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Tag Archives: Muscle

Tense Muscles could be Unmanaged Stress

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Unmanaged stress causes your muscles to tense up. Relax your tight shoulders and neck with this easy, do-anywhere neck roll.
When you’re stressed, the nervous system tells major muscle groups to tense up (which gets them ready to fight or flee). If you continue to remain stressed, those muscles stay tight and constricted, leading to stress-related muscle pain and tension. If it feels as though the weight of the world is on your shoulders, practice this neck roll exercise, offered by yoga therapist Judi Bar, the yoga program manager at the Cleveland Clinic.

Whether you choose to do your neck rolls standing or sitting, begin with a tall spine. Exhale as you let your chin drop toward your chest. Don’t force your chin to touch the chest, just let it fall naturally in that direction. As you inhale, roll your head slowly and gently to the right side, dropping the ear towards the shoulder. Keep inhaling as you continue to roll the head backward, looking up at the ceiling. Begin your next exhale as you roll your head to the left side and back forward to start. Do two or three rounds going in one direction and then switch directions. Do this gentle practice any time you feel tension gathering in your neck and shoulders.

 

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USA Today: Patients with back pain often get Wrong Treatment

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Patients with back pain often get the wrong treatment
Nanci Hellmich, USA TODAY 5:18 p.m. EDT July 29, 2013
“The majority of cases of patients with new back pain tend to get better with conservative treatment in three months.”

Story Highlights
• Back pain is one of the most common reasons for going to the doctor
• With treatment of back pain, often “less is more”
• Conservative treatments work for the majority of patients with back pain

Many patients are getting overly aggressive treatments for their back pain, says a large study out today. Physicians today are increasingly giving patients with back pain narcotic drugs, ordering expensive imaging tests or referring them to other physicians rather than offering them the recommended first line of treatment. That more conservative treatment calls for the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), aspirin and naproxen (Aleve), or acetaminophen (Tylenol) and physical therapy, according to national guidelines from the American College of Physicians.

The guidelines caution against early imaging or other aggressive treatments, except in rare cases, says the study’s lead author John Mafi, a chief medical resident at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston. These guidelines are similar to those from other groups, and the bottom-line message is “less is more,” Mafi says. “The majority of cases of patients with new back pain tend to get better with conservative treatment in three months. If they don’t get better, physical therapy is an option. Narcotic medications, such as Percocet or Vicodin, have no proven efficacy in improving chronic back pain.”

Back pain is one of the most common reasons for going to the doctor; more than 10% of visits to primary-care physicians are for this problem and amounts to about $86 billion in health care spending annually, says senior author Bruce Landon, a professor of health care policy and medicine at Harvard Medical School. That’s a conservative estimate because it doesn’t account for lost productivity, he says. Using data from two national surveys, the researchers studied almost 24,000 visits to the doctor for back pain, both acute and chronic, from 1999 to 2010.

Findings published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine, a Journal of the American Medical Association Network publication:
– The recommendation for using NSAIDs or acetaminophen per visit decreased from almost 37% in 1999 to about 24.5% in 2010.
– Narcotic drug use increased from about 19% in 1999 to about 29% in 2010.
– Physician referrals increased from about 7% in 1999 to 14% in 2010.
– Scans, such as computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance images (MRIs), rose from about 7% to about 11% during that same period.
– Physical therapy remained unchanged at about 20%; X-rays remained unchanged at about 17%.

“With health care costs soaring, improvements in the management of back pain represent an area of potential cost savings for the health care system while also improving the quality of care,” the study says. So why are doctors using these types of treatments? “Patients expect doctors to have some kind of magic cure, and so doctors want to offer them something,” Landon says. “Often it’s easier to offer them something rather than explaining why more aggressive treatments and testing won’t make them better in the long run.”
Donald Casey Jr., a clinical professor of medicine in the department of population health at New York University School of Medicine, who wrote the accompanying editorial, says there are a lot of different reasons for the findings, including the fact that there are 183 different guidelines just for treating low back pain. “A well-constructed clinical practice guideline doesn’t always give you the exact treatment for every single patient every time. But it should give physicians guidance about which treatments are most likely to work best for most patients.”

 

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Keep Muscle in tact with Protein-packed Foods

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Keep muscle mass intact! Protein-packed foods like fish, chicken, tofu and egg whites help stave off age- or diet-related muscle loss.
Dieting can make you lose muscle as well as fat. To help prevent muscle loss, fill your plate with leucine-rich protein. Leucine is an essential amino acid that can help you burn fat while maintaining lean muscle tissue. Because the human body cannot manufacture leucine, you must get it in your diet. Great sources of leucine are fish, tofu, egg whites fish and chicken.

 

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Consider Physical Therapy if you still have Pain

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YOU SHOULD CONSIDER PHYSICAL THERAPY…

You injured your back, your knee or your wrist. You’ve gone to the doctor who suggested rest, anti-inflammatories and perhaps a brace. However, even after time has passed, you’re still having pain. Have you considered physical therapy?

Physical therapy may sound like it’s just for recovery of major musculoskeletal surgeries like a knee replacement or after a stroke, but in reality physical therapy can help even in situations that seem less serious. Physical therapy can help anyone return to their optimal level of functioning who have suffered an injury, developed weaknesses or have muscle & joint imbalances.
Physical therapy can help with the reduction of pain using a variety of techniques. Many PT’s use evidence-based techniques and “hands on therapy” to release restricted muscles. They can locate and work on trigger points, which may be referring pain to other areas of your body.

Pain often continues after an injury due to weaknesses developed in the muscle groups that were affected, long after the muscle has actually healed. Often, other muscles are being overworked to compensate, creating more or different pain. Physical therapists can isolate and determine specifically where those weaknesses are and develop an exercise plan to help those areas regain their strength. Therapists can guide you through proper movement allowing your body to relearn what it feels like to once again move correctly. Physical therapy may also help you avoid surgery. As you strengthen and stretch particular muscle groups you may no longer need surgery. If you and your physician find you do need surgery, physical therapy will help get those muscles as strong and flexible as possible beforehand so you will have a faster, less painful recovery.

There are a variety of types of physical therapists with more expertise in a particular areas. Patients who have had a heart attack may see a cardiac rehab therapist, those with hip or knee replacements may see an orthopedic physical therapist. Certain physical therapists only work with children while others primarily work with seniors. There are also PTs in the area of woman’s health, helping women with pelvic pain issues or incontinence problems.

Resources are available to help a physical therapist to suit your needs. Ask friends who have had physical therapy if they would recommend their therapist to you. Some physicians have physical therapists they prefer to work with and will often refer to those particular clinics.
Call the physical therapy clinic and ask about a therapist’s experience working with patients with your type of issue. The office staff can also verify whether or not your insurance will cover the physical therapy and how much you will be responsible for with each visit.

Physical therapy is definitely worth a try for chronic problems that have not improved with other treatments. Ask the PT how many visits it should take before you would see some progress. The PT and your physician will develop a plan that works for you!

Sources:
10 Ways Physical Therapy Can Help. Lehigh Valley Health Network. Retrieved July 7, 2013.
http://www.lvhn.org/wellness_resources/wellness_articles/healthy_living/…

Physical Therapy. Teens Health from Nemours. Retrieved July 7, 2013.
http://kidshealth.org/teen/your_body/medical_care/pt.html

American Physical Therapy Association.
http://www.apta.org

“Find a PT”
http://www.apta.org/apta/findapt/index.aspx?navID=10737422525

 

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