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Fibromyaglia: Its That Time of Year

Posted by on Nov 22, 2015 in Aches & Pains, Blog, Complex Chronic Pain, RSD, RSD Treatments | Comments Off on Fibromyaglia: Its That Time of Year

Fibromyalgia patients frequently have increased pain when the weather turns wet and cold.  Other conditions such as RSD (reflex sympathetic dystrophy) and CRPS (chronic regional pain syndrome) also experience weather sensitive pain (sometimes even more then fibromyalgia patients do). Other weather sensitive conditions such as osteoarthritis can also experience weather sensitive pain however in general their condition is such that they can tolerate it more easily (if you have arthritis pain that is weather sensitive and do not have a reasonable time tolerating it then it is quite possible that there is more going on with your condition than simply arthritis).   So it is not a surprise that as we approach the winter season that people with weather sensitive pain are having a hard time of it.   Some simple self help techniques include taking epsom salts baths, using over the counter capsaicin containing cream products (dont get it in your eyes or mouth), and simply trying to keep warm.    If that is not enough you likely should go see your doctor.  You may have discovered however that most doctors are not familiar with weather sensitive pain.  If that is the case and you have given up hope then rest assured there are several options available to both diagnose and treat weather sensitive pain.   While weather sensitive pain is not an easy thing to cure there is plenty that can be done to both reduce pain and improve quality of life.  Learn more at...

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Posted by on Nov 22, 2015 in Blog, Education, Health, Fitness, and Nutrition, Patient Enrichment | Comments Off on Balance

Balance is a simple word but it can have multiple applications when it comes to health. Of course there is physical balance.  No one wants to fall, at least not until they have been trained, and then falling can become fun.   Maintaining one’s physical balance brings to mind your feet, legs, torso, square, head position, and posture.   Other parameters such as proprioceptive skills (knowledge of where your body is in space) and the vestibular system (the gyroscope inside your inner ear) are also necessary for physical balance.  We often don’t think about it much but peripheral vision (which speaks to how wide your field of view is) and muscle tone (which ranges from “loose as a goose” to spasticity after a stroke or rigidity from parkinson’s disease) also can have big impacts on balance.   Then of course there is your spiritual and psychological balance.  If either of these two are not developed than it does not matter how adept your physical balance is, you will be in trouble.  Likewise if your physical balance is impaired for any reason it is surprising how well one can do if there is spiritual and psychological balance.  At Piedmont Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, PA we employ a holistic approach to health care.  We believe that enhancing balance in physical, spiritual, and psychological aspects of life can help reduce tension, enhance relaxation, and lead to the discovery of inner freedom.  If you want to learn more log onto...

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Systema Health For Parkinson’s Disease

Posted by on Nov 12, 2015 in Blog, Exercises, Health, Fitness, and Nutrition | Comments Off on Systema Health For Parkinson’s Disease

Recently there has been alot of excitement regarding the use of three dimensional exercise to help retard or alleviate the signs and symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease.   And there should be.   While the newest addition to the arsenal is Rock Steady Boxing, at we have promoted other exercise programs including Systema Health  and Brain Highways for sometime now.   In each instance exercises intended to challenge you three dimensionally are employed.   In Rock Steady Boxing there is more emphasis on balance and punching, with Brain Highways the focus is on enabling full development through childhood brain stem reflexes so as to free the cortex (your brain) from having to struggle to do something it was never intended to do, and in Systema, a Russian Martial Art, the focus is on personal protection, reducing tension, and helping you to discover freedom.    Irrespective of which avenue you take any three dimensional exercise program that trains your mind to let the body do its work, and at the same time trains the body to be more comfortable with the work it does, is bound to bring great results.  Learn more about Systema Health and Brain Highways at...

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Relief For Post Mastectomy Pain

Posted by on Nov 12, 2015 in Aches & Pains, Blog, Women's Health | Comments Off on Relief For Post Mastectomy Pain

As if having to go through the diagnosis  and treatment of breast cancer isn’t enough those who are left with  post mastectomy pain can find that they have never recovered their quality of life.  Since the breast tissue is either gone or altered many of the traditional approaches to pain control are ineffective.   And while there are plenty of pain management specialists out there most are focused on backs and necks, or chronic arm and leg pain.  Few have taken an active interest in post mastectomy pain since the tools they usually employ are not directed to that part of the body.  Also since breast cancer survivors typically want to celebrate life the idea of have a spinal cord stimulator, morphine pump, or getting hooked on opiates for pain control is just not appealing.  They would rather find the root cause of the pain and do what ever can be done to fix it, minimize it, and learn to live with it so that it does not control their life.   That is exactly what we do at Piedmont Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, PA.   First we find out why you have pain.  Post mastectomy pain isn’t always from the mastectomy itself.  It is often from reconstructive surgery, implants, radiation or side effects of chemotherapy.  There may be associated nerve injury, muscle spasm or ligamentous strain.  Clotting disorders, hidden or smoldering infection, and inflammation can all be part of the mix.  Several diagnostic tools can be done to help determine which of these factors, alone or in combination, are contributing to the problem.  Electrodiagnostics help find sensory and motor nerve damage, sympathetic skin response studies are used to evaluate the sympathetic nerves which are responsible for burning and weather sensitive pain, and Musculoskeletal Ultrasound is a great tool to evaluate for muscle, tendon, or ligament damage that can refer pain into the chest wall and residual or reconstructed breast tissue. Breast Thermal imaging is another physiologic test that can be used as a breast risk health assessment to evaluate lymphatic and ductal congestion, hormone imbalance, neovascularity, and hepatic overload.  In short there are plenty of ways to find out why you hurt.  And once you know what is wrong there even more options to treat the root cause of the pain.  Learn more at...

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Cervical and Lumbar Disc Pain

Posted by on Nov 8, 2015 in Aches & Pains, Blog, Treatment Options | Comments Off on Cervical and Lumbar Disc Pain

Everything is fine until one day you wake up with neck or back pain.  Maybe you lifted something.  Maybe you twisted or turned wrong.   Most often it was unexpected.  At first you try to nurse it yourself but eventually you succumb and go to the doctor.   Most start with their family physician who might take an Xray but likely will give you medicines by mouth.   If you are not better within a couple of weeks a course of physical therapy likely will be prescribed.  Others try to bypass this approach and go to a chiropractor who most likely will tell you why your alignment is off and then offer to manipulate your bones in an attempt to correct them and possibly recommend light physical therapy and exercises as well.  While most people are better within 2-4 weeks if you are one of the unlucky ones ordering an MRI often comes next.   But why?  MRI’s are an advanced technology that provides great images of what structure looks like.  For necks and backs they mostly speak to the presence or absence of disc disease.  If disc disease is found an epidural steroid injection usually follows.   Here is the catch: over 50% of people who have never had pain in their life will be told they have disc disease once they reach age 35.  So if disc disease is present when there is no pain what does the presence of disc disease mean when there is pain?  most of the time not much.   If you are considering surgery then by all means get the MRI.  If surgery is the last resort the MRI will most likely not change what you will do next (either way the next step will likely be an epidural steroid injection).  If that fails things start to get interesting.  There are hundreds of sources of neck and back pain that have absolutely nothing to do with disc disease and they may be present with or without co-morbid disc disease.  Fortunately there are many other options for non-surgical treatment of cervical and lumbar disc disease.  And they work.  Learn more about non-surgical treatment options for cervical and lumbar disc disease at...

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Knee Pain

Posted by on Nov 8, 2015 in Aches & Pains, Blog | Comments Off on Knee Pain

The knee is one of the most commonly injured joints in the human body.  Whether it be from wear and tear, osteoarthritis, daily life, or sports injuries it is quite common for people to spend many years of their life living with a bum knee.   Fortunately there many treatment options however.   They are quite varied and may include home and supervised exercise programs, medications by mouth for inflammation or muscle spasm, local injections for pain relief or to proliferate (regrow) ligaments, more advanced injections that lubricate the joint using hyaluronidase compounds or that concentrate growth factors inside the joint using platelet rich plasma (PRP), stem cell grafting to regenerate the cartilage matrix, and as a last resort, surgery.  The good news is that the vast majority of knee pain can be treated with a non-surgical approach.   Learn more about knee pain and its treatment options at...

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Foot And Ankle Pain

Posted by on Nov 1, 2015 in Aches & Pains, Blog, Neuropathy, Treatment Options | Comments Off on Foot And Ankle Pain

There are many causes of foot and ankle pain but some of the most common include osteoarthritis, stretched or strained ligaments, and peripheral neuropathy.   Osteoarthritis of the of the foot and ankle is not unlike a rust filled door hinge.  The rough edges that comes with the arthritis causes changes in how the joint moves and can grind on surrounding tissues which causes pain.   Stretched or strained ligaments can be compared to weakening of the pin in the door hinge.   Since ligaments are like thick pieces of packaging tape that hold bone to bone if they become weak the joint can grind and move upon its self;  just like a door hinge that slides upon itself if the pin is weak.  Quit often even in the presence of osteoarthritis if the ligaments are strengthened the entire joint can have much less pain and function improves.   Peripheral neuropathy however is an entirely different animal.  In this case the nerve endings in the feet do not work like they should.   Since neuropathy usually starts with sensory nerves some of the first things people notice are numbness or tingling sensations, pain, tightness, hot or cold sensations, or difficulty with balance.  There is no doubt that neuropathy can lead to worsening of arthritis and weakening of ligaments as well.  In some cases treating foot and ankle osteoarthritis or ligaments can relieve neuropathy pain however if you want to reverse the signs and symptoms of neuropathy a separate treatment protocol is needed. Learn more about options to treat foot and ankle pain from osteoarthritis, stretched or strained ligaments, and peripheral neuropathy at...

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