Category Archives: Neck pain

Another common problem seen in patients with arthritis

Don’t be a victim of arthritis myths… Arthritis treatment is effective!

Ashley Macha, writing in Health online, reported on four arthritis myths.  This was done as part of a May is Arthritis Awareness Month campaign, featuring Joe Montana, Hall of Fame quarterback.

1. Myth: Arthritis only affects the aging.  Reality: This is the most common misconception. Anyone, at any age can be affected, according to the Arthritis Foundation. The most common type is osteoarthritis, the kind due to wear and tear on the joints over time (which is what Montana has), but also rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease that can occur at any age, juvenile arthritis, an autoimmune disease in children, and other types.

2. Myth: Joint health is not a serious issue. Reality: The population of those with arthritis in the United States is increasing, with approximately 70 million Americans predicted to have arthritis by 2030. It is the number one cause of disability in the United States.

3. Myth: Patients with arthritis should avoid exercise. Reality: The Arthritis Foundation recommends starting out walking or doing water workouts. Montana lifts weights to keep his muscles in shape. “When muscles are strong, it takes pressure off them [joints].” Patience White, MD, and vice president of public health for the Arthritis Foundation says resistance training can provide numerous benefits for those who suffer from arthritis. Dr. White recommends simple exercises, including hamstring and calf stretches, or weightlifting with something as simple as 16-ounce soup cans.

4. Myth: There is no treatment for arthritis. Reality: “I always thought initially that there was nothing you could do to help to ease your everyday life,” Montana said. There are medication and treatments, as well yoga moves to help ease pain, natural remedies, and new treatments are in the pipeline. Treatment also varies with the type of arthritis. There are more than 100 different kinds of arthritis and each is treated differently.

There are many other myths but the key points to remember are that arthritis, when diagnosed early is very treatable and that newer treatments such as stem cell therapy for osteoarthritis look extremely promising.

For more information on arthritis treatments and other arthritis problems,  go to:

Arthritis Treatment

And don’t forget to sign up for  free weekly arthritis tips and a free copy of our special report “The Consumer’s Guide to Arthritis”

Just go here Contact

Super intensive whiplash treatment no better than conservative care

Robert Preidt writing in Healthday reported on a study published in The Lancet, which found that “more costly, intensive treatment is no better than usual care at hastening recovery from whiplash.”

According to the article, “researchers looked at more than 3,800 British whiplashwhiplash patients to compare a more intensive approach to treatment (‘active management’) against usual care at 15 hospital emergency departments.” Preidt added that “researchers led by Sarah Lamb of the University of Warwick found little difference in recovery levels between active management and usual care patients at four, eight and 12 months after initial treatment in the emergency department.” Active management sessions are more expensive than usual care.

For more information on arthritis treatments and other arthritis problems,  go to:

Arthritis Treatment

And don’t forget to sign up for  free weekly arthritis tips and a free copy of our special report “The Consumer’s Guide to Arthritis”

Just go here Contact

 

How to work out a stiff neck

Everyone, at one time or other, has had a stiff neck.  How do you deal with it?

The cervical spine consists of 7 block-shaped bones called vertebrae.  They are stacked, one upon the other forming the spinal column.

The neck vertebrae have two major functions

•To bear the weight of the head

•To protect the spinal cord or spinal nerve roots inside the spinal column

Each vertebra has bony projections called “processes” that are sites for the attachment of ligaments and muscles that help stabilize and move the spine.

Between each vertebra are cushions, called discs. Each disc has a soft jelly-like center called the nucleus pulposus, which is surrounded by a tough fibrous outer envelope called the annulus fibrosis.

Each vertebrae has areas for the attachment of muscles.

In the neck there are a series of ligaments that are important for stability of the vertebral column.

stiff-neckA stiff neck occurs when there is either a muscle strain or there is damage to the ligaments.  Muscle strains can be due to injury or to prolonged abnormal positioning. An example of injury might be trauma to the muscles during athletic events.

Abnormal positioning is a more common occurrence. This happens when one holds their head in one position for too long a period of time.  Sitting at the computer or driving long distances are two situations where this occurs. Another example is when a person wakes up with a stiff neck because of sleeping in a weird position.

The interspinous ligaments at C5-7 are also prone to tear following neck injuries. The interspinous ligaments are slack when the head and neck are in the upright position.

During hyperextension of the head (when the head is bent backward), the ligaments slacken

In hyperflexion (head is bent forward,) the cervical interspinous ligaments are tightened and they are vulnerable to tears at the tips of the spinous processes.

The classic injury to the interspinous ligaments occurs with rear-end automobile whiplash incidents.

The ligaments at the tips of the spinous processes are mixed with the fibers of the long ligaments of the neck, which are attached to the  base of the skull.

Fibers of the trapezius muscle also blend with these ligaments. This is why  neck injuries may produce symptoms of pain and tightness in the head and shoulder muscles.

If there is no history of trauma, a stiff neck is usually a result of muscle tightness.  Moist heat applied for twenty minutes two to three times a day, neck support during sleep using a curved pillow, and a soft cervical collar worn for two to three days can be helpful.  Non-steroidal-anti-inflammatory drugs and muscle relaxants can also be beneficial.

If symptoms don’t resolve, then a visit to the physician is advised.  Physical therapy modalities such as electrical stimulation and ultrasound can help with pain resolution. Gentle stretches and range-of-motion exercises may be prescribed.

With a history of trauma, then the treatment approach is different.  A visit to the doctor is recommended to make sure there is no significant damage to the neck. Imaging procedures such as MRI may be done before treatment is instituted. Pain resolution may take a long time with significant muscle injury or damage to the interspinous ligaments. This is particularly true if there is underlying osteoarthritis affecting the neck.

Helpful treatment modalities for more severe problems can include acupuncture, chiropractic, prolotherapy, Botox, and massage.

For more information on arthritis treatments and other arthritis problems,  go to:

Arthritis Treatment

And don’t forget to sign up for  free weekly arthritis tips and a free copy of our special report “The Consumer’s Guide to Arthritis”

Just go here Contact

 

 

What are some bad habits that lead to aches and pains in women?

Bad habits at any age can cause aches and pains in women.
Really young women often wear flip flops with no arch support.  This can lead to a nasty case of plantar fasciitis.
Young women who have infants often carry the infant on one hip using one hand.  This causes them to develop a form of tendonitis of the thumb called DeQuervain’s disease.  It’s very painful but can be fixed with a glucocorticoid injection, splinting, and rest.
Women who work in an office setting still often hold a phone in the crook of their neck and this can obviously cause problems with neck pain. The pain can radiate down between the shoulder blades.
High heels, particularly the fashionable stiletto heels can cause ankle sprains and eventual problems with arthritis/bursitis in the big toe (bunions).high-heels
Carrying big handbags are a recipe for disaster since they can cause strains of the shoulder and neck.
A really bad habit is eating too much.  This obviously leads to aches and pains in weight bearing joints. Obesity aggravates arthritis from a biomechanical perspective as well as an inflammatory one.  Fat cells make chemicals that aggravate inflammation.
Cigarette smoking is a risk factor for the development of rheumatoid arthritis.

For more information on arthritis treatments and other arthritis problems,  go to:

Arthritis Treatment

And don’t forget to sign up for  free weekly arthritis tips and a free copy of our special report “The Consumer’s Guide to Arthritis”

Just go here Contact

Severe pain between the shoulder blades

This is one of the most common problems seen by rheumatologists.  And it’s one of the most complicated.  The reason is because there are so many possible causes.  The physician needs to make the determination as to whether the pain is coming from the spinal column, the muscles, the ligaments, or the muscles.  Disorders such as disc herniation, muscle pull, and ligament dysfunction all can be a cause of this problem.  Also, neck disorders can cause referred pain to the area between the shoulder blades. Finally bursitis beneath the shoulder blades can also be a cause. Any or all of these areas could be responsible for the pain.

Also, is the pain coming from deeper structures?  An example is a patient of mine who told me about his pain and one clue made me send him to the emergency room by ambulance.  It turns out he had an aortic aneurysm that had to be operated on that night.

Shoulder blade pain can originate from the heart, lungs, and even the gall bladder.

Obviously, the diagnosis points the way to the proper treatment.

Most musculoskeletal causes of this type of pain are treatable.  It’s a good idea to see an experienced rheumatologist and also to get as much information as you can to make an informed decision.

To get the relief you want and need, go to www.backpainuppermiddleshoulderblades.com

And don’t forget to sign up for  free weekly arthritis tips and a free copy of our special report “The Consumer’s Guide to Arthritis”

Just go here Contact