Don’t Risk A Shot In The Dark: Learn About Injection Therapy

Posted by on Nov 17, 2011 in Blog, Orthopedic, Workers Compensation

“Oh! My back!” is a popular punch line for stand-up comics and in primetime sitcoms.  For the many millions who suffer with it daily, chronic back pain is no laughing matter.  Even mild back pain can interfere with the enjoyment of everyday life.  Moderate activities like gardening, or simply keeping up with friends and family via email become uncomfortable for those in constant pain. Intense back pain can cause your entire life to come to a grinding halt. Forget about playing tennis, riding a bike, or working for any appreciable amount of time, with chronic back pain, you can barely get on the floor to play with your kids. Fortunately, when more conservative approaches to pain management do not sufficiently manage the pain, many other effective treatments exist, such as injection therapy, to reduce and possibly eliminate chronic back pain. Physicians can use a number of different types of injections as well as several points of entry for the injections. Some therapeutic injections deliver steroids, such as cortisone or a steroid mixture, directly to the source of the pain.  Steroid injections can decrease the swelling and inflammation caused by trauma to the spinal nerve pain and, thereby, decrease pain.  Others deliver opiates, a potentially addictive class of medication, to relieve the patient. Alternatively, injection therapy may consist of epidural steroid injections, spinal nerve blocks, or facet joint injections. Nerve block injections interrupt the pain signal from a spinal nerve to the brain, providing temporary pain relief.  Still other types of injections are used as diagnostic tools to confirm or negate a spinal diagnosis. Patients should never receive injection therapy unless under a doctor’s care.  A medical professional with specialized knowledge of spinal anatomy and physiology will closely monitor the patient throughout any injection therapy process.  Local anesthesia is typically administered to reduce patient discomfort.  The various natures of injection therapies can confuse patients and some come with considerable controversy.  To clear up the confusion, read this introduction to three primary categories of injection therapies. Epidural Injection Therapy:  The traditional epidural injection technique involves the doctor manually feeling the patient’s spine in order to guide the placement of a needle between the spinal vertebrae.  The physician injects the medication inside the bony column of the spine surrounding the ‘dura’—the medical term for the sac that houses the spinal cord and nerves.  This may sound scary, but patients should know that the needle stays several centimeters from the spinal cord and can result in complications as minor as a headache. Injections of medications, such as steroids or opiates, into the lumbar epidural space are frequently used for low back and related radicular leg pains. Physicians use epidural injections to treat a...

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SLAP Tears: Shoulder Injury Shared By Athletes and the Awkward

Posted by on Oct 3, 2011 in Blog, Orthopedic, Slap Tear

An injury that affects both skilled athletes and the accident-prone alike, a SLAP tear is a specific type of shoulder injury.  SLAP (Superior Labrum Anterior to Posterior) refers to the part of the labrum that is damaged, or torn.  The labrum is a ring of firm tissue surrounding your shoulder socket that helps to keep your shoulder stable and in place.  In  plain English:  the “top part of the labrum, from front to back” where the biceps tendon attaches to the shoulder socket.  In essence, the labrum keeps the arm bone connected to the shoulder bone.  People with SLAP tears often have other shoulder injuries as well, such as a torn rotator cuff. Although SLAP tears are relatively uncommon, certain types of people commonly present with pain from SLAP tears.  Baseball or volleyball players complain of pain from SLAP tears.  The repetitive overhead throwing motion common to both sports can result in trauma and tearing.  SLAP tears also occur from a traction injury to the arm, such as lifting a heavy object off of the ground too quickly. Or, for the clumsy among us, a slip and fall onto an outstretched arm, or falling on a shoulder may cause a SLAP tear.  Even bracing oneself, with arms outstretched, in a car accident can fray, or tear, the labrum. There are also types of SLAP tears that are specific to the area involved and severity of the tear.  Basic types are Type I-IV. Type I –     fraying/degeneration of labrum edge Type II –   defect (fray/degeneration) into the labrum; commonest type; requires surgical repair pay day loan direct lenders Type III –   bucket handle tear; uncommon; requires surgical repair Type IV –    bucket handle tear AND biceps tendon tear; uncommon; requires surgical repair Symptoms of a SLAP Tear Painful popping, clicking, or “catching” in the shoulder Pain when attempting to extend the arm overhead or reach behind the back Pain when throwing a ball An aching pain felt deep in the shoulder Diagnosis of a SLAP Tear Typically, doctors do not see SLAP tears with great frequency, making diagnosis difficult. Many other potential sources for shoulder pain, such as arthritis, tendonitis, or rotator cuff disorders, show up more often, causing the physicians to overlook a possible SLAP injury when diagnosing the injury. If you suspect that you, or a client, may have suffered a SLAP tear, don’t panic.  Consult a physician and find an orthopedic specialist to ascertain a proper diagnosis. Orthopedic specialists know to look for SLAP tears as well as other sources for the pain. They have more experience interpreting x-rays and MRI images than the typical primary care physician. Patient outlook varies with the severity of the tear...

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