December 2016 - Northwest Pain Relief Centers

Monthly Archives: December 2016

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Know Your Muscles-The Shoulders and Arms

Becoming familiar with the muscles that make up your body has more benefits than simply allowing you to talk shop with your training partners. The more familiar you are with the muscles you’re working, the better you’ll be able to judge what’s needed to make improvements. In this article we’ll get to know the muscles that make up the shoulders and arms.

Shoulders and arms work together but they require significantly different exercises to make them bigger and stronger. The main muscles found in these areas are as follows:

  1. Deltoid – this is comprised of three separate segments that cover the shoulder and run a few inches down the arm. The anterior deltoid raises the arm to the front. The middle deltoid raises the arm to the side. The posterior deltoid draws the arm backwards.
  2. Rotators – these are small muscles of the rotator cuff that control small movements of the upper arm. Consisting of an internal rotator, external rotator and supraspinatus they are used in lifting and throwing actions.
  3. Biceps brachii – the biceps cover the front part of the upper arm and consists of a long head and a short head. The long head crosses the shoulder joint and works with the front deltoid to raise the arm to the front.
  4. Triceps brachii – the triceps covers the back of the upper arm and consists of three sections – the long, lateral and medial heads. The role of the triceps is to straighten the arm at the elbow.
  5. Brachialis – this muscle lies between the upper arm bone and biceps. It helps the biceps to bend the elbow when the palm is facing sideways.
  6. Forearm muscles – the forearms consist of many little muscles called flexors and extensors. The largest forearm muscle is the brachioradialis that lies close to the elbow.

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How The Skeletal Muscles Causes Back Pain

The skeletal bones make up more than 200 short, long, irregular, and flat structures. Inside the bones is calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and RBCs, or marrow, which produces and generate red blood cells. The bones work alongside the muscles. The muscles and bones afford support, defense for the internal organs, and locomotion.

The skeletal muscles are our source of mobility, which supports the posture. The muscles work alongside the posture by shortens and tighten it. The bones attach to the muscles via tendons. The muscle then starts to contract with stimulus of muscle fibers via a motor nerve cell, or neuron. The neurons consist of axon, cell bodies, and dendrites, which transport to the nerve impulses and are the essential makeup of our functional components within the larger system of nerves. (Central Nervous System-CNS) CNS is a network or system of nerve cells, fibers, etc, that conveys and transmits sensations to the brain, which carries on to the “motor impulses” and onto the organs and muscles.

Skeletal muscles supply movement for the body and the posture; as well, the skeletal muscles also submit energies to create contractions that form from ATP or adenosine Triphosphate and hydrolysis, ADP or adenosine Diphosphate and finally phosphate.

The skeletal muscles also preserve muscle tone. What happen are the skeletal acts as a retainer by holding back a degree of contractions and breaking down acetylcholine by cholinesterase to relax the muscles? Muscles are made up of ligaments.

Ligaments are robust bands combined with collagen threads or fiber that connect to the bones. The bands, fiber, and bones join to encircle the joints, which gives one a source of strength. Body weight requires cartilages, joints, ligaments, bones, muscles, etc to hold its weight. Next to ligaments are tendons. Tendons are ligaments and muscles combined, since it connects to the muscles and are made of connective proteins, or collagen. Tendons however do not possess the same flexibility as the ligaments do. Tendons make up fiber proteins that are found in cartilages, bones, skin, tendons, and related connective tissues.

Joints are the connective articulated junctions between the bones. Joints connect to two bones and its plane and provide stability as well as locomotion. ROM is the degree of joint mobility, which if ROM is interrupted, the joints swell, ache, and cause pain. The pain often affects various parts of the body, including the back. Joints connect with the knees, elbow, skull, bones, etc, and work between the synovium. Synovium is a membrane. The membrane lines the inner plane of the joints. Synovium is essential since it supplies antibodies. The antibodies combined with this membrane create fluids that reach the cartilages. The fluids help to decrease resistance, especially in the joints. Synovium works in conjunction with the cartilages and joints.

Cartilage is the smooth plane between the bones of a joint. The cartilage will deteriorate with restricted ROM or lack of resistance in the weight bearing joints. This brings in the bursa. Bursa is a sac filled with fluid. Bursa assists the joints, cartilages, bones, and synovium by reducing friction. Bursa also works by minimizing the risks of joints rubbing against the other. In short, bursa is padding.

If fluids increase, it can cause swelling, and inflammation in turn causing body pain, and including back pain. Sometimes the pain starts at the lower back, yet it could work around various areas of the body.  The assessments in this situation revolve around symptoms, including pain, fatigue, numbness, limited mobility, joint stiffness, fevers, swelling, and so on. The results of skeletal muscle difficulties can lead to muscle spasms, poor posture, skeletal deformity, edema, inflammation, and so on. As you see from the medical versions of the skeletal muscles, back pain results from limited ROM, joint stiffness, etc.


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Why Chiropractic is a Good Idea

You’ve probably heard about chiropractors, chiropractic therapy, or even chiropractic treatment while watching a sports news about your favorite athlete getting therapy because of an injury. It’s not uncommon since chiropractic treatment is commonly associated with sports. If you’re thinking that you don’t need it since you don’t do sports, think again. Chiropractic medicine are not isolated to the sports world; in fact, you might even have an injury that needs chiropractic attention.

Unknown to many, chiropractic practices are based on several key principles. The basic assumptions behind this form of therapy include the belief that the body can heal itself and that the brain controls body functions through the nervous system. The belief that spinal malfunction has direct effect on the nervous system as well as on the body’s general health is also an underlying factor of chiropractic treatment. This is because chiropractic treatments are usually focused on neuromusculoskeletal disorders or NMS. NMS disorders are usually diagnosed at the back muscles and the spinal cord.

A founding principle of chiropractic is adjustment. Adjustment in this case is a distinct type of manipulation of joints by using controlled direction, leverage, force, velocity, and amplitude. Adjustments can be practiced on almost all joints in the body. This can be accompanied by cavitation usually characterized by a popping sound. The goal of adjustments is to affect nerves and nervous system to ease the body in returning to homeostasis by restoring the normal function and condition of the joints. These may sound to technical but chiropractors, chiropractic therapists, and chiropractic practitioners maintain that chiropractic treatment is also an art. Art in chiropractic medicine is viewed as the intuition, expertise, and skill that practitioners employ to accurately diagnose dysfunction and abnormality of the body’s NMS system. Specific tests are administered to the patient to determine the injury, its extent, and the proper treatment or technique that must be used to correct it. Art is also seen in perspective as the finesse of the practitioner in applying techniques. Chiropractors insist that grace and fluidity of movement are necessary so as not to shock the NMS system and aggravate injury.

Though people with some sports injuries are still on top of the list, other injuries or ailments can also be treated by chiropractors, chiropractic, and chiropractic treatment. Reports indicate that there is an increasing number of people availing of chiropractic help to ease head aches, neck pain, arthritis, and other muscular pain. Patients also indicate that they function better and feel energetic after undergoing chiropractic treatment. Also, there is no need to worry as chiropractors have undergone rigorous training and study for as much as 4 to 6 years before they can get certified. As a plus, the practice is also less expensive than NMS surgery that you might need if continue to ignore your NMS problems.


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Coping with Back Pain

The back muscles are attached to the spine. The spine consists of bones called vertebrae. The vertebrae are joined together by the facet joints. Softer disks separate the vertebrae. They allow the spine to bend and flex.

They also act as cushion in between the vertebrae and absorb shock and vibration produced by walking and running. Nerves connecting the brain to the body make up the spinal cord. The vertebrae protect the spinal cord.

Nerves branch off from the spinal cord to various organs and muscles including those in the arms and legs. The nerves carry instructions from the brain to the muscles, organs, and limbs. They also carry sensations such as pain from different parts of the body to the brain. The spine is joined to the pelvis, or hip, by the sacroiliac joints.

The disks in the back act as cushions between vertebrae. A disk contains a central area called the “nucleus pulposus,” which means soft center. Disks are usually moist, like a sponge with water in it. As a person gets older, or after a disk gets injured, it starts losing water and becomes stiffer. The disk becomes less useful in cushioning the back. This is known as disk degeneration.

The most common cause of back pain is muscle spasm. An awkward movement of the back can lead to a severe muscle spasm. The muscle spasm causes the back to “lock” and can cause severe pain. A muscle spasm can occur after a simple sneeze or cough. It can also occur after an awkward bending or twisting motion.

A movement as simple as bending to tie a shoe or twisting the back to turn and face in a different direction can cause such a spasm. Muscle spasms can also occur when a heavy object is lifted incorrectly.

Muscle spasms tend to get better over time. Severe cases of muscle spasm can be treated with physical therapy and medication. Long lasting back pain can occur after accidents that have resulted in injury to the disks, the facet joints, or sacroiliac joints of the back.

Back pain is one of the most common medical problems. It affects most people at least once in their lifetime. If not taken seriously, back pain can last for a long period of time, and can become disabling.

The best way to prevent back and leg pain is to regularly exercise the back. Back strengthening and stretching exercises are recommended at least 2 or 3 times a week.

The following are some examples of back exercises: partial sit-up (With bent knee, slowly raise your head and shoulders off the floor, and hold for 3 minutes), knee-to-chest raise (lie down; slowly pull knees to chest, relaxing your neck and back, hold for 10 seconds; repeat 10 times), press-up (lie down with hands near shoulders and pelvis on floor; press up painlessly, hold for 10 seconds, and repeat 10 times).

These exercises strengthen the back muscles, which allow them to withstand the rigors of everyday activities. If you have had previous back pain or medical problems, make sure to check with your doctor before starting these exercises.

Back pain will affect most people at one time in their lives. Action can be taken to prevent back pain or postpone the degeneration of the spine and disks. Preventive measures include strengthening of the back and adopting good body techniques.


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Shoes and Back Pain

Did you know that wearing inappropriate shoes could cause the back to feel stressed? Shoes are cushions, foundations, and levers that we use to walk, stand, run, job, and so on. If one wears correctly, fitted shoes it will promote a healthy posture. On the other hand, if one wears unsuitable fitting shoes, look out feet and back.

The feet are the number one target the starts normal back pain. In short, the first thing that hits the ground when you start to stand or walk is the ball of your foot, i.e. the heel. Once the heel hits the surface, the remaining sections of the foot start to follow, which promotes weight and stress throughout areas of the body. Feet problems alone can lead to back pain. Poor posture causes back pain, yet the condition is often characterized by inappropriate actions we take.

Fact: Wearing high-heels will slowly pull the weight of the entire body forward, thus corrupting the posture and arches of the back. Hold your weapons down women, because in time you will feel pain. High-heels are the leading cause of “Spondylolisthesis. In short, terms, spondylolisthesis is a condition that is caused from slipping frontward on the lower back. (Lumbar)

The toes are designed to provide us support, yet when a person wears high-heels it causes the toes to affect the joints, since the toes will narrow, causing weight or pressure to the spine. Now, high-heels are sexy to both men and women, yet these heels are going to cost you a fortune down the road. You can look good in supported shoes that fit comfortably without damaging your ligaments, tendons, nerves, muscles, and so on.

Sorry to pop your bubbles boys and girls, but shoes that support our spine can reduce the odds of experiencing back pain.

How to choose shoes:

Orthotic shoes are recommended. Orthotic shoes will support the feet and weight-bearing joints and muscles. Orthotic shoes have proven to reduce dysfunctions that emerge from the neurological system. In addition, the supportive shoes have proven to reduce injuries and pain emerging from abnormal conditions.

If you are diagnosed with posture conditions, such as osteoporosis, or gait, you can benefit from Orthotic shoes.

Fact: Did you know that you could wear two or more insoles. Fitting the insoles into your shoes prior to flipping them over, and achieve balance, which promotes a healthy spine?

Shoes make a difference to our spine, since the feet alone when abnormal can lead to back pain. If you are not wearing, supportive shoes that provide you a comfortable fit, you may want to invest in Orthotic shoes to relieve your back pain.

In addition to shoes, you can perform stretch workouts, and practicing leaning, sitting and lifting strategies to correct your actions and reduce back pain.

Fact: If the spine is misaligned, it can lead to back pain.

Duh, you knew that. Anyway, we misalign the spine when lifting incorrectly, wearing unsuitable shoes, and leaning, or sitting in position, incorrectly. You can correct the problems by getting the ball and chain in motion, and learning about your condition, followed by taking action to relieve your pain.

Fact: Proper lifting starts at the thighs and buttocks. Millions of people lift while relying on the back to hold the weight. Back pain occurs.

When lifting heavy objects you want to avoid lifting at a distance. At best, you want to avoid bending the knees and expending the trunk perpendicularly.

Prepare to take out your briefcase. Surely, you have around 20 pounds of weight inside the container. Otherwise, consider an object that weighs 20-pounds, unless you have been restricted to lifting.

What you are about to do is lift more than 20-pounds. By the time you get in position and use your muscles, you will have lifted up to 200 pounds. When you lift the briefcase, or other object move close to the subject. Move the trunk or torso in position by placing it over your feet. Remain in position until you have completed your lift. Studies show that Chiropractors have been very successful in treating back pain and the issues appropriately.

 


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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Pinched Median Nerve at the Wrist

Carpal tunnel syndrome is by far the most common and widely known of the “pinched nerve” conditions. This article addresses: What is it? Who is at risk for this condition? How is it diagnosed? What kinds of treatments work best?

Carpal tunnel syndrome refers to symptoms caused by entrapment of the median nerve in the carpal tunnel. “Carpal” itself means “wrist,” so a carpal tunnel is nothing more than a wrist tunnel. This particular tunnel can be a crowded place, as it contains not just the median nerve, but nine tendons as well. The “syndrome” consists of some combination of pain, numbness and weakness.

Pain, numbness, or both, are the usual earliest symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Pain can affect the fingers, hand, wrist and forearm, but not usually the upper arm or shoulder. Numbness affects the palm side of the thumb and fingers, but usually spares the little finger because it’s connected to a different nerve.

When weakness is present, it usually indicates that the condition is already severe, and when muscles atrophy (wither) it means the condition is even worse. The affected muscles are those downstream from where the nerve is pinched, and can include those controlling any of three motions of the thumb. In addition, bending of the first knuckles of the index and middle fingers can be affected, as can straightening of the second knuckles of the same fingers. When muscle atrophy is present, it is most evident in the muscular ball at the base of the thumb.

Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs more frequently in women than in men. People who work with their hands a lot – for example to sew, operate hand-tools or perform assembly-line work – are at increased risk for developing this condition. Various medical conditions can also increase the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome, including injuries, arthritis, diabetes, low levels of thyroid hormone and pregnancy. In the case of pregnancy, carpal tunnel syndrome often appears in the third trimester and resolves after the woman delivers.

Optimum diagnosis of this condition combines the time-honored methods of a doctor’s history-taking and physical examination with tests of nerve function called nerve conduction studies. Nerve conduction studies are exquisitely sensitive in detecting impairment of the median nerve at the wrist, particularly when the median nerve is compared with a nearby healthy nerve in the same patient.

In nerve conduction studies, the nerve on one side of the carpal tunnel is activated by a small shock to the skin. An oscilloscope measures how long it takes for the resulting nerve-impulse to arrive on the other side of the carpal tunnel. When the median nerve is pinched, the nerve-impulse is delayed or blocked. Nerve conduction studies are so sensitive that sometimes they show problems that aren’t even causing symptoms. That’s why nerve conduction studies don’t stand alone in diagnosing carpal tunnel syndrome. The examining physician needs to decide if the results make sense for the particular patient in question.

Nerve conduction studies not only show whether or not the median nerve is impaired at the wrist, but also provide precise data concerning how bad the impairment is. In addition, these studies survey the function of other nerves in the arm and hand. Occasionally, a nerve in an adjacent tunnel (the ulnar nerve in Guyon’s canal) can also be pinched. In other cases, nerve conduction studies show that the problem is not one of single nerve-pinches, but rather a more diffuse pattern of nerve-impairment called polyneuropathy. Of course, sometimes the studies are completely normal and suggest that the symptoms are due to something else.

To treat carpal tunnel syndrome, starting with “conservative” treatment makes sense in most cases, especially when the symptoms are still in the mild-to-moderate range. Conservative treatment usually includes a wrist-splint that holds the wrist in a neutral position, as well as therapy. Manipulation has also been found to be very helpful and many cases.


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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Life After the Internet

Now that we’re in the information technology age, everything we need is within reach. And this is all thanks to the Internet.  Work is mostly done through the Internet, facing the computer for long stretches of hours.  Even kids’ homework is done and submitted using a computer connected to the Internet.  Gone are the days when people would have to go and manually search for files in big folders stacked in shelves full of records.  Gone are the days when researching meant going to the library to research using gargantuan encyclopedias.  People just aren’t as active as they used to be.  And it’s because of this inactivity, and the long hours of slaving away in front of computers, that a lot of people have been complaining of certain chronic pain on their wrists.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) has been present even before computers were created, contrary to popular belief that CTS was brought about by the increasing use of technology.

The carpal tunnel is a hollow tunnel formed by the carpal bones and the surrounding tissues of the wrist.  This tunnel protects the median nerve that makes your thumb, index, middle and ring fingers its feelings. And it is said that carpal tunnel syndrome starts when the median nerve gets compressed, this causes pain, a tingling sensation, and/or weakness in the forearm and hand.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is said to be caused by a lot of factors: work, health conditions, trauma, and idiopathic reasons.

  • Although still unproven, a lot of CTS cases were provoked by repetitive grasping and manipulating activities.  This  is commonly related to extensive labor that requires the repetitive use of the hand and wrist in industrial occupations
  • Health conditions.  Physical health conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, and certain hormonal disorders like diabetes may cause CTS.
  • Accidents such as fractures of one of the arm bones, or dislocation of one of the carpal bones, blunt force trauma on the wrist or lower forearm., blood clot formation inside the wrist, or deformities due to abnormal healing of old fractures may cause compression of the median nerve.
  • Idiopathic reasons.  The compression is of an unknown source.

 

Treatment

Of course, consulting a physician should always be the first step to take when dealing with any kind of pain in the body.  They need to find out if the CTS is caused by any underlying physical condition that needs to be addressed right away.

Some people with mild symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome are able to relieve themselves of the pain by simply taking frequent breaks to rest their hands and arms.  Some people apply cold packs to reduce occasional swelling of the wrists.  If these quick fixes do not work, you might need to consider wrist splinting, medications and/or surgery.

  • Wrist splint.  This holds your wrist still while you sleep.  This relieves the night time symptoms of tingling and numbness.  This is most effective if you’ve only experienced mild symptoms of CTS for less than a year.
  • Doctors usually prescribe either non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or corticosteroids.  One to relieve the swelling, the other to relieve the pain.
  • This is advised only when the nerve impairment persists after using all non-surgical methods of treatment.
  • Therapy has been very beneficial when combined with manipulation.

 

It is understandable that now that we’re in the computer age where everything is accessible through the internet, we don’t need to move much.  But even if technology offers us the convenience of just typing everything into the computer, we need to understand that it will affect our wrists sooner or later.  So stand up, stretch, and give your hands a rest.


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