Monday, October 4th, 2010
I have always condemned the chronic use of pain medication except for extreme cases. The reason being that pain is your body’s way of telling you something is wrong. The idea and common practice of many individuals who take pain medication in order to be able to participate in physical activity boggles my mind. The fact that commercials advertise it for this use aggravates me even more. Why? The results of a recent study for a new pain relieving drug explain it perfectly.
Friday, August 6th, 2010
A recent study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics shows that immobilization of a joint can result in degeneration of the nerves controlling the joint and the muscles surrounding it. This is significant because it shows that any state of immobilization, either surgical, bed rest, or laziness can lead to degeneration of the nerves.
Thursday, April 29th, 2010
Sciatica is a relatively common form of low back pain and leg pain. In the last post I discussed briefly about what sciatica is. It is not a diagnosis, but rather a symptom, and its most common cause is a herniated disc. I promised at the end of that post I would discuss a few of the other causes of sciatica. Sciatica results from pressure placed on the sciatic nerve, resulting in irritation and the presenting symptoms of pain, numbness, tingling, and/or weakness. There are many ways this nerve can become compressed. The following will discuss some of the other more common causes other than a herniated disc.
Tuesday, April 6th, 2010
For many years osteoarthritis has been thought to be solely a by-product of aging. Today, this is not the case. Many individuals suffer with osteoarthritis at a relatively young age, and at the same time many older individuals suffer very little from osteoarthritis. So what causes osteoarthritis? If it’s not solely due to aging, which you can’t avoid, then some other cause may be able to be prevented.
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.