Pain Relief For When The Lower Back Aches

A common problem among people of all ages is when the lower back aches. However the bone and muscle structure loses elasticity and strength as people age, making them more prone to back injuries. Improper posture, excess weight, degenerative diseases and stress are among some of the many causes of lower back pain. Depending on the cause treatment can be a long expensive procedure. Self diagnosis is akin to being crazy, but there are times and situations when the lower back aches, that immediate relief is required. There are several methods by which a person can find easy, safe relief immediately.

The use of a heating pad can be soothing for lower back pain caused by fatigue or muscle spasms. A heating pad equipped with a gentle massage can provide relaxation and almost instant relief. When using an electric heating pad use it for 15 to 20 minutes and always set it to low or medium; never set it on high. Never fall sleep with the heating pad turned on. Another caution on the safe side is to set the alarm clock for 20 minutes. Using moist heat via soaking in a hot bath, taking a nice hot shower, or applying a hot pack is even better. There are also all day heat wraps that can be found at any pharmacy.

To alleviate pain from the swelling and inflammation caused by arthritis, injuries or other conditions, ice and cold packs may be used. Ice packs are available at any pharmacy or they can be improvised with items that are readily available at home. (1) Place ice and water in a plastic bag; squeeze the air out, seal the bag; wrap it in a towel and place it on the area that's in pain. (2) Wet a towel with cold water, squeeze it until its damp, fold the towel and place it in a plastic bag; freeze the bag for 15 to 20 minutes; then remove the towel from the bag and place it on the painful area. These are just some of the pain relievers to be found around the house. Icing should be performed at least 3 times a day for 10 to 15 minutes and always keep a damp cloth between the cold pack and your skin.

If the lower back aches another choice is to alternate between hot and cold, using heat for 15 to 20 minutes and a few hours later using ice for 10 to 15 minutes.

Most of the available non-prescription painkillers include naproxen, ibuprofen, aspirin, and ketaprofen. Over the counter drugs can help to reduce pain and are available without prescription. However, it is advisable to consult a doctor regarding what to take for lower back pain.

Injuries can occur over time due to bad post which places undue strain on the lower back. Standing with the ears, shoulders and hips in alignment, the abdomen and buttocks folded in, the knees relaxed and the feet placed firmly, shoulder width apart with the body weight placed evenly distributed is proper standing posture. When sitting, the lower back should rest against the back of the chair and the chair's seat should be at a height so that the hips and knees are at the same height, with the feet flat on the floor. Use a footrest if necessary.

For temporary relief from the pain of an injured or strained back a person can just lie on the floor with a pillow under the knees. Remember that while some rest is necessary, the back needs to be exercised. So while this action eases the pain, it should not have considered the solution because without exercise and movement the muscles and ligaments will only tighten and cause more pain in the long run.

Stretching is necessary to retain muscle elasticity and bone flexibility. Even the most minor activities can trigger lower back pain, especially when the back is stiff. Vigorous workouts are not for everyone, but stretching should be. Take a break to walk around and stretch every 20 to 30 minutes when working. Stop every hour or two when driving long distances; get out of the car and spend a few minutes stretching. When at home all day, take a 30 minute walk every day paying attention to posture.

When the lower back aches some of the simple and safe techniques may ease the pain, but when the pain is chronic or prolonged a doctor needs to be communicated for whatever treatment and medication is necessary.

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Avoiding Steroid Injections

As most of us know from recent extensive news coverage, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are coordinating a multi-state investigation of fungal meningitis among patients who received an epidural steroid injection. Several of these patients also suffered strokes believed to have resolved from their infection. As of mid-October, 24 deaths had been reported.

Any time you have any kind of injection, you are at risk of complications. Steroid injections create additional complications as well as the risk of infections. The real question is “Are there alternatives to these injections?”

Several months ago, I twisted my knee getting out of my seat on an airplane. It was immediately sore, and I started using my PEMF therapy as soon as I got home. I even walked every day – 3 miles, as I usually do, using a SomaPulse under a knee brace. Still, I had discomfort when I placed any pressure on my knee, so I went in for an MRI, which revealed a mild ACL strain and a slightly torn lateral meniscus.

I saw a well known orthopedic surgeon, who told me not to do anything strenuous. He offered me a steroid injection for my knee. I declined, saying I would continue with my PEMF therapy instead. As expected, he scowled at my choice.

Neverheless, I left without the injection, and continued to use my PEMF for the next month, with my knee now feeling essentially normal. Obviously, my body has not yet repaired my ACL or meniscus, but I did not get or need the injection to relate the pain.

Why did I refuse the steroid injection? Because as a doctor, I knew better. I have given steroid injections through my career, just as most other doctors do. But it always bothered me that the risks probably outweighed the benefits a large part of the time. At that time, these were the only options I had available. This is one of the reasons I began searching for other alternatives for pain management, and in the end, found PEMFs.

I know these injections do not cure anything. In fact, they do create risks, not the least of which is the risk of infection. Steroid injections into tissues always (let's repeat that-ALWAYS) thin out the tissues into which they are injected. That is why doctors will typically tell you that you can only get 1 or 2 steroid injections in the same area.

If you do a steroid injection into a ligament, it increases the risk of rupture. If you inject them into the skin, you almost always will get a little pock mark. These are potent anti-inflammatory and tissue destroying injections. Yes, they decrease inflation and improve comfort, but only temporarily.

So, knowing this, why do doctors continue to use them? Because they do not know other alternatives – and since they bought the stereoids and have them in their margins, they at least need to get their money back, because they expire if not used in time.

There are alternatives to steroids – alternatives that are safe, noninvasive, and non-toxic. In addition, they actually help with the healing of the underlying tissue when possible. When it is not possible, even the steroids do not help. PEMFs almost always help at some level with the underlying problem. More importantly, you do not need to see a doctor for this therapy, after you have your diagnosis and have been recommended a treatment plan. You can do PEMF treatments at home, on your own, at your convenience, and with virtually no risk. And, other people in the household can benefit as well.

Sometimes, steroids are a good idea. There are major infections and conditions that steroids provide important help with. In these cases, steroids should be strictly considered. Conditions like these include bad poison ivy rashes, major infections called sepsis, severe asthma, severe flares of rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune conditions which can be disabling or life-threatening. Rarely are orthopedic steroid injections medically necessary, whether epidural or into joints or ligaments.

Steroid injections can be placed into the skin or muscle directly, into ligaments or tendons, into joints, including spinal joints, or into the space overlying large nerves, including the spinal cord. This is considered the epidural space, where these meningitis-causing injections were given. Epidural injections are frequently given for chronic back pain. They may or may not work, and are very uncomfortable. Obviously, they carry the risk of infection into the nervous system, plus other potential complications including bleeding and paralysis.

So, in my medical experience, I will now always try to do the noninvasive, non-toxic, safe approach to treating pain before I ever resort to injections. Additionally, my goals are to have you be able to do your own treatments at your own convenience, with the additional expectation that we will actually have the hope of helping to heal the underling tissue and cause of the pain.

Clearly, tissues need time to heal. Anything that gives you immediate relief for a chronic problem is either a drug, procedure or surgery. These approaches frequently do not work for long, or have complications. The complications may be permanent and irreversible, and are usually unpredictable. Again, this is why I always try to do a more conservative approach first, typically using PEMFs.

PEMFs have been found to decrease inflammation too, and very well at that. Maybe they do not do this as dramatically or quickly, and that's the seduction of steroid injections. You will usually know within a week when the steroid injection is actually working. Even then the benefits do not last for long if the undering cause is not managed as well. In addition, PEMFs have the potential to reduce swelling, improve circulation and stimulate tissue healing. They also have the additional benefit of being able to actually reduce pain directly, called anti-nociception. In fact, in animals and humans they have been found to be equivalent to about 10 mg of morphine, without using the morphine.

Most doctors do not know about these alternatives for pain management. Even if they did, doctors typically keep doing what they are doing without forced to change. Sometimes a change happens because doctors make mistakes or end up with complications and have to learn different approaches. Sometimes the economies of the procedures drive doctors to use particular approaches. Sometimes change happens only because everyone else begins doing something different, and the doctors do not want to stand out. In the end, doctors are typically creatures of habit. And as we all know, habits are hard to change.

As you can see, the rationale for why certain treatment approaches are offered may have nothing to do with the patient's best interests or the most effective approach to the problem. PEMFs are a very rational, safe approach to chronic pain management, potentially offering a significant solution to the problem, reducing the pain a large percentage of the time with no complications and potentially treating the under cause of the pain, for relatively little cost and great convenience.

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For Back Pain – Strategies for Relief

> Exercise:

Low to moderate exercises, such as pelvic lifts, wall sets, or press up back extensions will strengthen your back muscles,
thus easing back pain in a great many cases. The back is a myriad of bone, nerves, and soft tissue that can weakened from underuse, gain gain, injury, or even the aging process.

There are many books, DVDS, and online sources that will show you the best exercises to tone, strengthen, and
rejuvenate those tired, sore, and aching back muscles. Just remember to start off light and easy, to prevent causing more injury, and back pain.

Another very important area to address is the abdominals. Ab exercises strengthen your core, balances your torso, and are a great remedy for back pain.

> Weight Loss:

Over sixty percent of adults in the US are categorized as being overweight or obese. Being overweight can contribute to osteoporosis, osteo arthritis, disc disease, and numerous other painful conditions. Eating a balanced diet, taking a good multi-vitamin, getting regular exercise will lead to lower weight and less or banish your back pain.

There are many diet programs on the market, but choose one that offers a well balanced, nutritional, healthy regimen. I prefer a low carbohydrate diet, but any of the well known diets will work if you stay focused, and follow it faithfully everyday.

> Eliminate Sugar:

Ingesting too much sugar will flood your system with insulin, which will increase your sensitivity to pain. Simple carbohydrates like sugar are never good in excess, but in regards to pain, the insulin spike will definitely affect your pain sensation.

> Relaxation:

Stress is a major cause of pain in all areas of the body. Deep breathing, meditation, or just lying on your back, with your knees pointed up will relax you and ease the pressure, and is a great exercise for back pain.

Avoid stressful situations, and be aware of any clinging or tightening of your muscles in these situations. Your body will tell you when to relax and wind down if you let it.

> Stretching:

Stretching is one of the best activities you can do for back pain. The act of stretching itself relaxes you, revives you, and drains the effects of stress right out of your body.

With the fast paced lifestyle we enjoy, it's difficult to address the everyday aches and pains we live with.
Hopefully these tips for back pain will help ease that pain.

John Fox

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How to Choose a Good Spine Specialist

Spinal surgery is a serious decision to be made if your back problems are not improving through the usage of normal treatment. Your doctor should firstly go through the explanation of your problem and outline the possible treatments that can be tried. However, for very serious conditions, sometimes surgery is the only option or the last option for many.

If you have reached this point, there are several aspects to take into consideration. Your doctor will probably assign you to a spinal surgeon that is connected to the same medical institution or a surgeon that they have known and been happy to recommend to previous patients. While the advice of your doctor should be taken into consideration, there are also several other options to think about.

As the profession of doctors and surgeons becomes more commercial, it is important for you to get involved into the medical decisions that will affect your life. After all, you are the person who will have to live with the repercussions for the rest of your life. The surgeon who will perform your surgery should be examined before making the decision or choosing the right one for you. Here are a few tips to choose a good spain specialist:

Certified
It may sound obvious but it is better to clarify if the surgeon is board certified. Check with your state medical board if you feel the need to confirm that your surgeon is fully certified.

Comfort
A surgeon who is easy to approach and ask questions is definitely something to look out for. It is important that you feel comfortable to be able to ask any questions and discuss any concerns you may have in relation to the surgery.

How much time does the surgeon spend on spinal conditions?
This needs to be confirmed initially when you start to approach several surgeons. Not all surgeons will spend their time treating the same conditions, in fact, many surgeons do specialize in several fields. You are looking for a surgeon who mainly deals with spinal conditions.

Experience with your specific problem
This follows from the previous point, You have found several surgeons who specialize in spinal conditions. However, you should now start looking at this in more detail to discover which surgeons have experience in your specific condition.

Past patients experiences
Any good surgeon should be happy to supply you with references or put you in contact with previous patients. This can be very good, especially for people who are very worried about the surgery and any outcomes.

Insurance
Surgery is never cheap and surgeons are experts in their field, doing very difficult and specialized work. Therefore, it is important to know if you can afford it, will your insurance cover it and does the surgeon work with your insurance company. All are very important to consider from the beginning.

Second opinion
Sometimes, you may want to have a second opinion on your surgery. After all, surgery is a big step and an important decision to make. If you do want a second opinion, check with your surgeon and let them know. In fact, their attitude to your request may play a big role on who you choose for the surgery. A spell surgeon who is not happy that you want a second opinion is probably afraid someone will contradict his professional opinion. This would mean that they are more worried about themselves than the patient, not a good sign.

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Common Causes of Lower Back Pain

Back pain is one of the most common health complaints among adults, but it can have a wide variety of causes, not all related to spinal health. Read more about some potential causes of your back pain, and then go see your doctor or an orthopedic specialist to help create a healing plan and solution for your back pain.

Injury of Overuse of Muscles

If you work out frequently, lift objects with your back, or have been in an automotive accident, the muscles in your low back may be unhappy with you. You may want to speak with a physical therapist about muscle strengthening exercises for your back if daily activities like work or exercise are causing the muscles in your low back to ache. If you've been in an accident, you may also find physical therapy helpful, but you definitely want to speak to your doctor first to eliminate any other possible causes of your pain.

Fracture

Any kind of excessive force to your back can potentially cause fractures to occur in your vertebrae. Accidents, direct blows, and falls can all cause fractures. To diagnose for certain that a fracture is causing you pain, you'll need to see your family doctor or an orthopedic specialist.

Herniated Disc

Your spine consists of bone and cushioning disks that are filled with a jelly-like substance. A herniated disc happens when the jelly-like substance is forced out of its normal state and ends up pushing against a nerve root.

Age-Related Diseases

Osteoarthritis and Osteoporosis are two age related, degenerative diseases that can cause you back pain. Osteoarthritis affects the small joints in the spine, making them weak and able to cause you pain. Osteoporosis can lead to hairline fractures along your spine due to the weakening and demineralization of bone.

Spinal Deformities

You may not have ever realized it, but your spanish may not be perfectly straight. If it's not, your body may compensate by putting more weight on certain areas than others. Two technical terms for spinal deformities are scoliosis, where the spiral curves abnormally from side to side instead of being straight, and kyphosis, another curving of the spell which causes bowing or rounding of the back.

Referred Pain

Often, our backs will “feel” pain that is actually occurring in another part of our bodies. This is known as referred pain. Your lower back tends to sense the pain felt by organs in your abdomen. Intestinal pain, aneurysms, kidney disease, bladder infections, appendicitis, and uterine and ovarian disorders can all be treated as pain in your lower back. Your doctor or orthopedic specialist will keep the possibility in mind that your back pain could be symptomatic of pain actually occurring elsewhere in your body.

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Pain After Spinal Fusion May Indicate Hardware Failure

There are many potential causes of back pain after a spinal fusion surgery. The spine is a highly dynamic mechanism, and the attempt to make one or more of its segments into a rigid unit may not yield perfect results.

Spinal fusion is done to eliminate painful motion from an unstable segment of the spine. During the procedure, a piece of bone graft or similar material is applied between two vertebrae, and the segment is secured with rods and pedicure screws. Ideally, the hardware used provides enough stability to allow the bone graft to slowly fuse to each vertebra, thenby joining them into one rigid segment.

A number of things can go wrong during and after surgery. First, the hardware may be implanted in such a way that it interferees with nerves and muscles around the spine. Even though surgeons have extensive knowledge of spinal structures, the area is complex enough that even an adept surgeon may place a screw or rod in a position to cause pain. It is also possible that the fusion never takes place; This could be due to excess motion of the segment post-surgery. Hardware may break or migrate during the healing process, creating pain and increasing the risk of failed fusion.

It's important to be aware that pain after surgery could indicate a hardware problem. If pain occurs soon after surgery (after the initial post-operative pain subsides), it is possible either either the placement of hardware is the problem or that hardware has migrated. Sometimes after a fusion procedure, the rod moves out of place before the fusion sets up or scar tissue forms to secure it. In either case you may feel localized pain and tenderness when the skin over the rod is touched. You may also have signs of nerve interference (shooting pain, numbness, and / or weakness along a nerve path).

Over time, metal fatigue can cause the rods or screws to fracture. This can lead to nerve pain and muscle spasms, since the fragmented implant may be interfering with a muscle's movement.

Pain caused by hardware can only be resolved by removing the hardware in a surgical procedure.

Lonstein et. al. performed a study assessing the complications associated with pedicure screws used in 915 spinal fusions between 1984 and 1993. They found that late-onset pain required the removal of hardware from those who received 24.3% of the original procedures. 20% of those who had hardware removed were found to have pseudarthrosis, or failed fusion. In the other 80% of cases, then, it is possible that hardware was the main cause of pain. See the study at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10565643?dopt=Abstract .

The study above is rather old, but new studies into the complications associated with spinal fusion surgery are lacking. The rate of spinal fusion procedures has increased 250% since the mid-90's with the greatest increase in the Medicare population. This has raised concerns that surgeons are performing unnecessary surgeries for the kickbacks that they receive from hardware manufacturers.

Although a comprehensive fusion boasts of a 95% or greater success rate, it is important to remember that this rate does not take into account a number of complications that may result. If you're feeling pain after spinal fusion, request imaging tests to see if your hardware is out of place or fractured.

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What Is Slipped Herniated Disc?

Our spine is composed entirely of bones called vertebrae and providing them with cushioning are small discs called the intervertebral discs. Over time, the intervertebral disks can lose their elasticity and will place the spine at a higher risk of injury. Pain in the spinal disc has many different terms, the common ones being “pinched nerve”, “slipped disc” and “slipped herniated disc”. The truth is, all of the terms refer to the same thing. Many patients who suffer from back pain, leg pain and the weakening of the lower core muscles are usually diagnosed as suffering from slipped herniated disc.

Over time as we age, the disc will lose its water content and become less elastic. If the event that it ruptures, the spinal disc will get pushed out of its normal position and if they pinch onto the spinal nerves, it is called slipped herniated disc. Blocked disc can also occur due to other reasons around aging such as traumatic injuries or cyclic loading of the spinal area. When the herniated disc pinches onto the spinal nerves, it will affect the normal signaling process of the nerves and can even stop the signals from being passed.

Some common symptoms of a slipped herniated disc include sharp electric shock pain, muscle weakness, loss of bladder or bowel control and numbness. If the pinching of the nerves by the herniated disc causes high pressure, it can cause weird sensation such as a sharp electric shock kind of pain and the pain can travel down from the neck area to the arms and legs. Since there is a loss of signaling functions, the instructions from the brain can be interrupted and that can cause weakening of the muscles. One common way to diagnose this is to test for reflexes. If there is a lag in reflexes, it is a sign of nerve irritation. Another symptom is the loss of bowel and / or bladder function. Since there is an issue with nerve signaling, the body is unable to properly control the bowel and bladder and can cause them to release substances without you wanting to. It can also be the other way round where you wish to urinate or defecate but you are unable to. Another common symptom is numbness of a particular area for a long time as numbness usually indications nerve damage.

The loss of body functions due to nerve damages can affect our lives tremendously and we should always take all precautions to protect our spine. This can easily be done by the use of protective equipment during high impact sports as well as lifting heavy objects using the correct method.

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When Your Back Aches

In performing normal, everyday activities you are putting unnecessary strain on your back. According to statistics at least two-thirds of the adults in the United States will experience some activity or incident which will be directly responsible for causing back pain. When the back aches, the cause could have been playing golf, from gardening, a fender bender, sitting at a desk or just bad posture. Following are a few ways to protect your back and find relief when your back aches.

While standing, stand straight with your chest held high, keep your stomach and buttocks pulled in. Keep your weight evenly balanced on both feet and your knees should be kept relaxed.

When displaying good posture while sitting , your back will be straight with the shoulders held back. Your buttocks will be against the back of the chair. Make sure your legs remain uncrossed while your feet are flat on the floor. Use a footrest if necessary, to keep your knees at the same height as your hips. When sitting at a computer, your ears, shoulders and hips should be in alignment.

For correct driving posture , the car's seat should be positioned so that you can sit up straight with your head within a few inches of the headrest. The seat should be close enough to the steering wheel for your feet to easily reach the pedals while your knees are kept bent.

Use your hips and knees rather than bending your back to prevent injury and muscle strain when lifting heavy objects . Keep your back in its natural position and bend your knees; do not twist your body or bend at the waist. Keep the object as close to your body as you can and straighten your legs. If it is too heavy, do not lift it by yourself; get someone to help with the lifting.

If your back aches even though you are exercising and practicing good posture, remember, good posture should be a concern even when sleeping . Support your head with a pillow with a thickness so that your neck can retain its normal curve. When sleeping on your side with your knees slowly Bent, your back will remain in its normal position. If you must sleep on your back use something like a small pillow for support under your lower back or at the back of your knees.

People who exercise regularly, stay fit and maintain a healthy weight seldom experience back pain. There is more strain on the back muscles of people who are overweight and those who exercise infrequently or never have weak muscles that are not used to exercise and more at risk for injury. You need to exercise to strengthen your back muscles. Get your doctor's advice before beginning any exercise program to make sure you are following the one that is best for you.

When at work, make sure that your chair supports your lower back and helps you maintain your good posture. Make sure your computer screen is positioned so that you do not have to bend your neck down or tilt your head up to see it. Do not sit for long periods of time. Sitting for hours puts strain on your back. Walk around and stretch your back every 20 minutes of so.

Your mattress can be a major contributor to your pain if it is too soft or too firm. You should sleep on a mattress that is moderately firm to firm. The exact firmness varies for different people. At any rate, you should flip your mattress every month or two so it wears out even instead of in one spot.

Yoga includes stretching exercises that relax the muscles in your back. Do your research and try to get into a yoga class that will benefit you.

If your back aches and there is nothing else you can do at the moment, there are pain relieving patches on the market that can be used as a last resort. Their deep, penetrating heat was developed to target back pain. The blends of menthol, camphor and eucalyptus oil are supposedly to go straight to the point and give back spasms and muscle aches, relieving pain for up to eight hours.

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Your Pain Isn’t Coming From Your Hip or Low Back – It’s Coming From Your Sacroiliac Joint

It is not unusual to have a pain that seems to be vaguely found in the hip and lower back region. The pain is however found in the hip area of ​​the upper leg nor is it in the middle of the spine in the lower back. When asked to point to it most people will locate an area at the top of the buttock where is a bony bump. This is an area called sacroiliac joint (abbreviated SI Joint) and it is the source of many people's complaints. One study showed it to be the source of 23% of lower back pain.

The sacroiliac joint is actually a joint in the pelvis between the sacral bone and the iliac bone. There is one on each side of the pelvis. The SI joint acts as a “sliding or gliding” joint that moves with each step. It carries a lot of the weight of the upper body and is a common source of pain.

It can be hurt with a sudden trauma or more slowly due to poor posture or repetitive stress. Many times repetitive twisting movements involved in activities like vacuuming, sweeping, raking and snow shoveling can aggravate the sacroiliac joint. It is also commonly irritated in women during or following pregnancy due to added weight-bearing of the developing child.

When the SI joint is injured the surrounding muscles can go into spasm. Also nearby nerves can become sensitive and feel “pinched”. Sometimes the pain can be felt in the lower back, buttocks, hip and upper leg or even all of these areas at the same time.

Sacroiliac joint problems may be intermittent but reoccurring. Sometimes the complaint can be persistent with occasional episodes of stronger intense pain.

Proper diagnosis is important in effective treatment of this pelvic joint. Often doctors and therapists confuse problems of the SI joint as coming from the hip joint of the upper thigh or conditions of the lower back and spinal discs.

Many times patients are treated with prescription medics such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or corticosteroid injections, such as prednisone, but the improvement is minimal and temporary. At times, medications can actually be harmful to this pelvic joint and to organs such as the stomach, intestines and the kidneys. Therapies aimed at stretching and strengthening exercises alone are also usually ineffective.

In trying to correct the problem it is important to look at why the sacroiliac joint is causing complaints. Many times, the SI joint is out of alignment or moving improperly. If this is the case chiropractic treatment can be a safe and effective way to address the problem. Chiropractic manipulation or adjustments work to realign the pelvis and introduce proper movement into the malfunctioning joint. Following chiropractic adjustments exercises can then be given to stretch and strengthen the supporting structures. At-home therapies, such as using applications of cold packs, can be helpful to hasten the improvement of the problem. Education concerning proper posture and the correct way to perform physical activities is important to keep the condition from returning.

If you are having problems in that area around the hip and lower back considering that it may be coming from a sacroiliac joint problem and see a chiropractor for the proper diagnosis and treatment of the condition.

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Is Back Pain A Sign Of Cancer?

The majority of back pain cases in the US are labeled idiopathic, meaning no exact cause for pain is found. Those with lingering, unexplained back pain may develop fears that the cause is something serious like cancer.

Back pain is one possible symptom of a number of types of cancer, but this is fairly rare. A 1988 study entitled “Cancer as a cause of back pain: frequency, clinical presentation, and diagnostic strategies” found cancer to be the cause of back pain in 13 out of 1,975 patients (.66%). Although rare, it is important to understand when and how back pain may be symptomatic of different forms of cancer, both to ease your mind when it is not and to facilitate early detection when it is.

Back pain can rise from cancer in two main ways: 1) pain may be from tumors in nearby organs that press on muscles and nerves of the back and 2) pain can come from tumors in the spine itself.

Referred Pain

Tumors are abnormal tissue growths. When tumors grow on the colon, rectum, ovary, pancreas or kidney, pain may be felt in the hips, lower back and / or mid back. Tumors on the lungs can cause pain in the upper back.

If pain is associated with tumors in nearby organs, it will not be the only symptom you have. Cancer symptoms vary depending on the type of cancer causing them. Some symptoms that are shared by many forms of cancer are:

Unexplained weight loss
Fever
Fatigue
Chills
Skin changes (reddening, darkening, yellowing, or excess hair growth)
Nausea
Vomiting

Changes in bowel function that last beyond a month or blood in the stool may indicate colon cancer. Blood in the urine or changes in passing urine can indicate bladder or prostate cancer. Abnormal vaginal discharge may indicate cancer of the cervix. Prolonged pelvic pain may indicate cancer of the uterus or ovaries. Coughing up blood is a symptom of lung cancer. See http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancerbasics/signs-and-symptoms-of-cancer for more information on cancer symptoms.

It is important to remember that each of these symptoms may be caused by something other than cancer. Whatever the cause, a trip to the doctor is in order. The sooner the cause is found, the faster you can pursue effective treatment.

Spinal Tumors

Tumors on the spine may be malignant (cancerous) or benign (non-cancerous). Cancerous tumors on the spinal are most commonly the result of metastasis (spreading) of cancer from another part of the body, but may also result from cancer of the spinal itself.

The three types of spinal tumors are vertebral column tumors, intraradural-extramedullary tumors, and intramedullary tumors. Vertebral column tumors develop either on the vertebra or the spinal disc. Intraradural-extramedullary tumors grow deeper within the spine but outside the spinal cord (nerves). Intramedullary tumors occur directly on or around spinal nerves and are most common in the neck.

Pain from spinal tumors does not diminish with rest and may be worse at morning and night. Tumors can cause nerve compression and lead to pain, weakness or numbness that travels along the affected nerve's pathway. There is generally severe pain at the site of the tumor when pressure is applied. Bending and twisting may be especially painful. These symptoms are always a cause for concern whether associated with tumors or not, and diagnosis should be thought. These symptoms are most likely to be associated with cancer if they occur with other common cancer symptoms.

More information on spinal tumors can be found at http://www.spine-health.com/conditions/spinal-tumor/could-my-back-pain-be-spine-cancer .

Although cancer commonly causes back pain, it is not by any means one of the more common causes of back pain. Given the seriousness of cancer, it is important to be aware of all its possible symptoms. Pain should always be taken seriously, whether associated with another health condition or not.

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How to Find the Best Mattress for Lower Back Pain Relief

If you are searching for the best mattress for lower back pain relief, it only means one thing – you are finding ways to ease back pain discomfort. This is because lying down on a low quality mattress can only make the condition worse. This article is all about helping you get the right mattress to help you sleep not just comfortably but back pain free as well. If you do not like your current mattress because it triggers pain on your lower back and sometimes other parts of your body even, then you should not wait until the pain becomes worse to buy a new one. An overused mattress tends to look sagging, particularly in the middle.

In the middle of all the infomercials and online ads, you will feel swamp as you search for the right mattress. It was wise of you to do some research before you invest in a particular mattress. So, here are the quick tips on how to choose the best mattress for lower back pain relief :.

1) Choose a Firm but Comfortable Mattress

Look for a mattress that is firm enough for back support, but has a thick padding that keeps it comfortable. Make sure that it will let your shoulder and hips sink into the mattress to some extent. Take note that the best mattress that you want to get should support the curves in your body that will have to sink into the mattress and also support your back. Opt for a medium firm mattress than a completely firm one, as it is said to be more conducive for those with back pain.

2) Check All the Features of the Mattress

Prepare a set of questions to ask the seller of the mattress. Some of the questions that you can ask would have the depth of the mattress, which can range from about 7 to 18 inches deep. The padding on the top of it can also vary in the thickness. You may also want to know how many coils support the mattress and how they are arranged. It is up to you on how much support you want from your mattress. Just keep in mind that the coils help to maintain a firm supports while the padding allows certain parts of your body to sink comfortably into the mattress. You will come across all sorts of mattress types from foam, to spring support, to waterbeds and air filled ones. There's no superior one amongst them, you may try it out by lying down on it for a few minutes before deciding.

3) Think Outside of the Mattress

A good bed foundation may be another factor along just the mattress, especially when it comes to easing back pain. A completing box spring or foundation that goes with your mattress will ensure a well supported body while sleeping.

4) How Big the Mattress Is.

The average person tends to move about 40 to 60 times while sleeping at night. Consider the size of the mattress especially when you share it with someone else. Your best bet would have to be either a king size or a queen size mattress if you are an extremely fidgety during sleep or if you sleep with a partner.

These tips are most basic, and it is still up to your personal preference as to the kind of mattress that you would like to buy. If it is a chronic back pain, it is highly recommended that you seek the advice of an orthopedic specialist or a chiropractor before doing any major changes in your lifestyle. However, keep these facts in mind so so that sure enough you will be able to find the best mattress for lower back pain relief.

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Is TENS Therapy Safe to Use in Old Age?

Although a doctor should approve any medical procedure, many doctors consider a TENS machine to better option than strong pain medications for older patients. Rather than depending on a cocktail of prescription drugs to treat body pain, the TENS procedure can effectively reduce and even eliminate pain.

What is TENS Treatment?

TENS stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. When using a TENS machine, patients apply self-adhesive electrodes to the pain-stricken areas of the body. The electrodes deliver a small amount of electrical stimulation, which affects the nerves that deliver signals of pain to the brain. One TENS treatment can often relieve pain for a few days.

Using TENS for Pain Relief

People who desire instant pain relief can use the TENS procedure to reduce or eliminate pain quickly. It is a great option for elderly individuals who need to take pain medication each day. Pain medication can have a negative effect on the body while a TENS treatment is perfectly safe for most people. Rather than taking a variety of potentially harmful medicines people can simply use a TENS machine to deliver electrical pulses to affected areas of the body. Similar treatments have been used for many centuries. Ancient Greeks for example used electric eels to eliminate body pain.

Is TENS Safe for Everyone?

Since TENS treatment involves electrical current that stimulates nerve activity it is not safe for everyone. Certain individuals have adverse reactions from even the slightest electrical pulses. Men or women who have a pacemaker should never use TENS for pain relief because the electric pulses can interfere with the life saving mechanism. Anyone who has a weak heart or a heart defect should not use the machine. People who have seizures should not use TENS because the electrical current may trigger a seizure. When trying any new pain treatment, including TENS, people should consult their doctor to determine whether they are a good candidate. A physician monitors a patient's current health as well as their medical history.

Old Age & TENS Units

In most cases, elderly patients can use the TENS electrical stimulation method to safely reduce or eliminate their pain. Elderly people who no longer want to rely on different pain medications to feel better should consider trying a TENS treatment. The procedure has helped many people eliminate pain so they can complete their daily activities without taking pain medication. The TENS procedure is very simple and provides immediate results.

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Microdiscectomy Spine Surgery or Physiotherapy?

Located in our spine are intervertebral disks who acts as the cushioning system for the spine. It helps to balance the forces experience by the spell through actions like standing, jumping, lifting and sitting. It also helps to protect the vertebrae and brain by limiting the amount of movement allowed by each individual disc. Repeated actions over time can cause the disc to reduce and sudden impact or trauma can cause shearing of the discs, resulting in the semi-liquid substances to impinge onto the nerves, causing pain. When things get more serious, daily actions such as bowl and bladder control may not be possible and then, surgery is often recommended by doctors. However, should you really consider surgery or other options like physiotherapy?

Microdiscectomy

During microdescectomy, a small part of the bone is removed to create a space between the vertebrae which helps to relieve internal pressure, reduce pain and treat neural impingement. As a small piece of bone is removed, it will not cause any instability issues with it. Neural impingement can cause pain in places such as the leg and after microdisectomy, an almost instant relief can be felt by the patient. As with all spinal injury, there is a certain risk level. It is often the last resort as no surgery is 100% risk free. Without patients suffer from bowel and bladder incontinence or other neural problems, doctors will not recommend surgery and will often suggest physiotherapy to try to find a solution to the problem. However, risk level is still generally low compared to other forms of surgery.

Physiotherapy

Physiotherapy is one of the options doctors will recommend initially together with pain relief medication. Physiotherapy is non-invasive, reliably safe and helps to strengthen the muscles in the body. Through stabilization and strengthening exercises, some patients are able to find relief and are able to continue to lead a good quality lifestyle without surgery. Strong muscles are able to help take on some of the burden from the spine and distribute the weight much more evenly, reducing the stresses placed on the spine and reducing pain. Even if surgery is required after physiotherapy, it helps to reduce the recovery time as physiotherapy helps to keep them in a tip top condition and with strong muscles and body functions, they are able to recover faster.

When you suffer from spinal pain, you should consider going for physiotherapy first. There is always a chance that you can recover and lead a pain free life without surgery. However, only when things start to become more serious should you consider surgery.

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3 Things Everyone In An Auto Injury Should Know

There are a few things everyone should know if they are in an auto accident.

1. You may have little damage to your car and still have a whiplash injury.

2. You may have an injury and have no symptoms. Many time symptoms to not occur for a few days after an auto accident.

3. In Colorado Med Pay pays for medical expenses from regardless of who is at fault.

Medical doctor, Rene Cailliet reported:

• “Low-speed impact with minimal or no damage to the imputed vehicle can and does cause significant musculoskeletal injury to the driver's or occupant's head and neck.”

• “In many instances, a person experiences whiplash after a vehicle accident that has caused little significant damage to either vehicle.”

What is Whiplash?

When the head is suddenly jerked back and forth beyond its normal limits, the muscles and ligaments support the head and spine can be stretched or torn. The soft discs between spinal bones can bulge, tear, or rupture. Vertebrae can be forced out of their normal position, reducing range of motion.

Most Auto related whiplash injures occur when a car is stopped and occupants are unaware that they are about to be hit from the side or from behind.

Whiplash can also occur from sporting accidents, slips, falls, or other head collisions.

Symptoms of Whiplash

A common result of whiplash is the loss of the normal forward curve in the neck which leads to joint instability, neurological problems and spinal degeneration. Many times symptoms from a whiplash injury do not begin for several days or you may not have symptoms at all.

Anyone experiencing any of theses symptoms should be evaluated immediately by a professional trained in spinal curve corrective work.

A loss of a neck curve is related to pain after Whiplash

• Abnormal neck curves are more common in patients with poor outcomes.

• Loss of cervical curve is very common in patients with cerebral symptoms due to whiplash.

• Reversal of the cervical curve is associated with future disability after whiplash.

• Whiplash injuries do indeed cause reversals and other changes in the cervical curves.

Your Insurance Coverage

In the state of Colorado your auto insurance is has Medical Payment Coverage (Med Pay) that pays for reasonable expenses you and your passengers incur because of injury in a motor vehicle accident, regardless of fault. Med pay does cover chiropractic and massage treatments. The vast majority of auto insurance companies in Colorado offer Medical Payment for auto accidents without you opted out of that benefit. Any medial office can tell you your medical benefits.

If you know or hear of anyone who has been in an auto accident have them call our office to schedule an exam to see if they have suffered a whiplash injury.

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Growing Use Of Acupuncture for Sciatica

Acupuncture for sciatica is a growing practice. Sciatica is a very common condition, affecting about 14% of the population. The nerve roots from the spinal column actually come from the lower back, known as the lumbar region, and then pass through the sacrum and down the legs. Muscle spasms can irritate the nerve, causing pain in the lower back, buttocks, and legs, and inflammation in the body, poor posture, or a bulging spinal disc that can contribute to the problem. Practitioners diagnose the problem through nerve conductance tests, a history of symptoms, and scans such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which display problems in the soft tissues.

Most Western medicine doctors rely on medications or physical therapy to calm the symptoms of sciatica, but the non-invasive Chinese practice of acupuncture is actually safer, causing few, if any, side effects or complications.

Acupuncture Treatments

Acupuncture as a treatment method is more than 5,000 years old and it was well documented in the ancient Chinese medical text “Huangdi Neijing,” written around 200 BC The practice was also used by cultures as diverse as the Eskimos and the African Bantu tribesmen, and it has long moved beyond those areas to a worldwide population, with more than 8,000 practitioners in the United States alone.

Acupuncture is based on the belief that our life energy, or “ki,” which includes body, mind, spirit, and emotion, must flow uninterrupted through our body. If this energy flow becomes disrupted, diseases and other disorders occur. By placing small needles into specific spots along the body's meridians, lines where blood and body energy converge, and by twirling, lifting, rotating, or making other precise movements, the balance can be restored to the body.

Medical acupuncture uses similar methods; however, medical acupuncturists focus on the physical aspects of the problem rather than restoring balance to the energy force running through the body.

Acupuncture for a sciatica nerve has a number of benefits:

1. It can improve blood circulation in the lumbar region and the spinal cord.
2. It relaxes muscles and provides flexibility and strength to the bones.
3. It can increase energy, pushing a person to be more active and healthy overall.

However, it is important to note that acupuncture for sciatica is not effective if degenerative diseases are involved. Acupuncture may provide some temporary relief of the condition by releasing pressure of the disc on nerves and muscles, but it can not remove the disease entirely, but it can not reverse the herniation of the disc.

Cautions

After the longitude of the practice, and despite a great deal of anecdotal evidence to support acupuncture's role in relieving sciatica pain, a study done by the Nordic Cochrane Center and published in the British Medical Journal in 2009 concluded that acupuncture had “a small analgesic effect “but” whether needing at acupuncture points, or at any site, reduces pain independently of the psychological impact of the treatment ritual is unclear. ”

eHow.com states that, “To date, there has been no comprehensive scientific study that proves that acupuncture cures sciatica. If you decide to undergo acupuncture treatment for sciatica, it is advisable to talk to your doctor and go to a licensed acupuncturist.”

Holistic Approach

Still, Traditional Chinese Medicine has a long history of success, and it recommends that the best approach to treating sciatica is to use a combination style treatment. Overall, the treatment should relax and stretch the tendons and fascia while strengthening the muscles. By releasing the spastic muscles and strengthening them, acupuncture allows the back and nerves to heal naturally.

After you have used acupuncture for sciatica and the pain is gone, it is important for you to keep up treatment to prevent it from coming back. Stretching is an essential part of that treatment, as it will help keep the muscles healthy and relaxed. In addition, doing a gentle form of exercise, such as tai chi, the Chinese practice of exercise and meditation, is very effective to maintain the strength and health of the lower back and its related sciatica.

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