Tag Archives: Physical therapy

Kyphosis

Alternative Names: Scheuermann’s disease; Roundback; Hunchback; Postural kyphosis

Definition:
Kyphosis is a curving of the spine that causes a bowing or rounding of the back, which leads to a hunchback or slouching posture.

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Some rounding is normal, but the term “kyphosis” usually refers to an exaggerated rounding, more than 50 degrees. This deformity is also called round back or hunchback.

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With kyphosis, your spine may look normal, or you may develop a hump. Kyphosis can occur as a result of developmental problems; degenerative diseases, such as arthritis of the spine; osteoporosis with compression fractures of the vertebrae; or trauma to the spine. It can affect all ages.

In the sense of a deformity, it is the pathological curving of the spine, where parts of the spinal column lose some or all of their lordotic profile. This causes a bowing of the back, seen as a slouching back and breathing difficulties. Severe cases can cause great discomfort and even lead to death.

Causes:

Our spine (vertebral column) is composed of bones (vertebrae), which are held together by tough, fibrous bands (ligaments). The vertebral column consists of seven neck (cervical) vertebrae, 12 middle back (thoracic) vertebrae and five lower back (lumbar) vertebrae. Lumbar vertebrae are the largest, and they carry most of your body’s weight. The sacrum, containing five fused vertebrae, is below the lumbar vertebrae. The last three tiny vertebrae, also fused together, are called the tailbone (coccyx).

Kyphosis is a forward rounding of the vertebrae in your thoracic spine. The vertebrae in your thoracic spine connect to your ribs.

Causes of kyphosis depend on the different types of kyphosis.
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Types of kyphosis in children and adolescents
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For children or adolescents, the most common types include:

*Postural kyphosis. This type mainly becomes apparent in adolescence. The onset of postural kyphosis generally is slow. It’s more common in girls. Poor posture or slouching may cause stretching of the spinal ligaments and abnormal formation of the bones of the spine (vertebrae). Postural kyphosis often is accompanied by an exaggerated inward curve (hyperlordosis) in the lower (lumbar) spine. Hyperlordosis is the body’s way of compensating for the exaggerated outward curve in the upper spine.

*Scheuermann’s kyphosis.
Like postural kyphosis, Scheuermann’s kyphosis typically appears in adolescence, often between ages 10 and 15, while the bones are still growing. Also called Scheuermann disease, it’s slightly more common in boys. Scheuermann’s kyphosis may deform the vertebrae so that they appear wedge shaped, rather than rectangular, on X-rays. There may be another finding, known as Schmorl’s nodes, on the affected vertebrae. These nodes are the result of the cushion (disk) between the vertebrae pushing through bone at the bottom and top of a vertebra (end plates).

The cause of Scheuermann’s kyphosis is unknown, but it tends to run in families. Some people with this type of kyphosis also have scoliosis, a spinal deformity that causes a side-to-side curve. Adults who developed Scheuermann’s during childhood may experience increased pain as they get older.

*Congenital kyphosis
. A malformation of the spinal column during fetal development causes kyphosis in some infants. Several vertebrae may be fused together or the bones may not form properly. This type of kyphosis may worsen as the child grows. In some cases, congenital kyphosis eventually leads to paralysis of the lower body (paraplegia).

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Causes in adults
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Disorders that may cause a curvature of the spine in adults, resulting in kyphosis, include:

*Osteoporosis,
a bone-thinning disease that’s associated with fractures of the vertebrae, which cause compression of the spine and contribute to kyphosis
*Degenerative arthritis of the spine, which can cause deterioration of the bones and disks of the spine
*Ankylosing spondylitis, an inflammatory arthritis that affects the spine and nearby joints
*Connective tissue disorders, such as Marfan syndrome, that may affect the connective tissue’s ability to hold joints in their proper position
*Tuberculosis and other infections of the spine, which can result in destruction of joints
*Cancer or benign tumors that impinge on bones of the spine and force them out of position
*Spina bifida, a birth defect in which part of the spine doesn’t form completely, and which causes defects of the spinal cord and vertebrae
*Conditions that cause paralysis, such as cerebral palsy and polio, and that stiffen the bones of the spine

Symptoms:
•Difficulty breathing (in severe cases)
•Fatigue
•Mild back pain
•Round back appearance
•Tenderness and stiffness in the spine


Diagnosis:

TestsPhysical examination by Your doctor confirms the abnormal curve of the spine. Your doctor will record a history of your condition and conduct a physical exam. The  physical  exam  may include the following:

*Forward bend tes
t. Your doctor asks you to bend forward from the waist while he or she views the spine from the side. With kyphosis, the rounding of the upper back may become more obvious in this position. In postural kyphosis, the deformity corrects itself when you lie on your back.
*Neurological functions test. Although neurological changes accompanying kyphosis are rare, your doctor may check for them by looking for weakness, changes in sensation or paralysis below the site of the kyphosis.
*Spinal imaging tests. Your doctor may take an X-ray to confirm the kyphosis, determine the degree of curvature and detect any deformity of the vertebrae, which helps identify the type of kyphosis. For example, the appearance of wedge-shaped vertebrae or other features on X-ray differentiates between postural kyphosis and Scheuermann’s kyphosis. In older adults, X-rays may show arthritic changes in the spine, which can contribute to an increase in pain. If your doctor suspects a tumor or infection, he or she may request an MRI of your spine.
*Pulmonary function tests. Your doctor may also use breathing tests to assess any breathing difficulty caused by the kyphosis.

The doctor will also look for any nervous system (neurological) changes (weakness, paralysis, or changes in sensation) below the curve.


Other tests may include:

•Spine x-ray
•Pulmonary function tests (if kyphosis affects breathing)
•MRI (if there may be a tumor, infection, or neurological symptoms)

Treatment:

Kyphosis treatment depends on the cause of the condition and the signs and symptoms that are present.

Less serious cases

In some cases, less aggressive types of treatment are appropriate:

*Postural kyphosis. This type of kyphosis doesn’t progress and may improve on its own. Exercises to strengthen back muscles, training in using correct posture and sleeping on a firm bed may help. Pain relievers may help ease discomfort if exercise and physical therapies aren’t fully effective.
*Structural kyphosis. For kyphosis caused by spinal abnormalities, treatment typically depends on your age and sex, the severity of your symptoms and how rigid the curve in your spine is. With Scheuermann’s kyphosis, monitoring for progression of the curvature may be all that’s recommended if you have no symptoms. Anti-inflammatory medications may help relieve pain. General conditioning exercises and physical therapy may help alleviate symptoms.
*Osteoporosis-related kyphosis. Multiple compression fractures in people who have low bone density can lead to abnormal curvature of the spine. If no pain or other complications are present, treatment for the kyphosis may not be necessary. But your doctor may recommend treatment of the osteoporosis to prevent further fractures and worsening of the kyphosis.
More serious cases
More severe cases of kyphosis require more aggressive treatment. The primary approaches are bracing and, as a last resort, surgery. With children and adolescents, the sooner treatment begins, the more effective it may be in halting the deformity.

When bracing is necessary

If your teenager is still growing and has moderate to severe kyphosis, your doctor may recommend bracing. Wearing a brace may slow or prevent further progression of the curvature and may even provide some correction.

There are several types of braces for children who have kyphosis. Your doctor can help you decide which brace would be most effective for your child.

Children who wear braces usually have few restrictions and can participate in most activities. Although a brace may feel uncomfortable and awkward at first, it must be worn as prescribed to be effective. Once the bones are fully grown, your child can be weaned off the brace according to your doctor’s instructions.

There are different types of braces for treating kyphosis in adults, varying from postural training devices to rigid body jackets. The goal of bracing in adults is typically to control pain.

When surgery is necessary

Spinal surgery carries many risks, so your doctor may recommend surgery only if you or your child has any of the following:

*Severe curvature of the spine that doesn’t respond to other treatment measures
*Kyphosis that continues to worsen
*Debilitating pain that doesn’t respond to medication
*Resulting neurological problems, such as paralysis
*Kyphosis related to a tumor or infection
Surgery also may be recommended for an infant with congenital kyphosis, in order to straighten the spine.

The goal of surgery is to reduce the degree of curvature. This is commonly done by fusing or joining the affected vertebrae. Doctors typically perform the surgery through incisions in the back, during general anesthetic.

Fusing the vertebrae involves connecting two or more of them with pieces of bone taken from the pelvis. Eventually, the vertebrae fuse with the bone pieces to prevent further progression of the curvature. Doctors attach metal rods, hooks, screws or wires to the spine to hold the vertebrae together while the bones fuse, which may take several months. Doctors leave the metal in the body to help support the fused area even after the bones have fused.

A drawback of spinal fusion is that it stops growth in that area of the spine. A child’s ultimate height isn’t affected greatly because the leg bones and the unaffected portion of the spine continue to grow normally.

The complication rate for spinal surgery is relatively high. Complications include bleeding, infection, pain, nerve damage, arthritis and disk degeneration. If the surgery fails to correct the problem, a second surgery may be needed.

Other procedures
Procedures called vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty have been developed recently to treat vertebral fractures. These procedures involve injecting a type of inert cement into the affected vertebrae. They can be effective in controlling pain associated with compression .

Coping & Support:
Adolescence is a time when young people are struggling with physical and emotional changes. Having a noticeable spinal deformity or wearing a brace can make this challenging time even more difficult.

Make sure your child has caring people to turn to, including supportive family and friends, or even a professional counselor, if necessary. Consider joining a support group for parents and kids with kyphosis or other spinal deformities to help you and your child connect with others facing similar challenges.

Prognosis:
Adolescents with Scheuermann’s disease tend to do well even if they need surgery, and the disease stops once they stop growing. If the kyphosis is due to degenerative joint disease or multiple compression fractures, surgery is needed to correct the defect and improve pain.


Possible Complications

•Decreased lung capacity
•Disabling back pain
•Neurological symptoms including leg weakness or paralysis
•Round back deformity

Prevention:

Treating and preventing osteoporosis can prevent many cases of kyphosis in the elderly. Early diagnosis and bracing of Scheuermann’s disease can reduce the need for surgery, but there is no way to prevent the disease.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kyphosis
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/kyphosis/DS00681
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/imagepages/9561.htm
http://www.spineuniverse.com/conditions/kyphosis/kyphosis-scheuermanns-disease
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001240.htm
http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/physical_health/conditions/backcurves1.shtml

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Dance Therapy

Dance therapy, also referred to as Movement therapy, is the psychotherapeuticemotional, cognitive, social, behavioural and physical conditions, essentially a combination of creative arts and therapy. The belief is that movement and dance can encourage the healing of the body and mind. The therapy explores the nature of all movement with the idea that body and mind are interconnected. The therapy is based on the notion that everything in the universe is in constant motion and the basic unit of motion is through our own bodies.

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Societies around the world have used the therapy since the beginning of time to express feelings, promote fertility, and to create personal well being. This type of therapy is still practiced widely throughout the world and is an essential part of many traditions, although these cultures may not identify the activity as a therapy.

The therapy is used in clinical settings as well. Certified therapists often provide the therapy after achieving a master’s level of training in aiding physical, mental, behavioral and emotional healing. It is also used among psychotherapists with a variety of clients including the elderly, and abused or autistic children and adults.

There are numerous approaches to the therapy; some emphasize awareness to inner sensations and ease of bodily movement, while others are used to express deep emotional issues. Some therapies use specific sequence movements, which correlate with gravity, and others use spontaneous movement, which is believed to promote healing of the body or mind.

The therapy with an Eastern influence began as a spiritual movement and included self-defense practices. Yoga, Taichi and Qigong, were taught among Taoist monks with an emphasis on meditation and specific breathing patterns. A key component of the discipline was to focus attention inward. These practices are still widely practiced today and are believed to promote increased health and longevity.

Many traditional Western movement therapies focus on physical healing and strength and were patterned after sports and physical therapies. This type of therapy is also used to aid in healing and avoiding injury, and was mainly created by dancers and choreographers. Pilates, a method popular with a broad range of people, is done on the floor or with specialized equipment. It focuses on developing a strong inner core and physical strength as well as balance.

The physical benefits to the therapy include increased muscle tone, joint strength, increased coordination and flexibility, enhanced circulation, cardiovascular benefits and the prevention of injuries. The mental benefits include peace of mind, increased self-awareness, improved overall attitude and increased self-esteem.

It is a complete body workout which can burn more calories than walking, swimming or riding a bicycle besides correcting the posture. So if you want to shake your blues away and lose a few kilos then check into a dance class

Dance can be emotionally therapeutic too. In many forms of meditation dance is used to bring about a peaceful mental state and to usher in positive energy. Dancing makes you feel good, is a worthwhile hobby and also easy on the pocket.  So go ahead, dance your blues away.

Continuum Movement blends a range of subtle intrinsic movements with dynamic expression and a rich variety of breaths and sounds, to awaken the experience of the Mystery of the Body.

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Stretch of Imagination

Experts now say that stretching before exercise may actually harm you. ……Lenny Bernstein reports

It’s been a long, hard day at the office, and you need a good workout to blow off all that stress. But before you hit the free weights, the stationary bike or the elliptical machine, you spend 10 minutes carefully stretching all those stiff muscles, just as every coach, trainer and physical therapist has advised for as long as you can remember.

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Now the question is why ?

There’s no evidence that you’ll prevent injury. In fact, some people believe you’re more likely to cause one.

“There is not sufficient evidence to endorse or discontinue routine stretching before or after exercise to prevent injury among competitive or recreational athletes,” concluded the National Center for Injury Prevention Control, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in a 2004 study that may be the most thorough look at the research on stretching.

Research and anecdotal information attribute many benefits to stretching: reduced muscle tension, improved circulation, pain reduction and management. Perhaps most important, stretching helps us maintain range of motion as we age, allowing older people to continue with the activities of daily living.

The question is whether “static stretching” — the most common type, which involves holding a muscle in one position for a defined period of time — has been misinterpreted, or oversold, as a preventive for what ails you.

“People believe all kinds of amazing things, and it changes every 10-15 years,” said William Meller, a physician and associate professor of evolutionary medicine at the University of California at Santa Barbara. The merits of stretching are “not based on any science. It’s spread by coaches, trainers and all kinds of people.”

According to Julie Gilchrist, a medical epidemiologist who helped conduct the CDC study, “it’s probably important that we maintain some norm of flexibility throughout our life spans, but I don’t think anyone has really defined what that (norm) is.

“Our belief is there are probably people who would benefit from stretching. But then the question is who should stretch, when to stretch,” how much to stretch and, most important, what benefits can be expected.

Even for the elderly, “we don’t have the kinds of controlled intervention studies that we need to make a definitive statement about the benefits of doing flexibility exercises,” said Chhanda Dutta, chief of the clinical gerontology branch at the National Institute on Aging.

Similarly, coaches wouldn’t dream of putting athletes on a field, even for practice, without a battery of stretches that help them take the pounding and awkward landings of contact sports.

“As a coach, if I didn’t do that and somebody got hurt, I would probably have a tough time sleeping at night,” said Paul Foringer, a football coach at a high school in Gaithersburg, Maryland. “It’s kind of common sense. If you take something that’s taut and tough and you yank it, you’re going to tear it.”

But that’s not what studies show. “Stretching was not significantly associated with a reduction in total injuries,” said the CDC study, “and similar findings were seen in the subgroup analyses.”

In static stretching, “you’re taking the muscle to the point where it naturally wants to go, and then you’re taking it a little bit farther,” said Meller. That produces microscopic tears of muscle fibres and does nothing to prevent injury, he said. It also may weaken the muscle slightly, increase the possibility of injury and inhibit performance, according to him and the CDC study.

For those who want to stretch, it should be done after a warm-up or at the end of an exercise routine because warm muscles are more pliable.

Research indicates that warming up before exercise is more valuable than stretching. Specifically, Meller said, you should spend three to five minutes gently putting your body through the actions you’re about to perform, slowly increasing the intensity. If you’re going to play tennis, he said, swing forehands, backhands and serves, and run forward, backward and laterally before you hit the first ball.

Source: The Washington Post

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Some Health Quaries & Answers


Q: My baby is six months old and sleeps for eight hours in the night. I do not know if I am supposed to wake her up and feed her. She is breast fed

A: Consider yourself lucky if your baby has adjusted so quickly to night and day. Breast-feeding should be on demand (by the baby). If she sleeps all night, let her do so. However, if she stops feeding even during the day, and is inactive or lethargic, you need to show her to a paediatrician.

Hygiene products
Q: Are sanitary pads dangerous? Do tampons cause cance


A: Cycles are very individual, and can occur once in 24-60 days and you can still be normal. Keep a diary and track your periods. Check if they occur “regularly” at some odd interval like 33 or 52 days. They may seem irregular when in fact they are not. In that case, you need not worry. Ovulation occurs 14 days before the next period, so it is the first part of your cycle that is prolonged. You may be functioning normally but with a longer cycle. After maintaining records for six months, if you find that you still have irregular periods, consult a gynecologist. An ultrasound scan and a few blood tests to evaluate hormone levels are usually all that is necessary. If any abnormality is found, it can be usually be corrected with medication while you are still young.

Broken bones
Q: My son has osteogenesis imperfecta and his bones break frequently. He has had several surgeries, and his legs are now deformed. He has also not gained enough height. I have decided that natural therapy is best as it does not involve intervention, and have put him on calcium supplements alone. Will this work?


A:
Osteogenesis imperfecta is due to a genetic defect as a result of which bone collagen — or the building blocks of which bones are made — are ill formed and inadequate. The condition is not due to a deficiency of calcium. To manage it well, the individual deformities should be minimised and functional ability maximised at home and in the community.

Physiotherapy and functional aids like braces are useful to maintain mobility. Fractures and deformities, unfortunately, will occur and require surgical correction. Medications called biphosphates and calcitonin can be used to strengthen the bones. You need to follow the advice of your orthopaedic surgeon.

Adolescent exercise
Q: I am 15 and my height is 5 feet 4 inches. I exercise regularly in the gym and have developed arm muscles and a six-pack abdomen. But I am afraid I will remain short.


A
: Your lifestyle is commendable, considering the epidemic of adolescent obesity. Even 10 years ago, children and teenagers were not encouraged to do weight training. That’s because the ends of their growing bones are not yet fused, and any injury might prove costly. And gyms were not geared for teenagers. Supervision or training by qualified personnel was rare and there were no light weights. Now, however, the scenario is changing. Teenagers are advised to combine running, jogging, swimming and other forms of aerobic exercise with mild, supervised strength training. They should, however, avoid competitive weight lifting, power lifting, body building and maximal lifts until they reach physical and skeletal maturity (that is, at around 21 years). They can follow a general strengthening programme which should address all major muscle groups and exercise through the complete range of motion.

Source: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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Pain and Painkillers

Michael Jackson lived and died under the arc lights. Speculation attributes his sudden death to addiction to painkillers, disastrously fuelled by the purchasing power of his millions. He could buy schedule H drugs — which are available on prescription only — and pay for their expert administration.

Pain is universal and accounts for half the medical consultations worldwide. Since everyone wants instant relief, painkillers — also called analgesics — are the most commonly prescribed and purchased medications. They belong to several chemical groups and act by dulling unbearable pain. They do not, however, cure the disease that is the root of the problem.

This means that if the actual disease is not tackled, the pain is likely to reappear when the medication wears off. This leaves patients dissatisfied and they tend to shop around for doctors.

Pain is handled by several specialists such as neurologists, surgeons, rheumatologists, general physicians, anesthetists and dentists. A patient can have several prescriptions with unidentifiable “trade names” instead of chemical names.

In an attempt to obtain relief, he or she may take several medications together. Others may dispense with the medical profession altogether and purchase analgesics over the counter (OTC) from the friendly neighbourhood pharmacy.

In such a scenario, the quantity of drug consumed and dosage intervals are no longer scientific or within safe limits. About 25 per cent of patients overdoses and 56 per cent experiences side effects — by either taking more than the recommended dose, or taking it at intervals so short that the medication is not adequately metabolised in the body.

Gradually, the body may become so used to the painkillers that habituation sets in. The medications no longer provide relief. Higher and more frequent doses are needed until, eventually, toxic levels are reached.

Today, there are millions of people from all socio-economic strata, around the world, who have unknowingly become addicted to painkillers. They are unaware of the potentially dangerous and lethal side effects of these “harmless” medications.

Pain is defined medically as “an unpleasant sensory or emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage.” It is a natural protective defence, which prevents bodily harm. Unfortunately, pain is not a tangible or measurable entity. It is as severe as the sufferer says it is.

Although pain is subjective, the degree of pain and tolerance to it are influenced greatly by social, cultural and religious factors. Egyptian queens delivered in “birthing” chairs in full view of the entire court, without any analgesic or anaesthetic, and not one of them changed their expression. It certainly was not because they were impervious to pain!

Most of the time, pain has a sudden, acute onset at a specific location in the body and is dull, burning, throbbing or stabbing. The cause — which may be an infection or injury — can usually be identified. The pain generally disappears quickly either with no treatment at all, or with simple measures such as hot or cold compresses and analgesics.

Problems set in when the pain becomes chronic, and occurs day after day, evolving into a disease entity which seems impossible to bear or cure. Around 20 to 30 per cent of the world’s population suffers from chronic pain. The commonest causes of chronic pain are low backache, arthritis, migraine and nerve pains.

If you are suffering from chronic pain,

*Ask your doctor for a diagnosis

*Make sure you are not receiving habit-forming or dangerous medications

*Check if your social or family problems are aggravating the symptoms

*Do not take more than the amount prescribed or change the frequency

Liniments and ointments may provide relief. They need to be combined with icepacks and moist heat.

Vibration can be applied by rubbing with the hand or with a machine operated by a physiotherapist. It stimulates nerve endings and the chemicals released interfere with those causing pain and block them

Acupuncture uses needles to stimulate certain nerves. It is believed to release beneficial chemicals which block those causing pain.

Acupuncture may cause the release of the body’s own natural opiate painkillers into the various areas of the nervous system.

 

Graded exercises and physiotherapy help by gradually strengthening the muscles overlying painful joints.

Nutritional supplements like curcumin (found in turmeric), glucosamine, chondroitin (found in cartilage) and omega-3 fatty acids (found in fish) can be added to the medication. They may help even though there is no clear-cut scientific evidence that they are beneficial.

When nothing seems to work, intravenous medication and anaesthesia can be used. This should be reserved for severe pain as occurs in cancer or after surgery. This can be dangerous and should not be administered on request.

The response to pain is a conditioned reflex. Tolerance increases with physical fitness. Exercise causes the release of chemicals from the large muscles of the body which help to withstand pain. EXERCISE REGULARLY  FOR A HEALTHY AND PAIN-FREE LONG LIFE .

Always keep in mind  MOST OF THE TIMES, CHEMICAL PAINKEELERS  AS ARE AVAILABLE IN THE MARKET  DO  MORE HARM TO OUR BODY SYSTEM  THAN  DOING ANY GOOD.SO, TRY TO AVOID THEM UNLESS IT IS ESSENTIAL TO  USE THEM.

Source:
The Telegraph  ( Kolkata, India)

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