Tag Archives: neck pain

HELP FOR THE LADIES: HOW TO MANAGE YOUR ORTHOPEDIC PAIN

Does gender affect orthopedic injuries and conditions? The simple answer is:  you bet it does.  Consider the differences and where women are at higher risk and experience conditions exclusive or largely related to gender. More important, let’s look at how women can prevent risk.

Feet and Ankles

With 26 bones and 33 ligaments, so much can go wrong on both men and women. While genetics is a factor, women are two times more likely to experience foot injuries than men. So, what’s the variance? Those shoes! Stiletto heels … flip flops … pointy toes … any of these can cause a number of painful conditions like hammertoes, plantar fasciitis, bunions, poor posture, back pain and ankle strain. What to do? Be sure to stretch your calf muscles daily, opt for wedges when you want height, look for shoes with support, and alternate heel heights daily.  Check out Vionic.com for some stylish, yet practical choices.

spike shoes

Knees

Women have a higher risk for ACL tears than men. There are several theories as to why, however a common belief is that the space in a woman’s knee is narrower, leaving it at greater risk than men. Strengthening exercises like seated leg raises, side-lying leg raises, and calf raises may help. Always check with your physician prior to starting any exercise routine.

Headaches

Women are more prone to experience headaches, particularly tension headaches and chronic migraines. Of headache sufferers in the U.S., 70% have a family history of headaches and for chronic migraines, 85% are women. Among the reasons, aside from genetics, are diet, allergies, stress, sound, hormonal changes, and posture. There are multiple treatments for headaches including Botox injections of the head and neck to relax muscles. An Interventional Pain Management Physician can determine if you are a candidate.

Shoulders

This topic is common with women. Carrying a large shoulder bag can throw your body out Botof alignment causing multiple conditions. “Heavy Purse Syndrome” can create shoulder and neck pain from muscle overuse. It can also throw your entire body out of position and affect your gait. A change in posture may lead to falls.  There are a few things you can do to avoid discomfort: Use a wide strap for your bag and frequently alternate sides for carrying. Remove items you don’t need … do you really need to carry your partner’s keys or all those pens and candy? Make sure your bag weighs no more than 10 pounds.

shoulder bag

Back and Neck

Back and neck pain may be related to any number of reasons including a too-heavy purse, poorly fitting shoes, or weak muscles. Even frequent texting lowers your neck and can put extra pressure on your neck and spine … it’s good to follow mom’s wise words, “Sit up straight”! When lifting heavy objects be sure to lift properly by maintaining a wide base of support at your feet, squatting from the knees and hips (NOT at the waist), and maintaining a straight back. Pregnant women are more susceptible to low back pain due to swelling tissues along with changes in the musculoskeletal system. If a woman has back pain prior to pregnancy, she is two times more likely to experience it during the pregnancy.

Osteopenia / Osteoporosis

Lastly, the aging process may sometimes be unkind. Osteoporosis is a common condition affecting over 10 million Americans. Of those, 80% are women. It is predicted that one in two women over the age of 50 with osteoporosis will eventually break a bone. What to do?  Exercise and diet play a significant role in keeping bones healthy.

What’s a girl to do? The good news is that YOU are in control. Keep these helpful hints in mind:

  • Strengthen your muscles with exercise
  • Watch your diet and maintain an optimum weight
  • Practice good posture
  • Empty out that purse
  • Wear smart shoes with support
  • Lift properly
  • Use a cross body purse instead of a shoulder bag
  • See your physician if discomfort persists

One small change can make a huge difference. Be well!

Sarasota Orthopedic Associates has three locations and offers same day / next day appointments when needed. Our commitment is to get our patients back on their feet, back to work, back in the game, and back to life.

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TEXT NECK? What You Need To Know …

texting adults

Those who experience pervasive, uncomfortable symptoms such as neck and shoulder pain, headaches, and numbness and tingling in the arms and hands might be surprised to learn that smartphone use could be the culprit. “Text neck” is caused by poor posture while using handheld devices. The average head weighs about 10 pounds, which puts substantial weight on a neck bent at 60 degrees to read a smartphone screen. While this condition is an epidemic, it’s also preventable. Untreated, this may cause damage to the neck or spine. Here’s what smartphone users need to know about avoiding text neck.

Adjust Posture

The correct way to look at a phone to avoid straining your neck is to hold it at eye level. Your head should be held upright with ears directly above your shoulders. While on a phone call or streaming media, using headphones can help encourage better posture.

Switch to the Desktop

Save long articles to read later at the monitor, where positioning makes users less likely to compromise posture. Instead of checking and replying to emails on the phone, set aside time every day to do so at the desk rather than bending your neck uncomfortably.

Take a Break

It’s called text neck for a reason. Rather than relying on texting alone, reduce symptoms by picking up the phone and calling the recipient for more lengthy conversations. While taking a break, stretch your neck and shoulder muscles to provide relief. Set an alarm on the phone to encourage hourly breaks.

Use Voice Dictation

Take advantage of this smartphone function to dictate messages while holding your head upright. This will help reduce the amount of time spent looking at the screen.

If you’re struggling with symptoms of text neck you may want to consult with one of our physicians at Sarasota Orthopedic Associates. We offer diagnosis and non-invasive treatment of issues that affect the musculoskeletal system. We offer same-day appointments when needed at our three convenient locations.  The mission of SOA is to get our patients back on their feet, back to work, back in the game, and back to life.

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TEXT NECK … Is that really a “thing”?

texting adults

Indeed it is. Think about it. We spend much of our day with our heads lowered to read our smartphones. It’s not unusual to see people “text-walking” or worse, driving while texting. With all the advantages of having a world of information at our fingertips, there is also an associated health risk.

There are over 4 billion mobile devices in the world and the average American usage is 2.7 hours per day communicating on these devices. It’s no wonder we have sore necks and shoulders. In fact, it’s becoming an epidemic affecting millions and it’s growing.

Constant lowering of the neck to look downward puts the spine in an unnatural curve that can cause reduction in the cervical spine, thus creating a “pain in the neck”. Worse, that pain can radiate through the shoulders, creating tension, and even debilitating headaches. As the situation intensifies, the arms may become weak, numb, or tingle. Over time, this pattern can become lingering and as a result, a challenge to treat.

The average head weighs about 10 pounds. When tilted downward 15 degrees, the force of your head on your cervical spine increases to about 25 pounds. The more tilt, the more weight; that can be up to as much as 60 pounds of force on your neck. Prolonged tilting downward creates excessive strain causing stress injury. Over a long period of time it may even lead to spinal misalignment, early onset of arthritis, disc compression, or nerve damage.

text neck

So how do we combat this growing concern? Resistance and strengthening are keys to reinforce the neck and shoulder muscles and offset damage. Taking frequent breaks, maintaining good posture, and doing neck stretches help circumvent damage. Most important, when using a mobile device, place it at eye level to avoid tilting of the neck. Remember … Hold Your Head Up!

If you believe you have “text neck” or any form of musculoskeletal pain, Sarasota Orthopedic Associates has four convenient locations to help you alleviate your discomfort. We offer same day appointments when needed. Give us a call at 941-951-2663 (BONE) or check our website here for more information.

 

Sources:   WFLA; LA Times; Today Health & Wellness

Driving … A Pain In The Neck? AND IN MY BACK!

driving neck pain

We’ve heard many times about how important it is to maintain good posture at our workplace desks to protect our neck and spine, however most of us don’t give it a second thought when driving. Unlike sitting in a chair, the spine experiences variations of force when in a car. Vibrations from car movement may push on the discs, our internal “shock absorbers”, acting as cushions.

Proper driving posture and seat positioning may avoid a myriad of chronic problems. Here are some helpful tips to avoid discomfort:

Position your car seat to the proper height and distance across from the wheel so that your hands can comfortably reach the recommended “10 and 2” or “9 and 3″ location.

  • Your thighs should rest as much as possible on the seat in order to align your knees on the same level plane as your hips.
  • Elbows should be slightly bent.
  • Consider using a neck support, one similar to that used on a plane. This keeps your neck straight. Even a 20 degree downward curve in the neck will cause stress over time.
  • If you have lumbar support in your car, use it. If not, use a portable back support or a rolled up sweater to place at the small of your back.
  • A seat cushion used for extra padding will help protect your spine from a bumpy ride.
  • For long rides, take regular breaks; get out and s-t-r-e-t-c-h.
  • If you have cruise control, use it to give your back a rest. Place both feet firmly on the car floor. Bend your ankles a few times to stimulate blood flow.

seat-position

Whatever the cause of your neck or back pain, don’t delay having it checked. Chronic pain needs assessment, particularly if it’s worse at night and wakes you up from your sleep.

The physicians at Sarasota Orthopedic Associates are experts in diagnosing, evaluating, and treating neck and back pain. Call us at 941-951-2663 for an appointment at one of our four locations in Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch, Venice, or Bradenton. For more information about us, visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/srqsoa or our web page at www.SOA.md

CERVICOGENIC HEADACHES

Headache1      cervicogenic headache

Cervicogenic headaches are characterized as head and neck pain originating from the cervical region, a type of secondary headache. This classification is due to the source of the headache being in the neck.  Cervicogenic headaches may be from muscle pain and spasms of the neck muscles, cervical facet joints, or the occipital nerve, located at the base of the skull.  Multiple studies have indicated that cervicogenic headaches may be under-diagnosed, with estimates of prevalence ranging from 2% up to 22%.

Any injury to the neck or cervical region of the spine can lead to cervicogenic headaches. This injury may be an acute, sudden injury resulting from an automobile accident, a sports-related injury, or a fall, or it may be the result of a long-term sustained injury caused by bad posture or degenerative changes with age.

Cervicogenic headaches rarely present auras or nausea that are commonly associated migraine headaches and the pain is not responsive to traditional migraine medications.  However, cervicogenic headaches have been known to precipitate migraine headaches. Appropriate diagnosis of cervicogenic headaches is done by a thorough history and physical exam. Another way in which cervicogenic headaches can be readily diagnosed is if treatment of the neck is able to provide rapid relief from the headache.

PT myofascial release

The specific treatment for cervicogenic headaches varies by patient and by what is found to be the cause of the headaches. If the problem found in the neck is a result of musculature, then muscle-specific treatment options may provide relief. Such treatments include muscle relaxants, physical therapy including myofascial release, and/or trigger point injections into the muscle. For patients whose cervicogenic headaches are a result of damage to the cervical facet joints, there is often underlying inflammation contributing to pain generation. In this case, an interventional procedure known as a radiofrequency ablation (RFA) can block the pain signal being generated from the joints. To directly address the nerve triggering the cervicogenic headache, the occipital nerve, nerve blocks can be administered to inhibit the problematic signaling.

Appointments are made by calling 941.951.BONE (2663). Visit our website by clicking  here for more information about Sarasota Orthopedic Associates.