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Helpful Natural Back Pain Relievers

Up to 80 percent of the US population will experience back pain at some point during their lives. Most often, the problem is mechanical in nature:1 the result of poor posture, repetitive movements, or incorrect lifting, for instance (as opposed to resulting from injury, infection, or serious diseases, like cancer).

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Debunking Myths About Back and Neck Problems

The experience of back pain can be very complex many back problems are difficult to diagnose and typically involve a wide variety of treatment options with various risks and benefits. And, it doesn’t help that many myths and misconceptions about back pain and back problems persist.

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What Causes Neck Spasm and How to Treat it

Neck spasm is a painful and discomforting stiffness of the neck muscles. It is a highly disabling condition, which greatly prevents a person from leading a normal life. Neck spasm is seen either since childhood, in which case we call it torticollis, or in adulthood, where we call it trapezitis. Both these diseases have entirely different origins, but yet they cause the same symptom, a stiff and painful neck. Injury from road accidents can also lead to neck spasm from fracture of neck vertebrae or with a whiplash injury.

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Easy and Effective Tips For Healthy Joints

Living with osteoarthritis is a long-term proposition. It’s your job to stay active and keep your joints healthy so that you can do the things you want and need to do, as independently as you can, for as long as you can.

There’s nothing that I as a physician can do to slow the progression of osteoarthritis, says Elinor Mody, MD, medical director of the Gretchen S. and Edward A. Fish Center for Women’s Health and co-director of the Center for Skin and Related Musculoskeletal Disease at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

And in the vast majority of cases, there’s nothing the patient can do that would make the disease get worse faster.

So much of the time, you can manage your osteoarthritis on your own. But sometimes, you’ll need the guidance of a doctor or physical therapist to cope with pain, handle obstacles, and make sure you’re steering in the right direction. When should you seek help?

When you’re beginning an exercise program.

The worst thing someone with osteoarthritis can do is nothing, says Mody. Exercise is particularly important for people with osteoarthritis. Muscle strengthening takes strain off the joints, and core strengthening has been shown to be very important in taking strain off the knee, preventing injury.

You know how to walk, of course, and the trainer at the gym can show you how to use weight machines. But exercising when you have arthritis is a bit more complicated than it is for a healthy 25-year-old. To avoid injury and make the most of your exercise program, consult a doctor or physical therapist when you begin, to get a customized regimen that’s designed for your own individual needs and limitations.

When pain gets in the way.

Are you avoiding your weekly golf game or working in your beloved garden because it hurts too much to walk or bend? Then it’s time to see your doctor.

When you’re having enough pain that it’s preventing you from doing what you need or want to do, it’s time to intervene, says Mody. Sometimes we can relieve the pain with cortisone or other medications, such as drugs that mimic the effect of chondroitin on cartilage.”

Other ways to alleviate pain include:

Using orthotics, custom-made shoe inserts that help protect knees and hips by acting as shock absorbers when walking
Knee bracing to help to stabilize the knee joint
Applying ice to the affected joint may help improve swelling, pain, and range of motion
Topical analgesics to relieve painful joints
Over-the-counter or prescription medications
In other cases, explains Mody, it may be time to talk about joint replacement surgery. It’s important not to wait too long when that becomes necessary, because that can lead to muscle atrophy and joint contracture, and you may never really get back what you lost.

When you need tools.

Much of the time, you can make your own changes to your home environment to stay as independent as possible and minimize your risk of injury. Get rid of throw rugs, put handles in the bathroom and a shower chair if necessary, and go minimalist in your decor, eliminating things like small occasional chairs and tables that block your path and giving yourself plenty of space to walk around.

But there’s a lot more that can be helpful to you. If you’re encountering a lot of difficulty managing independently at home, ask your physician for a physical/occupational therapy referral, or a home safety evaluation.

They’re like MacGyver, says Mody of occupational therapists. If you have bad osteoarthritis of the hands, for example, they have assistive devices for things like doorknobs, jar lids, and writing with pens.

When you’re de-feeted.

One of the biggest risks with osteoarthritis is a fall, and one of the biggest culprits in falling is bad footwear. Especially if arthritis has had an effect on the shape of your feet, you need customized shoes that will keep you comfortable and well balanced.

It used to be that arthritis patients had to wear these ugly orthopedic shoes, says Mody. Today, there’s no reason to be wearing uncomfortable, ugly or ill-fitting shoes. Talk to your doctor about meeting with a podiatrist. Life is too short to be wearing uncomfortable shoes!

One of the biggest problems Mody sees is patients who wait too long to see their doctor for pain. If you wait until you’ve lost a lot of muscle mass, or no longer have the range of motion you used to have, chances are you won’t get it back.

So, if you’re not sure whether you need to see your doctor, ask yourself these questions:

Can I get into and out of the car with minimal difficulty?
Can I put my shoes on independently?
Can I tie my shoes?

These are all motions that require good rotation of the hip, says Mody. If you’re having trouble with them, you need to see your doctor. With the knee, people usually notice when they’ve lost range of motion there, so fortunately I haven’t seen a significant contracture of the knee in a long time.

Then ask yourself one final question: Are you doing all the things you want to be doing? If not, is it because your arthritis is getting in the way? Then it’s time to see the doctor. Our job as physicians is to have people live the longest, most fulfilled, happiest lives they can.

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What Causes Shoulder Bursitis And How To Fix It

A bursa is a tiny fluid-filled sac that functions as a gliding surface to reduce friction between tissues of the body. The plural of bursa is bursae. There are 160 bursae in the body. The major bursae are located adjacent to the tendons near the large joints, such as the shoulders, elbows, hips, and knees.

Bursitis is inflammation of a bursa. Injury or inflammation of a bursa around the shoulder joint causes shoulder bursitis.

What causes shoulder bursitis?

A bursa can become inflamed from injury, infection (rare in the shoulder), or an underlying rheumatic condition. Examples include infection of the bursa in front of the knee from a knee scraping on asphalt (septic prepatellar bursitis), inflammation of the elbow bursa from gout crystals (gouty olecranon bursitis), or injury as subtle as lifting a bag of groceries into the car, which could inflame the shoulder bursa and lead to shoulder bursitis.

What are risk factors for shoulder bursitis?

Injury or strain to the shoulder joint causes shoulder bursitis. Activities that are common risk factors for shoulder bursitis include throwing a ball, lifting objects overhead, and trauma from a fall onto the shoulder.

Bursitis is typically identified by localized pain or swelling, tenderness, and pain with motion of the tissues in the affected area. X-ray testing can sometimes detect calcifications in the bursa when bursitis has been chronic or recurrent. MRI scanning (magnetic resonance imaging) can also define bursitis. Shoulder bursitis is often accompanied by tendinitis of tendons adjacent to the affected bursa in the shoulder. Shoulder bursitis causes focal tenderness of the inflamed tissues. It can also cause a “pinching” pain when the elbow is moved away from the body, referred to as an “impingement” sign.

Sometimes shoulder bursitis requires aspiration of the bursa fluid. This procedure involves removal of the fluid with a needle and syringe under sterile conditions and can be performed in the doctor’s office. Often the fluid is sent to the laboratory for further analysis. Noninfectious shoulder bursitis can also be treated with an injection of cortisone medication into the swollen bursa. This is typically done at the same time as the aspiration procedure. Physical therapy can be used to aid the recovery from bursitis, especially when it is accompanied by a frozen shoulder.

Infectious (septic) bursitis, which is uncommon in the shoulder, requires even further evaluation and aggressive treatment. The bursal fluid can be examined in the laboratory to identify the microbes causing the infection. Septic bursitis requires antibiotic therapy, sometimes intravenously. Repeated aspiration of the inflamed fluid may be required. Surgical drainage and removal of the infected bursa sac (bursectomy) may also be necessary. Generally, the adjacent joint functions normally after the surgical wound heals.

Are there home remedies for shoulder bursitis?

Bursitis is initially treated with ice compresses, rest, and anti-inflammatory and pain medications.

What is the prognosis for shoulder bursitis?

The outlook for shoulder bursitis is generally excellent for a full recovery with shoulder bursitis. If the bursitis is accompanied by scarring around the shoulder joint (adhesive capsulitis or “frozen shoulder”), it can require long-term physical therapy.

Is it possible to prevent shoulder bursitis?

By avoiding overuse of the shoulder by excessive straining the shoulder and gradual exercise training, shoulder bursitis can be prevented.

What health-care specialties treat shoulder bursitis?

Specialists that treat shoulder bursitis include general medicine physicians, including general practitioners, family medicine doctors, and internists, as well as orthopedic surgeons, rheumatologists, and sports medicine specialists. Often physical therapists and rehabilitation physicians are involved in the care of shoulder bursitis.

Could it be your neck?   Check out this article and see if it helps:  5 Techniques for Alleviating Neck Pain

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10 Common Reasons Why Your Feet Hurt

What do you suffer from???

Fungal Nail Infection

Tiny fungi can get inside your nail through a crack or break, causing an infection that can make nails thick, discolored, and brittle. The fungus, which thrives in warm, wet places, can spread to people who swim a lot or who have sweaty feet. An infection won’t go away on its own, and it can be hard to treat. Creams you put on your nail may help mild cases. Antifungal pills or surgery to remove the nail offer the best chance of clearing up a severe infection.

Avoid a Sandal Scandal

Is a bunion, corn, ingrown toenail, or a bad case of athlete’s foot causing you pain? Keep your feet happy and healthy — learn the symptoms of common foot problems and what you can do to treat them.

Bunion

This bony bump at the base of the big toe causes that toe to veer toward the others. It throws foot bones out of alignment and can be painful due to pressure or arthritis. It might also lead to corns. Pain relievers, pads to cushion the bunion, custom shoe inserts, or surgery may help. You could also wear roomy shoes and avoid high heels.

Corns and Calluses

Friction or pressure causes these thick, hard, dead areas of skin. Corns look cone-shaped and point into the skin, usually forming on pressure points from poorly fitted shoes or a bone spur. Calluses tend to spread out more and can appear anywhere something rubs on your skin. Moleskin pads can help relieve a corn. Your doctor can trim calluses or correct them with surgery. You can also wear patches with medication that can remove calluses.

Gout

It’s a form of arthritis that causes sudden pain, redness, swelling, and stiffness. It usually affects the large joint of the big toe, but it also can flare in the foot, ankle, or knees. Gout comes from too much uric acid (UA) in your body, which can form needle-like crystals in joints. Attacks can last days or weeks. You can treat it with drugs that fight inflammation (pain, redness, and swelling) or UA-lowering medication. Some diet changes help break down uric acid, too.

Plantar Warts

These tough growths form on the soles of the feet. You get them when a virus enters your body through broken skin. They can spread through skin-to-skin contact or on surfaces in places like public pools and showers. The warts are harmless, so you don’t have to treat them. In many cases they’re too painful to ignore, though. You can apply salicylic acid to help get rid of them. But burning, freezing, laser therapy, and surgery to remove them work best for more severe cases.

Athlete’s Foot

This fungal infection can cause peeling, redness, itching, burning, and sometimes blisters and sores. It’s mildly contagious, spreading to others by direct contact or by walking barefoot in places like locker rooms or near pools. The fungi then grow in shoes, especially tight ones without air flow. Treatments usually include fungus-fighting lotions, or pills for more severe cases.

Hammertoe

When toe muscles around the joints get out of balance, they can cause painful problems. Hammertoe generally makes the second, third, or fourth toes bend downward at the middle joint. The condition sometimes runs in families. Other risks include tight footwear or an old injury to a toe. Well-fitted shoes with the right amount of space in the toe box, shoe supports, and surgery may offer relief.

Ingrown Toenail

It’s just how it sounds — a toenail that has grown into the skin. The problem can cause pain, redness, swelling, and infection. You can get them from cutting your nails too short or not straight across, injuring a toenail, and wearing tight shoes. For mild cases, soak your foot in warm water, keep it clean, and wedge a small piece of cotton under the corner of the ingrown nail to lift it off the skin. Minor surgery can remove all or part of the nail.

Flatfoot (Pes Planus)

You have this condition when your sole makes complete or near-complete contact with the ground. You can get it after an injury or because of a health problem, such as rheumatoid arthritis. Most people don’t have symptoms, although weight gain, ill-fitting shoes, or standing a lot may cause pain in your feet and legs. Foot-strengthening exercises and shoes with good arch support or orthotics can help.

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Things That Trigger Your Gout

When you have gout, you have higher than normal levels of uric acid in your body. When too much uric acid builds up around a joint, uric crystal forms, causing a painful gout flare.

All sorts of things — from certain foods and drinks to stress and medicines — can cause your uric acid levels to go up. Knowing what can trigger the uric acid to build up in your body may help you avoid future gout attacks.

Common Gout Triggers

There are some things that are likely to trigger flares in most people with gout, also known as gouty arthritis. If you know you have gout, you should try to stay away from these gout triggers.

Foods — Foods that are high in a substance called purines can raise the uric acid level in your blood. This includes organ meats like liver; seafood like sardines, anchovies, mussels, and salmon; and even some vegetables such as spinach. Eating just one of these foods or several of them together, can cause a gout flare. Purines are found in all foods that have protein.
Alcohol — Beer and liquor can raise the uric acid level in the blood and many bring on a gout flare. They can be extra bad for you because they also can make you dehydrated — another common gout trigger. Wine is not linked to gout attacks and can be enjoyed in moderation.
Medication — Some drugs that people take for other medical conditions — such as high blood pressure or heart failure — may also bring on a gout flare. Some possible flare-triggering drugs include diuretics, beta-blockers, and cyclosporine. Even low-dose aspirin can cause an attack. If your doctor is going to start you on a new medicine, be sure to tell her that you have gout.
Dehydration — When your body is dehydrated, the amount of uric acid in your body rises, and your kidneys’ ability to get rid of extra uric acid decreases. So when your body doesn’t have enough water, you can be more likely to get a gout attack.
Fructose beverages — Don’t drink lots of sugary drinks containing fructose. Fructose-sweetened beverages can bring on gout flare-ups.
Medical stress — Hospital visits, surgery, pneumonia, and other medical conditions and procedures can cause your uric acid levels to go up and your gout to flare. If you’re going into the hospital or if you become sick, be sure to tell your doctor that you have gout.
Know Your Gout Triggers

These gout triggers are common in most people who have gout, but not every one of them will set off an attack in every person with gout. Some people may have an attack after limited exposure, while others only react in extreme cases.

“Everybody has their own little nuances,” says Robert T. Keenan, MD, MPH, assistant professor of medicine at Duke University School of Medicine. “For some people, certain foods will trigger it — like a seafood and beer binge. Others will have their first gout attack when they go into the hospital or for stress or hydration reasons.”

There’s no test that lets gout patients figure out what triggers will cause their uric acid to rise. But nearly everyone with gout is able to determine the source the very first time they have an attack, says Keenan.

“Most patients will figure it out on their own relatively quick,” he says. “Maybe it’s, ‘I was watching the game last night and drank six beers and at 3in the morning I woke up and my toe’s killing me.’

Avoid Gout Flare-Ups

Once you have had a painful gout flare-up, you wíl never want to experience another one.

“We really think of it as an explosive arthritis, where you go from zero to 60 in 24 hours,” says rheumatologist Rebecca Manno, MD, MHS, assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “People say gout can be some of the most severe and worst pain they have ever experienced.”

But there are other reasons for gout prevention than just pain, says Manno.

“Gout can be more than just a nuisance. It can cause destruction in the joint itself,” she says. “Once there is damage done to the joint from gout — it cannot reverse.”

You don’t have to sit around and wait for a gout attack in order to treat it. You can help avoid gout flare-ups by lifestyle changes and medication. Here are some tips for gout prevention.

Avoid gout triggers. Although its impossible to completely avoid all purines in your diet, if you know which foods tend to set off your gout attacks, try to avoid them. You may still be able to enjoy foods with fewer purines such as beans, lentils, and asparagus.
Preventive medication. If you have two or three gout flares in one year, many doctors will suggest daily medicine — such as feboxostat (Uloric), allopurinol (Lopurin, Zyloprim), and probenecid (Benemid) to lower uric acid level in the blood, and colchicine (Colcrys), to help prevent future attacks. In the first few months that you take the medicine, be aware that the gout prevention drugs may actually cause an attack. Your doctor will prepare you for this possibility by giving you medicine to take in the event you have a flare.
Healthy lifestyle. Eating a healthy diet, reducing or eliminating alcohol, and exercising regularly can help prevent gouty arthritis attacks and keep your uric acid level stable. Remember to drink water when exercising to avoid flare-ups due to dehydration.
Lose weight. If you are overweight, work with your doctor to develop a weight loss plan. Being overweight can contribute to elevated levels of uric acid and lead to gout attacks. “When we talk to patients about foods they should avoid, we also talk about weight,” says Manno. “There’s definitely a risk factor with being overweight.”

 

Still Struggling?   Check out this post for some helpful hints to manager your pain:  Pain Relieving Foods: 7 Foods that Naturally Help With Pain

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