January 2017 - Northwest Pain Relief Centers

Monthly Archives: January 2017

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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome-Symptoms, Tests & Treatments

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome-Symptoms, Tests & Treatments

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a devastating injury that affects more than 8 million people in the United States and continues to increase each and every year.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is one of many repetitive strain injuries (RSI’s) that are everywhere; homes, offices, assembly lines, grocery stores, book clubs, construction sites, dental offices, everywhere! Because carpal tunnel syndrome is so commonplace, and its effects so devastating, it is important to be knowledgeable of how it occurs, what its symptoms are, the testing methods used and what treatment options are available, as the prevention of any injury, especially carpal tunnel, begins with education.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a disorder affecting the median nerve, which supplies function to the thumb, index, middle and one half of the ring finger. Usually the symptoms are most prevalent in the thumb, index and middle fingers (Sometimes one-half of the ring finger) and include numbness, tingling, paresthesia (pins and needles), pain and tightness in the front of the hand, wrist and forearm. These symptoms do not have to occur simultaneously, and may only affect one finger one day and then three fingers a few days later.

If a doctor provides a carpal tunnel diagnoses and the symptoms are in the ring and little fingers, it is NOT carpal tunnel syndrome! The ulnar nerve, not the median nerve, supplies function to the ring and little finger. Repetitive strain disorders affecting these two fingers are usually either Guyon’s syndrome, entrapment of the ulnar nerve in the guyon’s canal at the wrist junction, or cubital tunnel syndrome, entrapment of the ulnar nerve at the elbow junction. This is a common mistake made by many, many physicians and is completely inexcusable as they often recommend surgery for the patient, causing the patient to undergo an unnecessary procedure, and what makes it worse, for the wrong disorder!

If symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome do arise, doctors will recommend that a nerve conduction velocity (NCV) test or an Electromyogram (EMG) be performed to see if carpal tunnel syndrome truly exists. Nonetheless, it is recommended that manual carpal tunnel tests be performed in order to obtain a more accurate diagnosis. Manual carpal tunnel tests take no longer than 10 minutes, have a high accuracy rate.

The recommended manual carpal tunnel tests consist of the following:

  • Phalen’s Test: The wrist is flexed for 30 to 60 seconds in order to compress the median nerve and duplicate/increase the symptoms.
  • Reverse Phalen’s Test: The wrist is extended for 30 to 60 seconds in order to stretch the median nerve and duplicate/increase the symptoms. Stretching the median nerve if it is already impinged will duplicate/increase the symptoms if a patient has carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Tinnel Sign: Tapping directly over the median nerve at the wrist junction will cause carpal tunnel symptoms to exhibit themselves.
  • Compression Test: Direct pressure is applied over the location of the median nerve for 30-60 seconds to see if carpal tunnel symptoms are exhibited.

If a positive diagnosis comes back, most doctors will push for surgery, a procedure that has a terrible success rate and is to only be performed as a last resort once all other conservative treatment methods have been utilized. Conservative therapy is the key to successfully recovering from carpal tunnel syndrome and obtaining not only short-term but long-term relief as well. The following is a list of conservative treatments that should be utilized in order to help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome from developing, but also rehabilitating carpal tunnel syndrome after it is already present.

  • Ergonomics: Utilize proper ergonomic tools and equipment when working.
  • Breaks: Take short breaks every 30 minutes when working in order to help reduce excessive strain on the hands.
  • Stretches: Stretch the muscles that ‘close’ the hands as these are the muscles that are exercised all day long in activities such as typing, writing, gripping a steering wheel, using a computer mouse, carrying groceries and everything else that is done day in and day out. When a muscle is involved in exercise, it becomes shorter, therefore it needs to be stretched and lengthened both during and after the exercises are completed. (End of day)
  • Exercises: Exercise and strengthen the muscles that are used to ‘open’ the hands, as these muscles do not receive much direct stimuli / exercise. (i.e. People do not turn doorknobs, hold things, type, use a computer mouse or lift things with the backs of their hands.)

The information provided above reveals how carpal tunnel syndrome occurs, what its symptoms are, the testing methods most commonly used and the best conservative treatment options that are used to thwart its existence.

It is very important for individuals to become well acquainted with the proper information and tools in order to maintain and increase their level of health and productivity. It is also important for people to speak to their doctors regarding their health concerns, and if someone is involved in an occupation that is considered high-risk for carpal tunnel, they should discuss this with their physician, but is even more critical that people become self educated as no one can take care of you better than “YOU”!


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Five Smart Low Back Pain Relief Ideas

Low back pain is a common problem for most people as they age. With age, a person’s bone and muscle structure loses elasticity and strength which makes it prone to injuries that cause low back pain. However, age is just one of the many probable causes of low back pain. Other reasons include inappropriate posture, excessive weight gain, stress, and degenerative diseases, among others. Treatment for low back pain can be a long procedure depending on the cause but there are several ways a person can get low back pain relief easily and safely. Below are some ideas to relieve low back pain:

  1. Use heating pads to relax back muscles and the spine.

Applying heat therapy for 20-30 minutes on the lower back can soothe pain caused by muscle spasms and fatigue. A regular heating pad applied with a gentle massage on the lower back can provide instant low back pain relief. If no heating pads are available, soaking in a hot bath can also do wonders for low back pain.

  1. Take non-prescription painkillers.

Over-the-counter painkillers can reduce joint pain and swelling. Some of the most popular painkillers for back pain include naproxen, ibuprofen, aspirin, and ketoprofen. However, even if these painkillers are available without prescription, it is advisable to consult a doctor about over-the-counter drugs one can take in case of low back pain.

  1. Practice appropriate posture for specific activities.

Inappropriate posture can put undue strain on your lower back which can cause injuries over time. When standing, keep your hips, shoulder, and ears in a straight line while pulling your stomach in. This position ensures that your weight is evenly distributed so as not to burden your back muscles. If you sit for long hours, using a chair with good back support is essential to maintaining proper posture. It is important to keep your hips a little lower than your knees by propping your feet on a low stool or adjusting the chair’s height.

  1. Rest to soothe back pain.

When one experiences low back pain, it is important to rest. The best way to do this is to lie on the floor with pillows under the knees. This works by easing the weight and pressure off one’s back.  While this works as a temporary relief for low back pain, resting this way for a couple of days can help a person recuperate from a hurt or strained back.

  1. Stretch back muscles regularly.

Muscle elasticity and bone flexibility are greatly reduced as one ages or suffers from injuries. As such, even minor activities can trigger low back pain.  Although stretching before performing strenuous activities like sports or lifting heavy objects is already standard, it is also important to take regular stretching breaks during everyday activities like driving and sitting to ease the stress from one’s back.

Back pain need not be such a burden if one knows simple and safe techniques to soothe it. But if the pain in one’s back is chronic or prolonged, the best way to deal with it is to consult a doctor for treatment and medication.

Our center offers an innovative treatment which has been very successful with hundreds of patients. Ask our doctors about our Back-Pain Program.


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Exercise Your Back Away!

According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, 80 percent of Americans will experience back pain at some time in their life.

The traditional treatment for low back pain is increasing core strength to increase flexibility on tight muscles, provide better stabilization of the spine and exercises to correct the muscle imbalances. The muscles surrounding the spine provide stability and support of the spinal column. All the muscles between the hips and shoulders are included. These muscles are referred to as the core muscles. Back pain can be caused by muscle imbalances of any of these muscles. If the back of the thighs are weaker than the front of the thighs, there will be uneven pull on the front of the spinal column. This muscle imbalance can be caused from long periods of standing or sitting, improper strength training or running, this lordotic curve or sway back of the vertebral column can be painful.

There are more effective ways to integrate core strength training exercises into every exercise you perform, than by doing traditional crunches. One way is to use effective breathing. The following “Pilates” style breathing technique can be added to any strength training exercise. While performing a leg press, inhale during the bending part and exhale during the press. This deep breathing technique needs to be incorporated with the resistance or force of the exercise. You will utilize the diaphragm muscles which help to provide spinal support and lengthen the spine, by breathing from your diaphragm instead of shallow upper chest breathing.

The tummy tuck and bridge lift and can help reduce back pain and strengthen the core muscles. The tummy tuck is simply a pelvic tilt drawing the abdominals away from the floor. Simply lie face down and squeeze the glutes to lengthen the spine. Reach the tailbone down towards the heels instead of pressing into the thighs. Perform 10-12 repetitions of each exercise alternating them until you have completed 2-3 sets. For the bridge, simply place the feet on a bench or on the floor and scoop the pelvis upward; the rib cage should stay low to reduce the spine muscles irritation. This will relieve stress on the back and focus the muscle contraction into the hamstrings and glutes.

The lumbar side stretch, hip flexor stretch, and calf stretches can help to alleviate pull on the spine.

For the hip flexor stretch, bring one foot forward in a bent knee, 90-degree angle (knee to hip and knee to ankle) while the other leg is on the floor behind with foot pointing toward the ceiling. This stretch helps to open the muscles in the back on the sides of the spine near the hips. Squeeze the glutes to deepen the stretch with each exhaled breath. You should feel a stretch on the back leg, in the front of the thigh and the hamstrings on the front leg.

For the lumbar side stretch bring the legs wide with knees bent while sitting or standing. Bring one hand down towards the foot inside the thighs and the other behind the head.

The last stretch opens up the Achilles tendon; the most distant pull on the spine of the body. Place an object under your foot and lean your body weight forward. Keep a fluid breath while holding all stretches for 10-30 seconds. You should feel a stretch behind the knee and shin.

By exercising core muscles, you will be able to continue working out without sacrificing your back.  Check with your doctor before starting ANY exercise program!

Our center offers an innovative treatment which has been very successful with hundreds of patients. Ask our doctors about our Back-Pain Program.


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Chiropractor for Back Pain

Back pain is something most of us know all too well, lower back, upper back neck and head pain is a wide spread condition in almost every country and across all maturity ages. When people are faced with continues back pain that doctors tell them cannot be helped through the use of ordinary medicine, they start looking for a chiropractor to ease their pain.

A chiropractor is not some miracle worker, nor are the chiropractors a part of the alternative medicine scene, far from it, these are highly trained professionals that know everything starts with the spine, and any type of back injury is somehow connected to the spine. Chiropractors use their extensive knowledge of the spine and back to find the source of the problem that is causing the patient back pain.

The understanding of how the back muscles and spine makes the chiropractor the most experienced professionals in this area, particularly when it seems that all hope is gone a chiropractor can reason out what is going on in your back, the muscle effort and the stress that is places on each part of the back can be analyzed and understood, and most importantly – you back pain cause can be solved, and the pain gone.

Chiropractors minimize the back pain and get your spine in balance, and once they have your spine in balance, the main work is to keep you at a controlled state in which you do not suffer from this pain any longer. This maintenance work can be performed by the implication of different and various methods.

In some cases, patients are extremely stressed, causing their body to be highly tense and in a condition, that is very difficult to treat, although these are definitely not the majority of the back-pain population patients, it has been known that some rare cases encounter sever problems.

In these kinds of cases it may be better to look for a chiropractor doctor to have them treat the condition. Sometimes the diet we eat can contribute to cramps in the muscles or problems with the joints, the body has a way of understanding that it should avoid using these muscles and compensate for their use. This muscle compensation may result in more back pain, and sometimes this can be solved by a visit to a chiropractor doctor.

This kind of doctor uses a more alternative approach to physical problems, learning from the Chinese and acupuncture techniques, they will use their hands gently to perform the best task to fix the ailment. The Chinese techniques have been used for centuries, and still are very popular today in many different parts of the world, and the Chinese are closely related in their acupuncture and acupressure techniques.

Some chiropractor doctors combine more than one technique or method to solve back pain and back problems, this is very important for the patient that does not have to go to a few different experts to treat the same problem, and knowing that you are in the hands of a chiropractor doctor is reassuring enough for you to let them do the work and solve your back pain.

Our center offers an innovative treatment which has been very successful with hundreds of patients. Ask our doctors about our Back Pain Program.


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Brief History of Osteoarthritis and Back Pain

At the spinal column are the elongated columns of bones, which the thoracic ribs support. The thoracic ribs push the bones the length of bone structure. The ribs join with the spinal column in various areas.  Joints connect with these ribs, which are field of studies, since they often wear and tear, causing gradual degenerative diseases, such as osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis is defined in medical terms as a metabolically dysfunction of the bones. The results of the drops in our life-sustaining chemicals, which promote activity causes the bones to reduce mass whilst increasing porosity. The disease can cause osteoporosis to set in and intensify risks of fractures.

How do doctors consider osteoarthritis and/or osteoporosis?

Doctors often consider etiology aspects, including hyperthyroidism, deficiency of estrogen, Cushing’s syndrome, immobility, increases in phosphorus, liver illness, lack of exercise, deficiency of calcium and protein, deficiency of Vitamin D, and bone marrow conditions. Wear and tear of specific joints as mentioned above is also linked to osteoarthritis.

According to the Pathophysiology in medical terms, osteoarthritis is assessed by considering the rates of bone resorption that exceeds the rate of the bone structure or formation. Experts will often test the patient while considering rises in “bone resorption” and increases in phosphate (Salt of Phosphoric Acids) that stimulates the parathyroid activities. Phosphoric acids will form ester, which emerge from reactions via alcohol, metal, and radicals. If estrogen shows a decrease in resorption, it could also show traits of osteoarthritis.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms may emerge from Kyphosis or otherwise known as Dowager’s hump. Back pain, as well as damage to the thoracic and lumbar may be present. In addition, the patient may lose height, and demonstrate an unsteady walk. Joint pain and weakness is also present.

How do doctors determine if osteoarthritis is present?

First, they assess the symptoms and then request tests, such as x-rays and photon absorptiometry. X-rays of course helps the doctor to locate thinning of bone structures, porous structures in the bones, and rises in vertebral curvatures. The photon tests help the expert to spot decreases in minerals.

What if I test positive for osteoarthritis:

If you test positive, then the doctor considers treatment. The treatment often includes management, interventions, and further assessments. Further assessments help the doctor weed down potential complications. The complications often include pathologic fractures, which are complex.

How does the doctor manage osteoarthritis?

No two people are alike therefore medical management varies. Yet, most doctors set up a high-calcium, protein diet, as well as increasing minerals, vitamin regimens, and boron.

Doctors may include in the management scheme alcohol and caffeine restrictions. In addition, the scheme may compose tolerated exercise, monitoring, lab studies, specifically studies on phosphorus and calcium. Doctors may also include into your management scheme estrace increase, i.e. estradiol or estrogen intake. Supplements with calcium carbonates (Os-CAL) are often prescribed as well. Additional treatment includes mineral and vitamin regimens, exercise, and so on.

Our center offers an innovative treatment which has been very successful with hundreds of patients. Ask our doctors about our Back-Pain Program.


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Migraine Headaches-Effective Natural Treatment Methods!

Headaches are comprised of two major categories, primary and secondary. Headaches belonging to the primary group are not caused by underlying medical conditions while secondary headaches are the result of a medical condition such as trauma, infection or possibly even a brain tumor. Most headaches belong in the primary category.

The primary category headaches include migraine headaches and tension headaches. These two headache types are the most common of all headaches with tension-type headaches being the most common. Tension headaches constitute about 75% of all headaches while migraine headaches affect as many as 30 or 40 million Americans, or approximately 10% or more of the American population.

Migraine headaches can become chronic in nature, but are typically experienced at most once or twice a week, not daily. Females experience the pain of migraines about 3 times as often as males, or about 75% of the time. Migraine headaches can be severe and disabling. They can be accompanied by nausea, vomiting and a sensitivity to light. About 20% of migraine patients will experience an aura. An aura is a disturbance in vision that consists of brightly colored blinking lights that move across a person’s field of vision.

There are many types of treatment methods that are available to migraine sufferers, both natural and unnatural. The most common method of treatment are pain relievers that are bought without a prescription, or over-the-counter. Non-prescription drugs can include aspirin, Tylenol (acetaminophen), Motrin (ibuprofen), or a combination of acetaminophen and aspirin. These are the most commonly purchased types of non-prescription pain relievers. Migraine headache patients experiencing more severe pain may need prescription medicine.

There are also many types of natural treatment methods that don’t involve the use of non-prescription or prescription medications. These methods of treatment can often relieve migraine headache symptoms and are increasingly gaining popularity in today’s society as people are becoming more educated on the potentially dangerous side effects of drugs. One of these natural treatment methods is putting an ice pack on the back of the neck at the base of the skull. When using an ice pack there should be a barrier between the ice pack and the skin such as a wetted cloth or t-shirt that has had the water squeezed out of it. Ice therapy can lessen the flow of blood to the head resulting in less pressure in the head. It can often help relieve the throbbing pain of a migraine headache by decreasing the flow of blood to the head. It is often beneficial for a person to put their feet in a container of warm water at the same time. This can have the effect of attracting the blood to the feet instead of to the head.

Migraine headaches can sometimes be caused by foods and can be prevented by eliminating these food triggers. Foods that can trigger migraine headaches include, but are not limited to, caffeine, chocolate, alcohol, MSG (monosodium glutamate), nuts, cheese, beans, onions and others. Eliminating the trigger may eliminate the migraines.

Another natural treatment method for migraine headaches is simply to reduce stress by relaxing. Many migraines are caused by stress, so eliminating the stress can relieve the pain. Relieving stress can sometimes be achieved by getting plenty of sleep, lying down in a dark quiet room, or a combination of lying down in a dark quiet room with a small ice pack positioned on the neck at the base of the skull as explained above.

This article is a general overview with regard to natural migraine headache treatment methods and may not apply to everyone. As always it is a good idea to seek the help of a professional before treating yourself for a potentially serious health condition.

Our center offers an innovative treatment which has been very successful with hundreds of patients. Ask our doctors about our Headache and Migraine Program.


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Helpful Tips Offering Relief from Migraine Headaches

Helpful Tips Offering Relief from Migraine Headaches

Migraine headaches affect millions of individuals around the world. They are extremely painful and hard to bear. Migraines can last anywhere from one hour to three or four days. Within that time, it may literally be impossible for migraine suffers to function properly. Although relief might not come right away, there are many options available that soothe or cure migraine headaches.

A migraine is classified as a serve headache that can often impair one’s judgment. When a migraine occurs, suffers regularly experience the following symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • difficulty seeing

It is not uncommon for migraine suffers to be unable to look at lights or the sun without suffering intense pain. Migraine headache may be brought on by a variety of things. Children and adults are susceptible to migraines, and they often happen unexpectedly. Migraines can be brought on by stress, certain foods, a poor eating habits, or hormones. Migraine headaches are also hereditary, therefore, there are many families may experience migraine headaches at the same time.

The best way to get relief from migraine headaches is by speaking to your physician. If you suspect that you are suffering from migraines, you most likely are, however, many treatment options must first be prescribed by a healthcare professional. There are physicians who specialize in migraines and other head related pains, however, your family physician can often diagnose and offer treatment options for receiving relief from migraine headaches.

Over the counter pain killers are the best available option for getting quick relief from migraine headaches without visiting a physician. Aspirin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen are common over-the-counter drug medications that are available at most drug or department stores, and they can normally be purchased at a fairly low price. If you regularly suffer from migraine headaches, it may be a good idea to have some of this medication on hand. There are even over the counter medications designed specifically for relief from migraine headaches. It is important to remember that an excessive dosage of these over-the-counter drugs can cause liver or stomach damage. They relieve, but do not cure, your migraine headaches, nor do they prevent them from returning. Over-the-counter medications offer temporary relief for your migraine headaches, often until you have been properly examined and treated by a physician.

One of the easiest ways to receive relief from migraine headaches is by sleeping. Although it will not eliminate your pain, rest and relaxation is an effective way to help minimize or reduce the excruciating pain of migraine headaches. If you are able to take a break, laying down or just resting inside a dark, quiet room may allow you to order your thoughts and to reduce your stress levels. Sleeping or resting may offer much needed pain relief from migraine headaches.

If you are unable to control the pain associated with your migraine headaches, it is extremely important that you contact your physician. Beta blockers, along with other medications, offer quick relief from migraine headaches, however, they are only available with a prescription. If you experience migraines, do not suffer any longer than you need to. Contact your physician or healthcare professional for effective ways to receive relief from your migraine headaches.

Our center offers an innovative treatment which has been very successful with hundreds of patients. Ask our doctors about our Headache and Migraine Program.


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Health Benefits of Foot Massage

Massage of any kind is relaxing and promotes a feeling of calmness. To many health practitioners, in fact, foot massage has been known to be good for health and well-being. Foot massage is common throughout the east as a healing method. In the east, foot massage is not only practiced on adults but on children as well.

Foot massage or reflexology works in the same manner as acupuncture. Each area of the foot corresponds with another area of the body and by massaging each part of the foot, you may be working on your liver, kidney, colon, stomach, etc. Thus, if you experience constipation, a massage through your feet can help in your bowel movement problems.

Health benefits are not entirely proven, but many claim they work. It is said that reflexology can get rid of toxins, help your circulation, improve body functions and even improve memory. A professional foot reflexologist can even diagnose the health problems that you are facing just by massaging your feet.

Foot massage can be really painful. This is especially if more pressure is applied. Screams of pain from a patient in a foot massage center is not uncommon. However, this should not deter you, if you are considering a foot massage. Just explain to the foot reflexologist about your low tolerance for pain and ask him to adjust the pressure applied.

If nothing else, a foot massage will help melt away the day’s stress. Your feet take the biggest beating throughout the day. They have to get you where you need to go and hold up your entire body weight. People tend to overlook their feet. However, hurting feet may just render a person immobile.

With many new age ideas filtering to the west, foot massage has also become more popular in areas like the United States. It is a natural way of treatment after a long hard day. The health benefits may be disputed but it never hurts to try it out and see what benefits it may hold for you.

Our center offers an innovative treatment which has been very successful with hundreds of patients. Ask our doctors about our Massage Therapy Program.


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The Art of Massage

The word massage derives from the words ‘mass’ and ‘massa’, Portuguese and Arab meaning to touch or handle. Massage is one of the oldest healing arts. Everybody can massage, and most of us already do so without even knowing it. When you rub your hands together, you’re doing massage. When you’ve stubbed a toe, and rub it better, or rub a baby’s back, you’re doing massage. Massage is a natural thing to do, and the effects of massage promote health in a very natural way.

Massage can help everybody in numerous ways:

Stress Reduction: With current day living we tend to live hard working, hurried lives and stress can accumulate in our bodies in various ways, including neck, shoulder and back pain. Massage therapy identifies those areas and helps reduce muscle tension, as well as the overall level of stress and tension in the body.

Pain Relief: People with arthritis, whiplash, neck or back injuries and even those unfortunate enough to be involved in car accidents can all benefit from massage. Different massages relieve the different kinds of pain experienced. Massage can also benefit those suffering from anxiety and depression.

Our center offers an innovative treatment which has been very successful with hundreds of patients. Ask our doctors about our Massage Therapy Program.


 
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