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Rehabilitation Articles

Why Do My Legs Hurt?

The lower parts of your legs take the brunt of your day-to-day life. You shouldn’t have to be in pain, though.
Medical treatments can help if your doctor says you have a condition like leg cramps, blood clots, or issues with the nerves. But you can do things at home that help, too.

Bones, Joints, and Muscles

Muscle cramp. It can strike in your sleep or in the middle of the day. This sudden, tight, intense lower leg pain is sometimes called a "charley horse." When it takes a grip, it can get worse quickly. It happens when your muscles are tired or dehydrated. Drink more water if you're prone to leg cramps.

It might help to gently stretch or massage the area where your muscle has tensed up. Stretch your legs properly before you exercise, too.

What Is a Rotator Cuff Tear?

A rotator cuff tear is a common injury, especially in sports like baseball or tennis, or in jobs like painting or cleaning windows. It usually happens over time from normal wear and tear, or if you repeat the same arm motion over and over. But it also can happen suddenly if you fall on your arm or lift something heavy.
Your rotator cuff is a group of four muscles and tendons that stabilize your shoulder joint and let you lift and rotate your arms.

There are two kinds of rotator cuff tears. A partial tear is when the tendon that protects the top of your shoulder is frayed or damaged. The other is a complete tear. That’s one that goes all the way through the tendon or pulls the tendon off the bone.

Do I Have a Herniated Disc?

Back pain can sneak up on you when you least expect it. One minute you're sitting comfortably in front of the TV, and the next you try to stand up, and -- ouch! -- a sharp pain radiates through your lower back.

What’s causing it? Could you have a slipped or herniated disc? Chances are you might.

Your spine is made up of 26 bones called vertebrae that are cushioned by soft discs made of a jellylike substance. These discs are what allow you to move your spine around and bend over.

But if a disc between two vertebrae starts slipping out of place, it can irritate the surrounding nerves and cause extreme pain. The condition is called a slipped, ruptured, or herniated disc.

Joint Pain

Joints form the connections between bones. They provide support and help you move. Any damage to the joints from disease or injury can interfere with your movement and cause a lot of pain.

Many different conditions can lead to painful joints, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, bursitis, gout, strains, sprains, and other injuries. Joint pain is extremely common. In one national survey, about one-third of adults reported having joint pain within the past 30 days. Knee pain was the most common complaint, followed by shoulder and hip pain, but joint pain can affect any part of your body, from your ankles and feet to your shoulders and hands. As you get older, painful joints become increasingly more common.

Physical Therapy after a Hip Replacement

Hip replacements are one of the most commonly performed orthopedic surgeries. Having been performed since 1960, the surgical technique and prosthesis used have been perfected to allow the patient optimal recovery of functioning with less pain. Having the surgery is only half the battle when it comes to the new joint. Physical therapy is the other important aspect in a full and successful recovery.

Lumbar Traction

Definition/Description
Lumbar traction is the process of applying a stretching force to the lumbar vertebrae through body weight, weights, and/or pulleys to distract individual joints of the lumbar spine. The word traction is a derivative of the Latin word "tractico", which means "a process of drawing or pulling, and various forms of spinal traction have been described, since the time of Hippocrates, for the relief of pain.

James Cyriax popularized lumbar traction during the 1950s and 1960s as a treatment for disc protrusions, and until today, it is still a common modality for treating patients with back pain and leg pain. Although its effectiveness is still being questioned by a few clinical trials, there are three benefits of lumbar traction described by James Cyriax: distraction to increase the intervertebral space, tensing of the posterior longitudinal vertebral ligament to exert centripetal force at the back of the joint and suction to draw the disc protrusion towards the center of the joint. Some other effects attributed to traction include widening of the intervertebral foramen and distraction of the apophyseal joints.

Clinically Relevant Anatomy
The lumbar spine is made up of five individual vertebrae which are numbered L1 to L5 and together they create the concave lumbar curvature in the lower back. Found along the body’s midline in the lumbar (lower back) region, the lumbar vertebrae make up the region of the spine inferior to the thoracic vertebrae in the thorax and superior to the sacrum and coccyx in the pelvis.These vertebrae carry all of the upper body’s weight while providing flexibility and movement to the trunk region. They also protect the delicate spinal cord and nerves within their vertebral canal.

Balance & Dizziness

Overview
Balance problems can make you feel dizzy, as if the room is spinning, unsteady, or lightheaded. You might feel that you're going to fall down. These feelings can happen whether you're lying down, sitting or standing.

Many body systems including your muscles, bones, joints, vision, the balance organ in the inner ear, nerves, heart and blood vessels must work normally for you to have normal balance. When these systems aren't functioning well, you can experience balance problems.

Many medical conditions can cause balance problems. However, most balance problems result from issues in your balance end-organ in the inner ear (vestibular system).

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo

What is Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo?
Vertigo is a very specific kind of dizziness: the feeling that you’re going around and around or that the inside of your head is spinning. Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is the most common cause of this condition.

Each part of the name describes a key part of the inner-ear disorder:
•    Benign means it’s not very serious. Your life is not in danger.
•    Paroxysmal means that it hits suddenly and lasts a short time.
•    Positional means you trigger the vertigo with certain postures or movements.

It's common, and usually can be treated in a doctor’s office.
In rare cases, the problem can be serious if it increases your chances of falling. If you get these attacks often, it could point to other medical conditions. They’re often hard to diagnose, though.

Herniated Disc (Disc Herniation of the Spine)

How are the spine and its discs designed?
The vertebrae are the bony building blocks of the spine. Between each of the largest parts (bodies) of the vertebrae are the discs. Ligaments are situated around the spine and discs. The spine has seven vertebrae in the neck (cervical vertebrae), 12 vertebrae in the mid-back (thoracic vertebrae), and five vertebrae in the low back (lumbar vertebrae). In addition, in the mid-buttock, beneath the fifth lumbar vertebra, is the sacrum, followed by the tailbone (coccyx).

The bony spine is designed so that vertebrae "stacked" together can provide a movable support structure while also protecting the spinal cord (nervous tissue that extends down the spinal column from the brain) from injury. Each vertebra has a spinous process, which is a bony prominence behind the spinal cord that shields the cord's nerve tissue. The vertebrae also have a strong bony "body" in front of the spinal cord to provide a platform suitable for weight-bearing.

How Arthritis Causes Back Pain

The spine is almost always under pressure when upright, and therefore prone to the wear-and-tear that leads to osteoarthritis.

This degenerative condition can cause minor to debilitating pain. Understanding how osteoarthritis causes back pain can help patients stop or slow the disease's progression and also reduce pain.

Osteoarthritic Changes in Vertebrae
Facet joints connect the vertebral bone. On the back of each vertebra there are two upper and two lower facet joints. Facets are small, boney projections with smooth, flat surfaces that are normally covered in protective articular cartilage. The facet joint, where two facets meet, is wrapped a fluid-filled sac called a facet capsule.

Foot & Ankle Osteoarthritis

As you age, your chance of developing osteoarthritis, which is caused by wear and tear, increases. The joint damage associated with osteoarthritis causes swelling, pain, and deformity. Here is information about how osteoarthritis affects the foot and ankle and information you can use to help you manage this debilitating condition.

Arthritis is a general term for a group of more than 100 diseases. The word "arthritis" means "joint inflammation." Arthritis involves inflammation and swelling in and around the body's joints and surrounding soft tissue. The inflammation can cause pain and stiffness.


In many kinds of arthritis, progressive joint deterioration occurs and the smooth "cushioning" cartilage in joints is gradually lost. As a result, the bones rub and wear against each other. Soft tissues in the joints also may begin to wear down. Arthritis can be painful and eventually result in limited motion, loss of joint function, and deformities in the joints affected.

Spine Compression Fracture

Summary

Compression         =     the application of strong pressure

Fracture               =      a break in a bone

A compression fracture occurs when part of a vertebra, or bone in the spine, collapses.
The bones of the spine have two main section. The vertebral arch is a ring-shaped section that forms the roof of the spinal canal and protects the spinal cord. You can feel the spinous process, a projection from this arch, when you press on the skin in the middle of your back. The vertebral body is the cylindrical shaped portion of the vertebral one that lies in front and provides the majority of structural support. In a compression fracture, the vertebral body collapses.

The most common type of compression fracture is a wedge fracture, in which the front of the vertebral body collapses but the back does not, meaning that the bone assumes a wedge shape.

Tips from the Experts

Tips from the Experts

Sciatica


Millions of people suffer from low back pain each day. Most are between the ages of 30 and 50, and many endure not only back pain, but also severe pain or numbness running into one or both legs. The result: loss of activity, inability to work and inability to participate in the activities we enjoy most. It is estimated that some 80 to 90% of Americans will suffer from back pain during their lifetime, about 50% of which will have more than one episode. Often times, you will hear the name “Sciatica” associated with this pain, and rightly so.

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