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5 Myths About Sciatica

Pain that radiates down the sciatic nerve is known as sciatica. The sciatic nerve starts in your lower back and goes all the way down to your hips, buttocks, and legs. In most cases, sciatica only affects one side of the body. If you have sciatica, you may experience a mild ache, searing sensation, or unbearable pain.

Unfortunately, there are many myths about sciatica that you may hear when speaking to others or browsing the internet. Let's debunk some of the most common sciatica myths so that you can make informed decisions about your condition.

Myth 1: Sciatica will go away on its own some rest.

Many people assume that they don't have to do much to find relief from sciatica pain. While rest may help, other treatments such as medications like muscle relaxants and anti-inflammatories, steroid injections, and physical therapy are likely necessary. Fortunately, surgery is only reserved for the most severe cases.

Myth 2: Sciatica is the result of leg issues.

Since sciatica does lead to leg pain, some people believe it's caused by problems in their legs. The reality, however, is that sciatica is rarely caused by the legs. It often arises due to a condition in the spine such as spinal stenosis, spinal tumors, injury to the sciatic nerve, or spondylolisthesis.

Myth 3: Sciatica pain will never go away.

While sciatica can cause a great deal of pain and discomfort, patients don't have to live with it forever. There are a variety of conservative treatments that can help them find the relief they deserve. In the event these treatments deem ineffective, surgical procedures are an option for long-term pain improvement.

Myth 4: Sciatica can not cause permanent nerve damage.

Although permanent nerve damage rarely arises in patients with sciatica, it is a possibility. If you notice a loss in leg sensation or bowel or bladder incontinence, you may be at risk for this type of damage. It's a good idea to seek medical attention right away as you may have a more serious condition.

Myth 5: Sciatica will only get worse with exercise.

You may be tempted to stay away from physical activity if you're facing sciatica. Since inactivity for a long period of time can lead to weak back muscles that exacerbate the pain, it's important to exercise and engage in stretching exercises such as yoga on a regular basis.

If you have sciatica and are ready to find relief, don't hesitate to visit your doctor as soon as possible. Conservative treatments may be just what you need to get your life back.


All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

All materials copyright © 2020 VoxMD.com, All Rights Reserved.

When Will My Pinched Nerve Stop Hurting?

A pinched nerve is a common condition that may arise when excessive pressure is placed on a nerve by its bones, muscles, or other surrounding tissues. The pressure interferes with the way the nerve functions and leads to a variety of uncomfortable symptoms such as numbness, weakness, and tingling. Symptoms may affect your back, hips, legs, ankles, or feet.

There are a variety of reasons you may experience a pinched nerve. An injury, rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid disease, diabetes, spinal stenosis, repetitive work or hobbies, pregnancy, or obesity may all increase your risk for this condition.

To diagnose a pinched nerve, a doctor will test your reflexes as well as your ability to move your muscles. They may also order an imaging test such as an MRI, CT-scan, or x-ray to look at the structures in your back or neck or an electromyography (EMG) to check the function of your nerves.

Pinched Nerve Pain is Usually Short-Lived

So how long does a pinched nerve cause pain and discomfort? In most cases, symptoms improve and nerve function resumes to normal within 6 to 12 weeks of conservative treatment. Conservative treatment options include physical therapy, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen. Lifestyle modifications such as rest, ice and hot therapy, frequent exercise, and sleeping position changes may help as well.

There are a number of factors that will play a role in how long your pinched nerve lasts. The cause of the inflammation, degree of compression, and your immune system response can help determine when your symptoms will subside.

In the event your pinched nerve persists for more than a few months, surgery may be recommended to prevent permanent damage and chronic pain. It may involve getting rid of a portion of a herniated disc or bone spurs. This will alleviate nerve pressure and ensure greater comfort.

Since a surgical procedure may come with risks and a lengthy recovery period, you should always try conservative treatments at first.

How to Prevent a Pinched Nerve

While a pinched nerve isn't always avoidable, there are some things you can do to reduce your risk of developing one. Focus on good posture and don't stay in one position for a long period of time. Also, adhere to a nutritious, well-balanced diet and engage in a regular exercise program that focuses on strength, flexibility, and health weight maintenance. In addition, limit repetitive activities like cutting, sitting, standing, typing, and golfing.


All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

All materials copyright © 2020 VoxMD.com, All Rights Reserved.

Is Telemedicine a COVID-19 Trend or the New Way to See a Doctor?

Telemedicine allows patients to receive real-time health care services from the comfort of their own homes. It's become essential in the era of COVID-19 where self-quarantining and social distancing are the norm.

But will the popularity of telemedicine continue once the coronavirus pandemic is behind us? Absolutely! It serves as an easier, more convenient way for patients to receive medical care and health care professionals to provide their services.

With telemedicine, health care providers can perform patient consultations, determine whether patients require in-person treatment, write or renew prescriptions, and offer certain types of therapies.

Benefits of Telemedicine

There are countless benefits of telemedicine. Some of the most noteworthy ones include:

Convenience

Telemedicine offers convenience to patients and healthcare providers. Patients and providers don't have to travel for appointments. As long as they have internet connection, they can simply log in to their appointment with a computer or another compatible device.

Money Savings

Since telemedicine allows providers to run virtual clinics from their home offices, it can save them a great deal of money. A telemedicine service can also help them save on the high expenses that come with patient management, health record and medical history storage, and billing.

Improved Access to Care

Telemedicine is ideal for patients who live in rural areas with limited access to healthcare providers. It's also particularly convenient for those who are struggling with limited mobility due to a condition like a neuromuscular disorder or spinal cord injury.

Easy Management of Chronic Illnesses

Thanks to telemedicine, patients can manage chronic conditions with ease. They may be able to use at-home devices to record important data and digitally transfer it to their healthcare providers. With telemedicine, they're also likely to see their providers more frequently.

Frequently Asked Questions About Telemedicine

How much does telemedicine cost?

In most cases, telemedicine services are free for providers. The providers themselves can determine how much to charge patients for telemedicine appointments.

Are telemedicine visits as effective as those that occur in-person?

Telemedicine can replace in-person visits for many patients without compromising the quality of care and communication they receive.

How can patients schedule telemedicine appointments?

To schedule telemedicine appointments, patients can reach out to their healthcare provider who will send them directions via email or text.

Do patients require special hardware and software to participate in telemedicine?

As long as they have a computer or device with a camera, patients may log in to a telemedicine appointment. They can use PCs, Macs, Androids, or iOS devices.

Are there any privacy concerns with telemedicine?

Healthcare providers and patients don't have to worry about privacy concerns because all data is encrypted, all sessions are anonymous, and there is no storage of information. Telemedicine services follow HIPAA, PIPEDA, and GDPR data privacy requirements.

Does insurance cover telemedicine appointments?

Fortunately, many insurance providers, including Cigna, Humana, and United Healthcare offer partial or full coverage for telemedicine visits. Patients are encouraged to contact their insurance company to verify what their policy covers.


All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

All materials copyright © 2020 VoxMD.com, All Rights Reserved.

5 Things to Know About Scoliosis

5 Things to Know About Scoliosis

Scoliosis is one of the most common spine conditions in teenagers. It occurs when the spine curves abnormally to the right or left. Believe it or not, about 3 million people in the U.S. are diagnosed with scoliosis each year. If you have scoliosis or have a child who has been diagnosed with this condition, here are five things you should know.

1 - Early Detection is Key

Just like with most conditions, the key to treating scoliosis well is early detection. If your child is diagnosed with the condition at a young age, their doctor can design a treatment plan that stops the condition from worsening. Since scoliosis doesn't always cause pain, many children and parents are unaware of the condition. This makes it particularly important for parents to take their children to routine physicals.

2 - The Cause of Scoliosis is Often Unknown

Many parents wonder if there were any steps they could've taken to prevent scoliosis. The truth is that there is no known cause of scoliosis so there's nothing you can do as a parent to reduce your child's risk of it. Rest assured that the heavy backpack they wear to school or poor posture they may have did not cause scoliosis.

3 - Scoliosis Does Not Always Require Treatment

If you find out your child has scoliosis, you may ask their doctor how they'll treat it. Believe it or not, scoliosis is one of the few conditions that doesn't always require treatment. Instead of treatment, their doctor may monitor their condition closely to ensure it doesn't worsen. Only 30 percent of scoliosis cases warrant braces. Surgery is rarely required. If your child needs a brace, they will be able to play sports and enjoy extracurricular activities without any issues.

4 - Surgery for Scoliosis is Often Successful

In the rare case your child undergoes surgery for scoliosis, know that it will likely be successful, especially if they are in good general health and have your support. The surgery will come with a recovery period of a few months so you will have to coordinate with your child's school to design a game plan.

5 - There are Two Types of Scoliosis

The two types of scoliosis include idiopathic scoliosis and degenerative scoliosis. Idiopathic scoliosis is the most common type and is usually hereditary. It usually affects children who are at least 10 years old. Degenerative scoliosis is seen in adults and is the result of the natural process of aging.


All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

All materials copyright © 2020 VoxMD.com, All Rights Reserved.

What is Your Back Muscle Spasm Telling You?

What is Your Back Muscle Spasm Telling You?

Do you have a muscle spasm in your back? If so, you may be concerned and unsure of why you have it. Your muscle spasm may be minor and something you only notice every once in a while. Or you may be facing a serious muscle spasm that makes it difficult for you to move your back normally.

Causes of Back Muscle Spasms

Injury or Strain to the Soft Tissues

If your back muscle spasm is minor, it may be the result of an injury or strain to your muscles, tendons, and ligaments. In most cases, these types of muscle spasms resolve on their own within a few weeks and do not lead to long-term pain and discomfort.

Underlying Spinal Condition

In the event the muscle spasm in your back does not improve in a few weeks or returns in the same area every so often, you may have an underlying spinal condition. The most common spinal conditions that can cause muscle spasms include herniated disc, degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, and osteoarthritis. You should consult a doctor if you believe you're living with an underlying spinal condition.

What to Do If You Have a Back Muscle Spasm

Rest

While it may be tempting to continue exercising or participating in vigorous physical activity, doing so can do more harm than good for your spine. If possible, take a break from these activities and relax for a bit.

Refrain from completely stopping all physical activity but don't do anything that worsens the pain. Going on short walks throughout the day can improve your blood flow and expedite the natural process of healing.

Apply Cold

If you have a cold pack or even a bag of frozen peas in your freezer, apply it on your back. This can minimize any inflammation that may be present and provide you with the relief you deserve. Apply the cold therapy for 20 minutes at most and allow your skin to take a break before you apply it again.

See a Doctor

Don't hesitate to visit a doctor if your back muscle spasms continues after you give your body some rest and try some cold therapy. They can perform a thorough evaluation and help you figure out your best course of action.


All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

All materials copyright © 2020 VoxMD.com, All Rights Reserved.

Why You May Have One Sided Back Pain

Almost everyone experiences back pain at some point in their lives. Back pain can lead to a great deal of pain and discomfort. It may also prevent you from leading the healthy, fulfilling life you deserve.

You may find that it comes on when you least expect it and concentrates on the left or right side on your back. If you're facing one-sided back pain, you may wonder what the issue is. The truth is "It depends."

While it may be a minor problem that will subside on its own, it may also be a sign of a more serious condition. Here's a closer look at why you may have back pain on one side.

Tissue-Related Injuries

Tissue injuries like muscle strains account for the most common cause of one-sided back pain. You may experience one after hurting yourself while playing sports or getting into a car accident. While they can create central back pain, tissue injuries often lead to pain that's entirely focused on one side. Poor posture can also lead to this type of pain.

Bone Complications

If you have a condition like spinal stenosis, arthritis, or bone spurs that causes pain on the left or right side of your back, you're not alone. One-sided back pain from bone complications is widely seen.

The severity of your back pain and how much it disrupts your day-to-day life will dictate the ideal treatment plan. However, in most cases, treatment includes conservative measures like pain medication, hot and cold backs, and physical therapy. Surgery is usually a last resort.

Internal Organ Issues

Believe it or not, one-sided back pain may stem from the organs in your abdominal, pelvic area, and mid-back. These organs may include your colon, kidneys, pancreas, and uterus may be a sign of inflammation, irritation, or infection. If your one-sided back pain is organ related, you're likely facing other uncomfortable symptoms such as nausea, fever, or pain during urination, as well.

Emergency Conditions

It may seem dramatic to head over to the emergency room if you notice back pain on your left or right side. But if your back pain is severe and sudden, it's important to do so. This is particularly true if it's also accompanied with swelling, tenderness in the spine, bladder or bowel issues, or other serious symptoms. Remember it's better to proceed with caution than to ignore extreme one sided back pain.

If your one-sided back pain persists and interferes with your overall quality of life, it's a good idea to see a doctor as soon as possible. They can perform a thorough physical evaluation and let you know how to proceed.


All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

All materials copyright © 2020 VoxMD.com, All Rights Reserved.

How to Walk Properly

How to Walk Properly

Walking offers countless benefits. If you walk on a regular basis, you can strengthen bones, improve balance, reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, ease joint pain, increase energy, and so much more.

While walking is a healthy activity, it can lead to foot pain and various foot conditions if it's done incorrectly. So how can you walk in a way that keeps your feet healthy? Keep reading to find out.

Wear the Right Shoes

Not all shoes are created equal. Some are better for walking than others. When you shop for the perfect walking shoes, there are certain features you should look for. Your shoes must offer ample room for your feet and toes so if they're too small, get rid of them. Don't be afraid to go up a half size or more. In addition, it's important that your shoes come with outsoles that allow for optimal traction, cushioning midsoles, and good shock absorption.

Strengthen Your Feet

The stronger your feet are, the less likely you'll be to injure them through walking. Perform exercises like heel raises and toe curls to strengthen the muscles found on the bottom of your feet. Believe it or not, walking barefoot or in shoes on even surfaces like rocks or sand can also strengthen your feet and prepare them for long walks.

Opt for Thin Socks

You may want to wear your thickest pair of socks, especially in the fall and winter. However, thick socks retain moisture and increase the weight in your shoes. This can lead to blisters and a great deal of discomfort. So get into the habit of wearing thin socks every time you walk, even if it's chilly outside.

Don't Walk In Pain

If you notice any serious pain while you're walking, don't just push through it and keep going. This can increase your risk of injury. If possible, stop and take a little break. In the event the pain continues on future walks, it's time to see a doctor. The last thing you want to do is ignore the symptoms of what could be a serious foot or health condition.

Check Your Feet Regularly

Pay attention to your feet as much as possible so you don't miss a symptom or condition that can lead to pain and discomfort during your walks. Check them on a daily basis for any sores, swelling, cuts, inflammation, or infection. As soon as you notice anything that's not right, consult a doctor.

Walking is great for your physical and mental wellbeing. However, when it's done incorrectly, it can do more harm than good. To take full advantage of walking and avoid foot pain, be sure to follow these tips.


All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

All materials copyright © 2020 VoxMD.com, All Rights Reserved.

Common Autumn Injuries

Autumn is an exciting time. It's the season of pumpkins, colorful leaves, and comfy sweaters. Unfortunately, the autumn season also leads to several injuries that individuals of all ages may face. The good news is there are several ways you can reduce your risk of developing these injuries and enjoy autumn to the fullest. Here's a closer look at the most common autumn injuries.

Strains and Sprains

The autumn is the ideal time to garden, rake leaves, and take care of your yard. While these activities may be relaxing, they involve repetitive movements such as lifting, twisting, and bending, which can strain or sprain your back. Believe it or not, hundreds of individuals visit the emergency room as a result of fall-related yard activities. To avoid strains and sprains, make sure you use high-quality tools and take frequent breaks.

Running Injuries

Since the weather is usually not too hot and not too cold, you may spend some time running outdoors in the autumn. Although running is a healthy hobby that can burn calories, build muscle, and help you maintain a healthy weight, it can lead to running injuries. Some of the most common running injuries include runner's knee, shin splints, achilles tendinitis, and stress fractures. To reduce their risk of them, warm up in advance, use proper form, and wear comfortable tennis shoes.

Car Accidents

While it's nice to go for a drive and take in the beauty of the fall weather, doing so can put you at risk for car accidents. This is mainly because of lower visibility caused by fog and the bright sun. Animals like deer and leaves may also pose a hazard, especially when they're wet. If you'd like to avoid car accidents in the autumn, drive slowly and pay complete attention to the road ahead of you. You should also scrape ice off your car and defog your windows before you get behind the wheel.

Slip and Fall Injuries

Slip and fall injuries arise frequently in the fall because of all the leaves that coat the ground. Not only do leaves make it a challenge to see what you're walking on, they often fill dents and holes. In addition, daylight savings time may cause the sunlight to impair your vision and make walking dangerous. To prevent slip and fall injuries, clear leaves, wear sunglasses, and make sure your exterior lights are in optimal condition.

Even though autumn injuries wreak havoc on your body, they are usually treatable through conservative measures. Rest, over-the-counter pain relievers, hot and cold therapy, and physical therapy are often very effective. If necessary, however, surgical intervention may be an option.


All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

All materials copyright © 2020 VoxMD.com, All Rights Reserved.

Best Shoes for Every Season

Best Shoes for Every Season

If you're living with foot pain and discomfort, you should be mindful about the shoes you wear. Here's why: Your shoes can either improve or exacerbate your foot pain. To make your shoe shopping experience a bit easier, we've compiled this guide of the best shoes for every season. These shoes are ideal if you'd like to keep your feet in optimal shape and prevent pain year-round.

Spring and Summer

Flip Flops

There's no denying that flip flops are convenient in the warmer months. As long as you choose the right pairs, you can protect your feet and wear them without worry. Make sure your flip flops offer good arch support and a snug strap. Ideally, they'd also feature a deep heel cup that allows for strong stability. Avoid any flip flops with high heels.

Ankle Strap Sandals

Comfortable sandals with a strap around the ankle are a great option. They offer great stability and allow for a natural gait pattern. Fortunately, there are many options on the market that are adjustable and come with built-in orthotics. Orthotics are inserts that can aid with foot pain and resolve any issues you may have while walking, standing, or running.

Fall and Winter

Boots

Boots can keep your feet warm and cozy during the colder seasons. Generally speaking, the wider your boots are, the better. This is particularly true if you're living with a condition like plantar fasciitis.

Try your best to stay away from narrow boots as they can be quite uncomfortable and place unnecessary pressure on your toes, heels, and feet. Believe it or not, boots with a tiny heel are actually a good choice as they can help raise your feet out of snow and water.

Tennis Shoes

If you like to wear tennis shoes because you're an athlete or simply find them comfortable or attractive, there are certain features you should look for. The ideal tennis shoes will have excellent arch support, a plush cushion, and a chunky heel. Insoles that add an extra level of support and comfort are important as well.

If you're unsure of which shoes to wear and buy, don't hesitate to consult your primary care doctor or podiatrist. They can evaluate any shoes that you have in mind and help you make informed decisions that are right for your long-term foot health.


All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

All materials copyright © 2020 VoxMD.com, All Rights Reserved.

Exercising With Lower Back Pain

If you're living with lower back pain, you may be tempted to avoid physical activity. Contrary to popular belief, exercise is actually good for lower back pain. It can strengthen your back as well as your stomach and legs, support your spine, and provide you with the relief you deserve. So it's a good idea to stay active as much as possible. Since not all exercises are created equal, however, it's important to be mindful about which ones you pursue. Here are the best exercises for lower back pain.

Partial Crunches

Instead of sit-ups, opt for partial crunches instead as they won't aggravate your back pain and bring strength to you back and stomach. Once you've lied down with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, place your hands behind your neck or cross your arms over your chest. Then, squeeze your stomach muscles and lift your shoulders off the floor. After you've held this position for a few seconds, lower back down and repeat 8 to 10 times.

Hamstring Stretches

Not only can hamstring stretches reduce lower back stress that stems from limited motion from tight hamstrings, they can also improve your posture. As soon as you lie on your back, bend one knee and place a towel under your foot. Then, strengthen your knee and pull the towel back slowly. Once you notice a stretch on the back of your leg, hold for 30 seconds and repeat a few times for each leg.

Wall Sits

Since they can give you similar effects of squats without adding stress to your lower back, wall sits are highly recommended. Stand 10 inches from a wall and place your back against it. Make sure it's lat and slide down until your knees are bent and lower back is pressed into the wall. Hold for 5 to 10 second and make your way back up to the wall. Repeat for 10 reps.

Bird Dog

To build stability in your lower back and reduce stress, the bird dog is a good choice. Get on all fours and squeeze your stomach muscles tight. Then, lift and lengthen one leg and hold for a few seconds. Switch to the other leg and repeat 10 times for each leg. If you can, lift and lengthen your opposite arm while you're focusing on your legs.

If you're performing an exercise with lower back pain and feel pain, stop. Do not try to "push yourself" as it can worsen your condition. You should also consult a physical therapist or doctor before participating in any new exercises.


All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

All materials copyright © 2020 VoxMD.com, All Rights Reserved.