Early Signs and Risk Factors for Developing Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is sometimes referred to as the “silent disease” because it may not show noticeable signs of its presence until a serious bone fracture occurs. However, there are some signs of osteoporosis that can appear before the disease progresses too far. As the disease slowly and silently develops, bones lose density and become more porous, leading to skeletal changes that can cause pain. It is a progressive disease and not curable, but its progress can be significantly slowed. It is important to recognize the signs of osteoporosis and to begin a treatment plan immediately to prevent further bone loss.

Osteoporosis infographic: healthy and osteoporotic bones

Symptoms of Osteoporosis

Many times people learn they have osteoporosis because a bone fractures when doing something that should not break a bone, like standing up or lightly bumping an object. A bone fracture is one of the top symptoms of low bone density. 

Osteoporosis symptoms

However, there are early signs of osteoporosis that may appear before a bone breaks. Following is an osteoporosis symptoms list:

  • Loss of height over a period of time due to bone degeneration in the spine.
  • Back pain due to a collapsed vertebra in the spine.
  • Back pain due to a spinal fracture.
  • Developing a curvature of the spine near the shoulders (widow’s hump).
  • Developing a curvature anywhere along the spine.
  • Stooped or poor posture.
  • Difficulty doing simple activities, like getting out of a chair, without using the arms.
  • One or more markers for osteoporosis are indicated in blood test results, like low vitamin D levels (vitamin D from diet or supplements is needed for calcium absorption).

Osteoporosis stages with porous bones

In many cases, the pain associated with osteoporosis is mostly due to a bone fracture. Back pain is common when a spinal compression fracture occurs. Pain in the neck or hips is another one of the common signs of osteoporosis. However, osteoporosis and pain also go hand-in-hand when a bone weakens and causes other problems, such as a skeletal misalignment or difficulties with bending and twisting the body.

Osteoporosis develops so slowly that the signs the disease is developing are often overlooked. It is important to never ignore the warning signs of osteoporosis.

Risk Factors for Developing Osteoporosis

There are many risk factors for increasing the chances of developing osteoporosis. Some are not controllable but increase the risks. They include:

  • Race – people who are of Asian descent or Caucasian descent have the greatest risk.
  • Sex – more women than men develop osteoporosis because women’s bones are smaller and less dense than those of men.
  • Age – the natural aging process can lead to diminishing bone density.
  • Genetics – if someone’s parent, brother or sister developed osteoporosis, the risk increases for that person.

Risk Factors for Developing Osteoporosis

Some of the controllable risks that can lead to bone loss include:

  • Hormones – lowered sex hormones or excessive thyroid hormones.
  • Medications – corticosteroids and drugs used for seizures, cancer, gastric reflux, and transplant rejection.
  • Diet – a diet with low calcium intake.
  • Vitamin D level – low vitamin D level impedes the absorption of calcium.
  • Eating disorders – not getting enough nutrients due to a highly restricted food intake, leading to being underweight.
  • Exercise – lack of weight-bearing exercise or a sedentary lifestyle.
  • Alcohol – consuming more than two drinks a day.

At the first signs of osteoporosis, the physician will order specialized tests for measuring bone loss and density. There are two types of medical tests used. One type includes a bone density scan, CT or MRI. The second test type is a blood test that assesses for osteoporosis markers.

The scan is usually done using a bone densitometry (DEXA) or dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) test. The DXA and DEXA scan machine produces a T-score and Z-score. The T score measure indicates the amount of bone a person has in comparison to younger people who have not experienced bone loss. The physician will use the T score to estimate the risk of fracturing a bone.  

Diagnosing Osteoporosis

The Z-score measures the amount of bone a patient has in comparison to other people who are in the same age group. Other common tests include a body CT scan, spine CT scan or spine MRI.

The bone density blood test measures osteoporosis markers. The markers measure certain elements in the blood or urine. The blood tests measure:

  • Bone-specific alkaline phosphatase (BALP) – an enzyme involved in the mineralization process; BALP levels indicate the bone formation rate of the skeleton; people with osteoporosis often have BALP levels that are as much as three times the normal level
  • Osteocalcin – a protein associated with bone building and turnover

The physician may also order a urine test:

  • Urinary N-telopeptide of type 1 collagen (uNTX) – type 1 collagen is a protein associated with bone breakdown; test indicates whether or not there is loss of bone and bone resorption

Slowing Bone Loss Due to Osteoporosis

The results of one or more tests will indicate if there are signs of bone loss. If so, the medical professional will recommend a course of action to slow the rate of osteoporosis progress. There is also the possibility that proper treatment and lifestyle changes can lead to some bone rebuilding, though complete reversal of bone damage is currently not possible. 

Arthritis

Arthritis in the hands

The general term of arthritis is used frequently to describe over one hundred types of joint pain or joint disease. People of all ages, sex, and race are affected by arthritis, with women being diagnosed more frequently than men are. 

What Is Arthritis

Osteoarthritis is the primary type of arthritis diagnosed, but other types are not so common. The wearing away of cartilage on the surface ends of the bones causes the inflammation and joint pain associated with arthritis. Mobility and fine motor activities become more difficult and painful. Arthritis can be infrequent in the beginning but can become more severe with time.

Arthritis Symptoms

There are many forms of arthritis; each includes specific symptoms and causes. The classic symptoms of arthritis are joint pain, swelling at the site of inflammation and loss of ability to perform functions such as walking up stairs and tying shoes with arthritis in hands. With some types of arthritis, there can be visible changes to the joints affected. Other types of arthritis require testing and examination to support a diagnosis. 

What Causes Arthritis

The causes of arthritis vary with each type. Each of the following forms of arthritis has a specific cause with joint pain and swelling being the common factor in most of the types:

  • Metabolic arthritis is caused by high uric acid levels. Uric acid allows crystals to form in the joints causing pain and inflammation in the affected area. Gout is a term used to describe this form of arthritis. 
  • Inflammatory arthritis can be caused by genetic or environmental factors. Inflammation occurs due to the autoimmune system triggering a response. Included in this category are psoriatic and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Infectious arthritis is caused by a fungus, bacteria, or virus entering the system and is treated with antibiotics. Treatment is usually successful, but symptoms of arthritis may be chronic. 
  • Degenerative arthritis or osteoarthritis is the common form of arthritis. Causes of osteoarthritis are the wearing of bone cartilage, in turn, causing inflammation, pain, and swelling.

Diagnosing Arthritis

A diagnosis of arthritis is usually made initially with a primary care physician. The initial exam will include the following:

  • A thorough medical history including past illness and a possible family history of arthritis.
  • Physical examination especially of the joints and mobility.
  • Lab and imaging tests will be ordered to determine the form of arthritis.

The primary physician may do all or most of the testing, or they may refer to a rheumatologist to complete the diagnosis.

Treating Arthritis

Rheumatologists encourage treating arthritis as early as possible. Treating arthritis in its early stages will stop further damage to the body. Drugs to treat arthritis have greatly improved, and treatment is successful when treated early. Preventing the damage to joints and affected parts of the body are successful in arthritis pain relief.

Best Foods for Joint Pain Relief: What Foods Will Help Joint Pain?

All types of arthritis have an element of inflammation, and inflammation causes pain and joint damage. Ideally, preventing inflammation is the goal, but that is not always possible. Once it exists, the goal becomes reducing it for pain relief. A diet for joint pain includes foods with known anti-inflammatory nutrients and also nutrients for bone building and connective tissue strengthening.

Best foods for joint pain relief

Anti-inflammatories in Foods for Joint Pain

Inflammation can cause a lot of damage in the body, including the joints. It is inflammation that causes joint linings to swell, and joints to get red and warm. Chronic inflammation is linked to lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis, and is a symptom of osteoarthritis when bone deterioration irritates soft tissues. Inflammation can cause serious joint damage when left untreated or becomes chronic.

Medical research is learning more and more about the role of foods for joint health and for reducing joint pain. Foods considered anti-inflammatory have certain characteristics. For example, they have higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants compared to other foods. The truth is that many of the foods people are consuming are contributing to more joint pain and more severe arthritis symptoms than would be experienced otherwise.

What Foods are good for Joints?

Food choices for healthy joints will:

  • Help control inflammation
  • Increase build density
  • Strengthen connective tissue
  • Help manage weight
  • Promote overall good health

There is still a lot of ongoing medical research investigating the role of diet in joint pain, but the general recommendation is to eat a lot of cold-water fish, fruits and vegetables. A largely plant-based diet that minimizes consumption of red meat is ideal. 

Plant-based diet for joint pain relief

Preventing and Reducing Inflammation and Joint Pain

Specifically, what foods help with joint pain? Research indicates the following foods can reduce pain.

  • Cold-water fish are high in omega3-fatty acids (polyunsaturated fatty acids) that prevent or reduce inflammation – mackerel, salmon, tuna, herring, oysters, sardines.
  • Leafy green vegetables for joint pain can block an enzyme that is known to cause joint swelling and contain calcium and a variety of vitamins and other compounds that strengthen bones – kale, mustard greens, purple cabbage, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, arugula.
  • Richly colored fruits have nutrients, like anthocyanins and lycopene, that limit the inflammatory response, and citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C that prevents inflammation – blueberries, blackberries, tomatoes (it is a fruit), strawberries, cherries, raspberries, oranges, limes, and grapefruits.
  • Oil is another omega-3 source and a source of healthy fat – extra virgin olive oil, safflower oil, avocado oil, walnut oil.
  • Beans have anthocyanins, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties – soybeans, chickpeas, black beans, lentils, pinto beans, kidney beans.
  • Whole grains are high-fiber and contribute to the production of fatty acids, which work to limit inflammation – whole wheat, barley, rye, whole oats, brown rice, buckwheat, quinoa.
  • Dairy has calcium and vitamin D to increase bone building – low fat milk, cheese, yogurt.
  • Nuts contain vitamin E, linolenic acid for immune strengthening, and other nutrients – almonds, pistachios, walnuts, pine nuts.

Dairy products to increase bone building

Foods to Avoid

Just like some foods prevent or reduce inflammation and reduce joint pain, there are foods to avoid. These foods are inflammatory foods that can lead to increased joint pain and other arthritis symptoms. The foods that cause joint pain and stiffness include:

  • Fried foods
  • Processed foods
  • Refined carbohydrates and sugar
  • Salt
  • Alcohol
  • Oils high in saturated fats or omega 6 fatty acids, like corn and safflower oil

Refined carbohydrates and sugar are to avoid with arthritis

Nutrition for Joint Pain

Foods for pain relief are really just healthy food choices. Everyone, whether or not they have arthritis, should avoid processed and fried foods, sugary desserts and marbled red meat. These foods contribute to a variety of diseases and can aggravate the inflammatory response and increase joint pain. Following a healthy diet can help anyone ease joint pain, and in the process, people better manage his or her weight and enjoy better overall health.

The Best Shoulder Pain Remedies

The shoulder area is one of the most used and abused parts of the body. This complex area of the body consists of two joints, tendons, muscles, and bones used for activities such as brushing hair to lifting weighty objects. The complex shoulder area is one of the most susceptible to injury and pain due to use and overuse.

Shoulder Joint Anatomy

How to Relieve Shoulder Pain at Home

With most shoulder pain, it is possible to manage your pain and discomfort at home. Some of the most successful ways to manage pain in the shoulder area are:

  • Shoulder pain relief medication such as ibuprofen, and acetaminophen.
  • Applying a cold compress to the area for the first forty-eight hours then switch to heat application.
  • Wear a compression brace for support.
  • Lift and elevate the area while resting or sleeping.

Simple Exercises to Manage Shoulder Pain

Including shoulder pain relief exercises into your daily routine, along with shoulder pain stretches, can see many positive results. Some simple daily exercises to strengthen the shoulder muscles and tendons and control pain include:

  • Shoulder rotations by lifting the shoulders toward the ear lobes then slowly rotate forward.
  • Rotating shoulders by lifting toward the ear lobes then rotating back toward shoulder blades.

Shoulder rotations to prevent pain

  • Rotations should be done when sitting with back straight and feet flat on the floor.
  • Stretch shoulder by moving both shoulders slowly toward the center of the body and hold the position for a few seconds.
  • Back shoulder stretches are moving both shoulders slowly toward shoulder blades then holding for a few seconds.

These simple exercises can be done several times a day to increase blood flow to the area and assist with pain relief.

Preventing Shoulder Pain

Preventing shoulder pain from occurring again and controlling symptoms will help in reducing the downtime with severe shoulder pain. Tips for preventing shoulder pain include some of the following suggestions:

  • Shoulder pain relief massage to assist in increasing blood flow and improving mobility.
  • Incorporating plenty of vitamin D into diet and exposure to daily sunshine.
  • Stay physically active and continue with exercises and stretches to the shoulder area.
  • Wear a compression brace when doing excessive activities like continued heavy lifting.

It is always wise to assess mattress and pillow for extreme wear and breakdown of materials to prevent severe shoulder pain after sleeping. Replacing an old mattress and pillow can be a simple way to avoid many of the common shoulder pain issues.

Correct and incorrect sleeping positions

A few changes in daily activities and being aware of what causes shoulder pain are some of the best ways to prevent it from occurring again. Most shoulder pain will decrease or go away entirely within a few weeks. A treatment plan that includes exercise, rest, and eating a nutritional diet will assist in controlling shoulder pain. When pain or symptoms increase or become more intense when exercising, consulting with a medical provider will be necessary.

4 Amazing Spinal Injections for Pain Management

Pain in the neck or anywhere on the spine can make it difficult to do even simple activities. The spinal injection for pain can provide temporary relief and is also used as a diagnostic procedure to help pinpoint the source of pain. It is a simple procedure performed by a physician when more conservative treatments fail. 

Following is a discussion of the spinal injection procedure and the types of injections available today.

What is a Spinal Injection?

A spinal injection is a minimally invasive treatment for pain management. It is a simple procedure in which a steroid injection mixture, consisting of a steroid and/or anesthetic and sometimes a numbing agent, is delivered to the area of the spine believed to be the source of pain. 

Spinal Injection

The steroid or cortisone and/or anesthetic medication reduces inflammation, thus providing pain relief. The anesthetic drug is administered in a procedure called a nerve block or nerve root block.

It is not always easy to identify the specific source of spinal pain. For this reason, the spinal injection is used as injection therapy for back pain or as a diagnostic injection back pain procedure.

Types of Spinal Injections

Epidural steroid injections and selective nerve block injections are effective because they deliver medication directly to the location in the spine, causing the pain. Steroid medication is an anti-inflammatory drug. In the nerve block spinal injection, the anesthetic works by blocking pain signals. 

Following are the common injections for back pain relief.

Often used for the treatment of low back (lumbar region) and leg pain, this injection provides pain relief that can last for one week to a year. The injections are also used to relieve pain in the upper back and neck (cervical region) and the mid-spine area (thoracic region). In most cases, the number of injections in a 12-month period will not exceed three. 

Epidural injection

This is an injection of a steroid and numbing agent used to either provide therapeutic relief of back pain or to diagnose the source of pain. Nerve roots that become inflamed and compressed cause the pain, but it may be difficult to identify the precise area of nerve inflammation. If the first injection does not stop the pain, the physician will schedule an additional injection to be administered in a different location of the spine. The treatment in the same area can be administered up to 6 times a year. 

The spine consists of a series of paired joints called facet joints. Cartilage provides cushioning tissue that prevents the bones from rubbing together during movement. Nerves run through these joints. Pain occurs when one or more facet joints is injured or cartilage deteriorates during the normal aging process. An injection of a steroid and/or anesthetic into the capsule surrounding the damaged facet joint in the cervical, thoracic or lumbar regions of the spine can bring pain relief. The treatment can be administered up to three times each year.

Facet joint injection

The sacroiliac (SI) joint is the joint next to the spine that connects the bottom of the spine or sacrum to the hip or pelvic bone. If the joint deteriorates or is injured, pain occurs. An injection of a steroid or anesthetic directly into the SI joint can provide temporary pain relief up to four months. The treatment can be administered up to three times each year. 

All types of spinal injections are limited to a certain number per year because frequent use of steroids can lead to side effects. Serious side effects include weakened spinal bones and muscles near the spine. Other side effects include skin thinning, high blood sugar and insomnia, to name a few. 

Steroid injections interrupt the natural balance of hormones in the body. Spreading the injections out over a period of time allows hormones to re-balance.

Diagnostic Spinal Injections

Spinal injections can help a physician identify the source of pain. If the injection stops the pain, the physician knows the specific spinal area to further evaluate. Sometimes surgery is needed, but surgery is always a last resort. 

A good example is the facet rhizotomy. A cervical fact rhizotomy or a lumbar facet rhizotomy is used as a treatment option after a patient has had several facet joint injections that enabled the physician to pinpoint the source of pain. A facet rhizotomy is a procedure in which nerves are deadened with a heated electrode, giving pain relief for months or years. 

Facet Rhizotomy

Facet Rhizotomy

Easing Pain with Injections

Spinal pain is debilitating, making it difficult to move and manage normal activities. The spinal injection for pain is a low risk procedure that can take place in a medical clinic, hospital or surgical center. 

Usually, the patient is asked to try conservative measures first, like over-the-counter pain nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications and short periods of bed rest. If these measures do not work, the next step is injection therapy or a diagnostic injection. 

How to Identify Hip Arthritis: Check Symptoms and Signs

When thinking of arthritis, most people think of the back, the fingers and even the knees, failing to realize that even larger joints, such as the hips, can suffer from this degenerative disease. Arthritis refers to an inflammation of a joint that leads to pain and difficult movements. Hip arthritis is usually caused by osteoarthritis that causes joint wear and tear from excessive movement.

The hip joint is used constantly from the beginning of one’s life for walking, running, climbing and nearly all other leg movements. Over time, the protective cartilage in the ball-and-socket joint of the hip wears away, exposing the bones. This change can lead to numerous signs of arthritis around the hip joint that become progressively worse as the disease progresses.

Early Signs of Hip Arthritis

Initially, mild arthritis in hip joints causes minor signs and symptoms that can be easy to ignore or to chalk up to another problem. Individuals may notice the following issues.

  • Mild pain in the hip
  • Mild radiating pain in the lower back, groin or thighs especially with walking
  • Difficulty spreading the legs
  • Popping noises when spreading the legs
  • Pain that is worse in the morning
  • Increased pain with inactivity

Pain in the hip

Signs of Advanced Hip Arthritis

Of course, the symptoms for arthritis in the hip change and increase as the disease progresses. Even with treatment, this degenerative disease continues to worsen in the following ways.

  • Increased pain even without weight-bearing activities
  • Decreased flexibility and mobility in the area
  • Limping or difficulty walking
  • Difficulty getting up and down from chairs
  • Hip swelling

Difficulty walking among elder people

Getting a Hip Arthritis Diagnosis

Doctors rely a great deal on a patient’s description of symptoms for making a diagnosis of hip arthritis. Many of the symptoms are difficult to see but can be acutely felt by the patient. However, doctors will also spend time during an initial consultation to discuss the patient’s past medical and surgical history as well as his or her family history of arthritis and other musculoskeletal disorders. In addition, a doctor will complete a physical examination, which could include range of motion tests and gait tests, while recommending Xrays and blood tests to check for other possible disorders.

Difficulty walking among elder people

Hip arthritis is not instantly terrible but instead develops over several months to years. It is important to catch signs and symptoms early to seek early interventions that can help individuals age gracefully without excessive pain.

Exercises for Knee Osteoarthritis

Knee osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease that usually occurs when the connective tissues in the knees break down from excessive movement and the bones rub on each other. In some cases, the bones in the knee joints may develop hard growths that rub on each other and cause similar symptoms. 

Osteoarthritis most notably causes pain and stiffness in the joint, which can eventually make it difficult to walk, climb stairs or perform many other activities. Thankfully, an osteoarthritis exercise program using stretching, flexibility, strength and mobility exercises can help decrease certain symptoms and improve one’s quality of life.

Water Exercises

Water exercises are particularly good because they strengthen the joints through the added weight of the water while the water also reduces overall impact. Water is notably easy on joints, being highly favored by many doctors over more common exercises, such as walking or aerobics.

The simplest water exercise is water walking, which is simply walking across the bottom of a pool. This can be done on one’s own in a shallow pool. To increase intensity, individuals can try water-based interval training or can work on lifting their knees higher. There are also many other organized water aerobic classes popping up across the country these days.

Water aerobic exercises

Aerobic and Easy Cardio Exercises

Aerobics and cardio exercises are not only good for the joints but are also great for the heart and lungs when done safely. Those who have only mild symptoms may still be able to take part in the following exercises if done gently.

  • Walking
  • Biking
  • Swimming
  • Golfing

However, there are certain knee arthritis exercises to avoid to prevent further injury. In general, anything that produces moderate to major impact on the knees should be avoided. For example, knee arthritis and cycling may not fit together well if cycling is done daily, on difficult terrain or with the knees bending more than 90 degrees. Other exercises that may need to be avoided include the following:

  • Running
  • Stair climbing
  • Jumping

Yoga and Pilates

Yoga and pilates are known for creating long, lean muscles and improving flexibility. Plus, they are gentle on the joints and are low impact. Therefore, they work well as stretching exercises for knee arthritis. Both of these types of exercise reduce soreness in one’s joints while also improving circulation through gentle movements. By focusing on the mental aspect of breath and body control, one may also be able to decrease the sensation of pain.

Yoga exercises

Knee Exercises at Home

Individuals do not have to rely only on physiotherapy exercises for knee osteoarthritis. There are many at-home exercises that individuals can do daily to decrease pain, improve flexibility in the knees and increase mobility

  • Lying leg lifts strengthen the knees.

Exercises to decrease pain in knees

  • Hamstring stretches mobilize the area.

Exercises to decrease pain in knees

  • Knee squats strengthen the quadriceps, which stabilize the knees.

Exercises to decrease pain in knees-2

  • Sit and stands improve leg strength.

Exercises to decrease pain in knees-3

  • Leg crosses increase flexibility throughout the legs and stretch out the ligaments around the knees.

Exercises to decrease pain in knees-4

Common Causes of Hip Pain

Hip pain has no age limit. Young and older people experience hip pain for a variety of reasons that include injury, arthritis, bursitis and many more. The pain can be of different intensity, from mild to severe, but any pain can make walking, sitting and sleeping difficult. The following article is the short summary of the most common causes of hip pain.

Construction of the Hip

Most people experience hip pain at some point in their life. The pain can be temporary when it is the result of a muscle strain or a mild injury. However, it can also be severe or chronic, sending a warning that something more serious is occurring.

The hip joint is where the ball at the top of the femur or thigh bones meets the socket in the pelvis bone. The socket is called the acetabulum. The acetabulum and the ball of the femur bone are covered with cartilage.

Hip Anatomy

The joint lining is called the synovium , and it is responsible for producing a lubricating fluid and keeping the cartilage healthy by supplying nutrients. Holding the hip bones together and enabling a range of movement are ligaments, tendons and muscles. To allow the muscles and tendons to glide smoothly within the joint are bursae, small fluid-filled sacs. The sciatic nerve runs behind the hip joint, while major arteries and veins run in front.

Where Hip Pain Occurs

With such a complicated structure, it is not surprising that hip pain is a common occurrence or that there are many causes of hip pain. The ball-and-socket construction is meant to withstand a lot of use as a major joint used for body movement and positioning, but like most joints, it is subject to broken bones, injury, disease and wear-and-tear.

Hip pain is felt in various ways:

  • Pain felt on the groin or hip – indicates a problem in the hip joint.
  • Pain felt on the hip’s outside – indicates a problem with soft tissues around the joint.
  • Pain felt in the outer buttock or upper thigh – also indicates a problem with soft tissues around the joint.

The location of the pain can help a physician pinpoint the cause of the pain.

When Pain Occurs

Pain can occur during various activities and for obvious or unobvious reasons. There may be:

  • Hip pain when walking
  • Hip pain after walking
  • Hip pain while sleeping on the hip
  • Sudden hip pain with injury
  • Sudden hip pain without injury

Hip pain when walking

Sometimes there are outside signs of the medial issue causing the pain. For example, there may be swelling in the hip area or the area around the hip feels warm and tender.

What Causes Hip Pain

One of the challenges in identifying the source of hip pain is that there are many causes. For example, hip pain when walking may be due to bursitis, arthritis or tendonitis. Hip pain after a session of walking may be due to repetitive stress from overusing the hip or from a tendon or muscle strain.

Following are the common causes of hip pain:

  • Arthritis – arthritis causes hip joint inflammation and cartilage breakdown with pain felt inside the hip but frequently accompanied by tenderness or swelling outside the hip too.

Arthritis

  • Core muscle injury – pain is felt in the groin area due to a muscle tear or damage to soft tissues.
  • Labral tear – the cartilage surrounding the hip socket and helping to hold the thighbone in place is torn and causes pain in the groin or the hip.
  • Bursitis – pain is felt on the outside of the hip, buttock or thigh and is due to inflammation of the fluid sacs (bursae) in the joint.
  • Tendonitis – muscles around the hip are tender due to overuse or strain of tendons that attach muscles to the bone.

Tendonitis

  • Hip sprain – ligaments connecting bones in the hip are torn or stretched, frequently causing swelling, tenderness and pain.
  • Fractured pelvic bone – hips and pelvic pain can be extreme when the pelvis is fractured.
  • Hip dislocation – usually the result of a traumatic injury, the femur is forced out of the hip bone socket, causing pain inside and outside the hip.
  • Medical issues with systems in the pelvic area – sometimes hips and pelvic pain is actually related to other medical issues, like urological or gastrointestinal problems, and not to a condition in the hip.
  • Cancer – sometimes hip pain is caused by a bone tumor or other bone conditions and not necessarily in the hip bone.
  • Lower spine conditions – a problem with the spine, like arthritis or a pinched nerve, can cause hip pain.

Even shoes can cause hip pain when the angle of the shoes causes a skeletal misalignment.

Among the top chronic hip pain causes is arthritis. Arthritis flare-ups are also the most common cause of hip pain that is acute or short-term. Chronic hip pain may also be the result of a malformation in the joint or an injury that does heal correctly, leading to inflammation.

Sudden hip pain that occurs without an injury may be a hip labral tear. The tear itself frequently shows no symptoms, but the hip hurts, gets stiff or experiences a catching sensation.

Seek Professional Help

Sometimes hip pain from a mild muscle strain or injury is relieved with over-the-counter pain or anti-inflammatory medications. However, if the pain persists or is severe, or there is swelling or redness in the hip joint area, it is important to see a physician to determine the cause.

call to request an appointment to spain clinic Call our office at (703) 520-1031 to request an appointment with our pain management doctor Dr. Majid Ghauri.

Can Weight Loss Help to Relieve Back Pain?

Losing weight, even a few pounds, can have a positive outcome on relieving back pain. Medical experts agree that weight loss should be a priority in pain control for patients experiencing back pain.

Fitness and weight loss

The Back Pain and its Connection with Weight Loss

Extra body weight places excessive strain on the muscles, ligaments, and spinal cord. The body compensates for the excess weight by changing the alignment in the core area and putting undue pressure on the spine, ligaments, and muscles supporting it — medical research continues to support the connection between back pain and obesity. 

Extra body weight influences on the spinal cord

Losing Weight with Back Problems

The path to losing weight when experiencing back pain is a vicious circle. Exercise can be difficult and painful when incorporating a weight treatment for back pain. Evaluation of lifestyle habits and effectively working on changing negative daily habits can be the first step in attempting to lose weight while experiencing back pain.

Important Tips for Losing Weight

There are a few key factors that must be dealt with when taking positive steps to lose weight. They include:

  • Start with low-impact exercises such as swimming or walking.
  • Count the daily calories and be aware of portions.
  • Obtain diet and meal preparation information on low-fat meals.
  • Keep a sleep log on length and quality of sleep. Evaluate the condition of the mattress used for sleep.

The smallest changes in exercise and diet for pain relief can result in a noticeable reduction in discomfort. When some of the pain is relieved, exercising and moving becomes more comfortable, and back pain begins to improve.

How to Locate and Work on Specific Areas of Back Pain

Can weight cause lower back pain? Can belly fat cause back pain? Yes, weight and belly fat are major contributing factors in back pain, especially lower back pain. The pelvic area and the lower spine will improperly adjust to the added weight in the belly, and overall excessive body weight will put pressure on the spinal column. Low-impact exercise targeting the lower back and belly areas are proven ways to reduce the lower back pain associated with carrying excess weight in the belly area.

Man suffering from low back pain

How to Start Losing Weight?

Knowing the need to lose weight and doing it can be a complicated process. Support from professionals and obtaining quality information on diet and exercise can be a positive first step. Other helpful facts on exercise and weight loss include:

  • Talk to a primary medical provider on the steps to losing weight.
  • Set an obtainable target weight.
  • Join one or several types of exercise programs. Aerobic swimming programs and yoga classes can be very beneficial.

Support from others in exercise classes can also be a positive step in starting to exercise and lose weight. Moving and changes to diet can be the start of losing weight and relieving back pain.

How Carpal Tunnel Affects People’s Quality of Life

Most people have heard of carpal tunnel syndrome because tens of millions of people are experiencing its symptoms each year. The painful disorder exists when the carpal tunnel in the wrist that protects the median nerve is compressed. The compression is due to inflammation causing swelling in the tendons and ligaments in the carpal tunnel, creating pressure on the median nerve.

The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome may disappear when swelling goes down and relieves the pressure. However, millions of people live with the condition on a daily basis. The carpal tunnel syndrome is painful and leads to hand and wrist weakness, making it difficult to accomplish certain activities in personal and work lives.

Symptoms and Signs of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Living with carpal tunnel syndrome is not easy because the hand and wrist are involved in most activities. It is often thought of as a repetitive motion condition, but can develop due to:

  • repetitive movements;
  • injury to the wrist, like a fracture;
  • aging;
  • arthritic diseases (rheumatoid arthritis, gout);
  • wrist or hand deformity.

The symptoms develop slowly and include:

  • numbness in hands;
  • finger pain or tingling;
  • pain that spreads from the palm and into the finger;
  • decreased feeling in the fingertips;
  • swollen hand;
  • weakness in the hand;
  • inability to perform certain tasks requiring dexterity;
  • frequent dropping of items because of lack of feeling and weakness in the hand.

In severe cases, the muscles at the base of the thumb may shrink. The fingers affected are the ones served by the nerve running through the carpal tunnel: thumb, middle finger, ring finger and index finger.

Daily Activities Impacted by Carpal Tunnel

For the activities of daily living carpal tunnel syndrome can have a measurable impact. Carpal tunnel syndrome can make it difficult to complete even simple tasks, like buttoning a shirt or twisting a jar lid. The disease also makes it difficult for people who do repetitive tasks on a regular basis. What type of jobs can trigger carpal tunnel syndrome? They include:

  • office jobs requiring a lot of typing;
  • technology jobs requiring a lot of keyboarding or data entry;
  • sewers;
  • manufacturing plant assembly line workers doing repetitive work;
  • cleaning professionals;
  • painters;
  • construction workers using hand hammers and other tools that jar the wrist.
The job requiring a lot of typing may trigger carpal tunnel syndrome

Some of the simplest daily and work activities become difficult and painful. It can prevent people from being able to pick up small objects, maintain the rate of task completion at work, force a person to choose a different occupation, affect the ability to enjoy hobbies and prevent someone from participating in recreational activities.

The carpal tunnel disease is not a life threatening condition but it can significantly lower the quality of life. When people cannot enjoy life because of pain, numbness or weakness in the hands and wrists, they are exhausted mentally and emotionally, as well as physically.

Self-Care for Pain Relief

A lot of people choose to avoid surgery for the carpal tunnel condition, so it is important to adopt a self-treatment plan. Carpal tunnel that is left untreated can lead to permanent muscle (atrophy) and nerve damage in the hand and wrist.

Carpal tunnel syndrome daily exercises to help pain management

  1. Wear a wrist splint or brace at night (many people sleep with their wrist flexed and wake up with numbness) and at times throughout the day.
  2. Shake and then hang the hand over the side of the bed at night.
  3. Take over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
  4. Take changes at the workstation that ensure the arm, keep wrists and hands aligned and in a neutral position, i.e. raise the desk chair or adjust the keyboard’s height.
How to maintain wrist alignment when doing a lot of typing
  1. Maintain awareness of wrist and alignment while performing any repetitive task, making corrections as necessary.
  2. Take frequent breaks from any task that causes discomfort in the wrist and hand.
  3. Do stretching hand and wrist exercises each day that increase grip strength and reduce tightness in the wrist.
Carpal tunnel syndrome exercises for wrists
  1. Ice the wrist twice a day.
  2. Immerse the hand in warm water twice a day and flex the wrist.
  3. Carefully follow the pain treatments recommended by your physician.

Until the symptoms improve, stop doing activities that may be contributing to carpal tunnel symptoms. If the self-care treatment plan does not bring enough relief, physical therapy sessions often help. Surgery is always an option; it brings relief in 90 % of the cases.