Monthly Archives: May 2016

Driving … A Pain In The Neck? AND IN MY BACK!

May 31, 2016

driving neck pain

We’ve heard many times about how important it is to maintain good posture at our workplace desks to protect our neck and spine, however most of us don’t give it a second thought when driving. Unlike sitting in a chair, the spine experiences variations of force when in a car. Vibrations from car movement may push on the discs, our internal “shock absorbers”, acting as cushions.

Proper driving posture and seat positioning may avoid a myriad of chronic problems. Here are some helpful tips to avoid discomfort:

Position your car seat to the proper height and distance across from the wheel so that your hands can comfortably reach the recommended “10 and 2” or “9 and 3” location.

  • Your thighs should rest as much as possible on the seat in order to align your knees on the same level plane as your hips.
  • Elbows should be slightly bent.
  • Consider using a neck support, one similar to that used on a plane. This keeps your neck straight. Even a 20 degree downward curve in the neck will cause stress over time.
  • If you have lumbar support in your car, use it. If not, use a portable back support or a rolled up sweater to place at the small of your back.
  • A seat cushion used for extra padding will help protect your spine from a bumpy ride.
  • For long rides, take regular breaks; get out and s-t-r-e-t-c-h.
  • If you have cruise control, use it to give your back a rest. Place both feet firmly on the car floor. Bend your ankles a few times to stimulate blood flow.

seat-position

Whatever the cause of your neck or back pain, don’t delay having it checked. Chronic pain needs assessment, particularly if it’s worse at night and wakes you up from your sleep.

The physicians at Sarasota Orthopedic Associates are experts in diagnosing, evaluating, and treating neck and back pain. Call us at 941-951-2663 for an appointment at one of our four locations in Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch, Venice, or Bradenton. For more information about us, visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/srqsoa or our web page at www.SOA.md

This entry was posted in on May 31, 2016 by sarasotaAdmin.

BAD TO THE BONE: Treating Knee Pain

May 23, 2016

knee-pain-faded

The knee is a very complex joint with many components making it vulnerable to a variety of injuries. When damaged, it can seriously impact your quality of life. Knee pain is one of the most common reasons people visit an orthopedic physician. Difficulty standing and walking can greatly diminish your sense of independence. The GOOD news is that most collective knee pain problems are treatable.

The CAUSES OF KNEE PAIN are many, including injury and disease. Injuries of the knee commonly seen tend to be damage to the anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, and the meniscus. There are an estimated 2.5 million sports-related injuries a year just by adolescent athletes alone. A fracture is most often caused by trauma such as a car accident, a fall, or sports contact; the most common broken bone in the knee is the patella, more generally known as the kneecap.

Fast facts on knee injuries:

  • The highest knee injury rates occur in people between the ages of 15 to 24.
  • Sports participation is a high risk factor for knee injuries.
  • 60% of high school sports-related injuries occur in the knee.
  • Female basketball and soccer athletes are as much as 8 times more likely to suffer an ACL injury than a male.
  • Young athletes suffering an ACL injury will have an increased risk of arthritis as they age.

Orthotics-for-knee-pain

Avoiding knee injuries:

  • Warm up properly prior to exercising or participating in sports.
  • Wear proper footwear with a good fit.
  • Don’t increase sports or exercise workouts suddenly.
  • Wear knee guards in sports activities.
  • Maintain strong, flexible leg muscles.
  • Always, always, always … Use a seatbelt when driving.

The MOST WIDESPREAD DISEASE affecting the knee is arthritis, which is caused by the gradual wearing-away of cartilage. Primary symptoms are pain, swelling, and stiffness in the knee. Currently, there is no “cure” for arthritis, however there are options, both surgical and non-invasive. Depending on the amount of arthritic damage, treating knee pain may often be done without surgery. These options may include one or a combination of physical therapy, weight control, injections, medications, bracing, exercise, and strengthening. When considering knee replacement surgery, the physicians and physical therapists at Sarasota Orthopedic Associates have a wide array of experience and expertise.

Whatever the cause of your knee pain, from sports injury to trauma to arthritis, the 13 physicians at Sarasota Orthopedic Associates are here to help alleviate your discomfort. We have four convenient locations. Browse here to view our physicians and their specialties or call us at 941-951-2663 to make an appointment.

Sources: SOA.md website; MediLexicon International; arthritis.org; webMD

This entry was posted in on May 23, 2016 by sarasotaAdmin.

MAY IS NATIONAL ARTHRITIS MONTH: Getting the Upper Hand on Arthritis

May 2, 2016

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

According to the Arthritis Foundation, 46 million Americans live with arthritis or chronic joint symptoms. Arthritis symptoms limit everyday activities such as dressing, bathing, and cooking for more than 7 million Americans. Half of those Americans with arthritis aren’t aware of options now available to help alleviate their symptoms.

The most common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint condition in which the joint cartilage deteriorates resulting in pain and loss of movement when bone begins rubbing against bone. Your hands are constantly on the go. Everyday activities such as preparing a meal, woodworking, carrying grocery bags, or using your computer may damage your joints over time. Fortunately, joint protection techniques may help reduce pain, stress, and inflammation. These techniques may also help prevent further deformities and increase your independence in daily activities. There are many easy and inexpensive ways to protect your hands.

Here are a few tips to keep your hands healthy:

 Give your Hands a Break

  • If you have pain during an activity, stop the activity. Pain is one of the best ways your body has of letting you know you are causing tissue damage, so listen to and respect your pain.
  • If writing is painful, try using a thick, rubber grip pen with a gel tip or roller ball to decrease the amount of pressure.
  • Remember to stretch and take breaks every 15 minutes during repetitive or prolonged activities such as needlework, painting, sewing, knitting and crocheting, hammering, and filing.
  • Use enlarged grips on every day equipment or tools to reduce strain on your joints; e.g. potato peelers, gardening tools, tooth brushes, hair brushes, or build up the handles with foam.
  • Keep scissors and knives sharp to minimize effort.
  • Always use two hands when lifting heavy objects. A gallon of milk weighs about 8 pounds, and lifting it with only your fingertips places excessive stress on your joints.

Don’t Use your Hand as a Tool

  • Don’t tear your mail open – use a letter opener to open mail.
  • Use utility scissors in the kitchen – do not rip open bags.
  • Always use the right tool for the job – use pliers for tight pinching and a small hammer for pounding.
  • Use a staple remover instead of your fingers and thumb.

Use Adaptive Equipment to Decrease Stress on your Joints

  • Use foam to enlarge small diameter objects such as paring knives, cutlery, toothbrushes, paint brushes, pens, and pencils.
  • Purchase lightweight kitchen, gardening, and workshop tools with built-up handles.
  • Perform a search on the Internet for “adaptive equipment” to see what products are available.

When Symptoms Become Severe

If you have already tried these techniques but are still experiencing symptoms, it might be time to consider a consult with an orthopedic specialist.  Gregory Farino, MD, a Board Certified/Fellowship Trained hand and wrist specialist at Sarasota Orthopedic Associates, can help you with providing an accurate diagnosis as well as treatment options.

Farino pic

In the initial stages of arthritis, conservative management provided by a hand therapist may be all you need. Hand therapists can fabricate splints to support and protect the joints, recommend home exercises to improve strength in the small muscles of the hand, and educate you on pain management techniques.

If the arthritic process or your pain and stiffness is more severe, treatments like oral and topical medications or a cortisone shot may help relieve pain and improve mobility and strength. If conservative measures are not successful, surgery may be recommended. Joint replacement or joint fusion surgery has been consistently successful for both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

The hand and wrist team at Sarasota Orthopedic Associates is here to help you manage hand arthritis and stay as active as possible. We have four locations (Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch, Venice, and Bradenton) and offer same day appointments when necessary. Call us at 941-951-2663 for an appointment or visit our website at www.SOA.md for more information.

Note: Article written by Gregory Farino, MD, a Fellowship Trained and Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon with a specialty in hand and wrist and Sangeetha Bulusu, OT, CHT, CLT (Occupational Therapist, Certified Hand Therapist, Certified Lymphedema Therapist). Both are available to see patients at Sarasota Orthopedic Associates.

This entry was posted in on May 2, 2016 by sarasotaAdmin.