Exercises for Osteoarthritis

Exercises for Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is one of the most common ailments caused by aging. It results in pain and inflammation in the joints, especially the knees.

Exercise is one of the best ways to find relief without drugs. Exercise helps the joints compress and release, bringing good things like nutrients and oxygen into the cartilage and increasing blood flow.

The three main types of exercises that help the most are ones that involve range of motion or flexibility, endurance or aerobic exercises, and strengthening exercises.

Range of Motion Exercises

Osteoarthritis makes it difficult for joints to function without causing pain. Even the simplest task can cause a great amount of pain.

Exercises like gentle stretching and taking joints through their full range of motion can help improve the movement in the joints and reduce pain.

Sitting knee extensions, hip flexor stretches, and other exercises like these can help.

Aerobic Exercises

These exercises help strengthen the heart and lungs at the same time you’re helping your joints. They can also help you maintain or lose weight since those extra pounds put stress on hip and knee joints.

Walking, swimming, biking, or elliptical training are lower-impact and are pretty joint-friendly. Begin with about 10 minutes at a time and increase the minutes every few days. The goal is about 30 minutes for five days a week.

Strengthening Exercises

Strengthening the lower back and lower extremities can help take some of the pressure off your hips and knees. Resistance bands or light weights can help with this. Yoga, Pilates, and Tai Chi can also help improve balance and build strength.

Getting up from a chair into a standing position and then sitting back down without using your hands for 30 seconds can be a good exercise. Squatting and standing against a wall can also be good. Standing on one leg for ten seconds at a time is also a way to strengthen your joints.

What Exercises Should You Avoid?

The key is making sure you don’t jump into any exercise routine too quickly. Make sure you build up your strength and endurance first.

For severe osteoarthritis, it’s best to avoid high-impact exercises like running, activities where you change direction quickly like tennis or basketball, and workouts that involve jumping.

For moderate symptoms, some higher-impact exercises can help stimulate cells to help repair cartilage.

Before beginning any exercise program, check with your doctor and make sure you know how to do the exercises correctly. A personal trainer or physical therapist can help teach you proper form. Don’t push through any pain. These exercises are only suggestions. The professionals at B3 Medical can help you find a non-surgical way to relieve your osteoarthritis pain and help you find the best exercises for your symptoms. Contact us today.

When to See a Neuromuscular Therapist

When to See a Neuromuscular Therapist

If we have pain, we want it to go away. Neuromuscular therapy (NMT) can help. Also called trigger point myotherapy, it’s a type of massage that focuses on the soft tissue.

Therapists use alternating levels of pressure on areas where a muscle is having a spasm. It might hurt a bit, but the pressure should relieve the spasm. Let the therapist know if there is intense pain.

How Massage Helps Reduce Pain

When a muscle hurts, it usually means blood is not flowing properly to the muscle and it becomes painful. Since there is not enough blood, there is also not enough oxygen in the muscle. The muscle produces lactic acid because of the lack of oxygen. That lactic acid makes the muscle feel sore. Massaging the muscles can help to release the lactic acid, restoring blood and oxygen flow.

Specifics of Neuromuscular Massage Therapy

NMT treats your pain at the source. Trigger points are often the reason behind most muscle pain. Trigger points are small knots of muscles that can cause pain when they are compressed. The pain can either be at the trigger point or somewhere else in the body. Massage is typically the only way to relieve pain caused by trigger points.

Many things can cause trigger points to flare up including:

  • Stress and anxiety
  • Poor posture
  • Strenuous activity
  • Accidents or injuries
  • Pregnancy

During NMT, therapists apply static pressure to the specific areas, stimulating the muscles. The point of neuromuscular massage therapy is pain relief, not relaxation like a typical massage.

When to Try Neuromuscular Massage Therapy

Neuromuscular massage therapy can provide long-term pain relief and is something to try along with other non-surgical approaches.

Trigger points can cause pain and tingling, numbness, muscle weakness, and muscle stiffness. Sometimes, trigger point symptoms can mimic those caused by carpal tunnel syndrome or sciatica and can cause headaches or temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome.

Neuromuscular massage therapists can slowly get deeper and deeper into the muscle to release the pain so even people with intense pain can benefit from neuromuscular therapy since the pressure is often not deep in the beginning.

At B3 Medical, neuromuscular massage therapy is part of the overall approach our professionals take to treat pain. Finding the source of the pain is the best way to treat it, so looking at neurology first helps us to use the spine as a window to the entire nervous system. It coordinates and controls all of the body’s other systems, so it’s a good place to start.

Contact us today for a consultation and see if neuromuscular massage therapy is right for you.

Home Remedies That Can Help Manage Any Back Condition

Home Remedies That Can Help Manage Any Back Condition

Experts estimate that about 80% of the U.S. population will experience back pain at some point in their lives. While seeing a doctor is the best way to find out the cause of your back pain, there are some things you can do at home to help manage the pain.

Ice First, Heat Later

If you injure yourself or have persistent pain after an activity, ice is a good option. Ice is best for the first 24 to 48 hours after an injury because it reduces inflammation and slows down nerve impulses. Be sure to only ice for 20 minutes at a time.

Warmth might help relieve some of the pain, but it does not help the inflammation. In fact, direct heat can make the inflammation worse, which may lead to an increase in pain. After the inflammation goes down, heat can stimulate blood flow to the injured area to start the healing process.

Indirect heat like warm Epsom Salt baths can also help sore backs. The magnesium sulfate in the salts can make its way through the skin to the muscles to help relieve pain. Just make sure the water is between 92 and 100 degrees.

Rubs, Gels, Creams, Ointments, and Patches

There are many types of topical medications for back pain. Some ingredients to look for include:

  • Ketoprofen (Diractin)
  • Ibuprofen (Nurofen or Dolgit)
  • Diclofenac (Voltaren)
  • Lidocaine (Lidoderm)
  • Cayenne
  • Comfrey
  • Brazilian arnica

Some products contain capsaicin, the heat-producing substance in hot peppers. When rubbed on the skin, the capsaicin can help stop nerves from transmitting pain signals to the brain, thus reducing the pain.

When using these products, you should test them in a small area first to make sure the cream isn’t going to irritate your skin. Oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are also a good over-the-counter option for back pain, but should not be taken long term without talking to a doctor first.

Concentrate on Posture and Movement

The spine is designed to move, so make sure you’re not sitting still for too long. For those who sit at desks all day long, it’s important to get up throughout the day and stretch out your muscles. Otherwise, they’ll become stiff, and if you suffer from back pain, that could only make it worse.

When you are sitting, make sure your posture is good. If it isn’t, this could be a contributing factor to your back pain. A good chair can help with your posture by keeping your spine aligned.

Sleep Well

Our bodies need sleep to rejuvenate and restore itself. Try to avoid sleeping on your stomach since this puts pressure on the spine. If you choose to sleep on your back or side, use a pillow between or under your knees to keep the spine aligned.

During the day, try not to stay in bed for long periods of time. It’s better to keep moving so your muscles don’t stiffen up. If your back pain wakes you up a night, lasts longer than six weeks, gets worse, or comes with weakness, tingling, or numbness in the arms or legs, it’s time to see a doctor.

The professionals at Tampa’s B3 Medical can help diagnose the source of your back pain and help you find relief. Make an appointment today.

How to Treat a Herniated Disc

How to Treat a Herniated Disc

A herniated disc, which is also referred to as a slipped or ruptured disc, can happen anywhere along the spine, but typically happens in the neck or lower back.

The discs are soft pads between the bony vertebrae that allow the back to bend and absorb shock. When the inside of the pad, which is called the nucleus, bursts through the outside part called the cartilage, it puts pressure on the nearby nerve, which is what causes the severe pain.

There are some home remedies that can be used to help manage the pain, but these are only temporary solutions. A proven way to relieve the pain within a matter of weeks is through non-surgical treatments.

Home Remedies

Managing the pain from a herniated disc with home remedies is a good temporary option. Resting and staying away from activities that cause pain can help the most. However, resting too long can sometimes cause stiffness and pain, so make sure you’re mixing in some movement and not just lying in bed for days at a time.

Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can also help to relieve pain and inflammation. Muscle relaxants can also help but should only be taken with a doctor’s prescription. The same goes for oral steroid medications.

Heat and ice are good options for pain management if you’d rather not take any medications. Ice can ease the inflammation and muscle spasms that can sometimes be caused by a herniated disc. Ice works best for spinal pain. Acute disc pain symptoms should be treated with ice only. Heat can be used in chronic conditions but is best saved for the extremities.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is a viable non-surgical option. Sometimes, over-the-counter pain relievers can help ease the pain enough for patients to go through a series of physical therapy treatments. The physical therapist will work with patients to target exercises that can help the disc heal and hopefully keep it from herniating again.

Strengthening the muscles that support the neck and back can also help relieve some of the stress on the herniated disc and relieve pain.

Injections

Injections of corticosteroids and other medications can help to relieve pain and work best when paired with other non-surgical options like physical therapy, massage therapy, and chiropractic care.

Massage Therapy and Chiropractic Care

Massage therapy helps the body heal itself naturally by increasing blood circulation and relaxing the muscles, which results in pain relief. Chiropractic care can also have the same affect through the utilization of spinal manipulation techniques.

Surgery

Most herniated disc symptoms go away after about six weeks, but in some cases, surgery may be the only option. If the pain comes with numbness or weakness, difficulty standing or walking, or loss of bladder or bowel control, surgery might be the only answer.

The team of professionals at B3 Medical in Tampa will work to relieve your pain through our non-surgical treatment options before suggesting surgery. Make an appointment today to discuss your pain and treatment options.

Common Causes of Knee Pain

Common Causes of Knee Pain

Knee pain can impact your everyday life and keep you from doing the things you love. Knowing what can cause it can help you prevent it.

An injury can cause knee pain as can a medical condition like arthritis, gout, and an infection. Some mechanical issues can also cause knee pain.

Common Knee Injuries

The knee area contains many parts including ligaments, tendons, bursae, bones, and cartilage. Injuries can happen to any or all of these areas.

Common injuries are:

  • ACL tear- These happen frequently when playing sports that require sudden direction changes.
  • Kneecap fracture
  • Meniscus Tear- Tears happen when suddenly twisting the knee while weight is on it.
  • Knee bursitis- When the small fluid sacs cushioning the knee joint get inflamed, pain can happen.
  • Patellar tendinitis- The tendons connecting muscles to bones can get inflamed. People who run, ski, cycle, or jump a lot can develop this injury.

Knee Mechanics Issues

Sometimes, the way the knee and surrounding muscles and bones function can cause knee pain.

A piece of bone or cartilage can break off and float around the joint. It can cause pain if it gets close to the joint itself.

Iliotibial band syndrome and hip or foot pain can also impact the knees. Iliotibial band syndrome happens when the tissue that connects the outside of the hip to the outside of the knee becomes really tight. It rubs against the femur causing pain.

You may be changing the way you walk if you have hip or foot pain. That might be putting more stress on your knees, causing pain.

Many different types of arthritis can also impact the knee.

Preventing Knee Pain

All of us are not destined for knee pain. There are some ways to prevent it.

A healthy weight can help reduce stress on your knees. Every extra pound can hurt your joints and accelerate the breakdown of cartilage around the knee joints, increasing the risk of osteoarthritis.

Make sure to stretch often, especially before playing sports. Make sure your technique is good and you practice often. Lessons with professionals can help make sure your technique is proper. Conditioning is a good way to keep from injuring yourself. Don’t suddenly change the intensity of your activities. This can hurt your knees. Build up to new levels of activity.

Tight and weak muscles contribute to injuries, so staying strong and flexible are keys to preventing knee problems. Building up quadriceps and hamstrings can also help since they both support the knee.

If you play sports, proper knee guards and braces can protect these joints.

If you have chronic knee pain or injuries keep happening, you might need to change the way you exercise. Find something with a lower impact like swimming or water aerobics. Reducing the higher impact activities could allow your knees to have a bit of a break.

Also, make sure you’re wearing good shoes with a proper fit. Shoes that do not fit correctly or do not provide adequate support can make knee problems worse.

If you have knee pain or want to learn more about preventing it, the medical professionals at B3 Medical can help. Educating patients is a key to their ability to make the right choices for their health. Contact us today to get rid of your knee pain.