Pain Management by Physical Therapy: Alternative Methods to Opioids

By Bijal Shah

A few months ago, I wrote about why we should try to avoid pain management with medicines like “opioids”. I briefly described a few alternative pain management in that article. Physical therapy is well known for pain management. Depending on the diagnosis and therapists, physical therapy can do miracles with pain in as short as one session. How do we physical therapy work on pain? Here, I want to discuss few pain management methods that physical therapy use. Some of these treatment options are very easy to utilize at home with no extra supervision.  On the other hand, other options need a close supervision of licensed health care professionals or may even need a physician’s order to initiate one. Continue reading “Pain Management by Physical Therapy: Alternative Methods to Opioids”

Rheumatoid Arthritis: Physical Therapy to Manage Pain and Stiffness

By Bijal Shah

Physical Therapy plays a crucial part in the management of pain and stiffness related to Rheumatoid Arthritis. Rheumatoid Arthritis is a type of autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks the body’s joints causing chronic inflammation of the joints and joint lines. In addition, rheumatoid arthritis can cause extra-articular inflammation which leads to injury to other organs in the body. As a result, RA is a type of systemic illness and is the same as rheumatoid disease.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Continue reading “Rheumatoid Arthritis: Physical Therapy to Manage Pain and Stiffness”

Chronic Wrist Pain: Guide to Conservative Pain Management

By Bijal Shah

Wrist pain can occur due to several reasons and can be acute or chronic.  A pain is categorized as chronic when it lasts for more than 3 to 6 months,  gradually worsens or reoccurs even after medical treatments.  Chronic wrist pain can be due to work-related musculoskeletal disorders, overuse injury to muscles, ligaments etc.  It can also be a side effect of prolonged use of medications or being in wrong postures for extended periods. As per CDC, arthritis and wrong ergonomics are some of the main factors leading to chronic wrist pain. Continue reading “Chronic Wrist Pain: Guide to Conservative Pain Management”

Seven neck exercises and stretches for neck pain relief

By Bijal Shah
exercises

Who hasn’t had neck pain at some point in their life? Neck pain is probably one of the most common chronic pain complaints of today’s world, which results mostly from the improper use of electronics (eg. improper monitor alignment, improper use of cell phones, etc) and bad posture causing muscle or ligament strain.   The pain can be greatly reduced or even alleviated by performing some simple neck exercises and stretches.   The list below will guide you through these neck exercises as well as stretches that help in reducing neck discomfort and pain.

 

Continue reading “Seven neck exercises and stretches for neck pain relief”

Isometric Exercises to Strengthen Elbows and reduce Elbow Pain

By Bijal Shah

Just like any isometrics, elbow isometrics are used and prescribed to reduce muscle or tendon pain and swelling. Few common conditions like tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) or golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis) make elbow isometrics more important than isometrics of other joints. In this article, I discuss how to perform two main elbow isometrics with printable handouts. This is Elbow flexion isometric and elbow extension isometric. Continue reading “Isometric Exercises to Strengthen Elbows and reduce Elbow Pain”

Wrist Isometric Exercises: How to exercise Wrist when in Cast

By Bijal Shah

Wrist Isometric exercises are used to reduce pain and manage the swelling. These exercises are done in the early case of injury, or while the wrist is in a cast or in an immobilizer. Isometric exercises do not allow any muscle lengthening or any visible movement in the body. So it is little tricky to understand and to perform correctly. However, with help of clinician, you can learn how to perform this exercises accurately. In this article, I want to describe some important wrist isometric exercises. Continue reading “Wrist Isometric Exercises: How to exercise Wrist when in Cast”

Exercises to Relieve Acute or Chronic Wrist Pain

By Bijal Shah

Wrist pain is extremely common among athletes, healthcare professionals and anyone who is involved in lifting/carrying of heavy/large objects.  A small pull here and there, happening over time, can easily damage wrist muscles or ligaments.  An injury due to overuse of wrist can result in chronic wrist pain. On the other hand, a forceful sudden pull is capable of tearing the ligaments or muscles around wrist immediately causing an acute onset of pain.  I will discuss how to treat and prevent both acute and chronic wrist pain. Continue reading “Exercises to Relieve Acute or Chronic Wrist Pain”

Managing Chronic pain without addiction – A guide to Pain Management without Opioids

By Bijal Shah

Pain is defined as a feeling or sensation that is not pleasant or comfortable. Pain can be mild, moderate or severe.  It can bearable or unbearable. It may or may not disrupt one’s daily life or functional level. But the truth is, no one wants to live in pain. In addition, no one should put their health at risk in an effort to be pain-free.   I will focus on some very effective and non-pharmacological pain management techniques in this post.

Pain Management

Since 1999, Americans have increasingly been prescribed opioids. This includes painkillers (like Vicodin, OxyContin, Opana, and methadone), and combination drugs (like Percocet). In some situations, prescription opioids are an appropriate part of medical treatment. However, opioid risks include depression, overdose, and addiction, plus withdrawal symptoms when stopping use. As a result, people addicted to prescription opioids are 40 times more likely to become addicted to heroin. Continue reading “Managing Chronic pain without addiction – A guide to Pain Management without Opioids”

Two isometric exercises for low back pain

By Bijal Shah

In my previous article, I talked about isometric exercises for hips and knees. Here, I want to discuss two major isometric exercises for low back pain, which greatly help in dealing with lower back pain.   Some of the more complex isometric exercises are planks, push-ups, or holding certain yoga poses.  However, They are more strenuous and intense exercises that should be performed by a healthy person with proper guidance.  The two basic isometric exercises that are demonstrated in this article can be used in the acute stages of lower back pain or lower back injury.    Continue reading “Two isometric exercises for low back pain”

Four Isometric Exercises to Reduce Hip and Knee Pain

By Bijal Shah

Isometric exercises help reduce pain and improve mobility in cases like arthritis, hip pain, and knee pain. This is the first exercise that a PT will perform to assess muscle strength and level of pain. Therefore, Isometrics are not only important as pre-operative measures but also help in speedy recovery after injury or surgery. The key with isometric exercise is to have no visible movement.  Basically, you are trying to contract a muscle and hold that contraction for few seconds in a pain-free range. Gradually, you should be able to hold the contraction for a longer period and perform a stronger contraction – this is how it progresses.   My previous article described isometric exercises in detail.  In this article, I am going to discuss important isometric exercises for hip and knee pain.  Isometric exercises that help in hip and knee pain are quads,  hip abduction and adduction, hip flexion, and hip extension.  I’ll explain each exercise in detail below. Continue reading “Four Isometric Exercises to Reduce Hip and Knee Pain”

Tips to Treat Pinched Median Nerve: Exercises for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)

By Bijal Shah

Overview of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)/Pinched Median Nerve

Carpal tunnel syndrome or CTS is caused by a pinched nerve in the carpal tunnel.    Physical Therapists use various stretches and exercises to help treat and prevent CTS, which is also the most common form of median nerve impingement.  The goal for CTS or pinched median nerve exercises is to stretch the (wrist and finger) flexors and strengthen the (wrist and finger) extensors.  In this post, I am going to discuss both in detail, which should help alleviate symptoms related to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome .

Carpal Tunnel

Continue reading “Tips to Treat Pinched Median Nerve: Exercises for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)”

7 Simple Stretches to Relieve Back Pain

By Bijal Shah
exercises

The aim of this article is to talk about some important stretches for low back pain.  I talked about Sciatic nerve pain as well as low back pain in my previous articles.   In this article, I focus on combination stretching exercises to reduce sciatica pain as well as low back pain.   The stretches below will help alleviate the pain on both left and right side.  So let’s get started!!

Stretching exercises are necessary in many ways. An athlete needs to stretch his/her muscles prior and after any workout. A recreational player needs stretching to avoid any DOMS (Delayed onset of Muscle Soreness). A person who is exercising to gain muscle strength also needs to stretch the muscles after his exercise regime. A person suffering from injury or back pain stretches the muscles just to feel better.    No matter what level a person is at for exercises, they need to stretch the muscles. Stretching is done for whole body and all muscles.

Continue reading “7 Simple Stretches to Relieve Back Pain”