Applying pressure for back shoulder pain

Experiencing Muscle Pain? It could be Myofascial Pain Syndrome

Muscle pain of any type can be get difficult to handle. Sometimes the pain may be minor and can be worked through, while other times it can debilitating and hard to handle. One chronic condition that involves muscle pain that many of us may deal with is called the Myofascial Pain Syndrome.

This involves inflammation that is in the soft tissues of the body and cause pain in different areas (referred pain). It could involve one particular muscular area or a group of muscles causing pain.

Here are a few things you should know if you’re dealing with muscle pain or if you think you’re dealing with myofascial pain.

Causes and Symptoms of Myofascial Pain Symptoms

The causes of myofascial pain can be due to an injury or strain of a muscle in the body. It could be due to repetitive motions that injury the muscle groups being used, an excessive strain that is put on the muscle, tendon or even ligaments, or it can be due to inactivity in a group of muscles. This could be due to having an injury to your arm and not being able to move it due to the cast or sling you’re having to wear.

This type of muscle pain originates from what are known as “Trigger Points”. Trigger Points are sensitive areas in the muscle which may under undue pressure. These can cause pain in those specific areas, or it can also produce other problems such as depression, behavioral problems, or fatigue due to the pain the patient is in.

When examined for Myofascial Pain, you may have few types of Trigger Points

  • Active – is very tender can cause the muscle to twitch when manipulated and is the most common type
  • Latent – which do not cause any immediate pain when probed but can get activated where there’s stress or trauma. Basically, waiting to cause future problems
  • Primary – A central trigger point that was activated directly by acute or chronic overload, or repetitive overuse of the muscle in which it occurs.
  • Secondary – painful point in the muscle that becomes active when you stress another muscle.
  • Satellite – This Trigger Point that activates coz its located near to another Trigger Point
example trigger point and referred pain
Source: Mayo Clinic

Treatment Options for Myofascial Pain

  1. There are several options available to treat this type of muscle pain depending on what you’re dealing with at the time.
  2. You can opt for massage therapy to help reduce the trigger points and work out the kinks in the muscles.
  3. Physiotherapy to help you gain movement back in those muscles if you’ve dealt with an injury that restricted your movement.
  4. You may also find that trigger point injection therapy works well for you. This is where the doctor will inject either anaesthetic, saline, or corticosteroids into the trigger point and make it dormant so that it doesn’t cause pain anymore.
  5. One other method that may be used is the “spray and stretch” method. This is where the trigger point is sprayed with a cooling type spray and then it is slowly stretched out.
  6. You can also take anti-inflammatory medications to assist with the pain as well

Myofascial Pain Relief in Singapore

Singapore Sports & Orthopaedic Clinic has been in service for the past 20 years in Singapore helping patients with pain relief and treatments. Our team of doctors (specialists & generalists) have treated Myofascial Pain Syndrome for many patients. Call us today for more info.

Common Cause of Overuse Injuries: Prevention & Treatment

Sports are a great way to keep active and healthy throughout your entire life. One concern with playing a variety sports are the common overuse injuries or even stress fractures. There are many different injuries that can come about from using the same muscles over and over, but there are ways to prevent them as well. Take a look at some of the most common overuse injuries and how you can avoid or treat them if you fall victim.

Going Farther Than You Actually Can

When it comes to a new exercise program or sports adventure, you must be realistic on what you are capable of handling. Most common injuries come about due to the inability to admit you can only go so far with your new activity. Start slow and make sure to take your time in pushing yourself. If you push yourself too far too fast you can end up with stress fractures or pulled muscles and ligaments.

Know The Correct Form

When you are learning a new sport or exercise, it is important that you use the correct form at all times. Work with a professional or seasoned trainer in the specific sport you’re trying to learn. This will help you to learn the correct form before you start making bad habits in the way you play or perform the move. Bad form can cause a variety of overuse injuries in your body when you do not learn the right way to perform the sport or move beforehand.

Preventing and Treating These Injuries

To treat an overuse injury, you want to make sure to start cutting back on the practice during your time of being injured. Be sure to warm-up properly during every exercise or workout. Ice down the injury so that you can help to reduce any inflammation that may be present and be sure to get plenty of rest. You may also find that anti-inflammatory medications will help during treatment as well.

To prevent these common overuse injuries from happening in the first place, be sure you learn the proper form before you start an exercise or program. Make sure your shoes are worn in but also offer the proper support for the activity you’re about to do. Remember you do not have to be the fastest at the program right away. Learn the proper technique from the get go and take it easy to ensure you have it right. All of these tips can help you to prevent injures such as stress fractures from happening to you and taking you out of the game.

Pelvis Fractures: Cause & Treatments

The pelvis consists of a series of ring-like structure of bones located at the lower end of the trunk. There are three ones supporting the side of the pelvis namely the ilium, ischium and pubis. Ligaments and tendons join the pelvis to the sacrum located at the bottom of the spine, creating a bowl-like cavity just below the rib cage. On each side is the acetabulum, a hollow cup serving as the socket for the hip joint.

Many digestive and reproductive organs are located within the pelvic ring as well as large nerves and blood vessels passing through it. The pelvis acts as an attachment point for muscles reaching into the legs up into the trunk of the body. With all these important structures running through the pelvis, a fracture can be serious and life threatening.

Causes

The group of people most susceptible to pelvis fracture are those heavily involved in sports. Very often, a muscle is pulled and these may go undetected. Such undetected pulls might be avulsion fractures of the pelvis due to sudden muscle contractions. In avulsion fracture, a small piece of bone from the ischium located at the hamstring muscles region is broken and torn away by the muscles. This fracture however do not render the pelvis unstable. Most pelvis fractures can also be caused by high impact forces such as those sustained during a motor vehicle accident or falls from great heights. Depending on the impact and height, such injuries can be deadly.

Nonsurgical treatment

Nonsurgical is usually administered for stable fractures such as the avulsion fracture mentioned above. Stable fractures will heal on their own without the need for surgery. However, the patient will need the assistance of a walking aid such as a crutch or walker for at least three months while the bones heal. To lessen pain, doctors may prescribe painkillers. Due to the significant reduced amount of movement and prolonged periods of inactivity, blood-thinners may also be prescribed to reduce the chances of blood clot formation.

Surgical treatment

Pelvis fractures resulting from trauma are life threatening due to extensive bleeding and surgery is inevitable. An external fixator may be used to stabilise the pelvic area while the surgeon performs surgery. The external fixator has long screws that are drilled into the pelvic bones.

A pelvis fracture will heal well if treatment is administered in a timely manner. Some patients may walk with a slight limp months after surgery due to damage to the muscles surrounding the nerves. However, this is only temporary. In serious cases, patients may suffer from impaired mobility or even sexual dysfunction due to damage to nerves and organs.

2 Exercises to Prevent ACL Injuries

There are a total of four major ligaments in our knee whose function is to provide stability to the knee joint. One of the most important one is the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL). There are numerous fibrous bands attaching the ACL to the bones and that helps to keep motion in check and prevent excessive ones. It also prevents the lower leg from going into hyper extension. Due to the many types of forces experienced by the ACL, it is much easier to be injured compared to the other 3 ligaments. In this article, we will look at some exercises that can help to prevent ACL injuries.

ACL injuries are the most common knee injuries. Every year, many people tear or rupture their ACL due to various reasons, with the most common being sports. When the ACL is extended to beyond its maximum capability, it ruptures. Unlike bones that can heal on its own over time, ligaments do not heal on its own and once it is damaged, it will be permanently damaged and will require surgical means to aid in a full recovery. Situations where the ACL can be ruptured usually involve sudden directional changes or deceleration. In soccer, it can be as simple as a sudden change in direction to shield the ball from an opponent, with a hard twist while the studs of the boots are still firmly in the ground, causing the knee to twist and rupturing the ACL.

Lateral hops

Lateral hops simulate jumping and landing actions which are extremely common in almost every sport and is one of the major causes of ACL injuries. The body is designed in a way where the knee will cushion the impact from any jumps and hence it is important to “teach” our knee muscles how to properly absorb shocks. The main idea of lateral hops is to cultivate a good landing technique and thus it is important to land firmly on the ground without any shuffling actions.

Leg balance squats

Leg balance squats as the name suggests help to cultivate balance in the legs. It drives the legs forward and a quick switch to the other, creating a chain reaction. This way, the body can easily drive one leg to the side in order to work the hips and lower extremities to provide balance to the body when faced with any trauma, reducing the chances of an ACL injury.

Since our body is designed as a linkage system where every muscle group contributes to the control of the knee and the ligaments, a total body core muscle strengthening program should be put in place to help prevent ACL injuries.

4 Habits to Help Reduce Risk of Orthopaedic Conditions

In sunny Singapore, we tend to engage in sporting activities throughout the year. As the amount of sports activities increases, the risk of orthopaedic injuries will increase likewise. Studies have concluded that 80% of orthopaedic conditions involved the upper extremities such as the arm, shoulders and elbows whereas 20% of them involved the lower extremities such as the knee and ankle. Injuries will prevent us from continuing to be involved in our favourite activity for a period of time and this can be frustrating. What are some good habits to help you reduce the risk of orthopaedic injuries? What are some precautions you should take?

Warming up

Our body is not in the most ideal state for action most of the time. If you do a sudden sprint, you can expect to pull your hamstring and cause pain and discomfort. Therefore, proper warming up is crucial to reduce the risk of injuries. You need to prepare your body for an intense activity but doing an action that is less intensive for a few minutes to allow your body to adapt. Warming up provides heat to the body which will help to loosen up the tissues in your body such as the ligaments and tendons.

Wearing protective gears

Contact sports often require the usage of protective gears to protect you. For example, soccer requires the compulsory usage of shin guards. Although shin guards can hinder running movements and cause discomfort to players, they are useful in preventing injuries to the shin. Also, rugby players wear uniform with padding at the shoulder region to prevent injuries when they are tackled down. While players are better off without these protective gears, they know that they cannot do without them.

Knowing when to stop

Knowing when to stop is the difficult thing for most athletes out there. There is only a thin line between stupidity and bravery. Some players think that they can finish the game despite being injured via the usage of pain relieving sprays. However, the exact extent of injury is unknown and it could be a serious one which will cause more serious complications if further aggravated.

Cooling down

Cooling down sessions help to decrease the heart rate in a controlled manner and relax the muscles. Exercising causes the body’s temperature to be increased and a proper cool down session will revert back to the normal body temperature down and prevent the building up of lactic acid which will cause muscle soreness.

Knowing when to stop is probably the most difficult yet important decision you should make. Observe the 4 habits mentioned above and you will definitely have your risk of injuries significantly decreased.

Stiff Neck – An Underlying Spine Disorder?

Stiff neck causes pain and discomfort when attempting to move your neck. It is often due to injury to the soft tissues and ligaments at the neck region. It is usually accompanied by pain and soreness in the neck, shoulder and arm. Symptoms can last for quite a fair bit of time and it can be relieved using medication or a warm compress. For cases whereby the symptoms go away in a couple of days, there isn’t much of an underlying issue. Stiff neck can occur when you wake up after having slept in an awkward position for a long time. Sometimes, stiff neck can be an indication of an underlying spinal disorder.

We must first know the basic anatomy of our neck. Our neck is divided into 2 regions namely the anterior and posterior. There is a part of our spine that moves through our neck and that is the cervical spine which is effectively made up of 7 vertebrae. Any slight problems in our spine can ultimately lead to neck pain since they are interlinked. There are 2 common spinal disorders which are Cervical Herniated Disc and Neck Arthritis.

Cervical herniated disc is one of the leading causes for neck pain and indicates an injury to the cervical spine. Pain in the neck is caused by the disc pinching onto the cervical nerve, causing pain to flow down the nerve pathway down to the neck. Some patients may also experience numbness at the neck region.

Another common cause is due to cervical osteoarthritis which is a degenerative joint disease or otherwise known as neck arthritis. Cervical osteoarthritis are characterised by the presence of bone spurs which may impinge onto a nerve. When impingement happens, the pain will radiate down the nerve onto the neck region, creating in neck pain similar to the cervical herniated disc.

It can also be due to cervical spondylosis which is another degenerative disease that is increased by previous injuries. Cervical spondylosis can result in neck pain and stiffness and is due to the wear and tear of the cartilage and bones of the cervical vertebrae.

There are many causes for stiff neck and it could indicate an underlying spinal disorder due to the mechanism for both neck arthritis and cervical herniated disc. The best way would be to seek a doctor immediately if you frequently encounter a stiff neck.

Age-related Orthopaedic Conditions

Age related orthopaedic conditions frequently decreases the ability to remain mobile, cause discomfort and pain and reduces the ability to lead a quality lifestyle, requiring alterations to daily activities. Ageing is a process which is spontaneous and cannot be avoided. However, age-related problems can be avoided if proper nutrition and care is provided.

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a skeletal disorder indicated by low bone mass and deterioration of bone tissues. Osteoporosis can be grouped into systemic and local. Local osteoporosis is due to fractures, rheumatoid arthritis, tumours, muscular paralysis or tendon ruptures. Our bone is frequently undergoing remodelling, forming new bone cells in the process. However, osteoporosis causes an imbalance between this bone forming, causing low bone mineral density and poor quality of bones which are easily fractured.

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is another orthopaedic problem associated with ageing. Degeneration of ligaments and joints can cause arthritis. Patients suffering from arthritis suffer immense pain. They can also have deformed joints and even loss of motion. Osteoarthritis can happen in any synovial joints, but it occurs most often in frequently used parts of the body such as the hands, feet, knee and hips.

Carpal tunnel syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome can occur in elderly patients. This is due to the irritation of the median entrapment nerve compressing on the carpal tunnel. Rheumatoid arthritis can trigger carpal tunnel syndrome as well due to the inflammation of the flexor tendons, causing compressive stresses on the carpal tunnel.

Cervical spondylosis

Narrowing of the intervertebral foramina disc can cause irritation at the cervical nerve roots. This is often between the C4/5 vertebrae and can cause stiffness and sensory-motor impairment. Patients can also frequently experience a triad of tenderness over the neck area.

Genu valgum

Genu valgum or knock knee is often due to osteoarthritis in the knee. Osteoarthritis will cause deformation to occur on the knee, causing them to touch each other while straightened, and increasing asymmetrical wear on the cartilages at the medial and lateral joints. Genu valgum will lead to an increase in pain during activities and stiffness.

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis is a medical condition that affects the feet and it causes extreme pain that is amplified after periods of inactivity. The pain is likened to as being stabbed repeatedly in the feet. The onset of pain is largely due to long periods of immobility of the feet such as a long day of using the computer. As the activities around the leg increases, the pain will decrease.

Degenerative orthopaedic conditions are common in the elderly. However, most of the conditions can be improved through physiotherapy or by leading an active lifestyle, working out the limbs and joints more often. When things get serious, pain relief medication may need to be consumed to maintain the level of pain in a tolerable range.

Possible Home Fixtures and Installations for Elderly Rehabilitation

Elderly rehabilitation is the process of regaining the physical and mental abilities of an elder person that were lost when they were sick. Rehabilitation is needed to improve the quality of life and allowing them to lead a more fulfilling lifestyle. Most elderly do not wish to spend their rehabilitation period in a hospital due to the high cost. Instead, they wish to do it in the comfort of their home. Rehabilitation should always take place in a safe and conducive place that is stress free and comfortable. This would also mean that you need to make changes in your home to allow for a better recovery. Let’s take a look at some possible home fixtures and installations that can help in the rehabilitation process.

 
Anti-slip flooring in bathrooms

One of the most dangerous places for the elderly at home is the bathroom. Small amounts of water can cause your beloved grandparents or parents to slip and fall, leading to serious consequences. While one would suggest limiting the number of times to visit the bathroom, you cannot really control the call of nature. Therefore, an installation of anti-slip flooring is a great investment. They greatly reduce the chances of one falling and are also easier to clean.

Grip handles in bathrooms

Grip handles are another fixture that should work hand in hand with the anti-slip flooring. While anti-slip floorings are excellent in creating a rough surface between your sole and the floor, they cannot provide the support needed to move around. Grip handles can provide a form of support to assist the elderly move around in the toilet.

Emergency cord

Emergency cords should be installed in the bathrooms if budget permits. This is similar to those in the handicapped toilets of most shopping malls. When your loved one is in distress, he can simply pull the emergency cord and a siren will notify your family members while the door will auto unlock. This will allow instant notification of accidents and emergencies. No matter how good your anti-slip flooring is, accidents still do happen and assistance must be meted out in the shortest possible time.

Elderly rehabilitation should take place in somewhere that is familiar to your loved ones and it gives them a sense of security and love. Although having an elderly at home may cause inconvenience to you, the family bonding you gain is priceless. Installing some fixtures at home can help you prevent accidents to a great extent, ensuring that your own private life will not be disturbed.