Memorial Day weekend marks the start of summer and the beginning of road trip season. Despite the rising gas prices, millions of fun-seekers will hit the pavement with luggage in the trunk and the navigation system set for some distant destination. As the miles add up, so too will the pain from sitting long hours in the car. At mile marker 100, the low back may start seizing-up. At mile marker 180, cramps might be felt in the legs and shoulders. And during the final mile, the whole body might feel as if the last semi-truck you passed actually ran over you. If that sounds familiar, take a moment to read about some survival tips that can help you avoid the pains of summer road trips.
Adjust the Seat : Seat adjustment is critical for avoiding pain on the road. The first thing to do when you buttocks hit the car seat is to adjust the seat to fit you. Starting from the top, the headrest should be centered squarely on the center of your head. Properly adjusted headrests do prevent whi...
"Separation" of the acromioclavicular (AC) joint, where the end of the collarbone meets the shoulder blade, is actually a sprain of the ligaments that connect the two bones. "Separation" is an old medical term that has been applied to the widening of the space between the bones. Since this problem involves ligaments, it really should be called a sprain. AC separation is typically an injury of young, active people who fall on the shoulder. Most commonly, it occurs when a person lands on the point of the shoulder, driving the shoulder blade down relative to the clavicle. Patients often tell of being thrown over the handlebars when bicycling, being tackled while playing football, or being upended while skiing. As with sprains , there are degrees of severity. Weight lifters, in particular those who do bench presses, often get AC separation. It can also occur in other situations where lifting occurs, or with injury such as falling on the shoulder. A mild, or first-degree, s...
Back pain - nonspecific
The majority of nonspecific back pain is probably caused by muscle strain. This usually responds to 2-5 days of rest and pain medications (such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents -- ibuprofen, naproxen, aspirin, etc.), followed by gradual return to activities. Medications may be needed to reduce muscle spasms.
Physical therapy is often prescribed to instruct the patient on proper body mechanics (such as good posture and lifting correctly) and to improve strength and flexibility in the spine, abdomen, and legs.
Surgery is not useful for the treatment of nonspecific back pain.
Most cases of nonspecific back pain resolve on their own or respond to treatment. It is helpful to sleep on a firm mattress, with a board under the mattress, or even on the floor. Heat or ice applied to the affected area may provide some relief.
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