How to Know if You have Shoulder Impingement

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Contrary to a common misconception, any pain that originates from the shoulder area is not a sign of shoulder impingement. Only a qualified doctor can rightly diagnose the condition. If you suspect you’ve shoulder impingement, consider visiting a physiotherapy clinic for proper assessment and treatment. In general, pain on the outside of the shoulder during overhead movements is a symptom of shoulder impingement. However, there are many other factors to consider for proper diagnosis. You can do the following two tests at home for an initial assessment.

1. Raising your arm above the shoulder

Bring your arm in front of you and try to raise it slowly above your head. If you feel any pain on the outside of your shoulder, this could be a sign of shoulder impingement. 

2. Empty Can Test

Bring your arm up in front of you. Then move the arm halfway to the side, away from your body at around a 45-degree angle. Now point your thumb downward to the floor. Next, try raising your arm upward while using another hand to resist the movement. If you feel any pain on the shoulder area at this point, it could be a positive test for impingement syndrome.

While you can perform the above tests at home, you must visit your doctor to be absolutely sure about whether or not you’ve impingement syndrome. Physiotherapists perform several other tests, such as, Hawkins-Kennedy Test and Neer’s Sign, to find out the exact location of the impingement. They also check for other symptoms, such as, swelling, muscle wasting, and bruising on the affected area. Your doctor considers your medical history, occupation and other lifestyle factors for a proper diagnosis and treatment. In some cases, your physiotherapist may even ask you to undergo certain medical tests, such as, X-ray and MRI, to rule out other problems.

What Causes Shoulder Impingement?

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If you experience pain on the outside of your shoulder especially during overhead activities, it could be a sign of shoulder impingement. You should visit a physiotherapy clinic for proper diagnosis and treatment.

In order to understand what causes shoulder impingement, you should know how the internal mechanism of the shoulder functions. When you lift your arm over your head, the tendons inside the rotator cuff smoothly pass through the narrow space called the subacromial space in the shoulder. The problem occurs when the rotator cuff tendons become swollen and hence rub against the bone at the subacromial space. Here are some common causes of shoulder impingement.  

Overuse of the shoulder joint

Most cases of shoulder impingement are caused by overuse of the shoulder joint. Those who participate in swimming or tennis playing, for instance, are more susceptible than others to get this condition. You can also get shoulder impingement from throwing a baseball, playing volleyball or performing any activities that require excessive overhead movements, such as, painting and wood cutting.

Anatomic abnormalities

Some people are born with a curved or hooked acromion, resulting in a narrower subacromial space in the shoulder. They are more prone to get shoulder impingement due to their structural abnormalities.

Aging

Bony growths underneath the acromion after a certain age may result in narrowing down of the subacromial space, causing the tendons inside your shoulder rub on the nearby bone during shoulder movements.

Another common cause of shoulder impingement is poor blood circulation. Lack of blood flow to the shoulder area may damage the ligaments and tendons in the shoulder joint. Over time, this may lead to shoulder impingement. If you want to prevent shoulder impingement, you should consume enough vegetables and keep your system hydrated. Another good idea would be do some warm-up exercises before participating in any kind of overhead activities.

 

How to Prevent Work-Related Back Pain

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No matter the type and nature of your work, back pain makes it difficult for you to concentrate on the job. You can get work-related back pain from heavy lifting, working long hours on a computer or activities that require repeated twisting and turning of the spine. Thankfully, most cases of back pain heal naturally within a few days. Otherwise, you can visit a physiotherapy clinic for proper treatment. If you often suffer back pain or are concerned about the odds of it in future, you can take the following steps to prevent back pain.

Correct your sitting posture

If you spend most parts of your day working on a computer, correcting your sitting posture is very important. Try to use a height-adjustable chair. Make sure that when you sit in the chair, your feet rest on the floor and your upper leg (thigh) remains perpendicular to your lower leg. Also, keep your head up and your shoulders stretched. Avoid bad habits, such as, sitting cross legged or with your wallet in the back pocket.

Watch out for poor standing posture

If you work on a standing desk, it is important to correct your standing posture. Do not put more pressure on one leg and less on another when standing. You should balance the weight between two legs.

Lift properly

If you often need to lift heavy objects, learn how to lift properly without hurting your back. For instance, you should stretch your legs and keep the objects close to your body when lifting. Also, avoid twisting or turning your waist when lifting heavy objects. Whenever possible, ask for help or use lifting equipment.

Take frequent breaks

It is always a good idea to take a small break after every hour. This helps improve your blood circulation and prevent back pain. You should also intake enough water and add more vegetables to your diet.

Common Causes of Back Pain

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Symptoms of back pain can vary depending on the root cause and location of the pain. For instance, the pain can develop gradually or suddenly and may get worse when you walk or stoop down. Physiotherapy treatment is one of the most effective ways to deal with back pain. The treatment often starts with an attempt to identify the cause of your back pain, although not all cases of back pain have a specific, identifiable cause. Here are some common causes of back pain.

Sprain and strain

Poor posture, heavy lifting or any sudden sports injury can strain the muscles or ligaments in the lower back area. Sprains and strains can also cause spine related problems. This is a common cause of back pain.

Slipped disc

Wear and tear of the discs between your joints can cause the soft tissues to come out and press a nearby nerve root.  This often causes severe pain in the hip or lower back area.

Degenerative disc disease

This condition is common among people over the age of 40. As we age, the discs between our joints lose hydration. As a result, the discs cannot hold all the pressure on them, when you walk or move. Over time, this may cause wear and tear in the nearby disc wall and cause severe back pain.   

Spinal stenosis 

The spinal canal may start to narrow down after a certain age. As a result, the spine and the nearby nerves can get pressured, causing pain and numbness in the back. This condition is common among arthritis patients.

More serious problems

Sometimes, back pain can be a symptom of a more serious problem. For instance, a broken bone in the spine or an infection can cause back pain.

Back pain may also be caused by mental stress, depression and anxiety. It is always a good idea to seek medical attention, if the pain does not go away naturally after a few days.

 

How to Prevent Common Office Injuries

If you think only manual workers are susceptible to workplace injuries, think again. Even employees who work at air-conditioned corporate offices may suffer a range of workplace injuries. Poor ergonomics, inadequate lighting, and unhygienic office environment are common causes of some office injuries. Thankfully, there are ways to prevent most of these injuries. All you need is to identify the ergonomic issues at your office and take the right steps to rectify the problems. For instance, if a majority of your employees are suffering chronic neck pain or back pain, you may want to talk to a physiotherapy expert to find out where the problem is. Here are some tips on how to prevent three most common office injuries.

1. Slips, falls and trips

Slips, falls and trips account for a major percentage of workplace accidents. You may trip over loose wires or open drawers, slip on a wet floor or a loose carpet, and may even fall while using chairs as a ladder. Slip, fall, and trip injuries can be avoided to a large extent, if you can take some precautions. For instance, you can use safety signs for wet floors, fix any loose wires, keep the walkways clear, and use a proper ladder. Raising awareness among employees and encouraging them to put the right things in the right place can go a long way to help prevent or at least reduce the number of slip, trip, and fall injuries at office.

2. Ergonomic injuries

Most employees today spend long hours working on computers. Many of them experience chronic pain in the neck, back and arms due to bad workstation ergonomics. Sitting at an uncomfortable chair, not using height adjustable desks and keyboards, and not taking regular breaks are some common causes of ergonomic injuries. While physiotherapy treatment ensures speedy recovery from these injuries, it is always a good idea to resolve the problem from its root. Some physiotherapy clinics provide special programs to help identify the causes of ergonomic hazards at office and provide advice on how to improve your workstation setup. Some companies even conduct display screen equipment (DSE) risk assessment and lists down the best practices for using DSE.

Often, employees themselves can take steps to prevent ergonomic injuries. For instance, they should sit at a natural, relaxed posture; keep the computer screen at eye level and the elbows at 90-degree angle with the arms. It is also important to make sure that your thighs remain horizontal and your feet remain flat while you are sitting at your work desk.

3. Eye strain

Looking constantly at the computer screen often cause eye strains. It is advisable that you should take a break for at least five minutes every hour. If possible, splash cold water onto your eyes during the break. Another good idea would be to use anti-glare computer screens. Also, you should reduce the screen glare and increase the font size of computer texts to prevent eyestrain. In addition, consider undergoing eye tests at frequent intervals to detect any early signs of eye problems.

 

Types of Ankle Injuries

Most people have suffered an ankle injury at some point in their life. However, the severity and consequences of all ankle injuries are not the same. If the pain does not go away after first aid and rest, you should visit a physiotherapy clinic for a proper diagnosis. Medical experts can quickly identify the type of injury you’ve had and recommend a treatment option accordingly.

Ankle anatomy

There are actually two joints in the ankle, with one of them responsible for the up-and-down movements and another helping in the side-to-side movements of the feet. The main ankle joint, which helps move the feet up and down, is the meeting point of three bones – the tibia, fibula and the talus. In addition, there are ligaments to hold the bones and tendons that connect the bones to the muscles. Depending on which element of the ankle has been injured, there are different types of ankle injuries. Here’s a look at some common types.

Sprain

An ankle sprain occurs when the ligaments in the ankle get damaged or torn. This is often caused by excessive stretching of the ligaments. For instance, when playing football, you may be tackled harshly, resulting in your ankle turning outward and your foot rolling inward. You can also get an ankle sprain from falling, jumping, tripping and any sudden force on the ankle. Common symptoms of ankle sprain include severe pain, swelling and bruising.

Fracture

 A fracture injury occurs when one of the bones in the ankle gets broken. This could be serious and may even require undergoing an immediate surgery. You should see a doctor at the earliest possible to minimize the extent of the damage.

Strain

This type of ankle injury occurs when the tendons in the ankle gets damaged. Tendon injuries may range from microscopic tears to more serious ruptures. Common symptoms include inflammation and pain.

What Causes Frozen Shoulder?

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If you are older than 40 years and experiencing shoulder stiffness or pain during shoulder movements, it could be a case of frozen shoulder.  Clinically known as adhesive capsulitis, this shoulder condition occurs when the shoulder capsule thickens or becomes swollen, causing difficulty in usual shoulder movements.

Pain during shoulder movement is the first sign of frozen shoulder. Other common symptoms include a feeling of tightness in the shoulder area and pain on the backend of the wrist. Physiotherapy treatment can help cure frozen shoulder, although doctors cannot always identify the cause behind this condition.

However, most cases of frozen shoulder develop due to a long period of shoulder inactivity. Here are some common factors responsible for frozen shoulder.

Injury or surgery

After a serious injury or after undergoing a surgery on your arm or shoulder, you may have to immobilize the shoulder area for a few weeks or months. This can result in frozen shoulder due to a long period of inactivity.

Diabetes

Diabetes patients are twice more likely to develop a frozen shoulder, according to recent studies. The reason for this is not known, but medical experts say that diabetes can greatly increase the risk of getting this condition in both shoulders. If you have diabetes, you should seek medical advice regularly and make sure that the condition is under control.

Age

Women are more susceptible than men to suffer this condition. Also, people ages between 40 and 70 are more likely to have a frozen shoulder, says recent studies.

Medical history

Apart from diabetes, several other medical conditions can increase your risk of getting a frozen shoulder. For instance, patients with a history of heart diseases, breast cancer, thyroid problems, tuberculosis, Parkinson's disease and lung diseases are at a greater risk of developing this condition. You may also suffer this condition along with other shoulder conditions, such as, rotator cuff tear and calcific tendonitis.  

Treatment Options for Frozen Shoulder

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Frozen shoulder or adhesive capsulitis is a medical condition that causes pain and stiffness in the shoulder and limits your normal shoulder movements. The condition develops gradually and takes a long time to cure. Some cases of frozen shoulder may require years of treatment for permanent cure. However, not all cases of frozen shoulder need similar treatments. Depending on the severity of your problem, you may respond to medicines, physiotherapy, injections or a combination of different treatment methods. Let’s take a look at some major treatment options for frozen shoulder.

Self help

Some self-help treatments, such as, applying heat or ice pack in the affected area may work well at the initial stage. Try applying heat or ice pack for 20 minutes at frequent intervals throughout a day. If the condition does not improve in two days, you should not delay any further and seek medical attention.

Pain killers

Doctors usually start the treatment with pain killers and anti-inflammatory drugs, such as, paracetamol and ibuprofen. This should help reduce the pain and inflammation. However, some of these drugs may have negative side effects. You should not consume them without consulting your doctor.

Injections

If the pain is severe, your doctor may even prescribe you a corticosteroid injection. This also has side effects and thus should be taken under the guidance of medical experts.

Exercising

In some cases of frozen shoulder, exercising can be quite useful. You can start with simple exercises and gradually try more physically demanding exercises. Make sure you do any exercises under the instructions of your doctor or physiotherapist.

Physiotherapy

Physiotherapists can quickly locate the problem area and provide you massages for quick recovery. They use a number of techniques, including stretching exercises, thermotherapy, massaging and acupuncture to help you get rid of the problem permanently. For best results, make sure that you seek treatment from a reliable physiotherapy clinic in your area.

Common Causes of Knee Pain

The knee carries the full weight of your body and any additional pressure from running or jumping. As such, this part of the leg is susceptible to injuries. Symptoms of knee pain may vary depending on the location of the injury. For instance, you can hurt your knee bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons or cartilage. You can also get a knee pain from degenerative tissue disorders due to aging. Before you visit a physiotherapy clinic for knee treatment, you may want to know the common causes of knee pain. 

Injury to ligaments

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) and medial collateral ligament (MCL) are the three main ligaments in the knee. Sudden injury to the knee may damage any of the above ligaments, causing severe knee pain.

Injury to tendons

Excessive use of the tendons in the knee may result in tendinitis. Common symptoms include pain in the frontal part of the knee joint, especially when walking uphill and taking stairs. Athletes are susceptible to this type of knee injury.

Bursitis

Repetitive knee movements can cause inflammation in the bursae, a condition clinically known as bursitis. This is one of the common causes of knee pain among those who often participate in kneeling activities, such as, military training, carpet layering and playing football.

Injury to the cartilage

The rubbery tissues and cartilage called the meniscus sits between the shinbone and the thighbone and works as a shock absorber. A sudden twisting motion of the knee, for instance, while being roughly tackled in football, may tear apart the cartilage, causing severe knee pain and inflammation.

Bone fracture

The knee bones can be fractured from a car accident or any sudden forceful collision. This type of injury requires immediate medical attention and often requires surgical treatment.

Knee pain can also be caused by osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or any other degenerative tissue disorders. Your doctor may recommend you X-ray or other tests for a proper diagnosis.