The Google Dictionary defines pain as “physical suffering or discomfort caused by an illness or injury.”
There are many different kinds of pain. It can be sharp, dull, cramping, heavy or tingling. Even numbness can be perceived as a sort of pain. Discomfort can also be acute, lasting only a short time, or chronic, lasting long after the original injury is healed.
The most common type of pain is probably nociceptive pain which occurs when nerve endings are hurt or irritated. Nociceptive pain warns us when our tissues are being damaged and gives us a chance to pull away to minimize the injury. It can usually be controlled with medications, and it only lasts for a limited time. There are several different types of nociceptive pain.
Somatic pain is caused by an injury to the body’s tissues. It fades away as the injury heals. If pain relief is needed, somatic pain can respond well to over the counter or prescription analgesics.
Visceral pain is another type of nociceptive pain, but it comes from the internal organs like the liver or intestines. It is usually experienced as an aching or squeezing feeling, and it comes from pressure in and around the organs. Because there are so many organs in the abdominal cavity, the cause of visceral pain may be difficult to pinpoint. One example of visceral pain is inflammatory bowel disease.
Inflammatory pain occurs as the result of the body’s response to tissue damage. When a part of the body is being damaged or injured, the body’s immune system sends cells to repair the damage. Sometimes, as in the case of osteoarthritis of the knees or other joints, the damage isn’t so easily repaired so the area can remain inflamed.
Sometimes the cytokines which help control communication between cells in the immune system pass on incorrect information and the cells become confused and attack healthy tissue. This is called an autoimmune disease. A common example is rheumatoid arthritis.
Neuropathic pain occurs when the nervous system malfunctions. It may be described as sharp, shocking, or shooting. Neuropathic pain does not typically respond well to standard pain medications. A spinal cord injury is a good example of neuropathic pain. It is caused by abnormal signals from damaged nerves and is usually felt at or below the level of injury.
In central sensitization, neurons become super sensitive to sensory input, for instance, a light touch on the cheek may feel like a slap across the face, or warm water may feel like scalding or freezing water.
There are many different kinds of pain people may experience. Some are easily treated, while others are not. The more scientists learn about the different kinds of pain the human body is capable of feeling, the more they will be able to do to ease discomfort and end suffering.
April 23, 2013
Central sensitization occurs when the nervous system maintains a state of high sensitivity or reactivity. This reactivity causes pain hypersensitivity so that even a light bump, touch or movement may cause great discomfort.
The body’s chief mechanism for experiencing pain is through the peripheral nervous system, or the PNS. When it encounters a noxious stimulus, the PNS sends signals along various pathways to the spinal cord. Nociceptors are the neurons that detect noxious stimuli and pass along a signal via the dorsal root ganglia; providing a message that something is wrong and instruct the body to stop or pull away from whatever is causing it.
Development of Central Sensitization
Sometimes, something goes awry with pain signals that causes changes in the brain to occur. In this case, even after the painful stimulus is removed and the wound is healed, the brain continues to interpret discomfort. Scientists first linked this condition to injuries of the brain or a part of the spinal cord called the dorsal horn.
They soon realized, however, that there were many other predisposing factors that had nothing to do with the nerves or with injury to the central nervous system, or CNS. Some of these predisposing factors include fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, certain musculoskeletal conditions or injuries, and mood issues such as depression and anxiety.
Genetic factors may also play a part in the development of central sensitization. People with a low pain threshold, for instance, may be more likely to develop the condition than people with a normal or high tolerance.
Researchers also theorize that an absence of inflammatory mediators may play a part in the development and maintenance of the condition.
Interestingly, the nervous system usually remains intact with no lesions to the neurons that show reactivity.
Central Sensitization Managed
People with this condition may lead a difficult life, both because they must deal with chronic pain and because they are often faced with the emotional experience of having loved ones or doctors who don’t believe the it is real.
Treatments for this condition include analgesics – medicines that help provide relief and work to calm the CNS, light aerobic exercise routines, and psychotherapy to learn methods for coping with a chronic and potentially debilitating illness.
Patients may also be referred to multidisciplinary treatment centers where they can receive a variety of interventions aimed at reducing discomfort and helping them enjoy as normal a life as possible.
March 19, 2013
Gout is a type of arthritis that is most common in men and is caused by high amounts of uric acid in the blood. It can occur in any joint, even in the knees, although it is not that common. It mostly affects the big toe, and will affect elderly men more frequently than the young.
The disease is characterized by high blood levels of uric acid, which can crystallize in synovial joints, causing pain that may be extreme. It may accompanied by swelling, red skin, or tophi. Tophi are hard protrusions made up of deposits of urate crystals of long term sufferers.
Risk factors for the disease include age, diet, and a possible genetic component as well. Diagnosis is made not only by confirming high levels of uric acid in the blood, but also by ruling out all other possible causes of the painful attacks as well. For example, a differential diagnosis with a fever present could possibly indicate an infection such as septic arthritis, however there can be a high fever present with acute gout. Sufferers also frequently report sudden onset typically at night, which is highly characteristic of gouty arthritis. This, combined with pain or swelling in the big toe, will usually lead a doctor to diagnose gout crystals.
Prophylactic medications, either over the counter or as prescribed by a doctor, can help to reduce inflammation that may lead to attacks, as well as reduce the severity and duration of sudden onsets. Most incidents of the ailment are successfully medically treated, but some sufferers do struggle with recurrences throughout life.
In addition to medical treatment, home treatment or management is also possible in cases where the condition continues to crop up. The first step is knowing what triggers may lead to an attack. Alcohol is a factor for many sufferers of the painful joint affliction. Many of triggers tend to be diet related, as well. The types of foods that increase uric acid in the blood are those rich in purines. A doctor or nutritionist can provide a complete list of foods to avoid, but some purine-rich foods include sardines, mussels, and sweetbreads. It’s not all about avoidance, however. Many of those afflicted with the disease have found some relief from the frequency of flare-ups by adding cherries to their regular menu.
Many medical treatment options exist for those afflicted with the troublesome condition, as well as several options for home management of difficult symptoms. While unpleasant and occasionally severe, the disease is not fatal and is often successfully managed after a single attack.
February 20, 2013
Patellofemoral pain syndrome, or PFPS, refers to a range of painful symptoms that affect the kneecap and femur. Common symptoms include swelling, chronic aching, tenderness and persistent discomfort caused by shearing activities or repetitive compression sustained during running or jumping. Commonly known as runner’s knee, the condition typically worsens with prolonged activity, even when said activity is moderate as in the movement experienced while walking up and down stairs or other inclines. Though it is seen more frequently in people who bike, run and play high impact sports, this condition can occur in individuals of all ages with a variety of activity levels.
Over time, repetitive compression within the knee joint results in chondromalacia, or the gradual thinning of supportive cartilage and the reduction of the synovial fluid that acts as natural lubrication in the joint itself. This may result in a feeling of inflammation along the inside of the kneecap or directly above it, even when the patient is sitting and inactive. When the rough edges of the patella grind against the lower end of the femur, such as when the joint is extended or bent, a clicking sensation may be felt. A clicking or knocking sound is often the first sign of a problem, even before discomfort becomes an issue.
Treatments for the condition vary depending on direct cause, severity and the general physical state of the patient, but the first step to addressing the problem typically involves strengthening of the quadricep muscles located in the lower thigh. This group of large, smooth muscles supports the patella during all activity. Exercises that involve the quadriceps may also help to reduce associated problems, such as aches in hips, ankles and feet arches, all of which may be side effects of patellofemoral pain syndrome.
Though symptoms of PFPS may be addressed with home care, including rest, elevation and application of ice directly to the location of the discomfort, some cases should be evaluated by a doctor. Your medical professional may choose to tape and/or brace your knee, advise on a less extreme exercise routine, anti-inflammatory medication and physical therapy. Adhering to your doctor’s instructions closely will help to ensure full healing of the damaged area, resulting in a more rapid and lasting recovery.
January 15, 2013
Knee problems plague people of all ages and backgrounds. However, certain genetic conditions can put some people at higher risk for such issues than others. If your bones are misaligned with respect to an ‘ideal’ human skeletal structure, there is a significant chance that you will develop knee osteoarthritis at some point in your life.
Do You Suffer from Bone Misalignment?
Not all osteoarthritis pain is associated with bone misalignment. However, consulting a doctor with regards to your pain is always a wise choice. Your physician can do physical tests and if warranted do further examination in order to study your skeletal structure, this will give them the opportunity to determine whether or not you suffer from misalignment. Should they identify one of the following conditions, then he or she will make recommendations to help you manage your situation and prevent further degeneration.
Valgus and Varus Alignments
People with valgus deformity are commonly referred to as being ‘knock-kneed.’ In such individuals, the tibia is rotated to face away from the femur, placing excessive pressure on the lateral area of the bone structure. Conversely, varus deformity alignments rotate the tibia towards the femur, causing the individual to appear ‘bow-legged.’ Such structures shift excess weight towards the medial area.
Both are encountered in a wide range of severity levels, and the extent to which they interfere with your life will vary greatly. In order to properly manage injury or discomfort associated with your specific condition, your doctor at one of our medical offices will recommend treatments that are scaled to your particular situation.
Living with Joint Discomfort
In most cases, experts recommend that bone misalignments be compensated for with lifestyle changes. For example, obesity can severely aggravate such problems because excess weight places disproportionate strain on all the areas of the lower extremities. Embarking on a weight loss plan may therefore provide you with significant relief.
Building the muscles around the afflicted area can also help to reduce the pressure placed on your joints. Light exercise or physical therapy provide your muscles with the strength that they need in order to properly stabilize and operate your entire system. Exercises that build your range of motion can also help to reduce irritation and stiffness.
Finally, your physician might recommend surgery to realign or replace the joint structure. However, such procedures are usually reserved for especially severe cases that cannot be alleviated with other treatments.
November 6, 2012
Our body does miraculous things by sensing and not really having to look. Proprioception is the sense of “perception” in coordination with many parts of our body and how it relates to the environment. Knowing what the parts are going to do, or in space for example, the interesting way that this is being typed now without even looking, or touching the tip of the nose with each eye closed, or having the ability to go up the stairs without having to look down at each step.
In the limbs they act as sensors that provide information about joint angle, muscle length and tension, and information about the position in space of the limb. When stimulated by movement the input is fed to the brain thru the spinal cord and pathways. It is here where the stimulation occurs and is being fired off to the brain, which interprets the information received, then sends back to different regions over the motor nerves on what to do about the changes that have been made.
What do they have to do with joints and keeping our bodies healthy? Those with osteoarthritis of the knee often have impaired proprioception, interfering with proper walking strides. By exercising in a specific way people can improve gait function and agility, with a positive enhancement in coordination. Training reduces the risk of injuries by teaching the physical system to react appropriately to change. Athletes are well aware of this and practice accordingly, so they can continue with their passion. Training usually includes balance activities and exercises, maybe working one side at a time, the ankles and hips should be healthy and will benefit; all of this will be covered by the doctor or therapist. With the goal of decreasing pain levels and increase mobility, Osteo Relief Institute works with each patient to restore function to as normal as possible. Keep in mind that for every one of these type of nerve endings that is inhibited from firing up to the brain there are numerous motor responses being inhibited from coming back down. Loss of motion sooner or later will cause pain and getting a treatment started should improve the situation.
July 27, 2012
The majority of the aches during this day and age are experienced by what is know as the baby boomers, these are the people that were born between January of 1946, and the last day of the year of 1964. This generation that is so huge in number simply because when the troops of World War II came home they wanted to start a family right away and they had many children, therefore it has been looked at more than any other in time. Statisticians have kept an interested eye, and have gone through childhood, continuing education, and careers with detailed information to show.
Now let’s take a look at the epidemiology. With the first set of this generation turning sixty five last year, Arthritis has become a tremendous burden. In fact if someone would review the data from eight yeas ago, twenty seven million Americans have been diagnosed with OA, short for osteoarthritis, and up to fifty million with some sort of Arthritic condition in the near future. No matter which way it is looked at the older we get the more use we have given everything in bodies, hands, elbows, hips, and others that keep us going, many are prone to degenerative diseases.
The situation with more of these boomers hitting older age, will progress and all sorts of government agencies and insurance companies are trying to predict how much it will cost, and of course what needs to be done to get it handled, since even back in 2004 close to twenty three billion was billed to healthcare with just conditions related to joint replacements and OA. The truth is that when you have a massive inflow of people like that, it can only be expected that the demand is to grow higher for everything, food, water, jobs; basically all the sectors. When it comes to their health and feeling good, they will need to find excellent treatment alternatives. Osteo Relief Institute utilizes a non-surgical knee procedure combining lubricating injections with therapeutic exercises working to decrease stiffness and discomfort, making it easier to walk, jog, participate in hobbies, and get around each day. Retirement is when one can enjoy the fruits of working for the past decades, so it is best to try a natural approach first and hopefully not have to see the surgeon, either way, it has to be fixed.
Could there be an epidemic on our hands? Many believe that there could be because of the sheer numbers, and it is only going to grow, obesity plays a part and this is a major problem. This condition will not cease to exist, individuals of our future will have the same issues we face today and can hope for great advancements in the medical field, that are aimed at prevention and fast recovery if there is an injury.
May 23, 2012
At this time, there are two types of osteoarthritis, although the distinctions between them are becoming so blurred that many doctors think the first type will slowly stop being diagnosed.
Primary, or idiopathic, Arthritis is diagnosed when there is no known cause – in other words, when pain and swelling occur in a joint that was is otherwise healthy. This type of OA is generally considered to be related to old age.
Secondary osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease of the joint that results from another medical condition, usually an abrasion that damaged the cartilage or slightly shifted the bones to increase wear and tear on the region. This type may be caused by an acute trauma, such as a fall or a car accident, or it may be caused by repetitive stress to the knees. A baseball catcher, for instance, who is required to squat and stand up multiple times during each game may suffer a repetitive stress injury that throws the knee out of alignment and results in damaged structures.
As scientists and physicians are learning more about OA, however, they are discovering that many cases have their genesis in an underlying pathology. This type of pain of the hip, for instance, once believed to have no identifiable cause, is now recognized as possibly being the result of a congenital malformation of the hip.
Most researchers suspect that as they learn more about the diseases, conditions, and injuries that affect the areas where the bones meet, they will learn that no degenerative condition is truly primary or idiopathic. Inflammation, they believe, is always due to some underlying illness or physical problem; their goal is to discover the nature of these causes and how to treat them before the cartilage, ligaments, and other tissues sustain damage. If there is already decay then Osteo Relief Institute center uses non-surgical methods to help restore motion and decrease discomfort levels.
January 24, 2012
Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage that cushions the ends of our bone begins to wear away and lose its elasticity and plasticity. The more the ends of the bone rub against a harsh surface, like the ends of other bone, the more discomfort a person is likely to feel. OA is usually most problematic when it is developed in the hips and knees, making walking difficult and painful.
There are many risk factors that can lead a person to develop degenerative joint disease. Some of these factors are not under your control and they include:
- Getting older – joints that have taken a lifetime of abuse are simply more vulnerable to damage.
- Being female – scientists are unsure why, but women tend to develop osteoarthritis more frequently than men.
- Congenital bone malformations – this occurs when a child is born with a bone deformity that erodes the cartilage quickly.
- Illnesses – illnesses such as diabetes, hypothyroidism and gout have all been associated with Arthritis.
There are also some risks that can be avoided or alleviated through lifestyle changes, including:
- Obesity – being overweight puts more pressure on the articulations found throughout the body and causes decay to happen at a rapid pace.
- Being a couch potato – cartilage is actually nourished by movement and exercise. The saying that if you don’t use it you’ll lose it is true in this case.
- Repetitive stress injuries – those who suffer repetitive injuries to the lower extremities, such as people who move heavy objects for a living or professional athletes, have a higher likelihood for developing chronic articulation problems than those who are not.
Look at your own lifestyle. Are you in one or more categories that increase your odds of developing this type of disease? If so, review with your doctor at Osteo Relief Institute about ways to keep your knees and hips strong and healthy.
December 18, 2011
The knee is a joint, or a place in the body where two or more bones meet. Human knees, which face a lot of daily wear and tear and are vital for basic functions such as walking, running, jumping, or even sitting, are some of the more complex joints in the human body.
Three bones meet to form the joint complex. The femur connects with the tibia in the lower leg. The patella is small and is located in the front. It works to protect the anterior region from damage. A layer of cartilage lies between them for cushioning and to keep them from rubbing against each other. There is a capsule that is filled with synovial fluid that acts as a lubricant. If this cartilage erodes and the fluid loses it’s normal protective characteristics, a condition known as osteoarthritis may cause damage, walking and basic movements can become painful. At Osteo Relief Institute we review in detail the signs and symptoms and treat this problem using non-surgical techniques that decrease discomfort and improve mobility.
Ligaments are a part of the anatomy that are quite strong and stabilize the area. They include the collateral ligament, located on the sides, the anterior cruciate with prevents hyperextension in the front, and the posterior cruciate which prevents the tibia from sliding too far back and pulling the entire area out of alignment.
Tendons are another safeguard and help provide stabilization. Their role, however, is to connect muscle to bone. The quadriceps tendons, for instance, connects the muscles of the thigh to the patella. In order for the region to work properly, all of these parts of the body must work in unison. If one breaks down, pain and mobility issues arise.
November 12, 2011