Exercise and physical therapy can help with arthritis

Osteoarthritis, the wear-and-tear form of arthritis, is very common, affecting 20 million people in the U.S. It is a chronic condition in which the material that cushions the joints, called cartilage, breaks down.

This causes the bones to rub against each other, causing stiffness, pain and loss of joint movement. The cause is not fully understood.

The hands, knees, hips, neck and low back are most commonly involved. And, while osteoarthritis does gradually worsen over time, this does not mean it has to be painful, and there are things that can be done to slow the progression of the disease.

Many people feel that if they have arthritis, they cannot or should not exercise the involved joints. This is often due to a fear of increased pain, or a concern of worsening the arthritis.

Exercise, however, has been shown to decrease arthritis pain and lessen joint stiffness. Exercise can also improve the health of the joint, slowing the progression of arthritis over time.

Full story of the physical therapy and arthritis at Statesman.com

The 3 Best Exercises for Shoulder Health

When you’ve been in the fitness industry for a considerable amount of time, it becomes very clear that shoulder-joint health is super important. I don’t know any active person that hasn’t suffered from either an official injury or at least discomfort in the neck and shoulder area.

Shoulders, or the joints associated with your shoulders, are amazing. You have so much mobility and move so dynamically in that area of your body. Stop and think about how many positions you can get your shoulders in compared to other joints. However, because the shoulder joint is so mobile, it sacrifices stability. This tradeoff means taking the time to strengthen your shoulders is paramount.

When I consider the shoulders in training programs, I approach them as part of the core. It’s very easy for people to become shortsighted and think that abs are the only part of the body that makes up the core. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Additionally, because one should always look at one’s body as a unit that wants to work together, one has to realize if he or she lacks shoulder stability or rotator cuff strength, he or she may also suffer from other weakness throughout the body. Believe it or not, poor posture caused by neglected shoulder-joint work can manifest itself through hip or back pain.

One fancy term used to describe how the shoulder joint works is scapulahumeral rhythm. This term is used because the scapula and the humerus, two major parts of the shoulder joint, move together in patterns to help joint actions occur. When the rotator cuff muscles are strong, they help support the shoulder joint by holding the head of the humerus tightly in the glenoid socket as the humerus moves. Furthermore, when the deltoids are strong your arms can move well when away from the body.

Full story of exercises for shoulder health at the Huffington Post

Back pain making you miserable? Feel better with exercise, rest

Another Monday, another day of aching pain in your back. An estimated 80 percent of Americans will experience a back problem at least once in their lives, and more than 25 million Americans between the ages of 25 and 64 frequently have back pain.

TODAY has just launched a new series, all about the 100 million Americans who suffer from continuing pain — something that costs an estimated $560 billion annually, according to the Institutes of Medicine. The series is called Feeling Better Head to Toe, and today, the focus is on back pain.

In workers 40 to 65 years old, back pain costs employers an estimated $7.4 million every year.

“There were times when I would be sitting at work and I couldn’t even concentrate on work; I was just focused on how much pain was throbbing,” Daniel Ashley, who suffers from back pain after first injuring his back about three decades ago, told TODAY.

And this isn’t just a problem that comes with old age, says Dr. Nick Shamie, an orthopedic surgeon at the University of California, Los Angeles. “We tend to see this problem in younger individuals: Working class, people in their active years,” Shamie says.

Full story of back pain and health at Today.com

Study: 10 percent weight loss may relieve arthritic knee pain

Older people with a weight problem can relieve knee pain from osteoarthritis if they lose just 10 percent of their body weight through diet and exercise, a new study finds.

Overweight and obese people 55 or older who participated in a diet and exercise program reported less pain, better knee function, improved mobility and enhanced quality of life when they dropped one-tenth of their weight, according to the study in the Sept. 25 Journal of the American Medical Association.

“We’ve had a 162 percent increase in knee replacements over the last 20 years in people 65 and over, at a cost of $5 billion a year,” said lead author Stephen Messier. “From our standpoint, we think this would be at least a good way to delay knee replacements and possibly prevent some knee replacements.”

The 18-month study followed up on earlier findings that showed a 5 percent weight loss decreased knee pain and increased function in older folks, said Messier, a professor and director of the J.B. Snow Biomechanics Laboratory at Wake Forest University.

“We thought, well, 5 percent did great — what if we did more?” he said. “Would a more intense weight loss prompt more improvement on clinical outcomes?”

Full story of weight loss and knee pain at Asbury Park Press

8 Surprising Habits That Cause Back Pain

1. The Habit: Sleeping On An Old Mattress

According to the National Sleep Foundation, a good mattress will last nine to ten years. Haven’t replaced yours since Cheers first aired? Chances are that your spine isn’t getting the support it needs.

The Fix: Replace your old mattress with one that’s not too hard and not too soft—the former won’t allow the curves of your back to sink in, and the latter won’t offer enough support. A memory foam topper can also be helpful because it’ll contour to your body, allowing your spine to stay straight throughout the night.

2. The Habit: Carrying a Huge Bag

If you’re someone who likes to carry around all the essentials and nonessentials in your bag, your back is feeling it. Carrying a heavy load on one side of your body causes your shoulders to become imbalanced, throwing your spine out of balance too.

The Fix: Switch to a lighter bag—the American Chiropractic Association recommends that your purse (with everything in it) weighs no more than 10 percent of your body weight. You can also spread out all of your stuff between a purse and a tote, one on each shoulder, to stay balanced.

3. The Habit: Wearing Stilettos…Or Flats

Heels that are too high for you will force you to arch your back, putting stress on your joints. But flats can also be bad for you, depending on your foot type. Sandals without a supportive back can also do damage, causing your feet to move from side to side and distributing your body weight unevenly.

Full story of back pain causes at Care2.com

Pain studies enhance precision medicine

In the 1980s, Christine Miaskowski, RN, PhD, was working as a clinical nurse specialist in a pain management center at the University Hospital of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.

Pain Studies Enhance Medicine“One day this woman walked in who couldn’t move her shoulder,” says Miaskowski. “She talked about the pain she’d experienced since her radical mastectomy, about how her surgeon kept telling her she was healed, and how she’d been hospitalized in a psychiatric institution as a crazy postmenopausal woman. She said if we didn’t help her, she would kill herself. We were able to tell her she wasn’t crazy – we knew the pain was real, a neuropathic, postsurgical pain syndrome – but as we began to explore these cases, nearly every surgeon I called told us this wasn’t a real problem for their patients.”

Her patients’ ordeals and that of Miaskowski’s own father – “who died in intractable pain from this same postsurgical syndrome” – have driven a career that has made Miaskowski an internationally respected pain researcher.

In December 2012 her work came full circle, when she and a diverse team of experts published the results of a major study in The Journal of Pain. The work established that after breast cancer surgery, about 25 percent of women experience persistent breast pain and 35 percent of women experience persistent arm and shoulder pain.

“It’s rewarding to complete that work,” says Miaskowski, now the associate dean for Academic Affairs at UC San Francisco’s School of Nursing and co-director of the Research Center for Symptom Management, one of the only such centers housed at a school of nursing in the country.

Full story of pain studies and medicine at Medical Xpress

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Steroid Shots a Temporary Fix for Carpal Tunnel?

Steroid shots can temporarily relieve the painful symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, but three-quarters of patients who are initially helped by these injections will eventually require surgery, new Swedish research says.

Steroid Shots a Temporary Fix for Carpal TunnelAbout 5 percent of Americans suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome, which occurs due to pressure on a key nerve that runs from the forearm into the palm of the hand. It is a repetitive-motion injury that tends to affect people performing assembly line or data entry work.

The median nerve is housed within the tight confines of the carpal tunnel, a narrow corridor of ligament and bones at the base of the hand. Tendons located in the carpal tunnel can swell and squeeze the median nerve if they become irritated and inflamed. Sufferers feel pain, tingling and numbness in the affected hand and wrist, with pain sometimes shooting up their arm.

Steroid shots frequently are used to reduce tendon swelling and ease pressure on the nerve, said Dr. David Ruch, chief of orthopedic hand service at the Duke University Medical Center and practice division director for the American Society for Surgery of the Hand. Mild cases can be treated with splints worn to keep the wrists straight until swelling inside the carpal tunnel goes down.

Full story of steroid shots for carpal tunnel at WebMD

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4 Common shoulder disorders and treatment

Shoulder surgical specialty is a highly specialized and advanced orthopedic subspecialty.

Common Shoulder Disorders and TreatmentIt has gained wide spread attention in the last decade with the advent of shoulder Arthroscopic surgery (Key Hole surgery). With advances in keyhole surgery (Arthroscopy) we are able to peer into the shoulder and detect disorders we did not know existed. Changing lifestyles have also brought about different shoulder problems that were not common earlier.

*Data Courtesy: Dr Senthil Velan, Consultant Shoulder Elbow Surgeon, Apollo Ayanambakkam

Here we discuss some of the common shoulder disorders and the available treatment.

Periarthritis shoulder

Shoulder is a ball and socket joint which has got excellent mobility with relative stability. Shoulder joint has a covering called capsule which has enough space for the ball to move around in the socket. In the shoulder condition called Periarthritis, this covering gets contracted or shrunk limiting the movements of the shoulder. This condition is more common in diabetics as increased sugar levels increases the tendency of contracture of this capsule. When a diabetic patient notices pain along with stiffness of the shoulder he must seek early specialist opinion. This condition usually is self-limiting but may take up to a year for full recovery. Initial treatment could involve regular exercises and only in resistant cases surgery would be necessary. Recent advances has allowed us to carry out surgery by keyhole to release the contracted capsule aiding faster recovery.

Full story of common shoulder disorders and treatment at The Times of India

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BackPainSchool.com gives visitors accurate knowledge of low back pain prevention

Knowledge of Low Back Pain PreventionBased on the neuroscience of pain, BackPainSchool.com gives visitors an accurate, evidence-based understanding of the nature, treatment, and prevention of low back pain.

“Our singular purpose is to help people take control of their recovery from low back pain”

"Taking an active role in their own health care is only possible if people have accurate knowledge about what is happening in their body," says Dr. Logue. "We believe it is our responsibility to give everyone this insider knowledge."

Over the past decade, there have been significant advances in the medical understanding of low back pain. Unfortunately, most of this new treatment information has not filtered down to those who suffer from back pain and many of the health professionals that treat them. This lack of knowledge has resulted in preventable suffering and unnecessary visits to the doctor.

Full story of low back pain at News Medical

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7 mistakes doctors commonly make for back pain

Doctor Giving Heroin For AddictsMany patients who don’t have a medical reason for their back pain — such as a spine injury from a car accident — get unnecessary imaging tests and surgeries that won’t do much to ease their discomfort. That’s because doctors still aren’t following practice guidelines that have been around for 20 years. In fact, this problem seems to be getting worse, according to a study from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

When the researchers reviewed 24,000 medical records from patients treated for back problems from 1999 through 2010, they found an increase in referrals for operations and an increase in prescriptions being written for addictive narcotics to reduce pain, according to the study published last Monday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

At the same time, fewer patients are getting over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, which the guidelines recommend as a first-line treatment.

Researchers don’t know why doctors ignore the recommendations from the American Pain Society and American College of Physicians, which are based on studies that show which treatments work.

Full story of doctors mistakes for back pain at The Boston Globe

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