What is Sciatica?

 

Sciatica Patient

Examining Sciatica Patient

Sciatica is a term for a symptom rather than a condition. It is basically caused when the sciatic nerve becomes irritated; sciatica is the tingling or pain felt in the legs that is a result of the sciatic nerve being irritated. Most individuals state that the sensation of sciatica is located in the lower back and then radiates down through the back portions of the thigh and continues to run down to just below the knee. This pain or tingling feeling is felt where the sciatic nerve is located. The sciatic nerve is rooted in the lower portion of the back called the lumbar cord; it extends through the buttock so that it can send more nerve endings through the lower limb. Another term frequently used for sciatica is sciatic nerve pain. Continue reading

What is a Slipped Disc?

Back pain

Weakness and Pain in the Back

The term, “slipped disc” is commonly used for a spinal condition which can also be referred to as a ruptured disc, herniated disc or a prolapsed disc. It does not literally mean the slipping or dislodging of a disc, but instead refers to a spinal condition where a disc is protruding abnormally and made contact with nerve tissue. Usually a slipped or herniated disc is located in the region of the lower back, but any disc along the spinal column could potentially rupture. This also includes the discs that are in the neck region. Continue reading

What is Facet Arthrosis?

Back X-ray

Spine X-ray

There are many spinal conditions that occur due to aging and facet arthrosis is one of them. Facet arthrosis occurs as the joints located in the spine start to deteriorate and the cartilage in these joints starts to wear away. The cartilage is a very important factor in keeping the back and spine mobile. Cartilage is a type of connective tissue that keeps the bones in a joint from rubbing together; it covers the facet joints and provides protection by intercepting friction or strain. As the body ages the cartilage can wear away and allow the bones in the joint to come into contact with each other. This can lead to pain, stiffness or bone spurs in many individuals.

How does a physician diagnose facet arthrosis?

When a physician or orthopedic doctor suspects facet arthrosis, they will usually order an x-ray of the area. In most cases, this will reveal any abnormal facets. In order to get a more thorough look, the physician may also order a CT scan. This will offer the physician or spine specialist a better look of the spinal structures. In most instances, an MRI will not be required in order to diagnose the spinal condition but when looking for various causes of back pain it may be useful. Continue reading

What is Lumbar Laminectomy?

Relived legs

Woman’s legs

A lumbar laminectomy is a surgical procedure that is also known as an open decompression. The procedure is designed to relieve the pressure that is on the spinal nerve or spinal cord by opening or widening the spinal canal. During the procedure, the lamina which is a small section of the bone on the spine is removed so that there is more room for the nerves. An open decompression, or lumbar laminectomy is typically suggested by a physician for those patients who suffer from back pain caused by neural impingement. The surgical procedure relieves the pressure by enlarging the spinal canal. Continue reading

How to Reduce the Risk of Back Pain

Aerobic Exercise

Aerobics

There can be many different risk factors for developing back pain; some of them are controllable while factors like genetics or again which predispose an individual to a specific condition are not. It is not uncommon for back pain to strike an individual that has absolutely no risk factors at all. However, in most cases there are some things that can be done in order to protect oneself. Of course, it is always advisable to discuss any back pain with your primary care physician or other health care professional who is knowledgeable about spine health. Continue reading

What Causes Back Pain?

Pain in lower back

Back Pain

One of the most common patient complaints is back pain and most of us will experience it at one time or another. The good thing is that about half of those who experience the discomfort of back pain will find relief in about 2 weeks; and nearly all will be relieved of the pain within 3 months time no matter what type of treatment options are pursued. Most of the time back pain is due to muscular strain which is resolved in time since muscles receive plenty of blood flow. A solid supply of blood will bring the needed proteins and nutrients to help healing occur. Back pain can be a minor irritation, or it can be very severe; for many it can be debilitating. For individuals under the age of 45, back pain is the leading cause of disability. It is important to see a physician if back pain is intense, limits your mobility, or cannot be controlled with over the counter medications. Continue reading

Preventing Varicose Veins

Woman's legs

Woman’s legs

Varicose veins are a very common occurrence as roughly 50 percent of the women in the United States and about 40 percent of the men will suffer from some sort of vein problem. Typically about half of the people who are 50 years of age and older will be affected by varicose veins. Veins in the body are vessels which carry nutrients and oxygen to the body cells via the blood. The veins also carry various types of waste products such as carbon dioxide away from the cells so that the cells do not become cluttered. Varicose veins can develop if steady blood flow is interrupted. This interruption can cause blood to pool in small amounts in the veins and the veins enlarge in response.

Common Treatment Options

There are ways to effectively treat varicose veins through lifestyle changes or medical treatment options. The goal is to relieve the symptoms, prevent complications from developing and improve appearance. Some simple lifestyle changes may be appropriate if there are no complications or if the condition is mild. Continue reading

What is an ACL Tear?

ACL Tear symptoms

ACL Tear

Most individuals who watch sports have seen the falls players take in the course of the game and hear the sports announcers nearly wince when they announce the player sustained an ACL tear. This is one of the most common knee injuries. Those who participate in highly physical sports like soccer, basketball and football are the most likely athletes to injure the ACL.

Responsibility of the ACL in the Knee

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the four major knee ligaments that connect the tibia to the femur. The ACL is positioned inside the knee and runs diagonally through the middle. It is responsible for making sure that the tibia does not slide out of place. It also provides rotational stability in the knee. The ACL is positioned between the menisci which work like shock absorbers to help reduce stress between the femur and tibia. Continue reading

Types of Joint Replacements

Joint Replacement

Joint Pain

There are several types of joint replacements that are commonly performed. Board certified surgeons can perform hip replacements, knee replacements, and shoulder replacements. These are the most common types of replacements but finger, toe and elbow joints can also be replaced. Most of the time, a joint is replaced to increase a person’s mobility and improve function. What type of joint replacement is used will depend largely on which type of joint is being replaced; and the types of movements that are required from the joint. There are several different arthroplastic replacements that are available. Continue reading

Healthy Running Tips for Adults

Healthy running

Running

Running is one of the latest fitness crazes that is sweeping the nation. Every weekend there are races of different distances from the 5K to the full marathon. And for good reason, running is one of the most effective ways of maintaining and improving cardiovascular fitness, especially as we age. It is quite simple to find a simple beginner’s training program that will help you move from a sedentary lifestyle to running your first 5K. And for those who have been running for awhile, the full marathon is a challenge well accepted. But as a runner, it is very important to protect your body from injury and to run safely. Before beginning any running regimen, always get clearance from your physician. Here are a few tips for adult runners. Continue reading