Myofascial Pain Syndrome (Muscle Pain): Causes, Symptoms & Treatments

Suffering from pain of any type can be 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 deal with is called Myofascial pain syndrome. This involves inflammation that is in the soft tissues of the body and cause pain in different areas. 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

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 provides “trigger” points that are the symptom of the problem. It can produce pain in these 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 you’re being examined for myofascial pain, you may have two types of trigger points, active or latent. The active trigger point is very tender when manipulated whereas the latent trigger point can cause problems but isn’t causing them at the time. It is basically lying in wait to cause problems with pain.

Treatment Options

There are several options available to treat this type of muscle pain depending on what you’re dealing with at the time. You can opt for massage therapy to help reduce the trigger points and work out the kinks in the muscles. There’s physical therapy to help you gain movement back in those muscles if you’ve dealt with an injury that restricted your movement. You may also find that trigger point injection therapy works well for you. This is where the doctor will inject either anesthetic, saline, or corticosteroids into the trigger point and make it dormant so that it doesn’t cause pain any more.

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.

You can also take anti-inflammatory medications to assist with the pain as well.

Clavicle Fracture (Broken Collarbone): Causes, Symptoms & Treatments

It takes a lot to break a bone in the body and the collarbone is no different. A collarbone fracture can be quite painful and it takes a lot of force, in general, to break the bone that is one of the major ones in your shoulder area. Learning what the causes, symptoms and treatment options for a clavicle fracture can help you to understand what will happen if this injury occurs to you or your loved one.

Causes and Symptoms

How do you break your collarbone? Typically, the clavicle fracture is caused by a direct hit to the bone such as in sports like football, hockey, or even wrestling. It may also happen during a bad fall or car accident. You’ll find that in most cases those who suffer from this type of fracture most are males between the ages of 13 and 20.

The symptoms of a clavicle fracture vary in intensity and type. Most times the person suffering with this injury will find immediate pain in the affected area, there will be a grinding noise when the arm is moved or tried to be lifted, and an inability to lift the arm because of the pain you have.

Treatment Options

Most collarbone fractures will heal themselves with time. In some cases, however, surgery is needed to repair the injury before the patient can go home. In cases where surgery is needed, you will be in a sling for around six weeks after surgery. Most cases are simply treated with a certain type of sling to keep the bone in place and refrain the patient from moving the arm too much until the fracture is healed. The sling is usually worn for a length of three to four weeks. The doctor may suggest you start doing some small movements and exercises immediately to help with the healing process. Strengthening exercises will come in later during the process so that you do not reinjure the shoulder area before it has had a chance to heal.

For those who are dealing with huge amounts of pain, over the counter remedies typically help reduce it long enough to relax and get some rest. Your doctor may prescribe something before you leave to start with to help get through the first few days.

If your collarbone fracture is severe and your younger in age, then surgery may be recommended. If not, then you will most likely leave the hospital with a sling to immobilize the bone and help you to recover.

Groin Pain: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

In most cases, when you move your body does so without any pain or problems from areas that move you on a regular basis. What happens when you start to feel pain in your groin area? Groin pain can be caused from a variety of different ailments or groin injury issues. Here is a look at a few of the causes of groin pain, the symptoms you should look for and the treatment options you have available should suffer from a groin injury.

Causes of Groin Pain

Pain in the groin area can be caused by a multitude of possibilities. You could have injured the region during a sports activity, when you were working or even in an accident in your vehicle. You can also injure the area from overuse, by pulling a muscle, or from a direct injury such as stabbing to the area or a fall. If your leg turns in an abnormal direction due to twisting the leg or falling, this can also cause pain and injury to the area.

Other causes of pain in the groin region include items such as arthritis or bursitis in the joints.

Symptoms of Groin Injury

If you’ve pulled a muscle or have groin pain, here are a few symptoms to watch out for:

  • Pain or tender areas on the inside of your thigh or in the groin itself
  • You may feel pain when you try to put your legs together
  • Pain can occur when you raise your knee up
  • If you are in the middle of the injury occurring, you may hear a snapping or popping noise when you twist your muscles or pull them

Treatment Options for Groin Injury or Pain

In most situations with an injury to the groin, the best thing you can do is get plenty of rest. If you’ve pulled a muscle or have injured it in a car accident, it is best to rest and protect your injury for at least two weeks. Be sure you do not do any strenuous activities that could reinjure or worsen the problem while it is healing. You can also use ice to help reduce any inflammation or swelling of the injury as well. Also, be sure to wear supportive undergarments during this time to help protect your groin and help hold everything in place so it will be easier to heal.

Once you’ve gotten plenty of rest and allowed the groin injury to heal, you can start to do strengthening and stretching exercises slowly to help bring your groin back to its normal working order. Make sure you talk to your doctor before starting these to ensure you do not reinjure yourself.

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.

Femur Shaft Fractures (Broken Thighbone): Cause & Treatments

Our femur is the strongest and longest bone in our body. Due to the high strength, an extremely large force is necessary to cause any fracture. These situations can include a high speed car crash and this is the most common reason for such fracture. A force that is beyond the normal limits of the femur will result in a fracture. The long and straight part of the femur is called the femoral shaft and when there is a break along the femoral shaft fracture, it is known as a femoral shaft fracture.

Causes of a femoral shaft fracture

Femoral shaft fractures usually occur in young people due to the type of activities they engage in. Most youngsters engage in high impact activities such as wakeboarding, football and racing. The most common reason is an automobile accident resulting in a car crash. Other less common causes can be an accidental fall from a certain height or even a simple fall in people of a higher age group. This is due to their weakened bones or existing medical conditions such as osteoporosis.

Treatment

Non-surgical treatment

Non-surgical treatment is meant for patients who do not have a displaced femoral shaft fracture. In cases like this, treatment will involve the usage of walking aids such as crutches or walker with the foot in a protective brace or splint for a period of time. However, most femoral shaft fractures will require surgery to properly heal.

Surgical treatment

Surgical treatment is needed for those who have displaced femoral shaft fractures and this will usually involve the realignment of the bones. Metal pins and screws will be placed into the bones located above and below the fracture site to properly hold the bone in the proper position to facilitate healing. It is a temporary treatment and will provide adequate stability until the patient is ready for stage 2 of the surgery – intramedullary nailing. A metal rod will be inserted into the marrow canal of the femur to hold it in its proper position. It is then screwed to the bone at both ends. The bone fragments will also be cleaned and joined together with the femur using screws and metal plates.

Patients suffering from a femur fracture should seek prompt medical attention as ignoring such symptoms will cause more damages to the femur and prevent healing of the fracture altogether, leading to a lifetime of instability and pain.

 

What Is Mallet Finger?

A mallet finger is when there is an abnormality of the finger caused by damage to the extensor tendon. This injury is usually sustained when a ball hits the top of the finger or thumb, injuring the extensor tendon which is responsible for straightening the finger. As this injury is often seen in baseball players, it is also known as baseball finger.

Causes

As mentioned above, a mallet finger is due to a sudden impact acting on the finger, causing the tendon to tear. This is often suffered in high tempo sports such as basketball, baseball and soccer in the case of a goalkeeper. If the attempt to catch the ball is missed, it will hit the finger and an immediate sharp pain followed by numbness will be felt. Tendons are fibrous connective tissues responsible for connecting our muscles to the bones and a mallet finger is resulted from either the tearing of the tendon or an avulsion fracture of the finger.

Symptoms

The most common symptom is the inability to straighten the injured finger on its own without external help. The finger may be swollen, bruised and turned purplish. In cases where the ball hit the fingernails, there may be blood clots beneath the nail which will need to be drained a couple of days later.

What happens to you?

Following a baseball finger injury, you will need to wear a protective splint for a period of time which is dependent on the extent of your injury. In minor cases involving only the stretching of the tendon, the finger will heal within 1.5 months. In an attempt to speed up the recovery process, you can apply ice to it whenever possible while keeping your hand elevated above your heart.

In more serious cases where the tendon is torn, a recovery duration of roughly 2 months is needed followed by another 1 month of wearing the splint only when you sleep. In cases where splinting does not help, surgery will be required to reattach the tendon. Following surgery, a lengthy recovery period is required for your finger to regain its original functions. The surgeon will attach small screws and pins connecting the bone fragments and these will dissolve away in a few months’ time on its own.

You can slowly start to resume your normal activity after a few months and finger flex exercises should be performed to help regain the flexibility and mobility of the finger joint.

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 Symptoms of a Hairline Fracture

Hairline fractures or stress fractures are not easily detected or felt as compared to other types of fractures. Patients may sometimes feel tenderness at the affected area coupled with some swelling. These symptoms are further amplified during activities and will reduce with rest. Hairline fractures are actually tiny cracks in a bone resulting from overuse and are frequently observed in places where repetitive loads are encountered such as the ankle. Hairline fractures often occur during high impact sports and a few factors can influence it such as the duration of exercise, frequency of exercise as well as the intensity of it. However, patients who do not participate in sports can also experience hairline fractures due to weak bones in their body. Bone diseases or osteoporosis causes a loss in bone density and places one to be more susceptible to stress fractures. In this article, we will further explore some symptoms of a hairline fracture.

Gradual pain

Pain develops gradually in patients suffering from stress fractures. As mentioned above, the pain is only present during instances of weight bearing and will go away at rest. It is different from an ankle sprain whereby pain is present throughout. In some patients with higher pain tolerances, they may not be able to feel this pain as the endorphins produced during activities can mask it, misleading the patients and result in more serious consequences.

Localised swelling

During injuries, our body’s immune system will kick in. Chemical signals are released by the brain to widen capillaries which will result in increased blood flow to the injured area. The white blood cells will then fight against any infection present. This increase in fluid causes swelling which is visible on the outside and can be relieved through the use of ice packs or anti-inflammatory medication.

Reduced pain when at rest

Another common symptom is the immediate reduction of pain experienced when at rest. This would mean that the injury sustained is not involving any muscle groups nor is it a major fracture. Patients suffering from hairline fractures will get immediate relief when they stop whatever activities they are doing.

Constant pain after continuous trauma

When patients ignore the advices of doctors to rest and choose to continue playing, their condition can worsen and there is a high risk that the stress fracture has already evolved into a complete fracture. Pain can be felt throughout even when the patient is at rest.

It only takes about 6 to 8 weeks for a hairline fracture to heal whereas a complete fracture takes around 6 months to heal. It is up to you whether you wish to sacrifice at most 2 months of your time to heal it completely or risk being out of the sport forever.

Orthopaedic Conditions That Require Spine Surgery

Spine surgery is a major surgery that is often the last option for most surgeons due to the complexity and risks involved. Any slight mistakes or accidents can cause permanent paralysis of the body depending on the affected nerves in the spine. Surgeons will often recommend alternative treatments such as medication and physical therapy and when left with no other choices will they opt for spine surgery. With such high risks involved, what are some orthopaedic conditions that require spinal surgery to be carried out?

Herniated disc

A herniated disc occurs when one of the spinal disc in the vertebrae slips or ruptures, causing the soft disc materials to flow out of the disc. When the disc flows out, the movement and material can pinch on the surrounding nerves, causing pain and numbness. A discectomy will need to be carried out to remove this herniated disc that is pinching onto the nerve. A modern evolution is the microdiscectomy which uses high definition microscope to see better and is minimally invasive, reducing the risk.

Foraminotomy

Foraminotomy is performed to relieve pressure from an affected nerve in the spine. This pressure is caused either by bone fragments, scar tissues or excess ligament development in the spinal area, causing it to press against the spine and causing pain and numbness. Foraminotomy will open up the back where the nerve roots leave the spinal canal, reducing the chances of pinching.

Spinal fusion

As the name suggests, spinal fusion aims to join 2 or more vertebrae together to prevent excessive movement which may pinch onto the nerves. Loose vertebrae can press against the nerves during movement, causing pain and numbness. It will also prevent the surrounding soft tissues from stretching. Spinal fusion is based on the simple logic of “if it doesn’t move, it doesn’t hurt”. Similarly to welding in metals, spinal fusion will fuse the vertebrae together. This process however will reduce some flexibility in the spine but this is very minimal.

Artificial lumbar disc replacement

Artificial disc replacement is a new surgical process that uses man-made biomaterials to replace the affected intervertebral disc. The purpose of the spinal disc is to cushion the shock and distribute it evenly. Since the spinal discs do not regenerate as easily as our skin, biomaterials will need to be used to restore flexibility and motion.

Above are 4 orthopaedic conditions that warrant the usage of spinal surgery. Although the risks are there, medical advances have significantly reduced the risks and recovery time. Nonetheless, the risks are still present and serious considerations must be made before deciding on such major surgery as this.