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neck pain

Don’t Let Neck Pain and Headaches Hold You Back

Head and neck pain are quite common, but that doesn’t mean you should tolerate it. Chronic neck pain, neck tightness and frequent headaches are not only uncomfortable; symptoms like these can interfere with your work, family life and overall enjoyment. Many people seek temporary relief with NSAIDs such as aspirin, ibuprofen or acetaminophen, but these remedies only mask the symptoms, they don’t treat the problem. Over the long term, daily use of NSAIDs can cause their own problems, such as weakened neck and shoulder muscles, liver damage, stomach ulcers or worse.

 

The structure of the neck is very complex. Seven vertebrae in the neck move in tandem and independently to facilitate the movement and flexibility that occurs in a healthy and properly functioning structure. The neck is also a kind of conduit for the thickest part of the spinal cord, which runs from the body to your brain. Finally, the head and neck are primarily responsible for your ability to balance your entire body. Now you can hopefully understand why chronic neck pain and headaches should never be ignored.

 

Common Causes of Neck Pain

 

Neck pain typically is caused by a limited group of common problems. Since the neck is where blood vessels link through to your head, pain and tightness can cause spasms of the arteries around the nerves of the neck and head. One or more of these things may be responsible for your neck pain.

 

Poor posture can contribute to head and neck pain because when one slouches or tenses up certain areas of the head and neck, the related tendons tend to contract. This contraction can become almost permanent, and the resulting strain on adjacent muscles and tendons leads to chronic pain.

 

Trauma from car accidents, falls or other accidents can bruise muscles and bones, or even knock vertebrae out of alignment. This condition can be extremely painful and for some patients it’s hard to imagine being pain-free again. With proper physical therapy, patients can fully recover from headache and neck pain caused by trauma.

 

Poor circulation stemming from a primary cause such as diabetes can lead to extreme neck pain and severe headaches. Though many people think that the pain, tingling or numbness is causing the pain, it’s actually the reverse. Lack of proper blood flow can cause these symptoms in the head and neck area, as well as the arms, hands and fingers. One common sign that you have poor circulation is if you seem to always have cold hands or feet. If you visit with one of our physical therapists and it’s determined that you have poor circulation, we can work closely with your primary physician to ensure that the primary cause is being treated along with the symptoms.

 

Chronic Headaches and Neck Pain Are Treatable

 

The good news is that no matter what the specific cause or causes of your chronic headaches and neck pain, the condition is treatable. You don’t need to suffer from the severe and bothersome pain associated with these issues. Whether you have pain due to poor posture, trauma, poor circulation or something else, you can soon have relief. All you need to do is contact us today to have one of our licensed physical therapists do a comprehensive, non-invasive examination. After that, we will likely be able to pinpoint the root cause of your neck pain or headaches, treat it and teach you how to prevent it from returning. Call us today to get started on the road to recovery.

 

knee pain

Overcoming Hip and Knee Pain  

Situated at opposite ends of the femur bone, the hip and the knee joints are two of the most important parts of the human body. The hip’s ball and socket structure allows the leg to have a greater range of motion, while the configuration of ligaments within the knee help support the tremendous weight of the upper body. They are marvels of evolution, and key factors in providing humans with the ability to run long distances with greater efficiency.

 

While the knees and hips are critical aspects of human physiology, they can be prone to injury and damage. Aging can diminish bone density, leading to a greater likelihood of breakage within the hip joint, while intense physical activity like soccer or running can cause knee pain or ligament damage. Thankfully, however, there are ways to overcome both hip and knee pain, and help you return to your daily activities.

 

Rest

 

If you find that you are experiencing pain in your joints or knees, the first step towards recovery is in getting adequate rest. This is especially true if the pain is the result of an acute injury sustained while exercising. Resting will ensure that no additional damage is done to the joint, and that the body can begin the process of healing any tissue damage that may have occurred. While resting, be sure to elevate your injured leg if possible; it will help to minimize inflammation, and also reduce your time on healing.

 

Ice Compressions

 

Ice is an excellent, natural way to help reduce both pain and inflammation. Since hip and knee pain are often the result of some kind of structural damage, there is very often some associated swelling that occurs. This swelling is the body beginning the process of healing the damaged tissue by flooding the injury site with various types of cells. However, although swelling is a natural part of the healing process, it can also cause discomfort. Put an ice compress on the injury for twenty minutes, and then removing it for twenty can help reduce swelling and numb the joint. Although the pain relief may only be temporary, the minimizing of inflammation will speed up the healing process.

 

Regular Stretching

 

During the excitement of exercise, stretching has the tendency to be tossed by the wayside. Those who live an active lifestyle often spend so much time on the go, that stretching can seem like a waste of time. This couldn’t be further from the truth, as stretching is a great way to minimize injury of all the joints. Proper, frequent stretching is critical to ensuring that both your muscles and joints are at their very best.

 

Should you find that your knee and hip pain is persisting beyond these simple tips, then it is important to schedule a consultation with your doctor. Chronic hip and knee pain can be indicative of more serious underlying disorders, and communicating effectively with your doctor and physical therapist is a great way to make sure that your body is performing to its potential.

 

http://www.medicinenet.com/knee_pain_facts/article.htm

 

http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/knee-pain/

Are Aches and Pains Ruining Your Day? Discover Why You Hurt and How You Can Lessen the Pain

As people age, many develop aches and pains that become progressively worse and begin to interfere with their normal work requirements, daily activities and even healthy sleep patterns. In many cases these aches and pains are worse upon awakening in the morning and ease as the person arises and begins to move about. Although this type of pain can have a number of causes, some of the most common ones are those related to a decrease in the level of overall health or activity, an illness or injury, a sedentary lifestyle, inadequate or improper exercise and poor nutrition.

 

Why Are Aches and Pains More Prevalent Upon Awakening?

 

Although general pain and aching can be attributed to many causes, inflammation is one of the most common. As you move about throughout the day, the tissues of the body often become irritated, resulting in chronic inflammation. If the irritation is not severe, you may not be aware that anything is happening inside your muscles and joints but as you sleep, the inflammation becomes thickened, making your body’s tissues less elastic. This inelasticity increases the irritant level in the tissues of the body and the results are felt as stiff or aching muscles and joints upon awakening.

As you arise and begin to move about, the inflammation in the tissues becomes less thick, allowing the tissues, muscles and joints to begin to move more freely and the pain recedes.

When this constant cycle of building and receding inflammation repeats again and again, chronic tissue degeneration occurs and permanent damage can result. This is why it is important to take morning aches and pains seriously and find proven ways to relieve the discomfort.

 

What Are Some Effective Ways to Help Relieve Common Aches and Pains?

 

Some of the best ways to help reduce the occurrence of morning aches and pains and the damage they cause is to take better care of your body and work to improve your overall health. This includes making sure that you:

  • eat a healthy diet, with an emphasis on anti-oxidant rich fruits, vegetables and nuts, such as peppers, carrots, broccoli, berries, grapes, citrus and walnuts
  • drink plenty of water to ensure proper hydration of body tissues, including muscles and joints
  • get regular, low impact exercise to make your body’s metabolism more efficient and help to remove waste materials that can build up and inflame body tissues
  • get enough restful sleep to maintain body chemistry and help promote normal function
  • improve sitting and standing posture to alleviate pressure points and help to prevent stress on muscles, joints and bones that can promote unhealthy inflammation
  • learn to manage stress to prevent involuntary tensing of muscles that can result in inflamed muscles and joints

Can Physical Therapy Be Effective for Aches and Pains?

 

Aches and pains that do not respond to your efforts to relieve them, those that seem to worsen or those that are related to some type of recent or past injury, can often be helped with the assistance of a professional physical therapy team, like ours. By using our skills and knowledge of the human anatomy, we can help patients reduce aches and pains and strengthen muscles, joints and bones to help ward off the inflammation that causes this type of discomfort.

To find out more about how physical therapy can help you deal with your aches and pains, contact us now. We can help you determine the cause for your discomfort and work out a convenient physical therapy plan to help you become stronger and enjoy better mobility at any stage of life.

What You Eat Can Make You Hurt More

How Your Diet Can Make Your Aches and Pains Worse

Do you suffer from chronic aches and pains? If so, then you’re not alone. Often times, “mystery” aches and pains are actually caused by localized inflammation in the body, which can occur as a result of overuse or even injury. And while there are anti-inflammatory medications available to help relieve pain, these come with their own potential for adverse side effects. What many people fail to realize is that inflammation can be hugely impacted by your diet and nutrition. By avoiding certain foods, you can prevent inflammation from occurring in the first place. And by eating the right foods, you can not only rid your body of toxins, but reduce inflammation as well.

 

Top Foods to Avoid

There are numerous foods and drinks that you should actively avoid if you’re suffering from pain caused by inflammation. Caffeinated beverages rank among the top of the list due to the affect that it can have on your body; specifically, caffeine can alter your body’s pH balance, resulting in an increase in acidity. This increases inflammation by changing your body’s natural chemical processes.

Sugar and artificial sweeteners (such as aspartame) should also be avoided. Sugar, for example, causes your body’s insulin levels to spike and thus makes you even more sensitive to pain. Aspartame has a similar effect on the body. This means you should avoid any foods and beverages with added sugars and artificial sweeteners (including diet sodas). Even some seemingly healthy fruit juices have sugar added, so it’s important to avoid them.

Nightshade vegetables are another type of food worth avoiding if you face pain caused by inflammation; unfortunately, these vegetables are known to increase the inflammatory response in a person’s body. Some examples of these include eggplant, tomatoes, and potatoes.

Some other foods and drinks to avoid include:

  • white breads
  • coffee creamer
  • alcohol

 

Tips for Reducing Pain Through Nutrition

Now that you know which types of foods you should avoid if you suffer from pain due to inflammation, what kinds of changes can you make in your diet to promote a healthier and pain-free lifestyle? For starters, opting for a more natural diet of greens, fresh fruits, and certain vegetables (not nightshade) is a great way to reduce inflammation and pain. And perhaps one of the best things you can do for yourself is to simply drink more water. If you’re the type of person who drinks a lot of juices, sodas, and other questionable beverages, you might be amazed at how much better you feel just by switching to water. That’s because water can help flush toxins out of your body, which can in turn reduce pain caused by inflammation.

If you’re not doing so already, now is also a good time to start working to improve your gut health. Consider, for example, taking a daily probiotic, which will help balance out the bacteria in your gut. There are also foods you can eat that contain natural probiotics, such as yogurt. Just be sure to avoid yogurts that have a lot of added sugar and flavoring. Plain, Greek yogurt is typically your safest option here. You can always add a little granola or even fresh berries for more flavor.

Dealing with pain due to inflammation is something nobody should have to deal with. Unfortunately, this is a problem that plagues a large portion of the population. By understanding what foods worsen your inflammation and how you can reduce it through a healthier and more natural diet, however, you can find ways to reduce pains without the need for medications.

 

http://www.prevention.com/food/10-foods-that-make-inflammation-worse/slide/8

http://kriscarr.com/blog/5-tips-to-reduce-inflammation/