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

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

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”

Signs and symptoms of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a respiratory disorder that decreases the efficiency of air moving in and out of lungs. This causes difficulty in breathing. In COPD, the airway in lung loses its normal shape and elasticity. COPD leads to many systemic problems as well. As per COPD foundation, COPD is an umbrella term that describes progressive lung diseases. It includes emphysema, chronic bronchitis, refractory (non-reversible) asthma, and some forms of bronchiectasis. Continue reading “Signs and symptoms of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)”

Five Hip Exercises to Increase Muscle Strength

Hip pain is becoming very common. This pain can originate from several sources like arthritic changes, weakness of muscles, some recent or history of the labrum or ligament tears, postoperative pain and weakness. Hip discomfort can also occur if one is constantly using wrong positions while walking, sitting, standing or exercising. In this article, I am going to discuss some important hip exercises. The article is aimed to discuss general exercises for the hip. Remember, I am not discussing any diagnosis specific exercises here rather these are strengthening exercises concentrating hip to reduce pain, increase mobility and flexibility. Continue reading “Five Hip Exercises to Increase Muscle Strength”

Four Isometric Exercises to Reduce Hip and Knee Pain

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)

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

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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – Symptoms, Causes and Treatment Options

What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or CTS?

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is the most frequent and well known median nerve compression. Carpal tunnel is an anatomical compartment (canal) bounded by bones of the wrist and transverse ligament (thick fibrous bend). The median nerve passes through this canal along with few other tendons and goes to fingers. Any conditions, that causes an increase in pressure in this tunnel, can push/squeeze/impinge the nerve inside this tunnel. This, in turn, brings symptoms like numbness, tingling, inability to hold or grasp an object etc.. This is called carpal tunnel syndrome or CTS.

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Ergonomics for Healthcare Professionals: Positioning for Different Surfaces

I want to write about ergonomics for healthcare professionals not only because it is important to take care of our body, but it also plays a vital role in patients’ safety.  Proper body positioning is crucial to avoid injuries and to protect our patients. In addition, this allows us to assist our patients throughout the task to help them perform at their best.

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Shoes – How To Find That Perfect Fitting Pair!!

Shoe market is wide and with many options available that are concentrating on fashion, comfort, and durability. When we shop for shoes, it is little difficult to get all three in one pair without knowing what to look for. Selection of shoes can become much easier if we know what to consider and what to avoid. Knowing our foot types is a plus as shoe selection will differ widely based on the type of foot and arch.

A proper pair of footwear makes day to day life easy and less painful. Besides, it absorbs the shock and protects the feet. An improper pair of shoes, worn for long period of time, can cause malformation, discomfort or pain in feet, legs or back. This can lead to other health problems or an inability to continue to perform the required daily function!! Most of the time, people just look for either comfort or fashion depending on occasion they are using the shoe for. Continue reading “Shoes – How To Find That Perfect Fitting Pair!!”

Plantar Fasciitis – Symptoms, Causes and Treatment Options

Plantar Fasciitis is a common cause of heel pain caused by an injury to the Plantar fascia.  The heel pain that results from micro tears and inflammation of the fascia is referred to as plantar fasciitis.  Physical Therapy can play a part in treatment and help relieve the pain resulting from Plantar Fasciitis.

What is Plantar fascia?

The plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue at the sole of the foot that makes up the arch of the foot.  Furthermore, It is the largest ligament of the body connecting the base of toes to the heel bone. As per research, females are more prone to injure their plantar fascia as compared to males. Usually, an overuse injury causes inflammation in this fibrous band.

 

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Ergonomics of Driving – Tips to prevent injury

So why do we need to have ergonomics for driving? for most of us, driving our car is the way we can be independent. Driving makes us able to go to the places we want to go, see people we care for and be a part of the community we live in. It is crucial for one’s well-being socially and mentally. Physical, cognitive and sensory changes can challenge our ability to drive safely. The story does not end only due to changes in our abilities. I am sure many of you may have had experiences of back pain, neck pain, leg pain or shoulder pain after a long day and ended up stuck in the traffic for few hours. This is a challenge even for a healthy individual. In this part of ergonomics series, I want to discuss proper positioning and how to get to that positioning while driving.

driving ergonomics   Continue reading “Ergonomics of Driving – Tips to prevent injury”

Snow Shoveling Safety Tips – Ergonomics to Minimize Risk Of Injury

I recently did tips on carrying heavy objects. Today I want to discuss some do’s and don’ts about snow shoveling. Every year, a scary data or articles releases about injuries and disabilities due to snow shoveling. Just carrying heavy wet snow itself is bad. But here, I am talking about carrying and moving this snow for an hour or two a day and for few months during winter (depending on your geographical area). A study looking at data from 1990 to 2006 by researchers at the US Nationwide Children’s Hospital recorded 1,647 fatalities from cardiac-related injuries associated with shoveling snow. In Canada, these deaths make the news every winter. Snow shoveling is particularly strenuous because it uses arm work, which is more taxing than leg work. Straining to move wet and heavy snow is particularly likely to cause a surge in heart rate and blood pressure.

Good thing is, we can prevent this happening just by changing our position and using appropriate protective devices.

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Ergonomics when Lifting and Carrying Heavy Objects – Tips to prevent injury

This is a part 2 of series on using proper ergonomics in everyday life. In this article, I am going to share important tips on carrying heavy objects.  You end up carrying heavy objects on many occasions without even thinking about it. Think about chores done around the house like carrying a toddler, carrying groceries inside the house, lifting a load of laundry, lifting heavy objects at work, etc. The list is long and can go on and on. In fact, as a PT, I see several cases of sprains and strains due to lifting or carrying heavy objects. This usually involves back, shoulder or wrist etc. The injury not only causes pain but also results in loss of workdays, family, and finance related stress. No one wants that, right? We need to take care of our body and use proper ergonomics all time, every time.  So, let’s talk about how to avoid injury by using proper ergonomics.

ergonomics - lifting and carrying heavy objects

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Ergonomics of Sitting at a Computer Desk – Guide To Prevent Injury

Correct ergonomics for any position is crucial.  If not addressed, an incorrect posture can cause pain, injury and chronic deformities. The data from Bureau of labor shows 1/3rd of occupational injuries occur from work-related musculoskeletal disorder (MSD), for which employers pay an estimated 15 to 20 billion dollars each year for workman’s compensation. This also results in workers losing work days, extra labor, losing deadlines for projects, etc. Plus, it causes some chronic pain that a person has to suffer through. These are scary numbers, however, with the right techniques, most of these injuries can be prevented!! This is the aim of this series. To help people find a better fit for their work environment, avoid MSD and chronic pain.

I discussed the importance of a proper posture in my previous article. If you are one of the regular readers of this blog, you may have also read about how to analyze a posture.  Here, I want to talk about proper positioning while doing different activities. Essentially, your do’s and don’ts with different motions.  For instance, sitting in front of a computer for long hours, lifting and carrying heavy objects, reading a book or watching television etc. The technical term of word ergonomics means a study of work. Per OSHA, it is defined as designing a workplace to fit a person’s body. And not making a person fit to design. Yes, it is a personal customization of your surroundings!! The first part of this series is ergonomics for sitting in front of a desk like a computer or a television.   Continue reading “Ergonomics of Sitting at a Computer Desk – Guide To Prevent Injury”

A therapist’s guide to Postural Analysis

Understanding a patient’s posture is a major goal for a Physical Therapist for many conditions.  A physical therapist performs postural analysis or posture assessment to determine proper anatomical alignment or posture to identify any abnormalities.   A proper/ normal posture ensures an even balance of the body and prevents a specific set of core muscles from getting overworked.   You may have heard about poor posture or an incorrect posture, and I also published a series of articles talking about different stretches to correct the upper body posture (neck, scapula, and chest).  Physical therapists always look for abnormalities to determine the imbalances that need a fix.

Our body is amazing, it automatically finds a way to compensate for a weakness, imbalance or pain. It starts favoring one side vs other, or few muscles vs others. When this happens, our posture gradually changes. Over time, this becomes obvious. In addition, using few muscles more than other starts to become uncomfortable and painful.  The postural imbalance also causes problems like a muscle spasm, and or bony changes (in chronic cases).

So, let’s talk about what a correct or ideal posture looks like.

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