• How Does Chest Pain Effect Your Muscles and Joints?


    Millions of people experience chest pain each year and it is natural to fear it is a heart attack. But not all pain in your chest is heart-related. The causes of chest pain are numerous from spasms of the esophagus to problems with nerves and muscles The pain can vary in intensity from sharp to dull and can spread from neck to arms and throughout the entire chest area, leaving sore muscles.

    Pain from heart attacks may begin in the chest and then spread to other parts of the body or there may be no chest pain at all. Instead, pain begins in one of the arms or both arms, or elbows and shoulders. Any area of the body from neck to the waist may experience pain and it may ebb and flow. Men complain most often of pain in the left arm, whereas women may feel it in either arm or the elbow.

    Chest pain can originate from the spine and is a very common cause of patient complaints. Prolonged sitting, problems with spinal discs and rib joints can all refer pain to the chest area.

    Disease of the arteries in which the blood and oxygen flow to the heart become blocked is called angina and can spread the pain across the chest and back area and up into the neck and jaw. Angina may be brought on my excitement, exercise, and stress and can be relieved by rest. Patients with Angina chest pain may complain of stiff neck and jaw muscles.

    Similar to the pain of Angina is an actual heart attack, which is the result of lack of blood flow through the vessels, damaging cells in the heart. This pain is often accompanied by trouble breathing and nausea and shortness of breath. These symptoms especially if sustained need immediately medical attention.

    Inflammation of the heart muscle or Myocarditis caused by lack of blood flow to the heart can bring on similar pain in the chest, back, neck and jaw, but usually is not as severe as an actual heart attack.

    Fleeting pain in the chest area may be caused by injury or inflammation such as a cracked rib or shingles. Whereas heart pain may radiate throughout the arms and chest and intensify with exercise, an injury to the ribs will cause momentary and localized sharp pain that dissipates after a few minutes. Localized pain caused by breathing may be caused by inflammation in the lungs from pneumonia or asthma

    Bouts of pain in joints of the arms, legs and around chest can be brought on by inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis. It can be very painful but it is not life threatening. It is important to know that when the cartilage that attaches ribs to the breastbone becomes inflamed it causes pain in the center of the chest and is accompanied by no other symptoms. Inflammation of the joints around the breastbone is called Costochondritis. This pain is exacerbated by deep breathing, twisting and turning, laughing and/or coughing. Costochondritis is painful but not life threatening and will fade over time and can be treated with pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medication.

    Fibromyalgia is another cause of widespread pain in the upper chest, shoulders, and back of the head, as well as the muscles and tendons around the bones. Characterized by long term and widespread pain it is relieved by pain medicines and may be lessoned with a healthy life style of proper diet and exercise. Recurrent chest pain caused by Fibromyalgia may be mistaken for heart related disease due to similar symptoms such as heart palpitations and chest pain.

    Chest pain should be taken seriously as it may be symptomatic of a dangerous health issue. Your doctor should be advised if you are experiencing severe and persistent pain in your joints and muscles especially if there is a history of heart disease in the family.

  • Different Ways to Diagnose a Hip Injury


    Not always is a hip injury fully noticeable, so it makes sense that someone concerned would want to get the proper care in diagnosing whether they have a hip injury as well that such a person would be understandably curious about the testing involved in diagnosing such a problem. With that said, here are a list of the most common ways for which a doctor will use, in order to properly diagnose a hip injury in the case that someone should need to be checked out:

    Most commonly a primary care physician will initially start the process of testing an individual to see if they have any sort of hip injury by thorough use of a physical hip exam. Through out this performance physician will examine how the patient walks, their range of motion and mobility in the hip and back, and if tightness is present in the patient. As well as this, the primary care physician will also make sure to examine the external and internal rotation ability of the hip, back, and legs and look to see if there is any difference in length of the legs as well as check for muscle strength.

    The second is by assessing hip abnormalities such as, but not limited to severe pain, which can be further tested with a dose of steroids that is injected into the hip to differentiate where the pain is coming from in order to surely diagnose hip injury as well as irritable hip syndrome which is known by the symptoms of joint stiffness, hip pain that is acute, as well as the inability of the hip to properly bear the body's full weight in its entirety.

    Next, we have medical testing through musculoskeletal, orthopedic, rheumatologic, and clinical tests as well as submitting the hip to research imaging, where doctors are given the opportunity to further explore what might be causing the issue with a real peak into the innerworkings of your actual bones, blood, and general insides.

    Fourth we have x-rays, or x-radiation where you will be put in a led vest and made to keep in certain positions without moving so that the x-ray technician can essentially -in it's simplest understanding- taking a picture of the bones for ones' doctors so that they can be able to see for certain whether or not there is too much bone present in areas such as the neck, acetabular rim, and femoral head which can help in determining for certain that there is a form of hip injury present in the patient.

    Fifth is an MRI, where doctors learn whether there is any tearing or fraying to be concerned about that is possibly present in either or both the labrum or the cartilage of the hip thanks to a nifty and very large machine that the person will be put inside of and made to stay completely still while doctors sit behind a glass at computers and watch the patients insides on their computer screens.

    And finally, we have CT scans, also known as Computer Tomography which is a sort of x-ray that creates digital pictures that can show finer details than a normal x-ray can not produce.

    In the end, if you're concerned for any reason that you might be suffering from a hip injury, the best thing that you can do is talk to your primary care physician about your concerns and get tested, because no one should have to endure the suffering that comes from not getting treated and the potential for a worse predicament if you should decide for any reason to not take care of yourself which can in fact lead to further complications down the road. Please don't be afraid to talk to your doctor, ask as many questions as possible, and do your own research on the matter because every individual patient should be actively involved in their care and treatment at their local doctor's office and hospital.

  • Stiff Back? Try These Techniques to Feel Better...


    Many people suffer from minor back pain and stiffness, especially as they grow older. Some are stiff and find it difficult to move upon waking in the morning, while others have a sore back only after a long day of work. Back pain can be a distraction, but there are treatments that can alleviate your discomfort and make your day that much more comfortable.

    Using a heating pad can help your back to relax and loosen up tightened back muscles. Some all-natural heating pads are filled with material such as corn or rice and can be heated up easily in the microwave. The heating pad is then applied to the back at the area of stiffness. Relief will be apparent within about half an hour. Likewise, taking a long, warm bath will loosen up your back and neck, making you feel more relaxed.

    You can also use over-the-counter medication for a sore or stiff back. Medicines such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can be helpful in dealing with minor pain and back stiffness. Just take the medicine according to the directions on the bottle, and you should feel relief within about twenty minutes.

    Massages are also helpful for a stiff back. A massaging seat cushion can often help to heat up and loosen a tight back through massaging movements. You simply sit on the seat cushion, adjust the settings, and let the massaging mechanism work over your tight muscles until they are more relaxed.

    Although it may seem counter-intuitive, staying active and regularly exercising can help keep your body nimble and in shape. A healthy body is less prone to stiffness and pain due to inactivity or too much sitting or lying in one position. A sedentary lifestyle can add to back problems, including stiffness. Just as important is maintaining good posture when standing or sitting. Keep a strong core by strengthening your abdominals through exercises such as crunches. Many people with back problems can alleviate them by strengthening their core.

    Relaxation techniques such as tai chi, yoga, and simple stretching can help you to stay flexible, which is great for not only your back but your entire body. Consider taking up activities that will induce a relaxation response in your body and will lessen your perception of pain and soreness in your body.

    Many people consider back soreness a fact of life, especially as they age. This isn't always true, and there are many treatments that can help reduce back stiffness. Heat therapy and other the counter medicines can help. Back pain sufferers should try to maintain an active lifestyle, and pursue activities that promote relaxation and strong core muscles. By taking care of themselves, they can enjoy a healthy, comfortable life.

  • Allowing Your Body to Adjust after Physical Rehab


    Injuries and surgeries are often an unavoidable part of life. How you help your body adjust after your rehab will directly impact your success in returning to your normal lifestyle. Your physical therapy will take you a long way towards your goal, but the conditioning doesn't end when the sessions do.

    In the case of a sports injury, therapy will assist you in retraining your muscles to perform in the way they used to. You will work on range of motion, strength building, and endurance. The biggest mistake most people make is failing to follow through with their exercises after therapy ends. Often, your therapist will suggest stretches and strength training for you to do at home. It is important to continue the routines on your own. The affected muscles still need continued training to reach their fullest potential, or you could risk re-injuring the area. After an injury, you will lose muscle mass due to inactivity of the area. Care should be taken with daily activities until you are fully recovered. Building the muscle back in conjunction with increasing flexibility is the key. It's up to you to help your body adjust after your rehab.

    After surgery, the body faces a range of challenges, even after physical therapy. Weight loss is a common problem, especially if there has been a considerable amount of time spent in bed. Every muscle group will be weakened, and a plan to rebuild mass will be necessary. Therapy will help you regain strength, but there is much more to do at home after rehab. In addition to exercises, a special diet will be suggested.

    In any rehab situation, there is more to consider than just stretching. A proper nutritional regiment will be built for you around your own special needs. Your body will be focused on healing the injured areas which can draw essential nutrients away from the rest of your body. This can lead to weakness and dizziness, ultimately defeating your rehab efforts.

    Almost all therapy situations involve muscles. After an injury, you need to rebuild muscle, not fat. A diet high in protein will be suggested to increase muscle mass. This will give you the energy you need to continue your routine, as well as help your body repair the injured area.

    After immobility, your entire body will need to regain strength. Eating the proper foods will help you increase your mobility and energy.

    The human body is amazing, but it needs your help to properly adjust, even after rehab. Committing to your home prescribed programs of exercise and dieting is imperative in your journey to recovery.

  • Nagging Injuries Differ When it Comes to Pain and Tolerance


    There's a considerable difference between a sudden and a nagging injury. Sudden injuries, like fractures, sprains, or torn muscles, usually come with intense pain and sudden debility. Nagging injuries are long-term, and generally involve aching and inflammation. While they may not seem as dramatic as a sudden injury, nagging injuries can definitely have a serious impact on a sufferer's physical ability and quality of life.

    Many sudden injuries result in nagging problems if they are not properly treated. Ignoring a sprain or a hairline fracture, for example, can cause pain and weakness over the long term. Others are the result of overuse or repetitive stress, like carpal tunnel syndrome. The pain of a nagging injury is likely to be described as "achy" or "annoying," but some suffers may experience intense pain and weakness. Back injuries, for example, can cause significant debility when they result in referred pain to the shoulders, arms, or legs.

    While there are surgical interventions that can help some types of nagging injury, most of them can be self-treated with a little basic first aid. Treating nagging injuries usually involves identifying what triggers a flare-up of pain or swelling, and responding accordingly. Applying heat and stretching before exercise can help, as can ice, compression, and elevation afterward. In some cases, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication can help ease pain and reduce swelling.

    The body will naturally try to compensate for injured or painful areas by altering the way it moves. An injured hip, for example, can trigger a change in gait to avoid aggravating it. Unfortunately, this puts additional strain on other joints and causes more nagging injuries elsewhere. A gait altered to help ease the pain in one hip can result in lower back pain and injuries to the other leg. Always use proper form while exercising to avoid putting undue strain on affected areas of the body. If the affected area is a joint, wear a well-fitting joint brace to help give it additional support.

    Using proper form, avoiding overexertion, and treating sudden injuries are the best ways to avoid being addled with chronic problems further on down the line. Nagging injuries are annoying and painful, but they're a fact of life for many people. By identifying what kind of conditions or activities set them off, it's possible to help limit the problems they cause by properly applying heat, ice, elevation, and compression to reduce stiffness and cut down on inflammation.

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