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3 Ways to Handle Fibromyalgia Pain the Right Way

Finding the treatment that works best for your fibromyalgia symptoms can be difficult. When you suffer from pain, the quicker you find a solution the better. Although the exact cause of fibromyalgia is unknown, researchers believe that it is a result of genetics, stress or trauma and chemical/ hormonal imbalances in your body. Symptoms of fibromyalgia can range anywhere from muscle and joint pain or stiffness to fatigue, difficulty concentrating, unrefreshing sleep and even increased sensitivity to your surroundings and foods you consume. Below 3 of the best-known ways to handle your fibromyalgia symptoms the right way.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy seems to be the go-to method for fibromyalgia sufferers, and there is a reason for that. For many, this option can help increase your strength and improve the body’s range of motion. Regular sessions are necessary, but you learn a variety of techniques that are believed to reduce pain, fatigue and stiffness. Each case is unique and it is up to your physical therapist to create a routine that will best tend to your needs and goals. At Oakland Spine, our team uses a therapeutic deep tissue laser to alleviate pain and promote healing.

Massage Therapy

Natural pain relief remedies are preferred by many, and are considered to be the best way to handle fibromyalgia symptoms. Studies have shown that massage therapy can reduce fibromyalgia pain, and can also decrease both stress and anxiety. Remember that your muscles are sensitive when suffering from fibromyalgia, so it may not necessarily feel relaxing. Choosing the right massage therapist is key to seeing positive results from this method. If too much pressure is applied, more harm than good can be done.

Acupuncture

Many swear by acupuncture as a great way to relieve fibromyalgia symptoms and we have had tremendous success in our office. This method increases blood flow to inflamed areas of the body and is used most often when trying to relieve muscle and joint stiffness, as well as chronic pain. When choosing acupuncture as a treatment option, it is important to choose an experienced professional to increase your chances of success.

Our highly trained, dedicated and caring physical therapy team is committed to treating Fibromyalgia symptoms and improving your life. And our SAME DAY GUARANTEE* is our way of showing you just how committed we are. Call us in the morning…see us in the afternoon!

Neck Pain – Drugs or Chiropractic?

When you have neck pain, do you instinctively reach for that bottle of ibuprofen or Tylenol? If so, is that the best option? Who can we trust for the answer? Since between 10-20% of the population suffer from chronic or persistent neck pain, this is a VERY IMPORTANT question!

If we look at the literature published in peer reviewed journals by authors who have no financial incentives in the outcome of the study, we can find accurate, non-biased information to answer this question. So, let’s start with a landmark study published in SPINE, a leading medical journal that reviewed ALL the publications printed between 2000 and 2010 on neck pain – a total of 32,000 articles with over 25,000 hours of review. (Haldeman S, Carroll L, Cassidy JD, et. al. The Bone and Joint Decade 2000-2010 Task Force on Neck Pain and Its Associated Disorders: Executive Summary. Spine 2008,33(4S):S5-S7). This resulted in a 220 page comprehensive report from a multidisciplinary International Task Force involving seven years of work from 50+ researchers from 19 different clinical scientific disciplines worldwide looking at the MOST EFFECTIVE approaches available (both surgical and non-surgical) for patients suffering from neck pain.

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It’s All in the Wrist… and Hand… and Fingers…

The carpal tunnel is located at the base of the palm. It is made up of bones, tendons and a thick ligament, all of which encircle the median nerve. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) occurs when this nerve becomes pinched or inflamed, usually a result of repetitive motion from typing or any other sustained activity that overuses this area. An injury to the wrist or hand can also result in nerve damage to the carpal tunnel.

Symptoms range from numbness, tingling and pain to loss of muscle strength. Numbness is most prevalent in the thumb, index and middle fingers, and is often first noticed upon waking.

Who Gets Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
CTS is the most common nerve disorder of the hands, but the majority of cases occur in women between 40 and 55, and 60% of all work injuries are due to CTS. Common occupations at high risk for CTS are secretaries, carpenters, weightlifters and meat packers. Young women can also develop CTS during pregnancy because of hormonal effects upon ligaments and tendons.

Treatment of CTS
Traditional physicians often inject corticosteroids into the area, which will temporarily relieve pain and swelling, but this does not actively treat the problem. When CTS is severe, surgery is often recommended, but this should be a last resort, since surgery can result in scarring and weakening of the ligament, and symptoms can eventually recur.

Chiropractic manipulation has been proven effective in treating CTS because chiropractors are nervous system experts. After X-ray or electromyography studies, your chiropractor can determine the extent of injury and the exact mode of manipulation necessary to alleviate the problem. Adjunct treatment LCT 1000 Deep Tissue (Class IV) Laser may be the most advanced and effective way to alleviate pain and promote healing for CTS sufferers.

Wrist support is very helpful in resting the area and relieving symptoms, even during sleep. Patients with CTS are also encouraged to take breaks and vary their activities during the day to avoid overuse of the area, and to wear fingerless gloves to promote warmth and flexibility in the hands and wrists.

What if it Still Hurts?
Some people do not respond to typical treatment of the wrist because the painful nerve compression is occurring not only in the wrist, but also further along the nerve path to the neck or at multiple locations. The effects of the compression at the lower area is exaggerated by the other higher up compression. This is called Double Crush Syndrome and can be helped with chiropractic management that includes spinal manipulation and physical therapy.

Reprinted with permission from Think Teachers Magazine.

What if Your Back Pain is a Herniated Disc?

What is a herniated disc?
Discs are shock absorbers for the spine – they’re flexible, almost gelatinous disks between vertebrae that cushion the spine and permit full range of motion. Sometimes these discs can degenerate and herniate, which means material from inside the disc can leak out. This can cause a great deal of pain, because when a disc herniates it presses on spinal nerves. Approximately 90% of disc herniations occur toward the bottom of the spine, known as the lumbar spine. A herniated disc with a pinched nerve can be extremely painful.

What are the symptoms of a herniated disc with a pinched nerve?
Symptoms of this nerve impingement are weakness in extending the big toe and ankle (foot drop), numbness can be felt on top of the foot, and can radiate into the buttock. If a different nerve is involved, the ankle reflex is lost and the patient cannot rise to their toes using their ankle. Pain in this case radiates down to the sole or outside the foot.

How is a herniated disc treated non-surgically?
Pain from a herniated disc often resolves on its own over time, as the prolapsed material is reabsorbed by the body, but until this happens (usually between four and six weeks) there can be considerable pain.

Bed rest is not recommended beyond a day or two for a herniated disc with a pinched nerve. Even in these cases, regular movement is advised to maintain muscle tone. Pain medication, cold and/or heat therapy, electrostimulation, bracing, traction, steroid injections and hydrotherapy are often used to control discomfort until the condition resolves.

While many people turn to medications and even surgery, they are very often ineffective and sometimes not necessary. It is during this period that chiropractic manipulations and physical therapy are often recommended, and in 80 to 90% of cases of a herniated disc with a pinched nerve, no surgery is required. New technological advances, such as class IV deep tissue laser and spinal decompression, comprise some of the latest non-surgical therapeutic modalities that can successfully resolve the problem and eliminate the need for surgery.

Other treatment options include medication to reduce the pain associated with herniated discs and, in severe cases where conservative treatments fail to relieve the symptoms, surgery may be performed to remove the protruding portion of the disc. Rarely, the entire disc may be removed and spinal stability may need to be provided by fusing metal hardware, or in some cases, an artificial disc may be implanted. Surgery should always be the last resort because of the statistically high failure rate and long recovery time.

Reprinted with permission from Think Teachers Magazine.