Archive for May, 2011

How Well Does Treatment Work for Degenerative Disc Disease?

Most patients with degenerative disc disease get better without needing interventional procedures or surgery. This article discusses the nucleoplasty procedure for degenerative disc disease in patients suffering either from back pain by itself or potentially those with back pain and radiculopathy.

Often times simply watchful waiting will allow the symptoms to improve, at other times physical therapy, chiropractic treatment, and other forms of aerobic exercise may improve disc symptoms.

Undergoing spine surgery for degenerative disc disease is utilized as a last resort in patients whose back and leg pain is intractable to conservative measures. Potential complications of fusion surgery include scar formation, epidural fibrosis, nerve root injury, failure to fuse, hardware failure, failure to relieve pain, infection, or failed back surgery syndrome.

Numerous techniques have been utilized over the past few decades to treat degenerative disc disease along with disc herniations outside of open operating room techniques.

These have included chymopapain chemonucleolysis, Intra-discal electrothermal treatment (IDET), and nucleotomy procedures. None of these has achieved unequivocal success however, and some have caused anaphylactic reactions, nerve root injury, or even cauda equina syndrome.

Nucleoplasty of the disc was approved in 2000 by the FDA as a percutaneous disc decompression using coblation technology. A piece of the inner disc (the nucleus) is removed and a radio frequency energy is applied which excites the electrolytes in this area. Molecular bonds are broken down, and some of this inner disc is dissolved.

As long as the radio frequency energy stays at relatively low temperatures, the theory is that the surrounding disc tissue and end-plate cartilage is unaffected. Reducing the pressure in the center of the disc theoretically relieves the chemical and mechanical factors causing pain. How much of the disc is removed with a nucleoplasty procedure? About 1 milliliter, which is about 10 to 20%.

There have been studies showing new vascularization (bloodflow) can occur post-procedure, and potentially this could lead to regeneration or healing of the disc.

Most studies have shown no significant complications related to nucleoplasty. There was soreness post procedure which resolved nicely and an incidence of numbness and tingling and potentially worse back pain.

Looking at all studies on nucleoplasty, the average successful outcome was 62%. There is considerable debate as to whether or not nucleoplasty works well in patients with solely axial low back pain and not a radicular component. The procedure has shown, however, that it can improve outcomes in individuals suffering from discogenic back pain either with or without a radicular component.

Euflexxa Treats Knee Pain Adequately

Osteoarthritis is one of the most common type of chronic joint pains that is commonly experienced by adults. Although, there is no sure-shot remedy of treating the pain, some medicines help in lessening the pain or delaying its onset. Due to the fact, it is commonly said that never ignore the knee pain and consult with the health experts in case of its occurrence. Talking about one of its treatment, mostly health experts recommend Euflexxa for treating knee pain.

A Brief Description about Euflexxa

Euflexxa is a therapy or treatment, having generic name as Hyaluronate Sodium. It is a FDA approved injection which is safe to use for reducing knee pain of osteoarthritis. It contains pure hyaluronic acid as its active ingredient. It acts as a shock absorber and lubricant as it is injected into the knee joint. Besides decreasing knee pain, it enhances a person’s ability to perform day to day activities. It helps in enhancing the efficacy of knee joint fluids. It is basically recommended to those patients who fail to respond to other treatments or therapies.

One of the main benefits of using the therapy is that a person will get relief from the joint pain after certain time frame if it is taken as per instructions of the experts. In a very few cases, a person suffers from side-effects. Moreover, if a person suffers from its side-effects like skin irritation, tenderness, skin pain, etc. these effects are mild in nature and do not lead to any health complications. For obtaining the best results, it is vital use the injections as per health expert’s instructions. Usually, the therapy is given once in a week and continues for 3-5 weeks, depending upon the severity of the case. Please take a note on the following points while using Euflexxa.

Points demand attention of users

Before start taking the therapy, tell the doctors facts about prescribed, over-the-counter medications, vitamin or herbal supplements a person is taking at the time of starting the treatment.
Initially, it may happen that a person experiences inflammation in his knee after taking the therapy. By taking the therapy on regular basis, the inflammation discontinues. In case, it still exists, consult with the medical experts immediately.
After taking the injection, avoid doing strenuous activities like running, weight-lifting, etc. for the next 48 hours.

Last but not the least, buy Euflexxa from reputed and online stores. Reason being, reputed stores sell FDA approved medications at affordable price range and give discounts if the orders are placed in bulk. So, buy Euflexxa online to keep osteoarthritis pain at bay.

Common Causes of Lumbar Pain

It is important to understand the causes of lower back pain so as to administer optimal treatment for the management of this pain. The lower back consists of the lumbar region of the spine. This region is made up of vertebrae (the bones that make up the spine), tendons, ligaments and the muscles that support these structures. This area plays various important roles in our day to day activities. These include offering structural support to our bodies, protection of internal organs and certain body tissues as well as facilitating movement. Activities such as standing, bending, twisting or extending the waist are all dependent on the lumbar region. Therefore injury to the lower back would result in limitations to many of our daily activities.

Back pain may be caused by the stretching of the ligaments, tendons or muscles in the lumbar region. This is commonly known as a lumbar strain. This stretching results in microscopic tears of varying degrees in these tissues. This is the cause of the pain. The stretching may result from trauma, overuse or improper use of the lower back.

Acute back pain resulting from a lumbar strain normally lasts a few days to a few weeks and normally results from tissue injury. If the pain lasts for a longer period, it is then classified as chronic pain. Although this type of injury is more common among people over the age of 40, it may occur in younger people. It is characterized by painful sensations in the lower back region that usually occur after a stressful physical activity. The injury is diagnosed through the patient’s history, history of the injury and x-ray testing. Treatments for lower back pain caused by lumbar strain include medication, rest and reconditioning exercises to encourage healing and strengthen the back muscles.

Nerve irritation is also a cause of lower back pain. This results from mechanical pressure caused by the bones or tissues of this lower region. The pressure may also be caused by the development of a disease such as a viral infection along the path of the nerve roots within the lower back region. Treatments for lower back pain caused by nerve irritation will depend on the cause of the irritation. Mechanical pressure may be corrected through rest, physical therapy or surgical correction. Diseases affecting the nerves may be dealt with through medication.

There are several bone and joint conditions within this region that may result in back pain. These include congenital bone conditions. These are bone conditions that are present from birth. They may result in the unusual growth and development of the bones in that region. Unusual development may be exhibited as shorter bones in the lower extremities or development of larger bones. These may result in pressure on the spinal cord causing a great deal of pain.

Other conditions that may result in lower back pain include degenerative bone and joint conditions. These degenerative conditions are a result of the wear and tear of the bones and joints in the back, arthritis and injuries to this part of the body.

3 Ways to Keep Work From Being a Pain in Your Neck

It’s probably no secret to you that bad computer habits can lead to neck pain. But when it comes to the workaday world, the truth is, computer usage is not the only pain in the neck. Even people who don’t spend a lot of time with computers end up with neck stiffness and strain at the end of a long day at work. Here are three more common causes of neck pain–and, even better, a few simple tips that can help you prevent the pain from starting.

Cause 1: You hold the phone between your neck and shoulder to multi-task.
This “look Mom, no hands!” approach leads to probably the worst position for your neck. It’s counterproductive, too. If you think you can escape neck stiffness or soreness from trying to do so many things at once, think again!

Remember, the phone is just an instrument. Keep your head upright and bring the phone to your ear, not the other way around. Your neck will thank you.

Your take-away: Hold the phone with your hand or buy a headset.
I admit, I am hooked on mine. It’s not geeky or expensive: It’s good sense because it’s good self-care.

Cause 2: Your chair isn’t ergonomically correct–for you.
Too many times we just sit on the office furniture we are assigned, or we don’t pay much attention when purchasing a new chair. But think about it: The office chair is often the seat in which we spend the majority of our day. Treat yourself with care by making sure that time is spent comfortably.

The goal is to find a chair that will encourage good posture, support proper spinal alignment, and help you fight fatigue. The perfect chair has armrests that can be positioned so that your elbows are bent to a 90-degree angle and your shoulders are slightly raised. The chair’s height should let your feet remain planted firmly on the floor (or add a footrest to achieve that). When seated, your upper thighs should be parallel to the floor.

Your take-away: Your chair is your daily “partner in crime,” so choose it carefully.
If the one you’re allotted is not ideal, buy your own. It’s worth every penny.

Cause 3: You carrying heavy briefcases, handbags, and totes (including the computer!) on one shoulder to and from work.
How many of us are lugging too much stuff with us back and forth every day? Too many.

Lightening the load is the obvious answer. Start by assessing what you really need to tote along, and leave behind the unnecessary weight. At times when that’s not possible (as any traveling salesman or conference presenter will attest), try switching shoulders frequently so you’re not overusing–and straining–your dominant side. Better yet, get a backpack, or carry two lighter bags, so that the weight is shared by both sides of your body.

Your take-away: Shed a few carry-on pounds, and distribute the remainder equally.
Your neck, back, and outlook will thank you for it!

There’s no reason to just accept neck pain without a fight. After all, nothing in the list above is prohibitively difficult or expensive to do. Take a look at your work practices, and put these simple tips to work. The return on your investment–in greater comfort, higher productivity, and an outlook unburdened by pain–can be priceless.

The Major Types of Back Pain

Though back pains are normally experienced by people, they should never be treated as a natural occurrence in our daily lives. Back pains can range from mild to severe. And we will never know unless we are assessed by a professional. See, it is important to know the type of back pain that you are experiencing. It is necessary so that you will know what to expect and the prompt treatment that you can do.

Basically, just like any other type of pain, body pains especially in the back can be classified as acute, sub acute and chronic pain. These types of pains are distinguished in the length of the pain. But it doesn’t mean that chronic is more severe than acute. At times, acute can be really dangerous. And there’s no indications on which is severe and mild.

Acute pains in the back are usually experienced in four weeks or less. The common causes of acute pains are sleeping positions, hard mattress, and even back trauma. On the other hand, sub acute pains usually happen in 4 to 12 weeks. This type of pain at the back is commonly experienced in prolonged sitting or standing, too soft mattress, and in some diseases like Tuberculosis, and many more. And the last type which is chronic back and body pain is usually experienced for 12 weeks and more. This pain is normally associated with more serious diseases like scoliosis, fibromyalgia, and many more.

However, we should all know that not all back pains are related to bones and spinal cord. Some can have muscles affected. That’s why it is really necessary to know the type of pain that you are having. Aside from the prior types of back pain stated. There are also other types of back pains according to location and region.

There are back pains that are felt on the upper back or just beneath the neck. This is a common problem caused by sleeping position and prolonged standing. Pain on the middle back is caused on the other hand by diseases or trauma. And the pain at the lower back is normally caused by prolonged sitting and obesity.

No matter what the causes of these problems are, it is definitely important to find solutions and to make sure that you are comfortable and healthy. The best thing that you should always keep in mind is to seek for medical advice, follow them, and do whatever you have to do to ease the pain.

Stop Pain With Regular Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic care is a proven way to stop pain from a variety of sources and causes such as Joint Pain, Sciatica Pain, Hip Pain, TMJ Pain, Neck Pain, Fibromyalgia Pain, Back Pain… I could go on and on. You can lessen and even stop your pain without using drugs or surgery by using chiropractic techniques and treatments. You do not have to live with pain or be drugged into oblivion in order not to be in pain.

The healing arts of chiropractic care get to the root cause of your pain, to treat the cause, not just the symptoms like traditional medicine does. By treating the cause, you can stop your pain. There are many causes that can cause your pain such as car accidents, falling down, heavy lifting, strenuous work or exercise. All of these activities can cause aches and pains and even full on injuries.

Chiropractic care can be used preventatively too. This is why it’s so important to seek regular chiropractic care. So many of the issues that can cause pain can also cause delayed pain. In other words, maybe you do not feel pain today (the day after your car accident) but after a couple of years, the injury gets worse. Then, if you waited too long to seek chiropractic treatment, it might be too late to get full relief.

Your chiropractor will do a full assessment on your first visit and determine what types of treatment would be most effective for you. You may receive adjustments where the doctor applies pressure to your misaligned spine restoring it to its proper place thus restoring your nerve supply. You might feel immediate relief or you might feel a little sore depending upon your treatment and how misaligned you were. Your chiropractor might decide to do some other therapies like light therapy or other physical therapies to restore circulation to the painful areas and speed recovery.

In addition, your chiropractor can guide you nutritionally to help you make sure you’re giving your body the nutrients it needs to recover. So many of our foods are really nonfoods and should not be ingested at all, much less on a regular basis. Making sure your body is getting the nutrition it needs can speed the healing process exponentially. As you can see, a Chiropractor treats all of you, not just your immediate symptoms. Therefore, chiropractic care can relieve and prevent future painful problems.

Foods to Avoid When You Have Gout

Gout is a form of arthritis where intense pain is experienced due to the formation of crystallized uric acid deposits on the joints throughout the body. These crystallized formations cause irritation and inflammation that can last for quiet some time and in many cases is most severe at night or during periods of rest where activity levels are low.

There are certain types of food that can increase the risk of experiencing gout symptoms. One particular food group that can do so is meats. Meats, especially those which are high in fat content, contain higher levels of purines which when consumed can lead to the build up of uric acid within the body. When the body is unable to process and remove the elevated amounts of uric acid from the body, crystallized deposits can begin to form.

Seafood is another type of food that is known to be high in purines. It too can lead to the buildup of uric acid crystal deposits on the joints of the body if too much is consumed. This is another type of food that should be avoided or at least consumed at a minimum if you want to prevent or reduce gout symptoms.

One thing worth noting is that there are foods which contain elevated levels of purines but do not seem to cause or increase gout symptoms. Some of these foods include cauliflower, beans, spinach, mushrooms, and many others. Foods that can help lower the risk of experiencing gout symptoms include the items mentioned above as well as low fat dairy items.

As far as foods to avoid when you have gout goes, there are a number of items that you should be aware of. These items typically are high in purines and other items that can lead to the buildup of excess uric acid in the body. One thing worth mentioning is that many of the items listed below can also be linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Obesity is another health issue that can be experienced when uric acid levels are too high in the blood stream.

Here is a listing of foods that are known to be high in purines, thus increasing the risk of experiencing gout symptoms:

– sardines

– liver

– salmon

– turkey

– bacon

– trout

– haddock

– anchovies

– veal

– goose

– mussels

– herring

Maintaining a healthy and well balanced diet is a good strategy for addressing any gout issues that you may be experiencing. Not only does keeping a good diet for gout help reduce the risk of experiencing gout symptoms, but it also can help reduce the risk of experiencing other more serious health issues such as obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, and more.

Sciatic Nerve Problems

Sciatic nerve problems are painful conditions affecting millions of people worldwide each year. The problem seems to last for a lifetime, like it will never go away from you; even when you sit, stand and lie flat on bed, the pain is there, and even when you want to be productive by doing household chores, it is still there. Pain is unbearable and the most brilliant thing to help you to be pain-free will always be the medical treatment.

Sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in our body. It originates from the lower part of the spinal cord, to the hips, buttocks and ends in the foot; in short, it covers mostly of the lower portion of the body including the hips, back muscles, thigh, lower leg and foot. Like any other nerves, it functions to transmit information from the brain causing pain sensation, and muscle movement of the legs. As such, any problem of the sciatic nerve will involve mostly the lower body. All the activities that make you use more of the legs, buttocks, or thighs will be difficult and unbearable to do.

Problems in the sciatic nerve are combination of symptoms which is commonly called, “sciatica” that causes burning and tingling sensation going down the legs, buttock discomfort when sitting, difficulty moving leg and foot resulting to weakness, buttocks and lower back pain and sharp pain in the hips going down the legs. These problems are generally limited to one side of the lower extremities and caused by the different factors:
Bulging lumbar disc – usually when one ages, his lumbar disc begins to bulge. Although bulging of the disc cannot cause symptoms because it doesn’t usually come into contact with spinal nerves. They become problematic if the bulging of the disc is too far causing it to narrow and constrict. Nerve pressure happens and pain and numbness can be felt in the legs, feet and thighs.

Lumbar Spinal Stenosis – as it is also common in old age, the spinal canal becomes narrow.

Spondylolisthesis – this is a congenital defect acquired from birth which causes leg pain. It is a condition where there is forwarding of a vertebra relative to the vertebra below. This can cause nerve compression and disability respectively.

The Piriformis Syndrome – it is named after the piriformis muscle. This muscle is located near the buttocks. With Piriformis Syndrome, the sciatic nerve is compressed by piriformis muscle causing tingling sensation and numbness on the hips, thighs and buttocks.

It is important to know the causes being mentioned above because by knowing it, sciatic nerve problems can be resolved. However, even if these are not permanent, they can interfere with your normal day to day activities from simple to complex. As such, it’s important that you have to take responsible of your health by seeking consultation and obtain an accurate diagnosis from a reliable healthcare provider. In this way, proper treatment can be given.


The diagnosis made by the health care professional is usually based on the symptoms. However, to confirm the diagnosis and make it accurate, some additional tests are required such as X-RAY, MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and CAT (Computed Axial Tomography) scans.

When the diagnosis has been ruled out, appropriate treatments are done next.


Problems of the sciatic nerve heal with time, but treatment as comfort measures are necessary.
Apply an ice pack using crashed ice wrapped in a towel. Directly apply to the area no more than 20 minutes. Cold application can numb the pain and reduce inflammation. Do it several times a day as you can tolerate it.

Hot and cold application is done alternately on the first days of pain. Cold application is done first, and when the pain subsides, apply heat to the painful area for no more than 20 minutes. This helps soothe the pain and increase blood flow to the injured area thereby increasing wound healing.

Exercise is also important in relieving the pain. You can do stretching of your lower legs and lower back and hold it for 30 seconds or as long as you can.

Start with low-impact exercises such as biking, walking and aerobics. Perform only exercises that you can only tolerate or those advised to you by your physical therapist. Your body will just adjust to it and intensity may be increased. Low impact exercises are done 3-5 times daily for 30 minutes.

Take anti-pain and anti-inflammatory medications as advised by your health care professional. Your duration, dose and frequency must be followed religiously.

Sometimes, when symptom calls for a higher medication, steroid injections are usually given. However, the dose must be exact and the patient must be oriented with the side effects of the drug.

When treatments above are no longer effective, surgical options are the last resort to correct sciatic nerve problems. Discuss this with your doctor to know what are the process of the procedure, the rate of its effectiveness and the contraindications prior to the surgery.

Mapping The Face: The Ancient Art of Physiognomy

In acupuncture, facial diagnosis is a way of diagnosing dysfunction and illness by reading the features of the face. As an practitioner, I use this method often. The colors of your face, for example, tell me a lot about the state of your overall health and qi. Generally, the colors of the face are all I tend to focus on when working with patients. But the science of face-reading (called physiognomy) is far more in-depth than that. It has been around since 2500 B.C., and is considered by some to be the first diagnostic tool. Here are a few guidelines to physiognomy:

1. The eyebrows indicate the “aggressive” energy within the body. For this reason, people with thick eyebrows can be perceived as aggressive, or as chronically angry, or as a leader rather than a follower. Conversely, thin eyebrows can be seen as a feature of the passive follower. Long eyebrowed people have an easy time maintaining friendships, and those with short eyebrows are more independent.

2. Upturned eyes depict curiosity about life, or naivety, and downturned eyes correspond to sensitivity. Wide-set eyed people tend to look at the whole picture, while people with close-set eyes are more detail-oriented.

3. A large nose indicates an assertive individual with good leadership abilities, while the small-nosed tend to be more social. If your nose have large pores, that is a sign of an overindulgent, materialistic personality with a large appetite for the pleasures of life.

4. People with wide but thin lips feel more comfortable giving things than emotions. They are not overly emotional or touchy-feely. Wide, full-lipped people are huggers, people who feel very comfortable with public displays of affection. Small and thin lips are a sign of ongoing bitterness, and you commonly see this feature in older people who have been through a lot of struggles and strife. Those with small full lips either love or hate you. If you are their friend, they will hold you very close to their heart…but if you start off on their bad side, you will remain there forever!

5. There are five face shapes. Square-faced people are leaders and adventurers. Those with rectangular shapes are similar in personality to the square-faced, although they tend to plan a bit more and look before they leap. A round face depicts a gregarious, outgoing nature-someone who likes to be the center of attention. An oval-faced person is a diplomat, someone who is social but not necessarily comfortable being the center of attention. And a triangular-faced person is usually more mental in nature, and very focused, but not as social.

So today, take a look at the faces around you, and decide if this ancient hold still remains relevant today. You may be surprised at what you find.

Pinched Nerve Relief

A pinched nerve is one of the most common causes of back or neck pain. It occurs when the nerve in the spine is compressed, stretched, or constricted. These symptoms can occur if the spine vertebrae is misaligned, therefore putting pressure on the nerve or constricting the flow nerve impulses. This can cause numbness, tingling, or pain in the back, shoulders, neck, hand, legs, or feet. One of the most effective treatments for a pinched nerve is chiropractic therapy and care. Chiropractics focus on relieving the pressure on the nerve through spine adjustments and relaxation techniques.

The nerve that runs down the back is encased in a very small channel that runs down the center of the spine. A stretched nerve or a misalignment of a vertebrate, bad posture, a spine injury, and bone spurs can all result in a pinched nerve. Any blockage of the nerve impulses through the spinal nerve can result in pain or discomfort.

Chiropractics take the “whole body” approach when dealing with a pinched nerve, where traditional medicine would just address the immediate issue and pain. A whole body approaches takes into consideration all the possible sources of the pain and addresses them, not just in an immediate way but also from a long term perspective. This approach addresses the problems or reasons that have led to the condition.

The treatment objective in chiropractics is to remove the constriction or compression that is causing the pressure on the nerve. This is accomplished by spinal adjustment where chiropractor applies gentle yet firm pressure to pinched area to re-align the spine as well as to specific pressure points that affect the area.

Often a patient will feel an immediate improvement after the first visit, however, more commonly a series of return visits are required to gently coax the spinal back to alignment. Several small adjustments overtime are much more effective than one or two large adjustments, which could also do more harm than good.

Other treatments may require a combination of treatments including stretching or traction, a brace, soft tissue therapy, physical therapy, electrical stimulation of the affected area, and an assortment of strength training exercises. Correct alignment of the spine is critical to maintain good nerve and joint function and promote healing of a pinched nerve.