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One of the most common problems seen in a primary care medical practice is low back pain. It accounts for more discomfort, lost work and productivity, and frustration for many patients than any other malady. Some think it is the price we, as humans, pay for walking upright. The lower back is a complex structure made of bone, muscles, connective tissue and nerves that, along with our legs, hold us erect, allow us to bend, run, twist, catch a football, or just lay down and rest. However, once a problem arises, the complexity of its structure makes pain in the lower back difficult to diagnose and treat. The lower back consists of a spinal column from the lumbar region of the mid-back down to the tail bone or coccyx. The spinal column consists of 5 lumbar vertebrae which are cylindrical bony structures with a ring like component behind the cylinder also made of bone. In between the vertebrae are disc shaped cushions filled with a gelatinous central core known as the nucleus pulposis
If I have right knee osteoarthritis, do I have to work out my left side as well?
I was recently asked by a patient why he had to work out both sides of his body in physical therapy if only his right knee hurt. I can understand some of the confusion. After all, if your right shoulder were painful and inflamed and required an injection, the medication would only be put at the site of inflammation -- in your right shoulder. You would not be a candidate for a right and a left shoulder injection! However, physical therapy, for the most part, is much different. I'll explain.
There are two basic components to physical therapy -- passive and active. In the passive component, the therapist may apply ice, heat, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and other modalities to the painful area. For the most part, these modalities are only placed at the site of injury (there are a few exceptions that are beyond the scope of this blog). So, in this sense, physical therapy is functioning si...
Anyone who's ever had an asthma attack knows about the chest tightness and why it occurs. Yet what about the chest soreness that occurs the next day? Why does asthma causes chest pain?
The interesting thing to note here is there are no pain receptors in your lungs!!! The reason asthma causes pain is because asthma causes you to breathe the wrong way.
Confused? Allow me to explain with a pithy lesson on how we breathe. (To learn why we breathe click here )
Breathing is the process of moving air into and out of the lungs. Breathing is one of the few bodily functions that can be done either consciously (you control it) or unconsciously (without thinking of it). Unconscious breathing : Most of the time you don't think about breathing, yet you continue to do it. This is an important safety net for life, because if we had to think about breathing 24-7 we'd accomplish little and most life would cease to exist. Air goes into your...
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