Thursday, February 25th, 2010
It is a well known and apparent fact that as we age we begin to lose our ability to balance and maintain our stability. Many of the fractures in the elderly population occur after a fall which could have been prevented if the individual’s balance was better. There are some physiological reasons for this decline in stability that can not be prevented, but there are many things individuals can do to minimize this side effect of aging. One’s quality and length of life are severely altered after a fracture. A study found the 1 year mortality rate to be 21% after a hip fracture. I would not want to roll the dice with those kind of odds. A few years ago my wife’s grandmother fractured her hip. Fortunately she beat the odds, but her quality of life was dramatically altered after the incident. Take proper measures now to ensure you or a loved one do not become part of the statistics.
Thursday, February 18th, 2010
Have you been diagnosed with fibromyalgia or think you may have it. According to the National Fibromyalgia Association, it can take up to 4 years to be diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Why does it take so long? The reason is because fibromyalgia is sort of a diagnosis you get if you fit the description and symptoms and nothing else can be found as the cause. Fibromyalgia is somewhat of a mystery and is not well understood. In the past it was looked upon as mostly a psychological condition, but more resent research has shown a possible link to chemical imbalances within the brain, resulting in a lower pain tolerance.
Thursday, February 11th, 2010
Eighty percent of the population suffers from back pain at some point in their life and an estimated twenty percent suffer with back pain at any one point in time. Disc problems only constitute a small portion of these problems, but still involve a significant amount of the population. Disc problems involve a disc bulge, a disc protrusion/extrusion, and most commonly degenerative disc disease. Degenerative disc disease is a condition we see and deal with on a regular basis in our clinics.
The spinal disc is made up of two components. It has an outer fibrous ring called the annulus fibrosis which holds in the inner gel like material called the nucleus pulposis. The inner nucleus pulposis acts like a fulcrum for our vertebra to pivot on and allows our spines to move as they do.
Disc problems are diagnosed through the use of a proper history, physical exam, and diagnostic imaging. X-rays are useful to access disc heights and severity of degenerative disc disease. The disc itself is actually not visible on x-rays, only the space or lack of space created by it. An MRI is the gold standard for accurate assessment and visualization of the spinal disc. An MRI can detect degenerative disc disease that may not be apparent on x-ray, and allows us to see if a disc is bulging or is herniated. It also allows us to see if the disc is compressing on any nerves or even the spinal cord. Disc bulges and herniations can never be definitively diagnosed without an MRI.
Thursday, February 4th, 2010
What is your doctor not telling you about your diabetes? It is such an incredibly common condition so many of my patients suffer with in addition to their joint dysfunction we are treating. The problem I have found is so many medical doctors are not educating their patients on how to manage their condition once it is diagnosed. They simply prescribe medication and check lab values a few weeks down the road to check for improvement. Now, this is not a bash on the medical profession as a whole, but on the majority of doctors who fall into this method of care. There are several medical doctors I know who are great and provide excellent education to their patients. This post is for the many who are being treated by the doctor who is not providing you any information on managing you condition.