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Mon, 14 Oct 2019

Osteoarthritis in the Hand

Osteoarthritis is a common cause of hand pain. This disease is one of the most common forms of arthritis. This is a very common reason people experience pain or stiffness in their hands. Osteoarthritis is a form of degenerative arthritis, meaning the cartilage is being broken down due to the rubbing of bones on other bones. This often causes pain, inflammation, decreased range of motion, and stiffness.

If you are experiencing osteoarthritis there are a few things you can do to help ease that pain in your hands. Different things work for different people, so it is important to note that not everything will provide relief for all.

Exercise is one thing that can help ease the pain. This is something that might be painful during, but it can help build up those muscles around the arthritic joints. Maintaining daily range of motion is very important in helping with arthritis. This can help minimize some of the stiffness and help gain some strength in the hands that otherwise might dissipate as the arthritis progresses. So it is important to do various squeezing and stretching exercises everyday.

Moist heat is another option that can help with some of the stiffness or pain. This is something that can be really good before a lot of use in the joints, such as first thing in the morning. Icing arthritic joints at the end of the day or activities can help. It is important to only ice or heat them for no longer than about 20 minutes at a time. These are both simple, inexpensive ways to help relieve some pain.

Cortisone injections is often a treatment method for those with Osteoarthritis. This can help patients regain some range of motion and reduce some pain. It is important to note that this does not always work for everyone.

The things listed above are just a few common, non-surgical methods used to help relieve some pain caused by arthritis in the hand. These are good things with which to start once diagnosised with osteoarthritis in the hand. However, these are not cure-all options and many times patients eventually need something more.

While these treatments can help the process slow down and relieve some pain, osteoarthritis is currently a disease without a cure. Many people will look to surgeons to help assist them when they need more help than what they can do at home. Surgery is an option that is used once the conservative treatment methods have failed. The goal of surgery can vary. Some include:

  • Restoring as much function as possible
  • Eliminating or minimizing pain to a tolerable level
  • Reconstructing joints
  • Fusing of joints

When needed, hand and finger joint replacement surgery can be done, similarly to how knee and hip replacements are done for arthritis.

If you are experiencing hand pain, visiting a hand specialists who can provide a proper diagnosis and treatment is important. Dr. Hsu is a hand surgeon who is fellowship trained and Board Certified. She can help work with patients experiencing hand pain or arthritis. Through a thorough examination, Dr. Hsu will come up with the best treatment plan for each individual patient.

Fri, 27 Sep 2019

Physical Therapy as a Treatment for Lower Back Pain

Guest article from Dr. Brent Wells

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If you suffer from lower back pain, you’ve probably already searched for ways to help treat it. While there are various natural methods, sometimes they might not always work, especially if you have severe pain. However, there is one treatment to consider: physical therapy.

Physical therapy is not only a great holistic option, but provides incredible results. It usually will not only stop your pain, but also help your overall well-being. This article will explore more behind why physical therapy is a helpful treatment for lower back pain. You’ll also discover some techniques your physical therapist might use to help you.

What is Low Back Pain?

Low back pain is when the muscles around the lower portion of the back are either injured or sprained in some way. Low back pain can also be caused by a type of injury or disease to your spinal cord which results in tingling nerves or severe inflammation. If not treated, low back pain can lead to less mobility and other health issues.

What Causes Lower Back Pain?

There are a few things that can cause lower back pain. This includes:

Why Physical Therapy is an Ideal Treatment for Lower Back Pain

If you’re looking for a way to help treat your lower back pain without the use of surgery, physical therapy is ideal. This is because it works to:

  • Lower your pain levels
  • Increase mobility and flexibility
  • Help restore strength to your body

These are just a few of the many benefits that physical therapy will offer for lower back pain sufferers. In fact, many physical therapists will work to teach you how to deal with any painful flare-ups that might occur after your sessions. This can help to keep you calm while also reducing your pain.

Physical Therapy Techniques to Help Heal Lower Back Pain

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There are many different techniques that a physical therapist will use to help heal lower back pain. Below are some you’ll find if you decide to use this form of therapy.

●    They Will Use Various Modalities

Many physical therapists will encourage the use of modalities. This includes using cold or heat compresses, ultrasounds, and TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) therapy. These will work to naturally encourage your nerves to calm down while also reducing inflammation.

Depending on your needs, your therapist might recommend you use more intense versions of modalities for relief. Below is more information about these helpful modalities.

❏   Cold/Heat Compresses

Many physical therapists will ask you use to cold or heat compresses on your lower back. This is because this treatment can help to significantly calm down irritated sections in your body causing your pain.

Cold compresses will help to reduce swelling and inflammation. Heat compresses will help to release tight muscles and stop tension. Because of this, both of these can be very helpful when it comes to treating your lower back pain.

❏   Ultrasounds

Ultrasounds are a very helpful way to treat lower back pain. They will emit vibrations in the area where the ultrasound device is placed. This then works to release soft vibrations and heat to the area which helps to loosen the muscles in it. There have been a few studies which have shown that ultrasounds can help with lower back pain. They also can work to improve flexibility.

❏   TENS

TENS therapy uses electric currents to encourage nerve stimulation. The TENS therapy machine is a very small device that is connected to electrodes. These electrodes are then placed on your body with a sticky tape. Once they have been applied, your physical therapist will turn the machine on. It will then start to release soft electric currents.

Depending on your needs, your physical therapist will either lower or increase the electrical impulses. You’ll need to have a few of these sessions done in order to have long-lasting results.

●    Back Pain Exercises and Stretches

Back pain exercises and stretches will also usually be implemented into a treatment plan for you. This includes doing lumbar strengthening stretches (such as knee-to-chest ones) or various types of easy aerobic activities like walking and swimming. These exercises and stretches will usually be customized by your physical therapist depending on your needs.

●    Spinal Manipulation

A few physical therapists might also implement common chiropractic techniques, such as spinal manipulation. This includes moving and adjusting your spine to help realign it. The movements will also encourage the reduction of inflammation around your spinal cord.

By doing these manipulations, it will also cause your body to release endorphins. These natural pain-killers can help to reduce lower back pain. Most sessions last only a few minutes and eventually can lead to the complete elimination of lower back pain.

●    Deep Tissue Massage Therapy

You might be surprised to learn that many physical therapists also offer massage therapy services. Many physical therapists have seen the incredible impact that a deep tissue massage can have on lower back pain. This is because it helps to release tension and strain around the muscles near your spine. Because of this, it can help stop inflammation, calm irritated nerves, and even boost your immunity.

Massage can also help to encourage more flexibility in your body. This can help to not only reduce your lower back pain, but encourage you to be more active.

Most massage sessions will last for about an hour. They will involve various techniques depending on your needs. Some that your therapist might use are QL muscle massage and gluteus medius massage.

Physical therapy is an excellent treatment to use when it comes to naturally healing lower back pain. Your physical therapist will use various techniques, such as exercise and massage, to help provide you with relief. These treatments not only help to decrease and eventually eliminate your pain, but improve many other aspects of your health as well.

About Dr. Brent Wells

Dr. Brent Wells is a practicing chiropractic physician and the founder of Better Health Chiropractor Anchorage AK. This practice is located in Alaska and offers various services to help with eliminating pain. Dr. Wells belongs to both the American Chiropractic Association and the American Academy of Spine Physicians.

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