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Back Pain – Summary

If you’ve ever groaned, “Oh, my aching back!”, you are not alone. Back pain is one of the most common medical problems, affecting 8 out of 10 people at some point during their lives. Back pain can range from a dull, constant ache to a sudden, sharp pain. Acute back pain comes on suddenly and usually lasts from a few days to a few weeks. Back pain is called chronic if it lasts for more than three months.

Most back pain goes away on its own, though it may take awhile. Taking over-the-counter pain relievers and resting can help. However, staying in bed for more than 1 or 2 days can make it worse.

If your back pain is severe or doesn’t improve after three days, you should call your health care provider. You should also get medical attention if you have back pain following an injury.

Treatment for back pain depends on what kind of pain you have, and what is causing it. It may include hot or cold packs, exercise, medicines, injections, complementary treatments, and sometimes surgery.

NIH: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

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  • Back Pain (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
  • Back Pain From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases)
  • Back Pain From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke)Short Summary
  • Low Back Pain (American Academy of Family Physicians)Available in Spanish
  • Low Back Pain From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke)Available in Spanish
  • What Is Back Pain? From the National Institutes of Health Easy-to-Read (National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases)Available in Spanish

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Neck Injury – Summary

Any part of your neck – muscles, bones, joints, tendons, ligaments, or nerves – can cause neck problems. Neck pain is very common. Pain may also come from your shoulder, jaw, head, or upper arms.

Muscle strain or tension often causes neck pain. The problem is usually overuse, such as from sitting at a computer for too long. Sometimes you can strain your neck muscles from sleeping in an awkward position or overdoing it during exercise. Falls or accidents, including car accidents, are another common cause of neck pain. Whiplash, a soft tissue injury to the neck, is also called neck sprain or strain.

Treatment depends on the cause, but may include applying ice, taking pain relievers, getting physical therapy or wearing a cervical collar. You rarely need surgery.

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Shoulder Injury – Summary

Your shoulder joint is composed of three bones: the clavicle (collarbone), the scapula (shoulder blade), and the humerus (upper arm bone). Your shoulders are the most movable joints in your body. They can also be unstable because the ball of the upper arm is larger than the shoulder socket that holds it. To remain in a stable or normal position, the shoulder must be anchored by muscles, tendons and ligaments. Because the shoulder can be unstable, it is the site of many common problems. They includesprains, strains, dislocations, separations, tendinitis, bursitis, torn rotator cuffs, frozen shoulder, fractures and arthritis.

Usually shoulder problems are treated with RICE. This stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Other treatments include exercise, medicines to reduce pain and swelling, and surgery if other treatments don’t work.

NIH: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

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Rotator Cuff Injuries – Summary

Your rotator cuff is located in your shoulder area. It is made of muscles and tendons. It helps your shoulder to move and stay stable. Problems with the rotator cuff are common. They include tendinitis, bursitis, and injuries such as tears.

Rotator cuff tendons can become inflamed from frequent use or aging. Sometimes they are injured from a fall on an outstretched hand. Sports or jobs with repeated overhead motion can also damage the rotator cuff. Aging causes tendons to wear down, which can lead to a tear.

Some tears are not painful, but others can be very painful. Treatment for a torn rotator cuff depends on age, health, how severe the injury is, and how long you’ve had the torn rotator cuff.

Treatment for torn rotator cuff includes:

  • Rest
  • Heat or cold to the sore area
  • Medicines that reduce pain and swelling
  • Electrical stimulation of muscles and nerves
  • Ultrasound
  • Cortisone injection
  • Surgery

NIH: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disease

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Hip Injury – Summary

Your hip is the joint where your thigh bone meets your pelvis bone. Hips are called ball-and-socket joints because the ball-like top of your thigh bone moves within a cup-like space in your pelvis. Your hips are very stable. When they are healthy, it takes great force to hurt them. However, playing sports, running, overuse or falling can all sometimes lead to hip injuries. These include

Certain diseases also lead to hip injuries or problems. Osteoarthritis can cause pain and limited motion. Osteoporosis of the hip causes weak bones that break easily. Both of these are common in older people.

Treatment for hip disorders may include rest, medicines, physical therapy, or surgery, including hip replacement.

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Sciatica – Summary

Sciatica is a symptom of a problem with the sciatic nerve, the largest nerve in the body. It controls muscles in the back of your knee and lower leg and provides feeling to the back of your thigh, part of your lower leg, and the sole of your foot. When you have sciatica, you have pain, weakness, numbness, or tingling. It can start in the lower back and extend down your leg to your calf, foot, or even your toes. It’s usually on only one side of your body.

Causes of sciatica include

In many cases no cause can be found.

Sometimes sciatica goes away on its own. Treatment, if needed, depends on the cause of the problem. It may include exercises, medicines, and surgery.

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  • Sciatica (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)

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  • Tarlov Cysts From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke)Short Summary

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Knee Joint – Summary

Your knee joint is made up of bone, cartilage, ligaments and fluid. Muscles and tendons help the knee joint move. When any of these structures is hurt or diseased, you have knee problems. Knee problems can cause pain and difficulty walking.

Knee problems are very common, and they occur in people of all ages. Knee problems can interfere with many things, from participation in sports to simply getting up from a chair and walking. This can have a big impact on your life.

The most common disease affecting the knee is osteoarthritis. The cartilage in the knee gradually wears away, causing pain and swelling.

Injuries to ligaments and tendons also cause knee problems. A common injury is to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). You usually injure your ACL by a sudden twisting motion. ACL and other knee injuries are common sports injuries.

Treatment of knee problems depends on the cause. In some cases your doctor may recommend knee replacement.

NIH: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

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Summary

A joint is where two or more bones come together, like the knee, hip, elbow, or shoulder. Joints can be damaged by many types of injuries or diseases, including

  • Arthritis – inflammation of a joint. It causes pain, stiffness, and swelling. Over time, the joint can become severely damaged.
  • Bursitis – inflammation of a fluid-filled sac that cushions the joint
  • Dislocations – injuries that force the ends of the bones out of position

Treatment of joint problems depends on the cause. If you have a sports injury, treatment often begins with the RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) method to relieve pain, reduce swelling, and speed healing. Other possible treatments include pain relievers, keeping the injured area from moving, rehabilitation, and sometimes surgery. For arthritis, injuries, or other diseases, you may need joint replacement surgery to remove the damaged joint and put in a new one.

NIH: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

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Summary

If you feel pain and stiffness in your body or have trouble moving around, you might have arthritis. Most kinds of arthritis cause pain and swelling in your joints. Joints are places where two bones meet, such as your elbow or knee. Over time, a swollen joint can become severely damaged. Some kinds of arthritis can also cause problems in your organs, such as your eyes or skin.

Types of arthritis include

  • Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. It’s often related to aging or to an injury.
  • Autoimmune arthritis happens when your body’s immune system attacks healthy cells in your body by mistake. Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common form of this kind of arthritis.
  • Juvenile arthritis is a type of arthritis that happens in children.
  • Infectious arthritis is an infection that has spread from another part of the body to the joint.
  • Psoriatic arthritis affects people with psoriasis.
  • Gout is a painful type of arthritis that happens when too much uric acid builds up in the body. It often starts in the big toe.

NIH: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

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Bursitis – Summary

A bursa is a small, fluid-filled sac that acts as a cushion between a bone and other moving parts, such as muscles, tendons, or skin. Bursitis occurs when a bursa becomes inflamed. People get bursitis by overusing a joint. It can also be caused by an injury. It usually occurs at the knee or elbow. Kneeling or leaning your elbows on a hard surface for a long time can make bursitis start. Doing the same kinds of movements every day or putting stress on joints increases your risk.

Symptoms of bursitis include pain and swelling. Your doctor will diagnose bursitis with a physical exam and tests such as x-rays and MRIs. He or she may also take fluid from the swollen area to be sure the problem isn’t an infection.

Treatment of bursitis includes rest, pain medicines, or ice. If there is no improvement, your doctor may inject a drug into the area around the swollen bursa. If the joint still does not improve after 6 to 12 months, you may need surgery to repair damage and relieve pressure on the bursa.

NIH: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

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APPS - Smartphone, Tablet & Computer

iPhone & Android - Pain Management Apps

 Apps Record Daily & Hourly Pain Symptoms with Weather Correlation

  • Tracking Pain Symptoms helps determine Pain Triggers which can then correlate Pain Treatment Effectiveness
    • Apps Track Weather to correlate Atmospheric Factors with Pain Flare-ups
    • Some Apps have computer version for Windows 8/10 and Apple OS X operating systems
  1. $4.99 iPhone • Android ) “My Pain Diary”: for Chronic Pain Management
  2. Free  iPhone • Android ) “Catch My Pain”: Pain Diary & Pain Forum
  3. Free  ( iPhone • Android ) “Pain Coach”: by WebMD.com

 

Smartphone Apps for Pain Management with Weather Tracking

iPhone & Android - Health, Wellness & Fitness Apps

 Smartphone Apps for Health & Wellness Management

  1. Free  iPhone  Android ) “Mood-Log”:  Track your emotions as they change throughout the day + day to day
  2. Free  iPhone • Android ) “Calorie Counter & Diet Tracker”:  by MyFitnessPal.com

 Smartphone Apps for Fitness Tracking

  1. Free to $2.95/mo ( iPhone ) “Hot5”:  by WeightWatchers.com – Abs & Core to Yoga & Flexibility
  2. Free  iPhone • Android ) Lose It!”:  by LoseIt.com – Free Weight Loss Program & Calorie Counter
  3. Free  iPhone • Android ) “Map My Hike/Walk/Swim/Ride“:  by UnderArmour.com – GPS Tracker App

Links & Smartphone Apps

 Online & Desktop / Laptop Apps for Health, Wellness & Fitness

In addition to the Smartphone / Tablet Pain Management and Health/Fitness Apps listed above, there are also numerous good free Online (web browser) Applications and Desktop / Laptop Computer Applications available.

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