Osteoarthritis linked to high-fat diet

Osteoarthritis is the most common version of arthritis and affects millions of people across the world, including an estimated 30 million people in the United States alone.

The condition is characterized by the slow breakdown of cartilage, which acts as a buffer between joints. As the cartilage degenerates, joints can become swollen, stiff, and painful, and the condition tends to worsen with time.

Osteoarthritis can affect any joint in the body but is most often found in the knees, hips, hands, and spine.

Full story of Osteoarthritis and high-fat diet at Medical News Today

PTs’ Role in Joint Pain Management Highlighted in Letter to Editor

A recent Harvard Medical School newsletter article on nonsurgical approaches to joint pain came up short on information about the physical therapist’s (PT) role, and APTA weighed in to provide a more complete picture.

The association released a letter to the editor responding to a May 29 healthbeat newsletter article titled “4 ways to put off joint replacement.” The article listed weight loss, proper joint use, injections of steroids or other compounds, and pain reduction through NSAIDS, but made no mention of the ways in which a PT can help.

Full story of PT and joint replacement management at APTA

Foot osteoarthritis affects one in six over 50s

Experts at Keele University’s Arthritis Research UK Primary Care Centre studied more than 5,000 people with painful foot osteoarthritis.

The condition is caused by inflammation in and around the joints, damage to cartilage and swelling. People can suffer a range of symptoms including pain, stiffness and difficulty moving and often have osteoarthritis in other joints, such as hips or knees.

The study found that foot osteoarthritis affects more women than men, while those who have spent a lot of time in manual work are more likely to develop it.

Three-quarters of people with the condition reported having difficulty with simple day-to-day activities such as walking, standing, housework and shopping.

Dr Edward Roddy, clinical senior lecturer in rheumatology at Keele University, said the research had focussed on “midfoot” joints, which previous studies have neglected to do.

He said a “substantial proportion of people” with painful foot osteoarthritis have the problem in this area, meaning there has been a previous underestimate in how common it is.

Full story of foot osteoarthritis over 50 at Nursing Times 

Knee Osteoarthritis Treatment: Methotrexate Drug Could Ease Joint Pain

A clinical trial could ease the joint pain of millions of Brits living with osteoarthritis of the knee.

Methotrexate is already successfully and widely used to treat people with the condition of rheumatoid arthritis, a completely different condition to osteoarthritis.

Both conditions can lead to severe joint pain and stiffness but while rheumatoid arthritis is a serious autoimmune condition that causes inflammation in the joints, osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease in which cartilage wears away at the ends of bones.

However, according to Professor Conaghan who will lead the clinical trial, recent studies suggest that inflammation also causes pain in osteoarthritis.

Prof Conaghan and colleagues have already performed a pilot study which showed that 37% of patients with knee osteoarthritis who took methotrexate had a 40% reduction in their pain.

“Current drug treatments for knee osteoarthritis are limited in that they have significant side-effects and are not suitable for many people,” he explained.

Full story of knee osteoarthritis treatment at Huffington Post UK

Reduce the Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Texting and typing, gripping tools or barbells, and any other repetitive motion using your fingers and hands can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome — that painful restricting condition you hear so much about. Taking proactive measures now can save you from surgery in the future.

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm into the palm of the hand, becomes pressed or squeezed at the wrist.

The carpal tunnel — a narrow, rigid passageway of ligament and bones at the base of the hand — houses the median nerve and tendons. Sometimes, thickening from irritated tendons or other swelling narrows the tunnel and causes the median nerve to be compressed. The result may be pain, weakness or numbness in the hand and wrist, radiating up the arm — not fun when you rely on your hands to do your job.

Here are some ways to reduce symptoms and alleviate mild carpal tunnel pain:

  • Braces and splints can be worn during work, or whatever activity aggravates your symptoms.
  • Take an over-the-counter medication anti-inflammatory drug, like ibuprofen.
  • Modify the activity that aggravates your symptoms. For instance, if typing causes pain, fix your hand positioning.
  • Take brief rest periods throughout the day.
  • Be sure to stretch before the activity.

Full story of reducing carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms at Living Green Magazine

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

Is Acupuncture a Deception?

On July 24, during a WHYY Radio Times interview with Marty Moss-Coane, Dr. Paul Offit, chief of infectious disease and director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, defined acupuncture as a deception. In his recent book, Do You Believe in Magic: The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine, he also takes aim at this ancient form of healing, which predates recorded history, putting it into the category of ineffective, potentially dangerous and usually a waste of money. Such statements made by such an authority figure working in the No. 1 children’s hospital in the country, and perhaps the world, raises serious concerns for health care professionals, who have invested in learning and practicing acupuncture, as well as the general public, who can benefit from acupuncture treatments.

Acupuncture is an aspect of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which today recognizes not only what we have learned through contemporary allopathic medicine regarding the human structure and function, but also the energetic foundation for human mental and physical functions. In particular, it has anatomically mapped in detail how human energy circulates, connects, and interacts with the environment. Acupuncture influences human energy through manipulating the meridians of the human body that are connected energetically with internal organs and systems. In TCM, it is the energetic level of any disorder that is considered the primary factor in mental and physical illnesses. Whereas acupuncture treats the root cause of the problem at an energetic level so that the body does not continue to suffer, pharmaceuticals only treat symptoms. They don’t cure anything.

Dr. Offit’s challenge is that all the energetic structure and function of the body is not visible with the naked eye or any current imaging technology. Unfortunately for many individuals within the conventional medical community, only “seeing is believing.” This perspective on observation may sound right; however, it is really incorrect if we take into consideration that we cannot see the wind or the air we breathe, even though it does exist and we could not live without it or the oxygen we inhale into our lungs. We also cannot see the heat or humidity, but we can feel them because they do exist. Our heart beats, our bowel moves fecal matter through it and our brain thinks, yet we do not see how these things work. Although our medical technology is limited, no one should deny that acupuncture is clinically proven and effective medicine — not even a doctor from a top academic institution.

Full story of acupuncture benefits at the Huffington Post

Physical therapy is an essential part of joint injury treatment

Remember those old song lyrics “The knee bone’s connected to the thigh bone, the thigh bone’s connected to the hip bone”?

It’s actually a good anatomical reminder about the importance of seeing an injured or arthritic joint as part of your whole body and not something to be treated in isolation. If you are limping or favoring a joint, more than likely other parts of your body are off as well. The whole body is connected in one way or another.

The joined-up skeleton is the reason that our team of onsite physical therapists and I put a great deal of emphasis on physical therapy: improving core strength and manually manipulating the joint itself, working on the soft tissue around it as well as working with the rest of the body, mobilizing the hip and the back and helping to regain full range of motion and improved gait. Not every orthopedic clinic has an on-site physical therapy program, but in our experience, soft-tissue manipulation makes a huge difference in how people heal, in large part by reducing swelling, inflammation and scar tissue. In some cases, physical therapy can help you avoid surgery altogether.

A smart physical therapist can look at a patient with an injury and figure out why they got injured, help the patient learn exercises and techniques to recover from the injury and guide and motivate them to work to improve (without fear of pushing too hard). Most people are unaware of their posture, of how they walk or how their feet hit the ground. They don’t realize how loose or stiff their joints are or their back is. If you’re hurt or in pain, a physical therapist can teach you about the mechanics of your gait and the mechanics of your sport, valuable information to help speed your recovery and protect you from further injury.

Full story of physical therapy and joints at S.F. Examiner

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

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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