somewhat frail. She was finding it impossible to get up and down the stairs from the deck to the back yard to do her business. She was an Australian Shepherd and too big to be carried or even dragged up and down the stairs.

To forestall the problem of having to put Misty out of her considerable misery, I bought Ann an emergency backup dog, Moose. He was a Cocker Spaniel with a major brain disability. We did not immediately realize he had a mental disorder but, after watching him chase cars up and down the road outside our house, we realized he was an adrenaline junkie. I used to joke to people who came to the door about making sure they killed him outright so we did not have the horror of him suffering somewhere on the road. Fortunately, or unfortunately really, Ann was driving the car he got too close to and she fatally ran over him. To soften the blow, I immediately bought a new dog, a Cocker Spaniel puppy we named Rosie.

Moment of madness

After Misty passed on, in a moment of madness I bought a puppy to be a therapy dog ​​for my children. Then Christmas 2014, we bought a cross breed, Chihuahua, Jack Russell, Maltese, puppy as a present for our then four-year-old daughter.

This means that we have the main dog, Rosie, the Cocker Spaniel. Then there is our emergency backup dog, Dallas, an Australian Shepherd. Finally there is the extra, a small yappy dog, Beau, or as everyone else calls him Bo-Bo. I call him Bo-Zo and this name is beginning to catch on.

My problem is that Dallas and Bo-Zo are males and want to constantly bark up the neighborhood and bother other people and their dogs. I am constantly harassed by them to let them out and then, shortly after, to let them in again. I am then harassed again to let them out. If I allowed it, this cycle would be repeated every five minutes.

Rosie believes she is alpha dog and refuses to accept that I am in charge. She does not want to go out for any longer than is needed to do her business. This means that, at times, I have to force her to go out. She then immediately claims to be back in. The “boys” often ask to be back in, but run away as soon as they reach the back door. This is when I feel inclined to let them loose, but I do not, because I am a nice person who does not want to sleep in the dog cage.

Do not open the door!

The dogs are under my feet constantly trying to steal food, barking at whatever they think is going on outside, chewing things and noisily fighting. When visitors come to our house, I frequently appear to be calling the visitor names as I shout and push the dogs out of the way when I open the door. Visitors sometimes stop moving when they hear me shout “stay”, not realizing I am talking to the dogs.

By sheer weight of numbers, one or more of them often gets out. We no longer want to let Dallas out without being tied up, as a neighbor has threatened to shoot him if he gets into their yard again. So him escaping through the front door is a major problem. Where Dallas goes, Bo-zo follows, and we have two dogs being pests with targets painted on their backs. Rosie simply runs around the house and begins to scratch at the back door, demanding to be back in again.

I call the dogs Useless, Pointless and Worthless. Although these names are catching on with the family, no one is sure which dog fits which name.

If we make the mistake of taking them with us when we go out, they complain constantly when we are in the car. This whining, whimpering and general dog noise irritates everyone in the car and the children become irritable. This is when they tend to agree with the dogs new names. Once at our destination we have the issue of preventing the dogs escaping. Rosie once chased some gulls for about a mile across and around a frozen lake. I wanted to just go home, but then I am the devil incarnate when it comes to dogs, so I was overridden by everyone else. They all went off in hot pursuit, eventually retrieving the dog.

Chewie who?

We have chewed dog toys, chewed people shoes and recently a chewed electrical socket. In the past, we have had dogs chew holes in the walls and in one mad two hour escapade, Misty chewed the door frame, door and floor off.

It begins to look like it is not gremlins causing my problems. Maybe it is the dogs!

Now, take it easy

Before all of you dog lovers begin unfriending me or sending me flames and hate mail. remember that, even though I do not like dogs, we have three of them. I accept them because they do work as therapy dogs. Not for me, but for everyone else. Misty allowed over 100 foster children to abuse her as only babies and toddlers can. She never once complained. Never growled or got angry. When they hurt her, she simply whimpered.

Distract yourself

It seems that the dogs are another distraction to go along with the children we have at home. I have the constant round of doctors, dentists, therapists, school meetings, school car pooling, the occasional hospital and ER visits to keep me preoccupied. Then there is the irritation of things like why if the price of oil has plummeted to below $ 30 a barrel, are gas prices going up? These are apparently insufficient to keep my mind off my pain and I need the dogs to fill that void.

We did not get back to the gremlins and I promise I will next time, but I hope you have seen the answer to the problem of things going bad, is to find things that are positive in the blackness, Having things to distract me from my pains is how I manage to ignore them. The pain has gone nowhere, but I am too busy dong other things to let it bother me. You too can hopefully find many positive things to distract you from your pain, whether it be mental, spiritual, emotional or physical.

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What Can A Pain Management Doctor Do For Me?

A pain management doctor is a specialist that diagnoses why a patient is experiencing pain. A pain management doctor will also be the one that will provide a treatment plan for the pain in conjuction with the patient's other doctors.

In most cases, these are Anesthesiologists who ensure you are comfortable and pain-free safely while having surgery. Women are most familiar with them in the L & D room during childbirth. You may encounter the services of this specialist in your dentist or doctor's office as well for smaller procedures. Because of the variety of ways this type of specialist is used today, they have become their own category of doctors.

Often, it is the Anesthesiologist that leads a team of others that are all specialists themselves. Together, they all work to alleviate a patient's pain, not just during a procedure or surgery, but afterwards as well. The Anesthesiologist or other pain management doctors such as Neurologists and Oncologists and Orthopedists and even Physiatrists and Psychiatrists will confer with one another regarding a patient's pain.

Even specialists that are categorized as non-physician such as nurses, and nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and therapists will be brought in consultation with others in assessing a patient's needs for pain management. A specialist with pain treatment will treat patients outside of procedures and surgery for a variety of things. Among them would be arthritis, back pain, cancer pain, migraine headache pain, neck pain, nerve pain, and shingles. One example would be amputees that experience phantom limb pain are often referred to a pain specialist for help and treatment as well.

A specialist of pain will also treat patients suffering from acute pain after an incapacitating illness, serious injury or surgery as well. Other times their services are needed is post knee-joint surgery pain and during recovery after an accident. They also see a patient that have had chest or stomach surgery or has been diagnosed with diseases like Sickle Cell.

Patients that are hospitalized or through an outpatient clinic are seen by pain management specialists. They will work close with a patient's physician, including reviewing the medical history and records including x-rays so they have a full understanding of the situation.

When you first visit a pain management doctor, they will have you complete a questionnaire asking for detailed information about your pain that helps them get up to speed with your case and the answers you provide are helpful for them in assessing how your day-to- day life is affected by your pain. You can them to order a physical exam or request the results from your last physical exam as well and maybe order testing. By reviewing all of this together, they are better able to locate the root of your pain and determine the best way to work with you.

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