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  • Sacroiliac Joint Pain: Causes, Diagnosis & Therapy

    Have you ever felt pain around your lower back where the pelvic bone meets the spine? Its a type of pain that you can feel in the nerves, joint and even ligaments. If so, you may be feeling Sacroiliac Joint Pain. While its one of the most common forms of lower back pain, it also mimics the symptoms of many other back conditions. Please consult a physician about your specific condition.

    There are two Sacroiliac Joints on either end of the spine. They have several nerve endings, causing pain in this area to be extremely sensitive. Nerves are what signal the brain when there is pain or disruption in the body.

    There are several causes of Sacroiliac Joint Pain:

    - Osteoarthritis

    - Infection of the joint

    - Stress Fracture

    - Pregnancy pressure on the joint

    - Inflammation of the joint

    - Trauma to the lower back

    - Moving or Twisting the wrong way

    - Too much movement (hyper-mobility)

    - Too little movement (hypo-mobility)

    Diagnosis of Sacroiliac Joint Pain can be difficult due to its broad symptoms and causes. It is often misdiagnosed as hip bursitis, muscle or nerve spasms, and other back conditions. A physical exam by a certified  specialist and some tests are often required. Tests can range from x-ray and CT Scan to MRI and bone scan.

    Treatment is given based on specific diagnosis of the cause and severity of the Sacroiliac Joint Pain. Some treatment methods may include:

    - Steroid injections in the joint

    - Muscle Relaxers

    - Prescription Medication

    - Acetaminophen or NSAIDs

    Physical Therapy & Stretching Exercises:

    A single knee to chest stretch: Gently pump the knee three to four times as you bring each leg towards the chest. Complete 10 repetitions on each leg.

    Press-up stretch: Lay flat on your stomach with your chest down and back up, press up on your hands while keeping the pelvis on the floor. Keep the lower back and buttocks relaxed. Gradually work from 5 seconds, up to 30 seconds per repetition. Complete 10 repetitions.

    Lumbar rotation stretch: Lay on your back with both knees bent, while keeping your feet flat on the floor. Rock your knees from side to side. Keep the lower spine as still as possible. Complete move for 30 seconds.

    Hot and Cold Therapy: At different stages of Sacroiliac Joint Pain

    Supports and Braces:

    A belt or brace designed for SI Joint Pain can help stabilize and reduce the stress to the sacroiliac joint. Most look like an over-sized belt that fits tightly around the waist. Your physician will figure out a regimen that is right for you. However, average treatment is 24 hour use for 10 days and then a gradual reduction of wear over a six to eight week period.

    OPPO Sacro Brace OPPO Sacro Brace

    Resources:

    https://www.treatingpain.com/conditions/sacroiliac-si-joint-dysfunction

    http://medicine.med.nyu.edu/conditions-we-treat/conditions/sacroiliac-joint-pain#symptoms

    http://www.spine-health.com/conditions/sacroiliac-joint-dysfunction/accurate-diagnosis-sacroiliac-joint-dysfunction

  • The Benefits of Heat Therapy

    What Is Heat Therapy?

     

    In the sports and fitness world we hear about types of cold therapy all the time, but what about heat therapy? Also called thermotherapy, heat therapy promotes the natural healing process for pain and therapeutic relief of muscle pain and spasms, joint stiffness or chronic pain. Check out our heat therapy products.

    Why Is Heat Therapy Beneficial?

    Improves Circulation: Heat therapy causes blood vessels to dilate promoting blood flow.

    Removes Toxins: An increase in blood flow causes toxins to pull out of injured tissues more effectively.

    Increases Oxygen: Heat helps increase oxygen within the injured tissues to aid in its repair. Oxygen also reduces the carbon dioxide that can heighten acid levels in the tissue.

    Heat therapy can relieve pain from arthritis, tennis elbow, sinus headaches, foot strains, shoulder and back pain, and many more conditions!

    heat therapy pad

    Moist Heat Therapy vs. Dry Heat Therapy?

     

    Moist heat therapy offers these benefits:

    - Delivers the most heat to the pain or discomfort due to water’s ability to hold in the heat during the transfer process.

    - The heat penetrates deeper into the muscles, joints and ligaments relieving pain sooner.

    - Blood flow and oxygen levels increase due to accelerated healing.

    - Skin will not dry out from application since moisture is contained.

    Dry heat therapy offers these benefits:

    - Delivers a sufficient amount of heat to the area to relieve pain and discomfort.

    - Treatment can be affective and extremely mobile.

    - There is a wide variety of long lasting temporary heat patches that you can purchase at your local pharmacy.

    Using a combination of the two types of heat therapy may give you the best self therapy results, rather than trying to weigh your options. However, you should always consult your physician about the proper treatment for your pain or chronic condition.

    When Not To apply Heat Therapy?

    - Do not apply to a fresh injury. Ice or cold therapy is for new injuries
    - If external tissue is sensitive
    - If your skin is red or hot to the touch
    - If there is swelling

    Resources:

    http://www.spine-health.com/treatment/heat-therapy-cold-therapy/how-apply-heat-therapy

    http://www.webmd.com/arthritis/heat-and-cold-therapy-for-arthritis-pain

    http://naturalpainremedies.blogspot.com/2011/01/heat-therapy-benefits-other-than-pain.html

     

  • What is Jumper's Knee?

    Now that summer is in full force, you’ve probably noticed that you’re more active than in the winter months. Anytime you increase the frequency or intensity of physical activity you put yourself at greater risk for injury. This is especially true for sports activities that involve direction changing and jumping movements.

    Jumper’s Knee is fairly common among tendinopathy injuries affecting athletes. Have you heard of this term before? The term has been used since 1973 to describe patellar tendinitis, an injury that affects the tendon connecting your kneecap (patella) to your shinbone. Basically Jumper's knee refers to a stress overload to the knee due to jumping. Basketball and Volleyball athletes are most at risk because of the constant pressure put on the knee from jumping.

    jumpers-knee

    Jumper's Knee Risk Factors:

    Multiple factors may contribute to your risk of patellar tendinitis, including:

    • Frequent and intense physical activity or repeated jumping.

    • Lack of flexibility or tightness in leg muscles causing strain on your patellar tendon.

    • Imbalance of muscle strength. An uneven pull on muscles could cause tendinitis.

    Jumper's Knee Diagnosis Stages:

    The duration of symptoms can vary, so jumper's knee is often classified into 1 of 4 stages:

    Stage 1 - Pain only after activity, without functional impairment

    Stage 2 - Pain during and after activity, although the patient is still able to perform adequately in his or her sport

    Stage 3 - Prolonged pain during and after activity, with increasing difficulty in performing at a adequate level

    Stage 4 - Complete tendon tear requiring surgical repair

    Jumper's Knee Treatment:

    These guidelines are meant for information purposes only. You should always consult your physician before attempting any rehabilitation or treatment plan. Treatment is dependent on the grade of your injury.

    • Reduce Pain & Inflammation: Discontinue activity and apply cold therapy or ice regimen for 15 minutes every hour if the injury appears bad and at least three times a day otherwise.

    • Stretch & Strengthening Exercises: Try 10 seconds of holding exercises and repeat 5 times.

    Aim to stretch at least 5 times a day. Isometric quad contractions, Single leg extensions, Eccentric squats, Lunges and Step back exercises are recommended for strengthening.

    Patellar Tendon Strap: The strap applies pressure to your patellar tendon to help distribute pressure away from the tendon itself and direct it through the strap instead. This may help relieve pain.

    414_bl_knee_1_3

    • Therapy: Additional therapies or treatment may be prescribed by your physician depending on the severity of the condition. This includes Corticosteroid injection, Platelet-rich plasma injection or Surgery.

    Resources: 
  • Preventing Lower Extremity Soccer Injuries

     Soccer is one of the most popular sports in the world, with more than 250 million players in over 200 countries. The game of soccer involves stamina, balance, agility, coordination and teamwork, so it’s no surprise that soccer players are at high risk for injury.

     

    Jozy Altidore, U.S. forward, injured his left hamstring in Monday’s 2014 FIFA World Cup game against Ghana. After just 20 minutes of play time, Altidore had to be replaced on the field due to the pain of his injury. Sprains, strains or tears that present in the lower extremity are the most common type of injury reported by soccer athletes.

    A hamstring strain is not considered a serious injury, but activity should be stopped immediately in order to let the muscle(s) rest. The hamstring is made up of three muscles on the back thigh that help give you the ability to bend your leg at the knee. A hamstring strain is presented when one or more of these muscles have been over stretched. However, if the muscle stretches too far, a partial or full hamstring tear may occur. This would cause recovery to increase to several weeks or months without training or participating in sports.

    In addition to straining the hamstring, injuries like shin splints (pain of the shinbone), patellar tendinitis (jumper’s knee) and Achilles tendinitis are also lower extremity injuries commonly seen in soccer players.

    Prevention:

    Decreasing your risk of sprains, strains and tears are possible with these preventive steps:

    Warm Up – Make sure to stretch and warm muscles before each practice and game.

    Wear Appropriate EquipmentShin guards and properly fitted footwear that are in good condition. Use a brace or taping after a sprain to prevent a re-injury.

    Know Your Limits – Make sure to fully recover from a previous injury before returning to the game. If you return too early, you’re at higher risk for injury.

    whole-body-stretching-routine

    Rest and Recovery:

    Recovery may take days, weeks or months, depending on how severe the strain, sprain or tear is. For example, a completely torn hamstring (grade 3 injury) may take several months to heal and return to normal physical activity.

    Use the RICE method for optimal recovery:

    Rest – Avoid physical activity. Keep your leg as still as possible.

    Ice – Apply ice therapy for about 20 minutes, two to three times a day.

    Compression – Use a compression sleeves to help reduce pain and swelling.

    Elevation – Further reduce swelling by slightly elevating your leg while sitting.

    Over-the-counter painkillers, like ibuprofen or acetaminophen are safe to use to help relieve the pain. If your pain and discomfort continues longer than a few days, consult your physician immediately. You may have a grade 2 or grade 3 injury that requires more advanced treatment.

    271_thigh_black_44

    Resources:

    FIFA:
    http://www.fifa.com/

    National Center for Biotechnology Information: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1725275/pdf/v039p00473.pdf

    WebMD:
    http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/hamstring-strain

    American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons:
    http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/

  • Treatment of Plantar Fasciitis

     

    Have you ever woken up, gotten out of bed and felt a huge stabbing pain in your heel? The pain can be excruciating. You may even want to sit down. Although continuing to walk and stretch the heel can reduce the severity of the pain, it will most likely reoccur later in the day - often after standing for a long time or strenuous activities. This is Plantar Fasciitis.

    Plantar Fasciitis is a common cause of heel pain in adults, but can be seen in youth who are extremely active. It is caused by a strain on the plantar fascia. This is the ligament that connects your heel bone to your toes and acts like a shock-absorber for the arch of the foot.

    A00149F01

    Photo credit: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/

     

    Plantar Fasciitis Risk Factors:

     

    • Sudden Weight Gain or Obesity

    • Arch Problems (high arches or flat feet)

    • Tight Achilles tendon or Calve muscles

    • Excessive Pronation (abnormal inward twisting or rolling of the foot)

    • Run, Walk or Stand for long periods of time

    • Wearing shoes that are worn, do not fit or have poor cushioning

    • Middle Age (often occurs between ages 40 to 60)

    Most cases of plantar fasciitis will clear up in just a few months and with conservative treatment methods.

     

    Plantar Fasciitis Treatment:

     

    • Rest: Reduce activities that trigger pain, like running on hard surfaces or placing    continuous pressure on the heel.

    • Pain Relievers/Anti-Inflammatories: NSAIDs, Cortisone Injections, Ice treatments

    • Stretch: Start your day with a good stretch of your calf, foot and toes

    Arch Supports and Orthotics: Providing better support to the heel and foot

    • New Shoes: Shoes with well cushioned insoles can help relieve pain and discomfort

    Night Splints: Allows passive stretching to the calf and plantar fascia while sleeping

     

    Goals of Treatment:

     

    • Relieve inflammation and pain in the heel

    • Allow small tears in the plantar fascia ligament to heal

    • Improve your strength and flexibility

    • Correct foot problems like arches and pronation

    • Allow you to go back to your normal activities.

    With any medical injury, you should consult a physician. However, WebMD recommends you call your doctor immediately if you have any of these symptoms:

    • Heel pain is accompanied by fever, numbness or tingling, or redness or warmth in the heel

    • Pain that continues without putting weight on the heel

    • Pain when you put weight on a heel injury

    • Pain that doesn't get better after a week of home treatment

     

    Resources: 

    NCBI: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0004438/

    Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/plantar-fasciitis/basics/causes/con-20025664

    WebMD: http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/plantar-fasciitis-topic-overview

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