February 2017 - Northwest Pain Relief Centers

Monthly Archives: February 2017

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Physical Therapy for Treating Back Pain

Most doctors who work with patients in treating back pain also actively work with physical therapists. Physical therapists are skilled in helping patients recover from back pain and get back to performing everyday physical activities.

Physical therapists often spend time teaching their patients exercises which help them improve and maintain the health of their spines. There are a variety of popular exercise programs which have been designed to reduce the amount of back pain patients experience.

By using physical therapy, you will learn postures and positions which will help lessen the amount of pain you feel in your back. There is no one approach that will work for everyone. Your physical therapist will design a exercise program which is tailored to your individual needs. There are many different types of exercises available, and you will want to use the exercises which are the most comfortable to you.

Some exercises focus on adding strength to the muscles which assist in arching the spine and back. Patients who have back pain which is a result of ligament tears or other problems with their discs can have the pressure reduced by arching their backs.

Patients may perform other techniques such as lying prone, in which they lay on their stomachs with their arms to their sides for about ten to fifteen minutes. A variation of this technique may be lying prone on pillows in order to support your back. Your physical therapist may also want you to perform press ups, standing extensions, or other techniques.

To perform a standing extension, place your hands on the smaller part of your back while standing. Lean backward and hold this position for twenty seconds before repeating the exercise. To perform a prone press up, you want to lay down on your stomach and place the palms of your hands near your shoulders. Now slowly push your shoulders up, keeping your hips down. Lower yourself down slowly, and repeat.

While physical therapists can teach you a variety of methods to reduce your back pain, it is up to you to apply them. The most important factor in using a physical therapist is making sure you do the exercises they teach you. Consistently sticking to an exercise program in order to improve the health of the spine and back is difficult for many people, but the rewards are worth it. Taking the advice of your physical therapist is critical in you reducing your back pain.

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


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Will Surgery Help My Back Pain?

Everyone experiences back pain at some time in their life.  In fact, it is in the top three complaints that people bring to the doctor’s office.

In most cases there is soft tissue inflammation, muscle spasms, or degenerative arthritis.  These respond well to conservative treatments such as anti-inflammatory medicines, stretches, and chiropractic manipulative therapy.  Physical modalities such as heat or cold, massage, and acupuncture are also helpful.

So when should you worry?  Any loss of bowel or bladder control needs immediate attention.

The longer the loss of bladder or bowel control continues without treatment, the higher the risk of permanent damage.  This also includes weakness of any muscles in the legs or feet.  Plus you can reduce the risks of falls and fractures.

Contrary to popular opinion, a thorough history, neurological and structural exams, plus basic X-rays of the spine can diagnose the problem 80-90% of the time.  Expensive MRI studies certainly can be helpful looking at the cross-sections of the spine into the discs and spinal cord.  But, in most cases it will not change the eventual conservative treatment anyway.

Consider an MRI if surgery is likely.  Certainly, if there is no improvement in your symptoms after several weeks or there is worsening of your pain.

Besides the obvious causes of low back pain from muscle spasms, degenerative discs and osteoarthritis, chronic structural imbalances play a major role.  Wear and tear to the spine from old trauma, sports, and obesity cause the discs to lose their cushioning ability.  They also may bulge or protrude backwards.

Over 50 years of age almost everyone has changes I the discs losing height and acquiring some bone spurs.  However, not everyone has pain.  Again, unless the nerve root coming out of the spinal cord or the spinal cord itself is squeezed, surgery will not help.  Even radiating leg pain called sciatica along with numbness and tingling in the legs can go away over time with proper treatment that includes chiropractic manipulation therapy.

Studies show that back pain sufferers who have surgery have no better pain relief or function than those who didn’t have surgery after five years passed.  Certainly, if surgery is recommended it is wise to get a second opinion.


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Sunglasses and Headaches

 Most people suffer from headaches at one time or another, and many people in North American suffer from migraines, ranging in frequency from several times a year to once a month or more often. In many cases, a migraine or severe headache forces the sufferer into isolation until it goes away, damaging their ability to work, socialize, and generally live life to its fullest.

What most people don’t already realize is that many migraines and headaches can be prevented through the regular use of a good set of sunglasses! Regardless of whether it’s the summer solstice or the frigid depths of winter, a high quality pair of sunglasses is a very useful preventive health item as well as a fashion accessory. Since bright light can trigger migraines, headaches, and contribute to tension and other disorders, a good pair of sunglasses can significantly improve your quality of life, as well as preventing serious eye degeneration that can eventually lead to blindness.

An effective pair of sunglasses should block both UVA and UVB rays, but new research suggests that High Energy Visible (HEV) light may also contribute to eye disorders, particularly in children. There is still insufficient data on this subject, but some manufacturers now design to block UV rays as well as HEV light, reducing your changes or visual damage from light sources.

It’s very important to note that dark glasses are not the same as UV-exclusive glasses. Check to make sure that your shades are made by a reputable manufacturer, and that they’re certified to block out UVA and UVB at least – if they don’t do this, it’s very possible that they’re worsening your exposure to harmful light by tricking your eyes into.

Since damage from UV exposure is cumulative, it’s important to regularly wear a high-quality set of sunglasses, and to start young. If you teach your children at a young age about the value of wearing good sunglasses, you may save their eyes from damage later – and besides, everyone knows how cool a good set of shades look.

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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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome- Symptoms, Tests & Treatment

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”!

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


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How Back Pain Starts

When considering back pain, we must concern ourselves with its variants. For instance, back pain can start with slip disks, which in medical terms is called “Herniated nucleus pulposa.” (HNP) Doctors define slip disks as ruptures of the “intervertebral disk.” The intervertebral rests between the vertebrae (Spinal Column) of the backbone.

The interruption has variants, including the “Lumbrosacral,” (L4 and L5) as well as cervical C5-7. The cervical is at the neck and belongs to other parts of the back and neck as well. When doctors consider slip disks they often look through etiology, which includes neck and back strains, trauma, congenital/inborn bone malformation, heavy lifting, degenerated disks, and/or weakness of ligaments.

After carefully considering, etiology doctors consider Pathophysiology, which includes protrusions of the “nucleus pulposus.” The center connects to the column or spinal canal and perhaps compressing the spinal cord or the nerve core, or roots, which causes back pain. If the spinal cord is compressed restraining the roots and cord often back pain, numbness, and the motor functions may fail.

The assessments in medical terms are based on Lumbrosacral, which may include acute or chronic pain at the lower back. The pain may spread out to the buttocks and move toward the legs. The person may feel weakness, as well as numbness. In addition, such pain can cause tingling around the legs and foot. The final assessment may include ambulation, which emerges from pain.

The cervical is considered. The symptoms experts look for is neck rigidity, deadness, weakness, and “tingling of the” hands. If the neck pain spreads the pain down to the arms and continue to the hands, experts will consider slip disks. Yet other symptoms may occur, such as weakness that affects the farthest points, or the higher boundaries of the body. The lumbar curves is at the lower back region and is situated in the loins or the smaller area of the back, which doctors consider also, especially if the patient has difficult straightening this area with the curvature of the spine (scoliosis) and away from the area influenced.

When doctors consider back pain, they will review the diagnostics after conducting a series of tests. Tendon reflexes are tested, which the doctors use tests to look deep into the depressed region, or the absent upper boundary reflexes, or in medical lingo the Achilles’ reactions or reflex. Myelograms assist the expert in seeing if the spinal cord is compressed when indicated. The tests start if the Laséque signs show positive results behind etiology findings, Pathophysiology, assessments, and so on.

How doctors manage slip disks:

Doctors prescribe management in medical schemes to isolate or relieve back pain. The management schemes may include diet whereas the calories are set according to the patient’s metabolic demands. The doctor may increase fiber intake, as well as force fluids.

Additional treatment or management may include hot pads, moisture, etc, as well as hot compressions.

Orthopedic mechanisms are also prescribed to reduce back pain, which include cervical collars and back braces.

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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Five Common Types of Massage

 Have you ever wanted to go for a massage therapy session but didn’t know what type of massage to get? Massage therapy is a very diverse field of work and there are many types of massage to choose from that range from full-body stress relief to highly targeted methods that relieve muscular pain and dysfunction. Five of the most popular types of massage are Swedish massage, Deep Tissue Massage, Hot Stone Massage, Sports Massage, and Neuromuscular Therapy.

  1. Swedish Massage – this is the most common type of massage in the United States and perhaps the world. Swedish massage is known for its long gliding strokes, kneading strokes, friction strokes, and percussion as well as joint movements that feel great while improving range of motion. It’s most often thought of as a “spa” type of massage but it’s much more than that. Swedish massage is great for reducing stress, improving circulation, improving range of motion of your joints, and helping you actually feel better in your own skin. Swedish massage can range from light pressure to a heavier pressure depending on your comfort level. It’s more than just a “feel good” massage it is very therapeutic.
  2. Deep Tissue Massage – right behind Swedish massage in popularity and availability, Deep Tissue Massage is one of the best known and most often requested types of massage. This massage shares some strokes and techniques with Swedish massage and is used to root out chronic tension in the deeper musculature and connective tissues that contribute to pain and loss of range of motion in joints. While some massage therapy practitioners use a heavier, sometimes uncomfortable pressure in Deep Tissue Massage it should be noted that a more moderate pressure can reach deep tissues and achieve great results with little discomfort.
  1. Hot Stone Massage – this type of massage is probably the most relaxing and luxurious massage being given today. Heated basalt stones are added to the massage and are used by the massage therapist to perform a mini heat treatment as well as gliding massage strokes that seem to melt away stress and tension.
  2. Sports Massage – just like it sounds, Sports Massage is geared toward athletes at every level from professional to the “weekend warrior” and those who strive for a higher level of fitness. Rather than a specific form of massage, Sports Massage is generally a combination of massage techniques tailored to the athlete’s needs. The Sports Massage might be applied to one area to relieve pain or might be more general in nature to assure overall performance.
  3. Neuromuscular Therapy – also called “NMT” or Neuromuscular Massage, Neuromuscular Therapy is a well known massage technique for relieving muscular pain, and muscle spasm throughout the body. Neuromuscular Therapy is effective with myofascial trigger points causing “referred” pain that originates from someplace other than where it’s felt. This technique uses very targeted compression and friction massage techniques, positioning, and stretching to release the myofascial trigger points in muscles as well as restrictions in tendons, muscular attachments, and sometimes fascia surrounding the muscle.

All of the massage techniques described here can help you receive the health benefits of massage. Of course there are many more massage therapy techniques available that are relaxing, stress reducing, and that relieve chronic tension and pain. You actually don’t have to know what type of massage to ask for, you just need to know what you want to achieve. Do you just want to relax? Reduce muscle soreness? Relieve pain? Improve posture? Ask your massage therapist what they recommend for your particular health needs and get massaged today.

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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Benefits of Full Body Massage

Full body massage can produce multiple benefits for your health. These benefits go far beyond an hour spent in relaxing quietly, escaping the day. An increasing amount of evidence indicates that stress and tension form the root causes of many diseases and illnesses. Hence, if you able to find ways to alleviate or relieve your stress, you are preventing health problems from emerging or becoming worse.

Going for a full body massage on a regular basis is one excellent way to help you fight off tensions. Full body massage stimulates the production of endorphins that promotes relaxation and drowsiness.

When you go for full body massage, your head to your toes and feet are massaged both front and back. A variety of strokes that includes kneading, pulling, wringing, hacking and gliding are used on various parts of the body.

If you are already ill or suffering from constant fatigue or pain, then full body massage can play a big part in your treatment. A full body massage helps to improve blood circulation and blood becomes more easily transportable to the vital organs in your body. This is vital for smooth functioning of your internal body parts. In addition, when blood is supplied to areas that have been injured before, repair and renewal of cells and tissues take place more easily. Combined with conventional medicine and other therapies, repeat sessions of full body massage can do much to accelerate your recovery.

Here are a few disorders that benefit from regular full body massage:

* Post-operative recovery

* Immune-suppressed systems

* Sleep disorders

* Low back pain

* Spinal cord injuries

When you choose full body massage, you choose a non-invasive procedure. In addition, full massage therapy, which is relatively safe, can be a complementary treatment to other medical treatments.

Other than improved blood circulation, here are other benefits that you can expect to experience from a full body massage.

* Stimulated lymph system

* Stimulated immune system

* Relaxed muscles

* Reduced cramps

* Increased flexibility

* Reduced recovery time

* Released endorphins

* Reduced post-operative scar tissue and edema

* Reduced migraine pain

* Improved range of motion

* Reduced depression

* Shortened labor and delivery in expectant mothers

As helpful as full body massage can be, those with certain illnesses should avoid the treatment. These include phlebitis, certain cancers, certain heart conditions, certain skin problems, and contagious diseases.

To be absolutely sure, check with your doctor first if you are chronically ill. Otherwise, enjoy on a regular basis!

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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