Thursday, April 28, 2011

The WalkAide - Product Review

The WalkAide is a new FDA approved medical product that can simply help people walk better. How? - This medical device provides FES (functional electrical stimulation) to help people with foot drop clear their foot as they walk.

Who Can Use The WalkAide?

Patients who have foot drop can benefit from the use of this device. More specifically, people who will benefit the most from this medical device are those that have suffered drop foot due to certain conditions. These conditions include, brain or spinal diseases, a CVA (stroke), MS (multiple sclerosis), a spinal cord injury, TBI (traumatic brain injury), brain tumor or CP (cerebral palsy).

Why It Is Different Than "Traditional" AFOs (Ankle Foot Orthoses)

First, an AFO is a brace that helps people walk better. It is typically, made from plastic and is designed to help people walk better. Typically, this is a custom made brace, but it can come in a prefabricated designs as well. - The WalkAide reportedly analyzes the movement of a patient's leg and foot, with "advanced sensor technology". The WalkAide will then send an electrical signal to a patient's peroneal nerve, which is located in the lower leg. In specific, this nerve is located in the outside aspect of the lower leg and helps to control movement in the foot and ankle.

How Does A Person Get A WalkAide?

This is a medically prescribed device, from your physician. After the device is medically prescribed, the patient needs to be evaluated by a credentialed and medical trained individual, such as an orthotist. - This device is not bought at stores, like other devices can be, such as a walking cane.

How Long Does A Patient Use The WalkAide?

According to the WalkAide site, this device can be worn all day. However, patients must remove it and turn off the WalkAide prior to going to bed at night. This only makes sense if the device is going to be used for walking anyways. Depending on usage levels, the WalkAide will need to have batter relpacements every one, two or three weeks. Reuseable batteries would be nice in a case like this.

The WalkAide is also not water proof.

Note: This is health information. Although it is good information, it is best to get medical advice about this device from your local, licensed orthotist or medical professional. Many people are candidates for this device, but not all people with foot drop will be able to use the device effectively.

TMJ Disorder - 10 Ways Recognize If You Have TMJ

Within the TMJ, there are moving parts that allow the upper jaw to close on the lower jaw. This joint is a typical sliding ball and socket that has a disc sandwiched between it. The TMJ is used throughout the day to move the jaw when biting and chewing, talking, and yawning. The TMJ is one of the most frequently used joints of the body.

The signs of TMJ disorder vary greatly from chronic to acute symptoms. Doctors agree that problems around the jaw can present with varying degrees of pain and impairment The TMJ or Temporomandibular Joint is the hinge between the lower jaw (mandible) and base of the skull (temporal bone). You can locate the TMJ by firmly placing a finger slightly in front of the ear canal and opening the jaw; what you feel is the TMJ joint.

The causes of TMJ disorder have not been widely studied however, common problems relating to TMJ are:

Trauma from grinding teeth or clenching teeth or trauma from accident


Developmental anomalies

Many symptoms may not appear related to the TMJ itself so it may not have occurred to some people that they actually have TMJ disorder.

Consider the following common symptoms to see if you may have TMJ:

1. Headache and dizziness
2. Facial pain which can extend to head, neck, back and shoulders
3. Ear pain, tinnitus(ringing in ears), hearing loss
4. When joints move, sounds such as clicking, popping or grating occur
5. Jaw may lock wide open or may not fully open at all.
6. Trouble swallowing
7. Swelling of face on affected side
8. Misaligned bite disorder
9. Chewing on one side al the time
10.Waking with pain on side of head, usually in the temporalis muscle

Many TMJ sufferers do not know that their TMJ is the source of the ear pain they are experiencing, and assume instead that it must be caused by an ear infection or another inner ear problem. Because the TMJs are located right next to the ears, radiating pain from the affected joint, nerves, or other surrounding structures may seem like it is originating from the ears. A visit to a ENT(Ear, Nose, Throat) surgeon will provide an assessment of your TMJ dysfunction and provide an accurate diagnosis.

Walking Canes - If You Want To Walk Better Without A Cane, Then Read This Article

Why do people use canes?

What if there was something you could do to get rid of this walking aid?

What if you could improve your balance and not have to turn to a long stick that you have to carry with you everywhere you go?

1.) Introduction

This article is not a joke. We are not writing this article for our benefit, but for yours if you have a walking problem that requires a cane. I suppose we just don't want you thinking this is an infomercial... We are here to tell you that there are other things you can do to help your walking speed and balance, so you may be able to get rid of that cane once and for all!

The truth is that maybe you like your cane. Some are custom made and it is a fashion statement for certain individuals to use a cane. However, there are plenty of people out there that just want to get rid of their walking stick as soon as possible!

2.) Your Walking Issues

Do you suffer from a balance, walking speed, or other issue that is compromising your gait? Instead of using a cane to help them walk better, many individuals use a brace for their ankle and foot to help them with certain gait deficiencies.

What are the bonuses involved with using a brace instead of a cane?

A.) You do not necessarily have to carry anything anytime you want to walk.
B.) You can hide the brace easily under a pair of pants.

These are the main benefits for individuals that have certain conditions that hold them back. And, these advantages are heaven sent for many individuals with walking problems. - These braces are known as AFOs (which stands for ankle foot orthoses). - A brace specialist can provide you with one of these braces and they can even be custom made for you and billed to your insurance.

If you have a problem with your toes dragging when you walk, or you need a heightened sense of stability and balance, you should seriously consider getting one of these braces. Talk with your local, licensed orthotist (brace specialist) for more information.

*Note: The information written here is health oriented. It is not medical advice. Not everyone is a perfect candidate for a brace over the use of a cane. To get medical advice on bracing it is best to talk with your local, licensed orthotist.

Therapeutic Ultrasound And Pain Management

In recent years, a new form of pain relief management and treatment has emerged called "therapeutic ultrasound" or at times "ultrasound therapy." Although first tried in the 1940's, only in the past decade or so has it grown in popularity as a form of pain management.

One of the most common ways ultrasound therapy is used today is to manage lower back pain. There are two primary ways to acquire this treatment: either by seeing a physiotherapists who specializes in this treatment at a clinic, or by using a portable home device developed for this treatment.

There are two main types of ultrasound therapy: thermal and mechanical. Thermal relies on providing a continual stream of sound waves, while mechanical relies on sound pulses.

Most therapeutic ultrasound treatments only last between five to ten minutes in length, and completely painless. The therapy relies on the use of sound waves and is really a form of deep tissue therapy. Not only can it be used to treat chronic pain conditions such as lower back pain, but many sufferers of conditions such as arthritis and fibromyalgia and found the treatment to be of use as well.

Therapeutic ultrasound is generally much preferred to surgical options for pain management. Given the advent of home ultrasound machines, it is also quite convenient for many to use as well. Home machines usually consist of a hand held "transducer" that in conjunction with a gel will allow an individual to treat many different body pains easily at home. Many of these devices cost under $200, although you should shop carefully and make sure the model you select has good customer reviews and is FDA approved.

If you prefer to see a physiotherapists for the procedure, you may want to ask your regular physician for a recommendation and for his or her opinion on the treatment. A physiotherapist may be able to more accurately treat your pain condition. They should be able to tell whether your specific condition is more appropriately treated via thermal or mechanical ultrasound therapy, and make sure that it is administered effectively.

There have been several scientific studies that have supported the use of ultrasound therapy, but others have not, so at best the scientific community is mixed on the benefits of this treatment. Still, given that there is little chance of harm using this method to treat pain compared to surgical options, it may be worth at least trying out for many.

Treatments for Neuralgia

Neuralgia, also known as neuropathy, refers to the pain that typically follows the path of a nerve, normally in the arms, hands, legs and feet. The nerve pain can be a result of a variety of factors including medications, chemical irritations, diabetes, shingles, swelling and irritation, trauma, including trauma from surgery. Neuralgia treatment is often dependent on the type and source of the irritation.

Most forms of neuralgia develop over time and because of this are most common among the elderly or those who have had a long history of battling a disease, for example those who have battled high blood glucose levels for extended periods of time, also known as diabetes. While it is easy to pinpoint the most common cases it is also important to note that neuralgia doesn't discriminate and affects people of all ages.

Common symptoms of neuralgia include weakened muscles of the affected body part due to motor nerve damage; heightened sensitivity or numbness of the affected skin; pain and irritation that follows a specific nerve; pain located on or near the surface of the body but typically in the same location for each episode; sharp, stabbing pain that is either intermittent is a or constant, burning pain. Generally any touch against your skin is felt as pain, including movement.

If you have been diagnosed as having neuralgia from a known source your physician will have a variety of treatment options to choose from. Regardless of the method of treatment the overall goal of neuralgia treatment is to try and reverse the condition so the pain will no longer be an issue. Since this is an ongoing process they will try to control or manage the pain in the meantime. The type of treatment options available will often depends on the cause, location, and severity of the pain that is being experienced. If, for some reason, your physician is unable to diagnose the cause of the neuralgia it is important to not lose hope since it is possible for the pain to improve and even heal itself.

As I mentioned above, neuralgia treatment will typically vary depending on the type of neuralgia being experienced. For instance, if you have diabetes the first thing your physician will attempt to do is address the underlying reason behind the neuralgia which would be high blood sugar levels. Your doctor will work with you to get your blood pressure under control through a strict diet and exercise regime and may even include insulin and diabetes medications. The pain experienced with neuralgia may be treated through a variety of options including antidepressant medications, anti-seizure medications, aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, topical creams, or surgery.

It is vitally important to not lose hope. While neuralgia can be very painful, by working closely with your physician you can find out the source of the problem and work to eliminate the pain and discomfort.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Staying Away From TMJ Pain

Joints in the body allow easy and smooth movement for daily undertakings. Among the most widely known to be commonly used areas are the knees, wrists, and shoulders. However, there are also parts that some people whose expertise are far from the health field may not even notice to exist. An example is the TMJ. It is the joint that allows movement of the jaw and mouth. Its function is to aid in vital activities such as chewing, eating, and even talking. When this part is bombarded with stress, it reaches the point where severe pain might actually result. Knowing helpful ways to avoid such possibility is therefore significant in order to stay away from experiencing excruciating and nagging pain.

In order to put a stop to the occurrence of severe soreness, the primary action must revolve around preventive measures. It has been found out that most individuals who go through this misfortune are those who also unconsciously grind their teeth in their sleep. It has to be understood that teeth grinding leads to a number of secondary conditions like unexplained headaches among many others. Hence, it would only be right to address the initial concern first and foremost otherwise the TMJ treatments would still be to no avail.

Relaxation is another method that proves helpful in alleviating the negative experience of painful joints. In fact, this technique has been known to provide substantial relief from almost any type of pain. In relation to TMJ, it would be wise to be well informed regarding effective stress busting methods because these will eventually lessen the painful episodes. Deep breathing exercises are a good example that will definitely ease the muscles and decrease tension within nearby tissues. It has to be remembered that a calm and composed system is necessary in coping with situations where extreme pressures happen.

By far, the most essential move when speaking of valuable TMJ treatments is to pay a visit to a doctor who is a known expert in that specific field. Further laboratory examinations may be needed to confirm the medical condition. Full cooperation in the whole process from the part of the client is a must in order to arrive at a validated diagnosis. It is only then that the most appropriate strategies can be applied for the good of the patient. Future evaluations might even be called for to complete the treatment program being applied.

The C-Leg by Otto Bock - Product Review

1.) Introduction to the C-Leg

Unlike many prosthetic legs before it, the microprocessor located in the knee joint for the C-Leg monitors and adapts to the individual patient's gait. It also adapts to various terrains the patient is walking on at a rate of fifty times per second. With prosthetic legs that have come before the C-Leg, many patient's who use a prosthesis would have to think or even worry about each step they take. The benefit of the C-Leg is that a patient would now be able to move more freely in activities of daily living.

When a patient is able to move more freely, they can speed up or slow down with less stress. This includes walking faster or slower when crossing a slope, climbing up stairs in a building, or even walking on ground that is not even. This means that the leg would be more adept to certain situations in everyday life like stepping down from a car or truck (motor vehicle), walking down a ramp, stepping off a ledge that is present at curbside, or even going down a set of stairs.

2.) Stumble Recovery

This is a unique feature that serves to protect the patient if they catch their foot or if a sudden stop happens. The microprocessor in the knee joint will activate a stance control mechanism, if the patient is walking and suddenly has to stop for a car, or if an object is placed in their path. The focus here is that the patient will be caught with a partially bent knee in these situations, but with the C-Leg they would not buckle, reducing their risk of falling! The benefits in these kinds of situations would be improved safety and a better sense of security for the patient.

3.) Walking More Naturally

This leg also allows people to ambulate (walk) with a more flexed knee, as compared to the natural human limb. What this does is it creates a shock reduction and in turn this reduction of shock will benefit the patient. This will allow less stress to travel back up the leg to the lower back as a result. The C-Leg has been very successful on all levels of above knee, hip disartic, and hemipelvectomy amputations.

Note: This is health information. Medical advice on the C-Leg should be provided to you by your local, licensed prosthetist.

The Best Approach To Joint Pain

Does this sound familiar?

Pain in your joints keeps you from being able to exercise how you want to, go on hikes, stand for long periods of time. This chronic pain pops up when you start a new fitness routine. Maybe you make it for a few weeks, but then the pain and injury force you to stop. Or they slow you down so much that you're not seeing the benefits you want to from working out.

So you do what everyone does for pain: take some pain relievers and ice the joint. It's natural for us to treat the area that hurts, right? But this approach to joint pain is all wrong.

The problem with treating the pain is that you're treating a symptom, not the underlying cause.

We'll use Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome(fancy way to say knee pain) as our example. PFPS is commonly seen in basketball players and runners. This pain is commonly caused by either abnormal forces(muscles around the knee aren't pulling with equal force) or prolonged and repetitive compression and shearing on the joint(running and jumping).

When we break this down, we see that one of the major causes of this pain is from the muscle groups around the joint not being equally well developed. The other cause is essentially overuse, which is the bane of every young athlete and everyone else who aggressively starts a new routine(running too much for example).

And so when people develop this knee pain, they tend to ice their knees and take some anti-inflammatories and pain relievers. But the actual cause of the pain to begin with stems from a lack of an overall fitness plan. Building up to appropriate levels of intensity will solve the overuse problems and developing all the proper muscle groups will handle the imbalance issues.

What you should be taking away from all of this is: joint and muscle pain is an indicator that something is wrong. We usually treat pain by attempting to 'cure' it with ice and pain medicine. But the real fix is to look at the bigger picture and develop our fitness plan to handle this stress our body is feeling. Focus on developing core muscle groups and proper form in your exercises, and most of your pain will fix itself. Rather than treating a symptom, be willing to take a step back and address the real cause. This will improve your success in both your workouts and also your life.

The Basics of Medial Epicondylitis, Also Called Golfer's Elbow

Medial epicondylitis is called Golfer's Elbow. It is a degeneration of the tendons that bend the wrist toward the palm of the hand. These tendons are located above the bony bump on the inside of the elbow, which is called the medial epicondyle. Hence the name.

While called golfer's elbow, it can be caused by any repetitious use of these muscles. The muscles that pull the wrist down are called flexor muscles. These muscles join together at the elbow and attach as one tendon to the elbow and it is called the common flexor tendon. Activities such as cleaning, moving furniture, even something seeminly innocuous like playing foosball game can be an inciting activity.

As these muscles are used in activities such as golf, the muscles contract and pull against the tendon. When these muscles are overused, these tendons may become inflamed.

Common symptoms include pain and tenderness at the medial epicondyle and often worsens when the wrist is bent.

Treatments for golfer's elbow is typically non-surgical and includes the following:
Rest with activities being avoided that exacerbate itIceBracing which is called counterforce bracing - stops or lessens the big stresses from reaching the epicondyleAnti-inflammatory and analgesic pain medication such as naproxen, ibuprofenMassagePhysical therapy exercisesSteroid injectionsAlternative investigational injections like platelet rich plasmaSurgery

By and large, medial epicondylitis responds well non-operatively. It may take over a year for the symptoms to go away fully. Surgery is unusual for the condition, but can help with recalcitrant cases.

Tennis Elbow Causes and Treatments

What actually causes tennis elbow is not exactly known but certain studies show that this condition can be due to microscopic tears in the tissues located at the elbow site. Although it is usually associated with inflammation, researches have proven that there is sometimes no inflammatory process that occurs in this condition.

Other studies have also found that tennis elbow is more likely the result of repetitive stress and overexertion due to certain activities such as wringing clothes and other twisting movements. People who are found to be more prone to having this condition are often those with manual laborer jobs such as carpenters and plasterers, and also athletes who are mostly involve in racquet sports. It is commonly seen in people ranging from 35 to 55 years of age. This condition is sometimes considered a degenerative disease by some researchers.

Tennis elbow is diagnosed through physical assessment conducted by a physician. Diagnostic tools are not commonly required in determining the presence of this condition since they often do not detect abnormalities. However, if symptoms persist and continue to worsen the physician may require the use of MRI, x-ray or other imaging tools to identify the underlying cause of the condition and the reason for its persistence.

The treatment and management recommended for tennis elbow focuses on alleviating pain and discomfort caused by the tension on the muscle tissues and tendons at the affected area. Modifying activities that contribute to the occurrence of the condition is very important. Resting from activities such as lifting, gripping and twisting movements will help in restoring the damaged tissues. Using an ice pack can promote circulation therefore reducing the swelling of the affected area. Use of analgesics is also recommended. These medications include ibuprofen, topic analgesics, paracetamol and sometimes morphine.

In some cases, steroid injection may be indicated. This will help in reducing severe pain and discomforts. However, steroid injections can have some disturbing side effects including pain on the site of injection, atrophy, depigmentation, and damage to the tendon around the elbow. Physiotherapy, splints and braces, autologous blood injection, shockwave therapy and surgery are among the other more complicated treatments used for managing tennis elbow.

Treatment for tennis elbow can be best achieved by the use of the above mentioned treatment strategies, in combination with the avoidance of activities that have caused the previous injury. During the onset of the first signs and symptoms, rest and immobilize the affected area is recommended in order to avoid further injury and damage to the area. The pain associated with this condition usually lasts for six to 12 weeks. It is more likely to occur again once this condition is already experienced. Tennis elbow can be best prevented by increasing the strength and flexibility of the muscles especially those which are located at the forearm to the elbow. Consultation with a physiotherapist can provide additional information with regards to activities and exercises that can promote muscle strength and flexibility.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Neck Braces, Rigid Collars, Cervical Orthoses - A Guide on Bracing The C-Spine - Part 7

What Are The Different Kinds of CTOs?

Different kinds of CTOs exist today. Some are prefabricated and others are custom made. Typically, with a custom made brace, a cast and measurements are required. This process will take about an hour, unless an orthotist (brace specialist) can get a very good cast of the patient using fiberglass material. This will mean that the patient has to be cast in a position where the orthotist can do a circumferential wrap of the patient's head, neck and body in a sitting or standing position.

Where Do You Get a CTO?

Daily Care and Hygiene Measures To Consider When Using A CTO

A proper program of hygiene will help to prevent skin problems or pressure sores. Although the brace may fit you well, it is possible to sit in an unbalanced position from time to time and this can make the brace fit differently. - If your CTO is dirty, it should be washed inside with mild soap and water. Make sure your skin is clean when you apply the CTO as well. Perspiration will occur if you wear this brace long enough and cleaning everything is a good idea.

Special Instructions To Those Individuals Helping a Patient With Their CTO

1.) Avoid using powers or lotions on the patient's skin, where the CTO will be applied. Although you may be trying to help the patient, these things can soften the skin and cause skin breakdown in conjunction with a brace.

2.) If the skin is red or ulcerated, call the orthotist who provided you with the brace. They can pad the area around an ulcer or sore spot of skin to help create a relief in many instances.

3.) Patients who need moderate to maximum assistance will need to be continuously observed when it comes to the position of their CTO. Monitor the position of the chin and the position of the shoulder aspects of the brace to ensure a proper fit.

4.) The brace should always be worn snug, not loose. If the brace is worn loosely it will allow movement of the spine and this could be severely problematic for the patient.

5.) Whenever the patient is moved, either from the bed to another location, check the position of the CTO. It is important that there is not excess gapping over the shoulders or under the chin.

Insurance and CTOs

One of the extra benefits of working with a licensed orthotist at an "O & P" (orthotics and prosthetics) company is that they can help bill your insurance for this brace or any other orthopedic braces. Many times these kinds of braces are covered by insurance. If it is not completely covered, many times a good portion of the orthosis (orthopedic brace) is covered, decreasing your amount of out of pocket expense.

Note: This is health information. Medical advice regarding braces should be provided to you from your local, licensed and providing orthotist. This information can be helpful, of course, but it is best to get medical advice on bracing from these local brace specialists.

AFOs - A Down To Earth Guide on Ankle Foot Orthoses and Orthopedic Braces - Part 8

How To Apply A Plastic AFO

1.) First apply a sock or long stockinette to the leg. This will absorb perspiration so it does not accumulate inside the brace. It will also help to proactively protect the patient's skin. Skin irritations are not common, but being aware of the possibility is a good idea.

2.) Loosen the closure straps on the side of the AFO to allow for your leg and foot to enter the orthosis.

3.) Slide the ankle foot orthosis into position. It is important to ensure that the heel is well seated in your AFO. You can check this by looking along the sides of the brace, or at the back of the heel aspect.

4.) If putting an AFO on a child, first make sure that any plastic that is located at the top of the foot aspect is spread open for easy access of the foot. Then with this aspect drawn open, you can "scoop" the foot inside the brace. You may also want to bend your child's knee and push the foot backwards and down by gently exerting pressure on the instep or top of knee.

5.) Apply all available tension straps and pull them to make sure the brace is worn in a snug fashion. A mark can be made at the end of the strap to keep the tension levels consistent between each and every application.

6.) Then, once the brace is on, it is slid into a shoe (unless the patient has a metal and leather AFO). A shoe horn can be used on occasion if you find it easy to handle. The shoelaces may need to be loosened so the shoe can be drawn open wide. This will help allow for easy entry of the brace into the shoe. - Sometimes people put the brace into the shoe first and then slide the foot in place afterwards. This may work just fine, just proceed with caution. It may be a little more challenging to apply the brace and the shoe at the same time, but some people like it and think it is the easiest option available.

7.) You do not necessarily need a new shoe or a special shoe when it comes to using your AFO. If necessary, you may need a larger shoe but do not assume this is always the case. However, if you plan to go shoe shopping it is best to bring the brace with you so you can "test drive" the shoes with the brace while you are in the store. Shoes that have wide toe boxes and Velcro closures can be helpful for patients.

Take Home Points For Medical Professionals

It is imperative that you remind the patient of the importance of a shoe when their foot is on the ground, while using a brace. There is not tread underneath an AFO in most cases and the shoe will be extremely important while using the AFO.

*Note: This is health information. Although this is good information, it is best to talk with your providing licensed orthotist regarding medical advice when it comes to braces.

Neck Braces, Rigid Collars, Cervical Orthoses - A Guide on Bracing The C-Spine - Part 8

Can I just use a rigid collar instead of a CTO?

There are times when a cervical collar can be worn in place of a CTO while a patient is in bed. This is not always the case. Depending on the recommendation of your physician, you will know when you can use a rigid collar and when you have to use a CTO.

How Do I Know When I Need A CTO?

This kind of brace is usually chosen by your physician. It is usually chosen by a neurosurgeon or orthopedic physician, in most cases.

When to Call the Doctor With Respect to Your Brace

If you experience:

1.) Numbess or Tingling
2.) Weakness of your arms or legs
3.) Pain
4.) Incisional drainage


What is a Halo?

A halo is considered to be a cervical device that locks out motion in all 3 planes. In other words, a halo that is properly applied will inhibit coronal, transverse and sagittal planes of movement. This is a brace that the patient should not try to remove by themselves. Other braces can be removed by a patient, but this is not one of them. It should stay intact as long as the patient is in danger of furthering their cervical injury level. Usually, these braces are used for people that have an unstable cervical fracture that is located in the C1 or C2 region.

Who Uses a Halo?

Halos are used for patients that have unstable cervical fractures. When a person has this kind of a fracture, neurological compromise can quickly occur.

When Puts A Halo on For Patients

The truth is that a patient is not supposed to put on their own halo. This is a device that is applied by physicians and orthotists (brace professionals). You will find that a halo is applied by these individuals and should not come off until your are healed.

How Long Do I Wear A Halo For?

The healing process for a neck injury that requires a halo is usually about 8-12 weeks. On occasion, patient's may go into surgery with a halo on and come out of surgery with it off. This means that their stability level increased due to the surgery, to the point where a halo is no longer needed. After the halo is removed, your physician may want you to wean into a cervical collar, either rigid or soft in design.

Note: This is health information. Medical advice on bracing should be provided to you from your local, licensed orthotist.

Shoe Insoles - Effective Device To Cure Various Ailments

While you are carrying out rigorous activities like running, jogging, fast walking and playing games, it would be great for you to insert shoe insoles in your shoes. You will see that shoe insole is a term which is used for arches as well as cushion supports which can be inserted inside any shoe that you desire to wear. The insoles come in myriads of different options which can be used for different purposes. The main function of the insole is to provide a comfortable cushioning to your foot. They create a shock absorbent and soft surface that helps you in doing rigorous activities without feeling pain or discomfort.

This article would provide you some important points about the shoe insoles before your purchase them.

1. Different varieties of shoe insoles
There are basically tow different types of insoles, namely arches and cushions. Information about them is motioned below.

? You will see that the arch is made of hard and sturdy materials and they come in some different styles and designs. The basis focus of the arch is to provide comfort to the four arches of your foot and an ideal position to the foot. The device helps in revealing pain by providing stability and balance.

? Cushion insoles are basically made of very spongy and smooth rubber material and the device is designed in such a manner that it would fit perfectly in any shoe. One great advantage of the cushion is that they help in absorbing shock from rigorous activities.

? In the market you also get medical insoles as well as regular insoles. The regular insoles are used for absorbing shocks and providing you comfort whereas the medical ones are used for treating back, neck and foot pain.

2. Great benefits of purchasing the shoe insoles
You will surely get some very good advantages of using the shoe insoles on a regular basis. Some essential plus points are mentioned below.

? This device provides you maximum comfort, cushioning and shock absorption which protects your foot from wear and tear and stress.
? As this accessory is make of foam, gel or sponge it can be used in any shoes and by any one.
? You can also purchase this device according to your own requirements.

So, if you really want to get rid of various back, neck and feet related problems, so must surely consider purchasing the excellent shoe insoles.

Should Get I Get Checked Out By A Chiropractor After Any Auto Accident?

Neck pain, shoulder pain, back pain, numbness, tingling, headaches, muscle tightness and stiffness. These are all common symptoms people experience following a car accident.

Whiplash is a condition where the neck and shoulders are whipped forward and backward or side to side, depending on where the impact took place. This whipping movement can either strain or tear ligaments, tendons and muscles. Did you know that in most instances, a seatbelt can actually make your injury worse? Seat belts are what produce whiplash injuries in the first place. Imagine sitting in your car with your seat belt on. If your belts do what they are designed to do, you will not move.

The lap belt and shoulder harness lock your body and shoulders tight it into the seat, such that when your car impacts another object. Your torso and shoulders don't move, but the head and neck move freely. This is what produces the whipping affect of the neck causing whiplash. Having said that, seat belts should always be worn. Seat belts will save your life and it's against the law in most states not to wear your seat belt. Seat belts will also help prevent you from slamming into the steering wheel, dashboard, console and other parts of the car in a severe accident.

Most times it's the soft tissues (muscles, tendons, and ligaments) that are injured in an accident, but they don't show up on X-ray or other medical tests. There can also be damage to nerves and the nervous system itself. Because they are difficult to measure with tests, most medical doctors have a hard time recognizing that they exist. What they tend to look for are the more severe injuries, which can include, fractures, dislocations, disc herniation's, and even brain injury.

Research has even shown that under standard medical care that only about 50% of injured individuals return to pre-accident status. The latest research has also shown that a upwards of 52% will actually develop fibromyalgia. Further research also show that more often than not it's younger people who get in these accidents, which means there is a lot of quality of life that is lost.

This is why being evaluated by a proficient chiropractor is so critical. These injuries can be very painful, debilitating and long lasting. Also, because of the build of scar tissue symptoms may not be felt until days, weeks or even months later. If you've been in an accident visit with a doctor of chiropractic will help you identify your injuries, and get lasting relief, preventing long lasting effects of your injuries, just like he has for hundreds and hundreds of other car accident victims.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Osteoarthritis and Anti-Inflammatories - What Are the Risks? Are There Any Alternatives?

Do you suffer with Osteoarthritis?

If so, do you self medicate with over-the-counter medication? Have you been doing that for a while or whenever you experience a "flair-up" in your condition?

Well, this is going to be an important article for you to read, as you may be interested in the short-tern and long-term effects of taking these medications. Most of these medications are over-the-counter "NSAIDS" and may have some serious consequences.

Another important topic to discuss as a side note is why you may be having a flair-up in the first place, but let's safe that for another time.

What are the effects of Non-steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAID's)?

Swedish physiologist Ulf Von Euler discovered a biologically active compound he named "prostaglandin" in 1935. He named it that, since he believed it was made by the prostate gland.

However since women also have prostaglandins in their body (but no prostate), it is known that this compound is manufactured in tissues all over the body.

Fast forward to 1971. Again, researchers from Sweden found that "aspirin-like" drugs could reduce the production of prostaglandins. Was this important you ask, and if so why was this important?

Well, It was important enough for these scientist to receive the Nobel Prize in Physiology in 1982 for their work on prostaglandins.

The summary of the official Nobel Prize press release for their research goes basically as follows: When the body undergoes stress, trauma and/or disease (like Osteoarthritis), a release of prostaglandins occurs.

Their work also determined what prostaglandins were made up of. That is, prostaglandins are formed from unsaturated fatty acids, primary one called "arachidonic acid"

So we know the people at Nobel felt that their work was important enough for a prize, but let's see why, and what that means to you and your pain.

Well, when we have stress, trauma and disease, we know that we have this prostaglandin release from the cells. This can also be though of as INFLAMMATION. It is known that where we have inflammation we also have pain.

So when the researchers discovered that "aspirin-like" drugs reduces production of prostaglandins in response to stress, trauma, and disease, in effect, they discovered a way to reduce our inflammation, and subsequently, our PAIN. These drugs, then became known as NSAIDS, or Non-Steriodal anti-inflammatories. (As, it they are not Steriodal based drugs)

Until that discover, drugs like Aspirin were hardly understood in terms of how they worked. So this became a very important discovery. Unfortunately, what also became understood were the "side-effects".

NSAIDs Risks:

Cardiovascular risks increased, gastrointestinal bleeding risk increased, and increases in kidney damage. Alzheimer's and dementia risks increased as well.

Kidney Disease: Extensive studies should bring about a very real concern for those that take large amounts of NSAIDS. As an example, is the New England Journal of Medicine, Dec 22,1994, #25, Vol331:1675-1679. In this study, researchers concluded that:

"people who take analgesic drugs frequently may be at increased risk of end stage renal disease (ESRD), but the risk remains unclear".

Basically in that study 716 patients treated for ESRD and 361 control subjects. Those in the study group took dosages of 5000mg or more pills containing NSAIDs. Sadly, they had an increased risk of ESRD by 780% compared to the control.

Gastrointestinal Bleeding: Again in the New England Journal of Medicine, this time June of 1999, researchers found that there was endoscopic proof that aspirin could cause gastric muscosal damage. This has been substantiated by a lot of other studies as well.

What's scary about that is the fact that NSAIDs have more than 70 million prescriptions and more than 30 billion over the counter tablets sold annually in the US.


Another startling finding is that those same researchers state:

"it has been estimated conservatively that 16,500 NSAID-related deaths occur among patients with rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis every year in the United States"

As well, if the total amount of people dying from gasto-intestinal toxic side effects of NSAIDs were calculated separately in the National Vital Statistics report, would rank as the "15th most common cause of death in the US".

Probably the most alarming part of all of that is the fact that these dangerous side-effects remain largely a 'silent killer'.

Even doses of aspirin as low as 30mg are enough to reduce prostaglandin production in the gastric mucosa, thus starting the onset of gastric-duodenal mucosal injury.

Cardiovascular Events: You've probably heard of drugs such as Vioxx, Celebrex, or Bextra? Maybe you've even taken them, or are still taking them.

These drugs are known as "Cox-2 inhibitor", and were taken off the market because of the evidence of "unacceptable risk of cardiovascular events".

Well, there was a study done in the European Heart Journal July 2006;27(14):1657-63.

These researches studied the risk of myocardial infarction related to the use of various NSAIDs in the general population. They authors found that the use of NSAIDs were related to modest risk of first time Myocardial infarction

Dementia, including Alzheimer's disease:

Another study, this time in the journal Neurology (April 22, 2009) found risk with taking NSAIDS.

These authors studied 2736 elderly considered not to have dementia. They studied this subjects for up to 12 years to identify dementia and Alzheimer's disease(AD).

These authors concluded: "contrary to the hypothesis that NSAIDs protect against AD, pharmacy defined heavy NSAIDs users showed increased incidence of dementia and AD, by 66%"

In that study, the basic daily dose of prescription ibuprofen was defined as 1,200mg/day (2- 600mg/day).

IF in that study, the subjects were only taken 1200mg, and had increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer's and you're a regular ibuprofen taker, compare it to your dosage. You might be a little alarmed at this point.

If you have alot of pain, have suffered with Osteoarthritis for years, and happen to take NSAIDs on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, you really need to consider the risks and come up with an Alternative Approach.

A Natural Pain Relievers For Osteoarthritis Pain

Fish oils (omega fatty-acids).

Fish oils contain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, including the 20 carbon long oil eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA.

EPA has an advantage over NSAIDs in that it reduces both the COX and LOX enzymes, that in turns reduces the production of Prostaglandin E2(PGE2) and Leukotriene B4(LTB4).

As a result, the inflammatory cascade is reduced which results in reduced pain. But most importantly, the risk if kidney problems, GI problems, Cardiovascular problems, and Dementia Problems are ALL reduced too.

An incredible Study was conducted in the journal Surgical Neurology 65(April 2006) 326-331.

That particular paper won first prize at the American Association of Neurological Surgeons Annual Meeting. The paper was entitled:

"Omega-3 Fatty acids (fish oil) as an anti-inflammatory: an alternative to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for discogenic pain"

The researcher Dr Joseph Maroon is from the Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Dr. Maroon studies how the use of NSAIDs is related to occasional extreme complications including: "gastric ulcers, bleeding, myocardial infarction, stroke, and even death".

In Dr. Maroon's research, he explained after 75 days on high dose fish oil:

"59% of patients with chronic spinal pain and who had degenerative spine disease were able to discontinue their prescription NSAIDs, and 88% stated they were satisfied with their improvements and that they would continue to take fish oil"

In summary, for decades it has been known that taking NSAIDs is associated with undesirable and potentially fatal side effects. Fish Oil as well as a specifically designed rehab program to increase spinal flexibility can both be beneficial to individuals suffering from chronic spinal pain syndromes, such as Osteoarthritis.

Scoliosis Braces - Treatment and Surgery - How To Get A Quality Support To Help Treat This Condition

Does your son or daughter have scoliosis?

Do you have scoliosis and want to do something about it?

1.) Introduction

Scoliosis is a condition that involves a lateral curvature of the spine. In addition to this curvature, there is usually a rotational component that needs to be addressed as well. This condition can worsen if it is not addressed and there are some proven treatment options that can really make a difference for patients.

2.) Surgery

The truth is, not many of us are jumping at the chance to have surgery. This is true most of the time, but when scoliosis starts to threaten other bodily organs, there is sometimes not a choice in the matter. Sometimes the choice is surgery, or die. This is true in many cases, but there are alternatives to surgery that do matter and we will discuss them in this free article.

3.) Special Back Braces For Scoliosis

People do have choices when it comes to scoliosis treatment. One of the best things a patient can consider is the use of a special back brace called a TLSO. This is an acronym for a brace that supports the thoracic, lumbar and sacral spine. These braces do not cure scoliosis, but they do help address the curve that is present. There are many different kinds of TLSOs for scoliosis, such as the Boston brace, Rosenberger and Lyon type orthoses. Each aims to help limit the progression of the curvature.

4.) Does Insurance Cover The Brace

Many times an insurance policy can cover the costs of a scoliosis TLSO. It all comes down to the terms that are set by your individual health insurance policy. Many times, if a brace is not covered by your insurance, then the majority of the brace can be covered. - When you go in to be evaluated for your scoliosis TLSO it is best to talk about this upfront with your local orthotics and prosthetics company. They are used to answering these questions and with a little of your help (regarding your insurance information), they can get a quote of benefits for you before the brace is ever provided.

Note: This is health information. Getting medical advice about bracing should come from your local, licensed orthotist. These individuals have the medical training to evaluate you for one of these braces. Therefore, any medical advice in conjunction with these braces should be provided by your local, licensed orthotist.

Prosthetics - Diabetes and Amputation - Moving on With Your Life

Have you suffered the loss of a limb?

Do you know someone that could benefit from at least learning more about prosthetics to help them with daily activities?

1.) Amputation

In the United States alone, there are more than 1.5 million people that live their lives with the loss of a limb. It has also been said that 1 in every 200 individuals in the United States has had an amputation. Now this may include many individuals that have lost a toe, but the numbers are still staggering.

2.) Diabetes and Amputation

Taking care of your feet is extremely important when an individual suffers from diabetes. This condition can restrict blood flow to your feet and legs. Diabetes can also cause nerve damage which can be refereed to as neuropathy. Without taking care of your feet, a minor injury can become a larger problem. For example, if you have an open sore (an ulcer) this can be difficult to treat and heal. When an infection sets in and it is not treated or healed extremely well, infection can set in and this can lead to an amputation of a limb.

2.) Prosthetics - Moving on With Your Life

The use of prosthetics can help an individual move on with their lives after an amputation. Most amputations that occur happen in an individuals lower extremities, but the loss of an arm is not unheard of. When naming prostheses for the legs it is important to call them by their right names. There are bk and ak prostheses. These are acronyms that define the prosthesis by the level at which it exists. For example, a "bk" stands for below knee, while "AK" refers to as above knee prosthetics.

3.) A Specialist In Your Area

When it is time for you, or someone you know to be provided with a prosthesis, then it is imperative to work with a local, licensed prosthetist. These individuals are trained in the field of prosthetics and can help people walk again after an amputation. Or, for those individuals that have lost an arm, there are new advances in the field of prosthetics that can help a patient gain function again after their limb has been lost. - Contact your local licensed prosthetist for more information.

*Note: This is health information. Medical advice regarding prosthetics and amputation should be received from your local, licensed prosthetist. These individuals are professionals in the field of prosthetics and can help you gain an even further understanding of the subject.

Shoe Inserts - All The Important Information That You Require

These days various companies are manufacturing some different and effective accessories that can help you in getting rid of some very serious problems related to your health. Shoe insert is a great accessory that would really help in relieving problems relating to your feet. The artificial shoe arches provide comfort and support to the four arches of your foot and they also limit displacement. One great advantage of purchasing this accessory is that it can be placed inside any shoe like walking shoes, loafers, jogging and athletic shoes.

In this article, I would like to provide you all the important information that you require about the shoe inserts.

1. Shoe insert Therapy very helpful
You will see that this kind therapy is very helpful for those people who are facing problems like Localized foot pain, hammer toes, Arch/ heel pain, Bunions, knee pain, leg pain, neck back and lower back pain. The shoe insert device really helps in correcting the abnormal conditions by distributing your body weight in a highly effective manner. The device works in a very effective manner as it sends messages to muscle ligaments via the brain. The messages are received by the cerebellium which is responsible for controlling the movements of your hip, foot and lower back.

2. Different types of shoe insert options
When it comes to shoe accessory, you can get them in various different designs and materials. Some people insert the special soles in their shoes on a temporary basis in order to cure different types of injuries. People who are facing serve problems, must contact their doctors who would surely advice them to use this accessory on a regular basis for a long period of time. The best devices that are available in the market are made of polypropylene, carbon fiber, thermoplastics and EVA.

3. Various great advantages of using the shoe inserts
You would surely get various advantages of using this accessory in the long run. Some of the most important benefits are mentioned below.

? They help in providing you better accuracy and control of your movements.
? The device also helps in curing diseases like Hammertoes and diabetes if you use it in the long run.

Well, above stated are some very important information that you must surely know about the shoe insert. If you are also facing problems relating to your back, neck and foot, then this device would surely help in you in an effective manner.

Overview of Sciatica and Sciatica Treatment

Sciatica is when you have lower back pain that is combined with pain that radiates through your buttock and then down one of your legs. The pain in the leg many times stops at the knee but can also in some cases go all the way to the foot. It can even be possible for your leg muscles to be weak when you have sciatica.

The largest nerves in your body are the sciatic nerves. In size they are around thumb size. Low in your back they come out of your spinal column and then behind your hip, down your buttock, and down your leg to your foot. This pain is generally different from other types of lower back pain due to the fact that it might begin in your back but also goes down one of your extremities.

This pain is generally a pain that is shooting, like electricity. It might even feel like fire burning or a tingling like when your leg happens to fall asleep. This pain can be unbearable for some and only annoying for others. Some people have reported having pain in one portion of their leg and then the other portion is numb.

One should know when they need to contact a doctor or start looking for sciatica treatment methods. If your pain is not getting better after a few days or if you feel it is getting worse you should contact your doctor. If you are older in age than 55 or younger in age than 20 and you have never had sciatica pain before you might need to see your doctor or seek out sciatica treatment.

If you have fever or chills that cannot be explain or have found that you lost a good amount of weight lately. You find that you are positive for HIV or if you have been using IV drugs. If after one week you still are have trouble with bending forward. If the weakness seems to be getting more pronounced then you need to call your doctor.

There are a few different reasons that you will need to get to the ER:
? The pain is following an injury that was violent like a car crash or even a fall from a high distance.
? You have pain your chest from the back.
? Your pain seems to be unbearable.
? You can't move or even feel your feet or legs.
? You begin to lose control of bladder and bowel function.

These are all important to remember. Even if you have to go see the doctor you will want to let them know that you are more interested in natural sciatica treatment methods than surgical methods. The doctor should be able to point your in the right direction for the sciatica treatments and if he can't the internet is a great place to start looking.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Neck Braces, Rigid Collars, Cervical Orthoses - A Guide on Bracing The C-Spine - Part 5

How Do You Know A Rigid Collar is On Correctly?

Each collar is made differently, but there are some overall rules of thumb that can apply to all collars.

Snug Fit and Chin Position

First, it is important to always wear a brace snug, never loose. This includes the use of a "rigid cervical collar". This ties into the position of a cervical collar as well. With many cervical collars that are available today, it is important that you can see the patient's chin, when they have the brace on. If a person has on a neck brace and their chin is tucked inside of the cervical collar, chances are that the brace is not doing what it is designed to do. You do not want to see a patient's bottom lip first when you look at them, while they have a cervical orthosis donned. Unless the brace is the incorrect size, or made improperly, (which should not be the case if a licensed orthotist provided it), then you should always be seeing the patient's chin when they have the brace on.

The Words on The Brace, Why Its Important To Look From Outside The Brace

Almost any brace that is provided today is designed so that other individuals (besides the patient) can look at the collar and read the words on it the right way up. Remember that the manufacturer does not want to be forgotten about. After all, they have spent a lot of time manufacturing this product and they are proud of their work. Therefore, if an "outside" individual, who is looking at at the brace, can not read the writing then something is usually wrong. If the person looking at the collar can not read the words correctly, then it is quite possibly on upside down.

Arrows Located On The Brace

Lastly, if there are any arrows on the collar, they are usually meant to point upward when the brace is on as well. These are the arrows that the manufacturer put on the brace. - This general example applies to any brace that you see a patient wear. If you have any questions about the fit and function of your current collar, then it is wise to communicate with your providing brace specialist for more information.

*Note: This is health information. When it is time to get personal, medical advice on bracing, then it is best to speak with your local, licensed orthotist on the subject. This is good information, but this is not medical advice.

Neck Braces, Rigid Collars, Cervical Orthoses - A Guide on Bracing The C-Spine - Part 2

How do you know when a soft collar is fitting correctly?

This is a very good question because many times these braces are fit incorrectly. A brace, no matter if it is a collar or another type of orthosis (brace), needs to be applied in a "snug" fashion. Well, what does "snug" really mean, right? - Snug, usually means that the brace has been applied in a way that it is comfortable, without gapping, and without a restriction on breathing when it comes to cervical collars. If an orthosis is worn loosely, it will not do a patient any good. Plain and simple.

The cervical spine needs to be supported when weakness or instability is present. A soft collar will help a patient in this manner by supporting the chin and remainder of the mandible (jaw). If a person every dips their chin inward and down, the collar is probably not doing what it is designed for. In addition, if a soft collar has the velcro attachment placed in the front, it is probably not on correctly either. You will always have to allow for the brand that does attach in the front, but typically these collars attach in the back.

Skin Precautions With A Soft Collar

Monitoring your skin with any brace is also very important. In the vast majority of cases, people will not have skin problems, but it is best to be proactive and monitor your skin anyways. The main reasons why people's skin suffers in any brace is that the brace is not kept clean. This is important for people because a patient will probably have to wear a brace for at least a few weeks, so cleanliness of the collar and patient's skin does come into play.

In addition, individuals that are not alert can suffer from skin irritation as well. Or, if someone has a lack of sensation, then redness can develop in conjunction with a brace. Why is this the case? - The patient may not always be alert enough to monitor the way the brace is feeling or their body is not giving them proper feedback. If redness appears, then you need to contact your brace provider for a possible adjustment on the collar.

Note: This is health information. If you want medical advice on bracing, it is best to speak with a local, licensed orthotist. This is good information, but it is best to see someone locally for your particular bracing needs.

Neck Braces, Rigid Collars, Cervical Orthoses - A Guide on Bracing The C-Spine - Part 4

Who Uses a Rigid Collar?

Someone that needs motion control in their cervical spine. In comparison to the soft collar, rigid cervical orthoses (braces) are used for more serious conditions. Yes, they are more supportive than a soft collar, but rigid collars are still not considered to be a the cervical brace that provides optimum cervical spine control. The CTO (cervical thoracic orthosis) and Halo can inhibit more movement than a rigid collar. The CTO and Halo need to be considered when motion control is a must and a clear understanding of the diagnosis will help to determine when each brace is needed. When instability is at a critical level, a CTO and Halo need to be considered.

What Are The Different Brand Names of Rigid Collars?

Common brand names you may hear of are the Atlas, Aspen, PMT and Miami J cervical collars. The purposes of this article, we are not going to comment on which rigid collar is better than the next, but these collars mentioned here are commonly used today in medical settings, on a daily basis.

Where Do You Get A Rigid Collar?

We recommend that you get a rigid cervical collar from a licensed orthotist in your area. Why? These individuals are brace specialists and can provide you with the most detailed information about your new orthopedic orthosis. These individuals are medically trained in the field of orthotics, which surrounds the field of orthopedic bracing. Nothing else gets focused on besides orthoses (braces) in this industry.

Other individuals that may work in hospitals may provide collars, but the best detailed advice regarding braces still lays in the hands of an orthotist, on a day to day basis. - We always use the example of your automobile, if you drive. (It is a general example that will get the point across more clearly for you.) If you own a car, and you wanted to get top notch service, wouldn't you take it to a specialist? Or, would anybody be qualified to do the work? - We think you know the answer for yourself. Why not do the same with orthopedic braces that you need for medical reasons. Your health is considered to be more important than that of your car, so why not treat a bracing scenario in the same way?

Note: This is health information. For medical advice on bracing, it is best to speak to with a local, licensed orthotist. When you need to get medical advice on your particular situation, then it is best to speak these individuals.

Neck Braces, Rigid Collars, Cervical Orthoses - A Guide on Bracing The C-Spine - Part 3

Take Home Points For Medical Professionals Regarding Cervical Collars

Loosening a collar for a patient is not always the right action to take. The brace, no matter if it is a neck brace or any other type of orthosis, needs to be placed on the patient in a snug fashion. Unless the brace is somehow made wrong for the patient, a snug fit should not be a problem. Sometimes patients will turn to a medical professional or family member and ask for the brace to be loosened. This is all done without a bad intent and a gaurdian is happy to help the patient with this request. However, many times what this does is allow the brace to become more mobile. Then, can easily happen is the brace "migrates". As a result, the patient will have more problems with the brace in most cases. We all want the patient to be happy, but making a brace too loose can be a serious mistake. - Not only will the cervical collar be able to migrate, but it may also lose the support that it provides to the patient.

A Note on Skin Precautions & Cervical Bracing.

As a medical professional, it is important to monitor the fit of the brace for the patient, especially if you are in a setting where your patients are not entirely alert. You do not have to be an expert in the field of orthotics to notice some important things for the patient when it comes to bracing. For example, the patient's skin will tell you how the patient is feeling. If the patient can not consciously communicate with you in a verbal manner, then let their skin do the talking. If it is irritated, you will be able to know by looking at it.

When a patient is not entirely alert, like in an ICU situation, or they are heavily sedated, then this is when the skin irriation issues can come into play. Sometimes a patient will be in a position, in bed, that causes more problems with a brace and the patient does not even know it. That is where a health professional has to be aware and call the providing orthotist (brace specialist) when necessary.

Note: This is health information. Medical advice on bracing should be provided from your local, licensed orthotist. This is good information on bracing, but we say this because each bracing scenario is slightly different and we can not be held liable for each unique case.

Neck Braces, Rigid Collars, Cervical Orthoses - A Guide on Bracing The C-Spine - Part 6

CTO - Cervical Thoracic Orthosis - Their Function and Where To Get This Brace

What is a CTO?

The acronym stands for "cervical thoracic orthosis". As you will see with almost any acronym for bracing, the acronym starts with a letter that is closest to the head and distally (away from the head). You will see that this is the case for braces for the legs, arms and back.

The CTO is used to help support someone's cervical and thoracic spine. In specific, this orthosis (brace) is designed to support the cervical portion of the spine from C1 - C7. Sometimes to support a lower level of the cervical spine, however, you need to have the brace end lower than the injury level. - The CTO is designed to limit the motion of the cervical spine and skull, by stopping rotational movements and cervical capital flexion and extension.

What Does a CTO Do?

These orthopedic braces limit movement. More movement than that of a rigid collar. This is not necessarily a bad thing either. For example, after a surgery someone may need to be provided with this kind of orthosis to help act as an insurance policy for the surgeon's work. In other words, this orthosis (brace) will help to prevent a flexing or twisting movement that can ruin the surgical correction that was achieved. Typically, a rigid collar will extend down to a patient's clavicle area, where as a CTO will extend down to approximately the xyphoid process (or mid chest region).

A cervical thoracic orthosis can also be used for a fracture that has occurred in the superior portion of the thoracic spine (a high thoracic fracture) or a cervical fracture that is more serious in nature. - When you limit the motion at these segments, you improve upon the body's ability to heal itself. The brace does not heal you, but it does help to stop harmful movements that can easily occur at an injury level.

Who Are The People That Provide CTOs?

Today, many medical professionals can provide a cervical brace or a cervical thoracic orthosis. However, we believe that it is best to work with a local, licensed orthotist in your area when you get any type of orthopedic brace. Why? When a patient wears a CTO (whether it is custom or prefabricated) the person usually has a very serious diagnosis. A CTO is a special kind of brace which comes with a specific set of important instructions. This means that an orthotist should give you as much detailed information as possible when they provide the brace.

Note: This is health information, not medical advice. We believe that you can learn something from this information, but it is best to work with a licensed orthotist in your area for medical advice on bracing.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

AFOs - A Down To Earth Guide on Ankle Foot Orthoses and Orthopedic Braces - Part 13

The Difference Between Traditional AFOs & CAM Walkers

CAM Walkers are effective orthopedic braces that should not be confused with AFOs. Yes, it is considered to be an orthosis for the ankle and foot, but there are large differences between a CAM walker and a traditional AFO.

What Does "CAM" Stand For?

CAM is an acronym that stands for "controlled ankle motion". These kinds of orthopedic braces are like removable casts for patients, except better. Many times patient's will wean into one after a cast is removed. The benefits here are that a CAM Walker can be removed so the patient can monitor their skin and clean themselves. From here, eventually, a patient can then wean into an AFO when the physician
sees fit.

Why Would A Patient Use A Cast Instead of A Cam Walker?

Interestingly enough, patient's might not go directly into a CAM walker after an ankle or foot fracture. For example, if the physician is concerned that the patient might now wear the orthosis provided, or it will worn incorrectly, then a cast might be applied and left on for these reasons. Not everyone is able to notice whether they have a brace on correctly (due to confusion or not being alert) and this is a major reason why a cast might stay on instead.

What Do These Braces Look Like?

CAM walkers usually have an open toe, are gray or black in color, and will also have tread and a rocker bottom on the plantar surface. (The plantar surface is considered to be the bottom of the foot.) These braces are typically prefabricated. These orthopedic devices also typically come up your leg as high as a traditional AFO (ankle foot orthosis). This means that a CAM walker will come up to the widest part of the calf for most people. As a result of having tread and a rocker bottom, as opposed to a traditional AFO, the patient does not have to put them inside a shoe, in the vast majority of cases. Why? Because of the presence of the rocker bottom and tread, these brace are already like their own shoe in effect.

Closing The Toe On A Cam Walker

If you are a professional in any field, or a student perhaps, then your association with work or school may insist that you have closed toe footwear. Yes, it is probably to protect your toes. You can also probably assume that closed toe footwear is required for insurance reasons as well. CAM "boots" as they are sometimes called (incorrectly) do not usually have a closed toe, so if you need one added to your orthosis, then do not worry. You can go to your local, licensed orthotist and they can help provide this for you.

* This is health information. Brace scenarios can vary slightly, so it is best to get medical advice from your local, licensed orthotist regarding your particular situation.

AFOs - A Down To Earth Guide on Ankle Foot Orthoses and Orthopedic Braces - Part 16

A Note To Medical Professionals Ordering a C.R.O.W.

Sometimes in the medical industry, medical professionals will refer to these orthoses as "CROW Boots", "Diabetic Walkers", "Charcot Boots" etc. These are incorrect terms for this device and in an effort to be more precise, this needs to be understood. You may have a clear picture in mind when you use these terms, but as an ordering individuals you might not be expressing yourself as clearly as you think. If you are an ordering APN (advanced practioner nurse), P.A. (physician's assistant) or physician, you might see why it is redundant to refer to one of these devices as a "C.R.O.W. Boot". This is redundant because what you are really saying is "Charcot Restraint Orthotic Walker Boot". - You can simply refer to them as a C.R.O.W. and you will be correct. You will also be communicating more efficiently with your local, licensed orthotist who will be providing your patient with orthotic treatment. Isn't that what you would want to be doing anyways?

Instructions That Apply To All Orthopedic Braces - Note To Patients

Whenever a patient uses an orthosis (brace) they need to make sure it is on snug. Your local orthotist will show you what this means for you as a patient. Moreover, it is very important to monitor your skin when it comes to braces as well. - No, you will probably not develop a rash or a sore, but it is a good idea to monitor your skin with whatever you place on your body. For example, the first time a young woman wears earrings, she will probably monitor her skin to make sure nothing is going wrong; although they doubt anything bad could really happen. If you, as a patient, have skin sensitivity issues, then it is extremely important to monitor your skin. Why? Because your skin will tell you how you are feeling and any redness needs to be noted and treated accordingly. Contact your providing orthotist with any concerns about skin irritation with respect to bracing. This last section is more of a word to the wise, instead of being something that you need to very worried about.

Note: This is health information. Bracing scenarios can vary slightly and that is why we would like you to talk with your local, licensed orthotist for medical advice on orthoses (braces). This is good information, but it is best to talk with these brace specialists regarding your connection or need for orthopedic bracing.

AFOs - A Down To Earth Guide on Ankle Foot Orthoses and Orthopedic Braces - Part 12

Detailed Information About PRAFOs

Floating The Heel With A PRAFO

PRAFOs are very important for people because they are very soft on the inside. Now you can start to see where the "pressure relief" part of the acronym comes into play. The cushion can help prevent bedsores from happening for patients. Moreover, if a person has a heel sore, a PRAFO can be a good idea as well because there is usually an open spot where the heel is not touching anything. It is basically "floating", if you will. This "floating of the heel" helps to make sure contact pressures are avoided at this area of heel and this can help to facilitate healing as a result.

How PRAFOs Help To Avoid Contractures

Another positive thing about the use of a PRAFO is that they can help to eliminate a contracted foot and ankle. Sometimes, if you have noticed, when you lay down, your toes start to point in a downward direction. Once this happens, you will also notice that your heel is up in comparison. A foot that stays in this position can develop a contracture and this is not ideal for patients. - The PRAFO will help to keep the foot and ankle in a neutral alignment.

What's The Bar For On The Back of Many PRAFOs?

Lastly, a PRAFO will have a bar that rests on the back of the device. This bar can swing either left or right and can serve as a lever that will stop the feet from being "windswept". When you do not want your foot to always be pointing in when you lay down, then this bar can be something that prevents this foot and ankle posture from happening.

As a recap, the three positive things that PRAFOs do for patient are:

1.) Help to Prevent Bed Sores
2.) Help patients to maintain a neutral alignment at the foot and ankle (avoiding plantar flexion contractures.
3.)Help patients to avoid swinging their feet (excessive toe in or toe out, or supination and pronation avoidance).

A Note To Medical Professionals Regarding PRAFOs

Try and check the heel of the patient before assuming that the PRAFO is donned correctly, if and when you apply one. Based off of the information we just talked about, one of the main purposes of a PRAFO is to help avoid ankle contractures. - Just because a PRAFO is on a patient does not mean that it is on correctly. Do the patient a favor and make sure their heel is down and back inside of the brace as much as possible. A plantarflexed foot is easily disguised inside of a PRAFO, if you we as health care professionals do not pay close enough attention. It may be an honest mistake, but it can be a mistake that the patient has to pay for longterm if the heel is not well seated.

Moreover, remember, if you call a PRAFO an AFO, you might turn around and find out your patient has a traditional style AFO (made from plastic, or metal and leather). When you order an AFO from an orthotics company realize that when you say, "AFO", you should clarify to the brace specialist if the patient is walking or not. Just remember that PRAFOs are typically for bed bound patients and AFOs are typically used for patients to help them walk better again. This will help your patients get what they need more efficiently.

* Note: This is health information. When you need to get medical advice regarding bracing then it is best to speak with your local, licensed orthotist. This is good information, but since each brace scenarios can vary, we suggest you talk with a brace specialist for medical advice.

AFOs - A Down To Earth Guide on Ankle Foot Orthoses and Orthopedic Braces - Part 7

How Long Do I Wear The AFO For?

Usually AFOs are to be worn when a person is sitting or standing and/or walking. Typically, people do not wear a traditional AFO while they are in bed, because these brace are typically used for walking. In terms of how long wear the brace, for long term usage, it might be best to talk with your physician about this. Many patient's need to use an ankle foot orthosis indefinitely depending on the state of their diagnosis while others can discard them after a short time.

Take Home Points For Medical Professionals Ordering a Brace

Many times, an orthotist will get a script from a physician that will say "Leg Brace", "Walking boot" or "AFO Brace". Although, this gets the orthotist's mind started in the right direction it is actually still quite a vague request. As the ordering individual, you might know exactly what you want for the patient, but it is best to use the right terms when ordering an orthosis. If you use unrecognized terminology, you are just asking for the orthotist to call you for clarification. Moreover, using the term "AFO brace" is a misnomer as well. The medical term "orthosis" means brace, therefore, when a doctor or APN requests an "AFO Brace" this is actually a redundant statement. As a result, this phrase alone (AFO Brace) may trigger a phone call from your local orthotist. Why? Because you are in effect requesting an "ankle foot brace brace". We mean all of this in a positive sense and hope that it helps you in your future when ordering these braces for your patients.

Other Braces For The Foot & Ankle - Very Important!

The Difference Between Traditional AFOs & PRAFOs - Medical Professionals, Please Read This Carefully

What Are PRAFOs?

There are other braces for the ankle and foot that exist, which are referred to as PRAFOs. Yes, the PRAFO acronym ends in AFO, but traditional AFOs and PRAFOs are very different. The acronym PRAFO stands for "Pressure Relief Ankle Foot Orthosis". PRAFOs are typically used for people that are not walking currently. A traditional AFO is meant for someone that is ambulating. Very big difference! - The patients who use a PRAFO are typically in bed or in a wheel chair. Although many PRAFOs might have tread on the bottom of them, this is meant for a quick transfer from a bed to a wheel chair, or some movement of this nature. PRAFOs are typically not thought of as a brace that patient's walk in.

Note: This information is health based. Remember that each bracing scenario is different, so if you need medical advice regarding braces then speak with your local, licensed orthotist.

AFOs - A Down To Earth Guide on Ankle Foot Orthoses and Orthopedic Braces - Part 14

Why CAM Walkers Work

CAM walkers usually limit motion at the site of a patient's foot and ankle. (This is why there are considered in this series to be an ankle foot orthosis, although not the traditional type.) This limitation of movement happens with a rigid plantar surface (the surface underneath a patient's foot) and with ankle uprights that help to inhibit movement. When unwanted ankle and foot movements are avoided, a patient has a higher degree of likelihood that they will heal properly. Why? - When a fracture at the foot or ankle is not moving and being aggravated then the body has a better chance of healing itself.

How can a fracture or injury such as a sprain or fracture be aggravated?

The answer is simple, with movement. The wrong movement. For example, in a normal gain cycle, you will notice that your ankle and foot need to move dynamically in order to adapt to the floor and allow for a patient's body to move forward in space. Now consider walking the distance of 100 meters. The repetition of movement at the injury site can be a severe problem. You might think to yourself that if a person could just be careful enough they would not need a brace like this CAM walker stated here. The reality is that the patient only needs to forget one time and then the injury can be worse as a result. Do you know anybody that likes going back to "square one" when they are trying to heal? - We think you know the answer to this question.

CAM Walkers & The Use of a Rocker Bottom

You will also see that there is something called a "rocker bottom" located on the bottom of a CAM walker. You may wonder what a rocker bottom can do for a patient when it is part of a brace. Rocker bottoms are used to help induce a more fluid gait pattern, when you take away normal ankle and foot motion. In the case of CAM walkers, you are taking away ankle and foot motion for a good reason. As a result, people will benefit many times from a rocker bottom. on the device so it will smooth out movement.

Note: This is health information. Orthopedic bracing scenarios can vary slightly, so it is best to get medical advice on bracing and orthotics from your local, licensed orthotist (brace specialist). This is good information, but we can not cover ever patient care situation.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sore Neck? How to Get Neck Pain Relief

I have learned of an amazing discovery concerning neck pain relief. Have you ever wonder why you experience a sore neck? You might have picked up something and turned your head slightly, slept wrong, or maybe you suffered a sports injury, these are just a few things that might be cause of neck pain, but wait what this doctor has discovered.

Through many studies and test our body plays tug of war virtually every day causing muscle imbalances within our body. This is true for the neck also, which causes our neck muscles to be weaker on one side of our neck than the other. And what is the first thing we do when we experience this pain? We start taking pain pills!

When you go to a chiropractor to adjust your neck it feels great for a few days and then wow, sharp pains in your neck again. Most doctors will miss what is the underlying factor that is really causing your neck pain. They may try cortisone shots, electric stimulation, anti-inflammatory drugs, and even surgery. If you are wondering why doctors are missing the cause of neck pain, it is because medical school never taught these principles.

This new technique was created by Dr. Paris is one of the only chiropractor in the world today who teaches these principles with a success rate of 93%. He is owner of Advanced Spine and Wellness Center and has over 240 hours of post-graduate training in spinal biomechanics.

The system is explained totally about muscle imbalances and how to relief your neck pain. Dr. Paris system is called "Lose the Neck Pain?" and it comes with a step-by-step walk through with a self assessment because he knows that each individual is different. After you do your self diagnosis, then you will be assigned certain corrective exercises which are specific to your condition. Once you have corrected the imbalance in your neck muscles, you will have eliminated your pain.

How long does it take to get relief? It is hard to say how long it will take to get relief, since every person is different it will depend on how long you have had the condition, the severity of it, which will determine the length of time for relief. It usually will take between 3 to 6 weeks for you to gain strength back in your neck, but you will notice some relief almost immediately.

For more information about this amazing discovery, visit " Pain In My Back " and click on neck pain.

Simple TMJ Pain Relief Techniques

TMJ disorders are very stressful and there are many situations when a patient is willing to die out of starvation than bear the pain that comes with opening the mouth to eat. Actually, some patients get so addicted to painkillers to the point of almost losing their mind in the quest to relieve the headaches associated with TMJ dysfunction. However, it is possible to get TMJ relief, and in several ways.

TMJ pain relief can be addressed through professional care, self-administration, and neuromuscular dentistry. It is important to note that some of these pain relief procedures offer a temporary solution but do nothing on the root source of the problem. Therefore, TMJ disorder may persist.

Self Care Relief:

It involves doing some exercises to relieve the discomfort. Here are the steps.

Using your tongue, reach for the top part of the mouth while opening it as wide as you can. Breathe in slowly for about 10 seconds while still holding the tongue. Relax the tongue to its usual place for a few seconds and repeat the process 10 times.

Another method is acupressure at home. This method is different from acupuncture as it does not involve needles. You will need help from an expert in this field to direct you to your Hegu Point (between the thumb and fore finger) where you will need to apply pressure to ease the discomfort.

Professional Treatment:

There are several Orthodontic procedures that are effective in dealing with TMJ syndrome. A dentist can offer mandible repositioning to correct misaligned jaws through rearranging the bridges and crowns. More so, he or she can prescribe supplements like Magnesium and Calcium to restore proper TMJ muscle functionality.

Neuromuscular Dentistry:

This method tries to deal with the root issue of the problem. This branch of medicine is more concerned with realigning muscles, nerves and tendons that are associated with TMJ to correct the uneven bite responsible for the problem.

There are many other therapeutic approaches towards relieving TMJ disorders, but the best option is to go for a more permanent solution to deal with symptoms and root causes.

Simple Everyday Pain Relievers: Your Home's Best Massage Chair

Pain is broadly defined as a distressed signal of the body that something is either broken or not functioning normally. Physically, it can manifest through a range of things, namely a throbbing pain, a sore kind of pain, a stinging kind of pain, an aching kind of pain and many more. What is common through all these feelings is the feeling of uneasiness, albeit at different degrees. Pain in its core and its is essence is uneasy and discomforting, but at the same time may be an understatement to just describe it this way. The most intense degrees of physical pain is so great that it may cause one to faint or it may entail the use of painkillers such as painkilling drugs and anaesthesia.

There are two major kinds of pain: the physical and the emotional pain. Medically speaking the pain that is more recognized and treated is the physical pain. This is because as mentioned, physical pain can bring great agitation to the point of fainting.

Physical pain can be caused by many things. As earlier mentioned, when a body part is not functioning properly or when is broken, there is usually pain. This is because scientifically, pain serves as a signal to the brain that something is wrong. It is one of the built-in response mechanisms of human beings that protect them from harmful stimulus. Many may resent pain, but one could just imagine the world without physical pain, people would not be able to tell when their hands are broken or burning.

However, with this underlying benefit of pain comes the heavy price of having to endure it. Fortunately, innovations in medicine have created a branch that deals with pain management-this is called algiatry. Algiatry is the branch of medicine that deals with and cures pain, thus easing the discomfort caused by it. It deals with both the drug-related methods of curing pain, and with other more sophisticated methods such as anaesthesia. There is even a team that specializes in managing pain, and this-much like a typical team that you would see in a hospital operating room or in an ambulance-is composed of medical practitioners who specialize in aiding pain, nurses and paramedics.

Not all physical pain however has to end up in the hospital. Sometimes domestic remedies may be sought after as an alternative to the more expensive and more serious pain-relieving operations available in the hospital.

For instance, after a long tiring day at work, there may be a bit of soreness in key areas such as your back and your neck. It would not deem very practical to go to a hospital for this kind of minor pain, thus people in the house may resort to more minor means of treating pain. This may include the intake of oral pain relievers in the form of tablets, or even just a simple relaxing position on your favorite and your best massage chair. This simple act of sitting down on your best massage chair may be enough to ease the minor soreness you experience.