Heart Disease in Dogs, Cats and Horses – In Fact All Animals and Birds

If you are an animal or bird owner, you will probably agree that your pet holds a special place in your heart. But you must remember that keeping your pets heart healthy is one of your responsibilities.

“When it comes to heart related problems, regular visits to your veterinarian could mean the difference between life and premature death. Animal owners may not realize that their pets are susceptible to many forms of heart disease. In most cases, heart disease can be successfully managed with early detection and treatment.

What is Heart Disease in Animals?

Heart problems in animals, as in people, can be either present at birth or acquired, often developing during middle age. Acquired heart disease is more common, affecting many older pets.

Are there different types of heart disease in pets?

Yes, there are two common types of heart disease in our pets:

•In one type, your pet’s heart valves lose their ability to close properly, causing abnormal blood flow.

•In the other type, the muscular walls of a pet’s heart become thinned and weakened.

Both types develop gradually over time and result in the same serious condition called heart failure.

Heart Failure.

A major threat to our pet’s health is heart failure. Of the dogs in the United States examined annually by a veterinarian, approximately 3.2 million have some form of acquired heart problems and may be in heart failure. Heart failure results from the heart’s inability to pump blood at a rate required to meet the body’s needs. While continuing to work harder to pump blood, further heart damage can occur.

What are the signs of heart disease in dogs?

Although some of the early stages of heart failure in dogs have no visible signs, heart failure can be diagnosed through a clinical evaluation by a veterinarian. Dogs with mild to moderate heart failure typically experience heart enlargement, coughing, lethargy and difficulty breathing. Severe heart failure is characterized by difficulty breathing (even at rest), fainting, profound intolerance to exercise, loss of appetite and weight loss, this is the same for any animal.

How can I find out if my pet has heart problem?

Your veterinarian is your pet’s healthcare expert. Regular veterinary visits are important for early detection of health problems.

Your veterinarian may ask you for specific information about your pet before performing a thorough physical examination. If indicated, blood and urine tests, X-rays, an EKG or other tests may be ordered. Regular testing is important for early detection of heart disease in any animal.

“Too often, pet owners do not take their pet’s to visit the veterinarian until they are displaying severe signs of heart failure, and by then it may be too late. When heart disease is detected in your pet, your veterinarian can recommend a schedule of regular visits and discuss a treatment plan that can help.”

Can animals with heart problems be treated?

Yes. Although there is no cure for most heart disease in animals, new treatments are available. Success of treatment depends on various factors, but early detection is always best. By following your veterinarian’s recommendations, you can help your pet live a longer, more comfortable life.

Keeping Your Animals Healthy

In addition to safeguarding your pet’s heart, there’s a lot you can do to keep your pet happy and in top shape. Ensure that your pet gets a moderate amount of exercise on a regular basis and has a balanced diet. An obese animal may have a harder time staying healthy.

The Relationship Between Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS

Tuberculosis is a bacterial disease that affects the lungs and produces unpleasant signs and symptoms which include persistent coughing, loss of weight, loss of appetite, night fever and weakness. It is a condition that comes when one’s immune system is weakened or compromised.

Normally everybody has some particles of these tuberculosis bacteria inside the lungs as a result of exposure to those who have it; but they are harmless because the body’s soldiers are able to keep them in check and prevent them from causing any health problems. The germ remains within the lungs for several years and the individual is not even aware they are there.

The Relationship?

It must be clearly understood here that HIV/AIDS does not cause tuberculosis and that Tuberculosis does not also cause HIV/AIDS. The relationship between them is that, like we said earlier on, when an individual who has been carrying this bacterium for years contracts HIV, his immune system or body soldiers are destroyed by the HIV virus and that makes the dormant bacteria to wake up and suddenly become harmful to his health.

If the individual has also had the bacterial infection before contracting the virus, the condition can also become worse because the soldiers that should have aided his quick recovery are destroyed by the virus. As a result, the individual’s condition may depreciate so fast.

Common signs and symptoms

The person who has tuberculosis may have some common signs and symptoms with one who has HIV but they should never make us arrive at conclusions until diagnoses are made by a competent medical doctor. Some of these common symptoms include but are not limited to the following:

1. Loss of appetite

2. Loss of weight

3. Night fever

4. Weakness

5. Feeling of unwellness, etc

Since these signs are common to both diseases, it is usually not uncommon to see people misconstruing a tuberculosis sufferer for a HIV/AIDs patient. Though in most cases, the bacterial disease comes as a result of immunity compromised by the deadly virus, it must be noted that there are so many people suffering from Koch’s disease (The other name for tuberculosis) that are not HIV positive. There are several other conditions that could reduce one’s immunity, including malnutrition.

Furthermore, HIV/AIDS makes tuberculosis worse, more difficult to treat and increases the likelihood of drug resistance. In the same vein, tuberculosis further endangers the life of the HIV infected person and further weakens him and reduces his immune system the more. The two cases are closely linked together and anyone who already has either of them must do everything humanly possible to avoid contracting the second so as not to make his life totally unbearable.

Hair Loss Prevention – Use the Right Brush on Your Hair

Brushing your hair is as important as anything when it comes to preventing hair loss. Even if you don’t have much hair to brush the stimulation of the brush will massage the head and scalp. This will further clean your hair follicles of sebum and other build up on the scalp.

Brushing also needs to be in combination with keeping your hair and scalp clean with a good shampoo and conditioner.

The best kind of brush to use is a boar bristle brush. This type of brush is without a doubt the best brush to use when it comes to stimulating the scalp. There are quite a few different types of boar bristle brushes available. It will come down to a personal choice as to what is best for you.

Boar bristle brushes are available from most hair specialty shops or salons and including some better supermarkets. They can also be purchased online as well if required. You can research these online to get a better idea of what is available.

Boar bristle brushes tend to be more expensive, but the benefits gained far out way the cost of a cheaper less effective brush.

One of the main causes of hair loss is due to the hair follicles on the scalp being blocked with sebum. Correct brushing cleans the scalp and distributes the sebum from the follicle onto external hair. Sebum moisturizes the hair and that why after brushing hair quite often feels softer and more manageable. The massaging effect increases blood flow to the scalp which also stimulates hair growth, creating thicker and stronger hair.

Brushing does cause hair to fall out, but it should be remembered that this is a natural process, and by brushing it encourages new hair growth.

When brushing be careful to avoid excessive hair breakage. Try to be gentle with brushing out knots or tangles. You should not brush your hair when it is wet, as it can cause further damage.

Brushing regularly keeps your hair in good condition. Natural oils will moisturise your hair meaning that your should see an improvement in appearance and breakage, with less split ends and dry damaged hair. Your hair will be softer, more manageable and healthier as a result of using a boar bristle brush.

Brushing can assist in preventing hair loss and encourage new hair growth. For more information go to Hair Loss Vitamins.

Brain Cancer – Symptoms of Brain Cancer

Brain cancer is a disease of the brain where cancer cells (malignant) grow in the brain tissue. Cancer cells grow to form a mass of cancer tissue (tumor) that interferes with brain tissue functions such as muscle control, sensation, memory, and other normal body functions. Tumors composed of cancer cells are called malignant tumors, and those composed of noncancerous cells are called benign tumors. Cancer cells that develop from brain tissue are called primary brain tumors. Statistics suggest that brain cancer is not rare and is likely to develop in about 20,000 people per year.

There are two main types of brain cancer. Primary brain cancer starts in the brain. Metastatic brain cancer starts somewhere else in the body and moves to the brain. Brain tumors can be benign, with no cancer cells, or malignant, with cancer cells that grow quickly.

Primary brain cancer rarely spreads beyond the central nervous system, and death results from uncontrolled tumor growth within the limited space of the skull. Metastatic brain cancer indicates advanced disease and has a poor prognosis.

Metastatic brain tumors are made of cancerous cells from a tumor elsewhere in the body. The cells spread to the brain from another tumor in a process called metastasis. About 25% of tumors elsewhere in the body metastasize to the brain.

Symptoms of Brain Cancer

Brain tumors can damage vital neurological pathways and invade and compress brain tissue. Symptoms usually develop over time and their characteristics depend on the location and size of the tumor.

Cancers are typically painless at first. As they grow, the first symptom is often a mild discomfort, which may steadily worsen into increasingly severe pain as the cancer enlarges. The pain may result from the cancer compressing or eroding into nerves or other structures.

The symptoms are caused by the tumor pressing on or encroaching on other parts of your brain and keeping them from functioning normally.

A sign is also an indication that something is not right in the body. But signs are defined as things that can be seen by a doctor, nurse, or other health care professional. Fever, rapid breathing rate, and abnormal breathing sounds heard through a stethoscope may be signs of pneumonia.

As the skull is made of bone, there is a fixed amount of space for the brain to take up. The growing tumor increases the pressure inside this fixed space. This is called ‘raised intracranial pressure’.

Motion sickness is a very common disturbance of the inner ear that is caused by repeated motion such as from the swell of the sea, the movement of a car, the motion of a plane in turbulent air, etc. In the inner ear (which is also called the labyrinth), motion sickness affects the sense of balance and equilibrium and, hence, the sense of spatial orientation.

Brain tumors can often present different symptoms depending on the location of the tumor. There are general brain tumor symptoms that need to be checked out by a doctor if they are experienced.

Fits are one of the commonest symptoms of brain tumors. About 1 in 4 people with a brain tumor first go to their doctor because they have had a fit. A fit can just be jerking or twitching of a hand, arm or leg.

At the late stages of the disorder, dramatic changes in blood pressure may occur. Seizures are a common symptom of benign brain tumors and slow-growing cancers. Tumors can cause a part of the body to weaken or feel paralyzed. Hearing, sight and the sense of smell can be affected.

Walking Pneumonia: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, And Treatments

Pneumonia is a respiratory disease and atypical or walking pneumonia is a type that is considered less dangerous than the normal pneumonia. When someone suffers from pneumonia, he or she should be hospitalized immediately. A person who suffers from walking pneumonia, on the other hand, is usually unaware that he is affected by the disease. Thus he usually walks around with it, and hence the name. The disease is normally caused by several types of bacteria such as Chlamydia pneumoniae, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, and Coxiella burnetii. It can also be caused by viruses such as Respiratory Syncytial Virus and Adenovirus.

What are the symptoms of walking pneumonia? The symptoms are similar to those of pneumonia. These include chest pain, headache, cough, fatigue, fever, and sore throat. These symptoms affect the body gradually and it takes about three weeks to reach the full effect. They are commonly not severe and it makes the patients think that they are just symptoms of a mild flu. Thus, patients usually continue their daily activities with no hassle.

What are the causes of this disease? Like any other viral or bacterial diseases, it is contagious thus it spread easily in crowded places. Public places like shopping malls, public transportation, and schools provide the ideal breeding ground for viruses and bacteria. If someone suffers from walking pneumonia, he or she can spread the germs by coughing or sneezing, or through close contact like kissing. Since the symptoms are mild, many people with the disease don’t realize that they have it in their body and they walk around in public places. This disease primarily affects adults, teens and children older than five years old.

How to diagnose the disease? Chest x-ray is the only way to diagnose it. The test will help physicians examine the inflamed lungs and the alveoli that are filled with fluid. By examining the fluid distribution, the physicians will be able to determine the type of pneumonia the patient has. A blood test is then performed to determine the causes of the illness.

What are treatment options available? The treatment actually depends on the causes of the disease. If it is caused by a bacterial infection, the patient will have to take antibiotics such as doxycycline or azithromycin for three to ten days. On the other hand, antibiotic treatment won’t be effective for viral infection. Patients are also usually advised to have more rest and drink plenty of liquid. To help speed up recovery, physicians may also prescribe some supplements such as vitamin C, acidophilus, and zinc. Natural remedies are also available such as green tea with lemon, onion, garlic, and fish oil.

Sharp Lower Back Pain – Possible Causes Revealed

In this article, we take a look at the importance of learning the causes of lower back pain, especially if it a sharp shooting kind of pain and determining the causes of origin of the pain. So, if you are truly feeling laid-back in the literal sense of the word and have suffered sharp lower back pain more than once recently, perhaps its time to do some quick thinking about what could have brought it on – so you can begin the right course of treatment based on the diagnosis, which needs to be proper and accurate.

Only after a proper medical examination of the person’s past activities, especially ones involving heavy physical labor, can a person’s cause for personal back pain due to injury or other reasons be pinned down accurately. Among the most common reasons triggering off lower back pain are sudden exertion, carrying heavy loads, standing, sitting or lying down in an awkward posture (e.g. such as painting the ceiling with a hand overhead all the time) and bending or twisting in a casual, thoughtless manner – which can happen during exercising as well as during regular household chores.

Sharp lower back pain can also become a chronic condition if not addressed in the initial stages and therefore doctors and medical health experts, including physical trainers and gym instructors advise people against exercising too much or wrongly, without proper knowledge of the right techniques since twisting wrong and doing heavy physical work can also aggravate a mild condition. Sometimes, patients tend to ignore the initial warning signs of a sharp lower back pain thinking it will go away and its not worth bothering over, but this is wrong and needs to be addressed immediately to prevent more severe cases. What many do not realize is that in ignoring the warning signal given by the body to the individual, there is a chance of aggravating an already painful condition and therefore, patient information on the condition is very crucial to serve a timely warning.

If the patient does not recall any of the above scenarios as causes for the lower back pain he or she is suffering, medical opinion should be sought immediately to rule out other possibilities, such as conditions of spinal stenosis (restricted spinal cord and nerve root channels), arthritis, infection in the spine, cancer of the spine or spondylolisthesis.

Also, a doctor is the best person to rule out the possibility of a fracture in the lower back as a potential cause for the sharp pain a patient may be suffering; once the above possibilities have been studied and other acute or chronic areas of the condition have been looked into, then diagnosis is more likely to be accurate and treatment can be started in earnest.

Some of the signs that a lower back pain sufferer may need to put across to his or her doctor for proper diagnosis include a sort of general ache radiating into the lower back, behind and the legs with occasional or steady complaints of numbness, tingling or weakness. Those suffering additional bowel or bladder problems should not delay contacting their doctor as this could mean a more severe case of lower back pain than usual.

Examination of the condition typically includes slow and careful palpation of the spine to determine nature of muscle spasms, displacements/sore points and the same is also carried out for the abdomen to verify the involvement of any organ in the complaint. To determine the exact origin of sharp lower back pain, doctors may also recommend the patient undergoing neurological assessments, lab tests and imaging studies.

The Common Cold – Symptoms and Remedies

Cold is a common viral infection which results in the inflammation of the lining within your nose and throat, leading to a blocked up and running nose, cough and a headache. The majority of colds disappear within 1 to 2 weeks and there is not much you can do to relieve a cold although you can take measures to reduce the risk of contracting one in the first place.

Eating a healthy and well balanced diet is a good place to start avoiding colds. The general rule of thumb is to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables every day given they are full of vitamins C and additional antioxidants which will help maintain and enhance your immune system. Smokers will tend to only absorb around 70% of the vitamins C contained within foods therefore if you are a smoker you may wish to consider vitamins C supplements. General personal hygiene can help reduce the risk of catching a cold. Simple measures such as washing your hands to help prevent the spread of the virus considering the majority of the cold virus is passed through hand-to-hand contact.

The herbal remedy Echinacea has been shown to help reduce the period of cold symptoms and is therefore worth taking. Echinacea has been shown to cause liver problems and therefore if you are taking any other additional medicines particularly liver-based medicines, always consult your doctor or medical physician first. Vitamin C supplements taking twice a day along with the compound zinc may also help to reduce the duration of your cold.

Bronchitis Cure – Get Rid of Bronchitis Naturally!

Acute and chronic bronchitis can not only be quite painful and make a person feel miserable for long stretches of time, but it can also result in the loss of work or missing school. Thus, finding a cure for bronchitis is important, especially if you have chronic bronchitis and have had the sickness for quite some time.

First, it is important to understand what bronchitis consists of. Bronchitis is caused by the inflammation of the lining of the membrane that lines the bronchi and bronchial tube in a person’s chest. Thus, if a person has bronchitis, there is usually pain one’s chest, a sore throat, hoarseness, a deep cough, and a thick phlegm or mucus that is released, usually when coughing. Because of the symptoms and because bronchitis is extremely contagious, it is something that definitely needs to be treated as quickly as possible.

Though a person may be put on medicine by his or her doctor, there are other cures for bronchitis. For example, those who have an acute case will most likely be placed on an all fruit diet from anywhere to two to three days. If the person has chronic bronchitis, they may very well be placed on this diet for as long as a week. When this happens, the patient consumes three meals of fruit and juice. Additionally, once this diet is over, the patient is then usually placed on a diet that is as balanced as possible (i.e. think of the food pyramid). It is highly recommended that no matter how badly a person feels, that they should get some exercise during this time to help clear the chest and airways. Thus, daily walks or yoga is suggested by many doctors.

Epsom-salt baths are also recommended for those with bronchitis, especially of the acute variety. To give this bath, it is recommended that two to three pounds of salt be dissolved in 60 liters of water at a temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit. This bath is recommended nightly for those with acute bronchitis and is recommended two or three times a week for those with chronic bronchitis.

Additionally, there are some home remedies that many people have found to be helpful for bronchitis. One such remedy is to take a teaspoon of turmeric powder two or three times per day. It is generally thought to be most effective when combined with milk and when taken on an empty stomach.

No matter how you treat bronchitis, it is important that you talk with your doctor before trying any treatments. You not only want to make sure that you are treating yourself with the most effective treatments, but you also want to make sure that what you have is bronchitis. With a doctor’s help, some rest and exercise, and some consistent treatments, you will be cured in no time at all.

Congenital Hip Dislocation – Symptoms and How It Is Treated

Congenital hip dislocation symptoms are not be easily seen in a newborn child. However, a pediatrician will typically check for the presence of this disorder using a simple procedure that involves pushing the infant’s legs apart.

Congenital hip dislocation is a disorder in which the hip bone (head of the femur) does not fit properly into its socket or is partially or completely outside of its socket. The condition is present at birth and is more common in girls.

This article shares how this condition is diagnosed in both infants and older children and explains how the dislocation is treated.

Congenital Hip Dislocation Symptoms and Causes

Due to the fact that symptoms are not easily noticed in a newborn, most infants are routinely checked for congenital hip dislocation by their obstetrician or pediatrician. If the test is positive, the medical doctor will hear a clicking sound when flexing and spreading the infant’s legs apart.

In older infants or toddlers, one leg may appear shorter than the other or the toddler may walk with a limp, on his or her tip-toes, or with a waddling gait.

The cause of congenital hip dislocation is not fully understood. There may be a link to a hormonal imbalance in the mother during pregnancy or injury during the birth process which may be due in part to the position of the fetus (i.e. breech position).

Congenital Hip Dislocation Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosis is typically made by an obstetrician or pediatrician who may identify the problem during a routine examination. During a routine physical examination, the doctor will flex and spread the infant’s legs, if a clicking sound is heard, the condition may be present.

For toddlers or older children, the doctor will monitor the child’s gait to detect a limp or other unusual walking characteristics such as walking on his or her toes, or waddling like a duck. Other signs of this condition in toddlers and older children may include the appearance that one leg is shorter than the other, skin folds in the thighs that appear uneven and less flexibility on the side affected by the dislocation.

In older infants and children, the diagnosis may be confirmed by additional tests such as ultrasound and/or x-rays of the hip.

Congenital hip dislocation is usually correctable if discovered early and treatment will depend on the age of the child. In newborns and young infants, a soft device called a Pavlik harness can be used to maintain proper positioning of the hip bone in its socket. This allows the hip to develop normally.

For older infants and toddlers a procedure called closed reduction may be performed in which the hip bone is pushed back into the socket. This procedure may be performed under anesthesia. If this procedure fails, open surgery may be recommended.

Treatment typically involves immobilizing the hip joint until it heals. Immobilization can involve using a splint, brace or cast, which may need to be worn for many months. If a cast is needed for a very young child, the child may experience a delay before walking.

Mild cases may be immobilized by placing 2 or 3 layers of diapers on the infant at one time.

Early and proper treatment will often lead to normal hip joint function and should not hinder the child from leading an active lifestyle. However, one leg may remain short.

Personal Injury Settlement Calculators

Personal injury settlement calculators provide you a new method of computation for determining a settlement amount. It tells the appropriate amount that can be claimed from the damage or the loss that has happened. For this calculation of the claim, consultation with your attorney helps you to recover the legal damages caused by the civil wrong of the person who caused you the personal injury.

Personal injury settlement calculators are specifically used only for personal injury. This saves lots of time and helps you to reach a reasonable and fair personal injury settlement. It is a real time saver and a solid frame of reference is made using this calculator. It calculates the amount value and gives you a clear picture of the lump sum you might be paid for your structured settlement.

Calculations which are done by the personal injury damage calculator include factors such as medical expenses, future medical expenses, the process involved in rehabilitation, prosthetics, wages that are lost, future lost wages, pain and suffering, future pain and suffering, disability, the future disability involved, loss of quality of life, the present and the future impairment, loss of consortium, and the loss of services.

The amount involved in the personal injury is categorized in each of the above factors. A fair settlement amount is then calculated. In certain cases, if the insurance companies do not pay you the claimed amount, then one has to consult with their attorney for the recovery of the lost and the legal damages caused by the civil wrong of the defendant. It is not recommended to evaluate the personal injury without knowing the law or consulting your attorney, since in many cases the insurance companies attempt to minimize the damages by just refusing few of your legal damages.

Can Massage Therapy Treat Fracture Injuries?

Massage therapy is a treatment option which can reduce pain and discomfort in the soft tissue surrounding a fracture injury, and it can also assist in reducing edema and muscle tension of both the affected and compensating structures. When a massage therapy treatment plan is carried out correctly, once the cast is removed, a client can regain full function sooner as the health and mobility of compensating muscles has been addressed.

Initially, your massage therapist will only work above the cast, and will take care to not disturb the healing bone. Eventually, when the cast is removed, massage therapy will continue to restore the health of the tissue by increasing circulation, restoring function and strength, and reducing any scar tissue.

Considerations for treatment

It is highly recommended that your physician provide a written recommendation for massage, and your therapist probably won’t agree to treat you until your doctor has given the green light.

In all likelihood, you will also be seeing a physical (physio) therapist. It’s a good idea to provide written permission for your massage therapist to collaborate with your other health care professionals to ensure the best possible care and treatment outcome.

Before your massage therapist begins to treat you, he or she will want to verify the following information:

  • your physician has approved massage therapy
  • are you on any type of medication? (anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-coagulant, antibiotics).
  • what is your general health – for example, consider age, fitness prior to injury, nutrition (your MT may refer you to a nutritionist, as proper nutrition impacts the healing process), lifestyle (i.e. do you smoke?)
  • are there any open wounds which must be addressed? (i.e. with a compound fracture)
  • Will treating the affected limb with massage therapy stress and disrupt the healing of bone, muscle, skin or nerve tissue?
  • is there any neurological or vascular impairment in the area which prevents the use of certain massage techniques or modalities?
  • do you have any plates, wires or pins? If so, hydrotherapy over the site will be contraindicated.
  • the most important consideration is to avoid stressing and interfering with healing tissue. Any pressure or traction applied to the affected bone is contraindicated.
  • have other types of injuries been sustained, such as sprains or contusions? (in all likelihood, there will be other injuries)
  • muscle atrophy from disuse will be present when the cast is removed. Provided that the injury is not an avulsion fracture, the development of atrophy can be reduced by the use of isometric contractions at the appropriate time with cast on. If an avulsion fracture is present, avoid isometric contractions, as this may disrupt the healing bone.
  • tissue under the cast will be fragile when the cast is removed, so extra care must be taken when massaging this tissue

As treatment progresses and the injury heals, issues such as tissue atrophy, altered biomechanics and altered proprioception must be taken into account. For this reason, there are different considerations for treatment with cast on and cast off.

Types of fractures

There are several basic types of fractures:

1. Simple – there is no broken skin, and the break is clean. Also known as a “closed” fracture.

2. Compound – the broken bone damages surrounding tissue and skin by piercing it. There is a greater risk of infection in this type of break due to breaking of the skin and protrusion of the injured bone.

3. Comminuted – a fracture that is in several pieces – common among a population with more brittle bones (i.e. elderly)

4. Compression – a fracture where the bone is crushed

5. Depression – a fracture where the bone is crushed and pressed inward

6. Impacted – bony surfaces are forced into each other (impacted)

7. Spiral – an break with ragged edges that result from twisting

8. Greenstick – an incomplete break that is common in children, as bones are more flexible

9. Stress fracture – a.k.a. hairline fracture, is a tiny crack in the bone and may not be visible with an x-ray

10. Avulsion – this occurs when a ligament or tendon pulls away a chunk of bone to which it is attached.

Fractures and breaks are repaired by “reduction” – when the bony ends are placed back together. A closed reduction is done manually by a physician, whereas an open reduction involves surgery, and possibly the placement of pins or wires to hold the bony surfaces together.

Finding the best massage therapist for you

It goes without saying that an injury as serious as a fracture or break will require treatment from a therapist who really knows his or her stuff and understands the healing process. Personally, I would ask my physical therapist if he or she could refer me to a qualified and experienced massage therapist, and then ensure that I give them both permission to communicate with each other so that my treatment plan would address all of my needs and concerns.

Whiplash Injuries After an Auto Accident, Should I Use a Neck Collar Or Not? That is the Question

Many people that suffer with neck pain chronically have been involved in a prior motor vehicle accident, and have experienced a “whiplash” type injury.

In fact, many studies exists that examine the long term effects of whiplash type injuries from a car accident. One in particular determined that 55% of the people studied had residual consequences 17 years later(1).

Sadly, many of these participants still continue to receive some type of ongoing rehab.

Many of my patients ask me whether or not they should use a neck collar after an accident. With respect to this topic, a lot of controversy exists. The purpose of this article is to discuss the research related to this topic.

So lets have some fun with this topic.

Think of it as a battle: In the red corner, we have the champion, the “SOFT COLLAR”, and in the blue corner, we have the challenger, the “Early Mobilization/early movement”. However, in order to evaluate the pros and cons of using a soft collar for the neck after a motor vehicle/whiplash type accident, it’s important to first talk about the basic fundamentals of soft tissue injuries and the healing process itself.

John Kellet M.D, an Australian physician published a comprehensive review of the literature on this topic in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise and titled it: Acute soft tissue injuries-A review of the literature(2). The article goes on to describe 3 phases of soft tissue repair when injured.

Phase 1: The Acute Inflammatory or Reaction Phase

Lasting up to 72 hours immediately after the injury, it involves dilation of the blood vessels, increased blood flow with the accompanied immune response, cleaning up of the area by white blood cells, and the resultant inflammation.

Pain is produced from tissue damage and the inflammation itself.

Phase 2: Regeneration of Repair Phase

This phase lasts anywhere between 48hours to 6 weeks. It is in this phase that the injured tissue is trying to “repair” itself, thus the name. Collagen cells are produced and laid down at the injured site.

However, the collagen that is laid down is weak, and laid down in an irregular pattern. These collagen fibers continue to strengthen between 3 to 14 weeks after the injury, and even up to 6 months.

Phase 3: The Remolding Phase

Overlapping with phase 2, this phase may last up to 12 months or longer. In this phase, the collagen that has been laid down continues to be “remodeled” in the way that its strength is improved, and oriented along with the healthy tissue.

So in the words of William Shakespeare: “To Collar or Not To Collar?, That is the Question”

When a soft collar is recommended and used after an accident the goal is to immobilize the injured area. This supposedly prevents more trauma/injury to the unstable area, as well as lends support to the injured tissue. All things being equal, with no resultant bone trauma (ie, dislocation and/or fracture), the injury is said to be a “soft tissue” injury.

So in the case of soft tissue injuries, immobilization with a soft collar would be detrimental to the process of healing as described by Dr. Kellet, as early mobilization and movement would seem to improve the timing and healing quality.

If we think about the second phase of healing that we just described, where the collagen fibers that are laid down are trying to orient themselves along the line of stress, then it would make sense that it is the early mobilization and movement that is in fact responsible for its organization.

Dr. Kellet expresses that immobilization of soft tissue injuries with the use of soft collars in particular, results in diminished endurance, that ultimately causes loss of strength and muscle wasting that may delay full recovery “for a year or more”.

Another study done in 2000 by Dr. Pekka Kannus, MD, PhD, adds to our understanding of soft tissue injuries. Published in the journal The Physician and Sports Medicine his article was titled: Immobilization or Early Mobilization after an Acute Soft-Tissue Injury?(3) Dr Kannus basically summarizes his study with the following: “Experimental and clinical studies demonstrate that early, controlled mobilization is superior to immobilization”

This article too adds to the support focusing early mobilization following soft tissue injury and avoiding immobilization.

What about any studies that specifically looked at the outcomes of people who actually used cervical collars, and compared them to those that did not and utilized early mobilization, for treatment of acute soft tissue whiplash injuries?

Well, orthopedist K Mealy and colleagues asked this question and published their study in the British Medical Journal in an article titled (4): Early Mobilization of Acute Whiplash Injuries. In this study, 61 patients with acute whiplash injuries were studied. Of the patients studied, 31 received active treatment, while 30 received a cervical collar and were called the “standard treatment” group.

The active treatment group received ice in the first 24 hours and then mobilization of the neck and daily exercises for the neck. These daily exercises were performed every hour at home, within the limits of pain, and no pain medications was needed. The other group that received the soft collar were advised to rest for 2 weeks before beginning gradual mobilization.

So what were the findings? Well, these authors concluded: “…more rapid improvement can be achieved by early active management without any consequent increase in discomfort”. Again, clearly early mobilization was superior to the cervical collar in this study.

With all these studies, they really point in favor of the the use of early mobilization, and discourage the use of soft collars.

So back to our analogy of a battle, it seems that the soft collar has been knocked out in the first round, and is down for the count vs its competitor of early mobilization of movement. But what kind of motion or mobilization is best?

It turns out, that from all the research I examined, that the rotation motion encourages regional blood flow, and facilitates the removal of exudate, thus allowing healing to occur by aiding nutrition of joint structures.

So what should we take away from this lopsided victory? Well, again, all things being equal, with a soft tissue injury of the neck due to a whiplash type accident, soft tissue collar may promote inactivity which can delay recovery with patients with WAD.

As well, early mobilization, and familiarity with proper exercises and movements to properly manage both the acute and chronic whiplash injured patient is supported by all the research, and is highly recommended.

References:

1) Mark Rosenfeld, RPT; Aris Seferiadis, RPT; Jane Carlsson, RPT, PhD; Ronny Gunnarsson, MD, PhD; Active Intervention in Patients with Whiplash-Associated Disorders Improves Long-Term Prognosis: A Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial; Spine 2003; 28(22):November 15, 2003: 2491-2498

2) Kellet J; Acute soft tissue injuries-a review of the literature; Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise; October 1986;18(5): 489-500.

3)Pekka Kannus, MD, PhD; Immobilization or Early Mobilization After an Actue Soft Tissue Injury? The Physician And Sports Medicine; March 2000; Vol. 25 No 3. pp 55-63.

4) K Mealy, H Brennan, GCC Fenelon; Early Mobilisation of acute whiplash injuries; British Medical Journal; Vol. 292, March 8, 1986, pp 656-657

Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy

It would be good to have some knowledge of the symptoms of cerebral palsy. Knowing the signs and symptoms of the disorder can ensure prompt therapy for the child with the condition. There are a couple of important facts that you should know about the symptoms of the condition.

* The symptoms are not the same for every child. There are three major types of cerebral palsy. A child’s symptoms will depend on the type that he has. He could have ataxic, atethotic or spastic cerebral palsy. The last one can further be categorized into spastic diplegia, spastic hemiplegia or spastic quadriplegia depending on the limbs affected.

* In some cases, a child could have mixed symptoms from the three major categories. The symptoms of cerebral palsy could therefore include stiff muscles, floppy muscles, asymmetrical gait, drooling, tremors, seizures, uncontrolled movement, foot dragging, scissors gait, difficulty swallowing and possible hearing and sight impairment.

* Some kids with cerebral palsy may also have mental retardation. This is not however, always so. In fact many individuals with cerebral palsy have mental capacities that are normal for their age.

* The symptoms do not have a set time frame when they appear. Some children may show signs and symptoms on the first few days and weeks after birth. Those who may have milder conditions may only show symptoms after a year or more.

* The symptoms of cerebral palsy can make movement difficult. This does not mean though that those with cerebral palsy can never function on their own. Therapeutic techniques and procedures can be designed to help children with the condition achieve their full potential. Many patients who undergo appropriate treatment can live enjoyable and fulfilling lives.

* Therapeutic techniques can range from special exercises to psychotherapy. Some of the methods such as exercises can be performed with parents at home. It is important to remember however that therapeutic programs should be tailor-suited to the condition and ability of an individual. A child’s particular program can be made with the combined assistance of several specialists.

* Specialists work together as a team to help treat the symptoms of cerebral palsy. A team of specialists may include occupational therapists, physical therapists, psychotherapists, neurologists, orthopedic surgeons and special education teachers.

* There are guidelines to follow in the diagnosis of the disorder. Specialists may seek to rule out other possible conditions that may come with similar symptoms. Your child’s doctor will also check such factors as reflexes, muscle tone, movement and visible limb deformities.

* Parents should know when to expect babies to perform motor tasks. Parents should be concerned if their baby is not able to learn to crawl, grasp, sit, stand or walk. This is especially so if the child is over one year of age. Consider seeing a specialist if you suspect that your child is extremely delayed in motor function.

The symptoms of cerebral palsy can be alarming. They do not however, spell the end of a good life for your child. Seek therapeutic assistance as soon as possible to help your child become the best that he can be.

Sleep Paralysis – 4 Simple Steps to Deal With Lucid Dreaming Sleep Paralysis

Many people, while attempting to have a lucid dream, experience a scary incident called sleep paralysis. The good news is that you need not let sleep paralysis scare you out of having a wonderful lucid dreaming experience.

What is sleep paralysis?

During sleep paralysis, you remain half awake and half asleep. You find that you cannot move. Getting panicky only worsens the situation. If you panic, you might hallucinate that there is something evil in the room. You might see grotesque figures or you might imagine that something is trying to kill you. This is pure hallucination, created by a terrified mind. Unfortunately, it could drive many people from having delightful lucid dreaming experiences.

How do you deal with sleep paralysis?

The following is a step-by- step process to have a lucid dream without being disturbed by sleep paralysis.

Step one: Affirm

Before going to bed, say firmly to yourself that you will remember your dreams and have the power to control them. Repeat this positive affirmation till you find yourself drifting off to sleep.

Step two: Maintain a dream diary

You need not write in your dream diary forever, only till you learn complete dream recall. Every time you wake up, write down your dream experiences in your diary. If you cannot remember everything, write as much as you can. Dream recall enhances dream control.

Step three: Have a lucid dream

Here is a technique that has worked for many people.

Establish a sleeping pattern and stick to it for about a week. Then, break it! Go to sleep a few hours later than your usual bedtime hour, but wake up at your usual waking hour. Get out of bed, do something to shake off your sleep, and then get back to bed.

Going to sleep on your back is of paramount importance! Don’t sleep in any other posture. As you start falling asleep, think about the type of dream you would like to have. You can even plan your dream.

When you fall asleep, you will start dreaming the very dream you were thinking about. You might feel some vibrations or pulsations or you might hear some buzzing sounds. All this is quite normal.

Step four: Dealing with sleep paralysis

In case you find yourself half-asleep and half-awake and find it difficult to move, you are in sleep paralysis.

Stay calm! Many people panic and end up having a nightmare or, worse still, seeing something terrifying. So, don’t be afraid. Instead, focus on your breath. Think happy thoughts, and the sleep paralysis will soon get transformed into a great lucid dream.

Congratulations! You have succeeded in getting a lucid dream. You can now use lucid dreaming for any purpose. You can develop skills, learn new things, solve your problems, enjoy sex, fly into space, visit foreign countries, go back in time, meet exciting people, and many more.

Everything is now under your control. Lucid dreaming transforms you into a god, with the ability to change anything, create anything, and experience anything you will.

Inguinal Hernia and Groin Pain

Hernia and groin problems are common sports injuries, particularly in soccer where the pelvic region is subject to large torsional (twisting) loads. An Inguinal Hernia refers to a protrusion of the abdominal contents through a weakness in the connective tissue of the Inguinal canal in the groin.

Groin pain is caused by soft tissue disruption that affects an area of the groin near the genitalia also called as the ‘inguinal region’. Such a tissue disruption is usually called as a sports hernia and the medical term for it is an ‘inguinal disruption’. There is discomfort in the region where the abdomen ends and the legs begin.

Inguinal Hernia surgery has been revolutionized over the past ten years. The world’s top hernia surgeons now perform hernia surgery under local anaesthetic. Depending on the individual circumstances of the patient, considering their age, occupation, general health and the size and degree of the Inguinal Hernia, the surgical technique is chosen which is ‘tailored’ to the patient’s situation. Rehab following Inguinal Hernia surgery is very rapid and exercises can begin the day after the hernia repair.

Following sporting activity, someone with an Inguinal Hernia will be stiff and sore. Typically, the day after a football match for example, getting out of bed or a car will be uncomfortable. Any exertion that increases intra-abdominal pressure, such as coughing, sneezing or sporting activity can cause pain. In the early stages, the person may be able to continue playing their sport but the problem usually gets progressively worse.

Pain in the groin and pelvis can be referred from a number of problems, including injuries to the lower back, the hip joint, the Sacro-Iliac joint, the abdomen and the genito-urinary system. Therefore, diagnosis of an Inguinal Hernia requires skilful differentiation.

Because it requires an expert to diagnose an Inguinal Hernia it is not unusual for many weeks or months to pass before the correct diagnosis is made. In those people who have typical Inguinal Hernia symptoms, an expert can confirm the diagnosis with physical tests and an Ultrasound scan.

Treatment- Conservative treatment with a Chartered Physiotherapist involves stabilizing and strengthening the muscles of the pelvic region, but this rarely cures the problem.

The surgical treatment of Inguinal Hernias has been revolutionized over the past ten years. The world’s top hernia surgeons now perform hernia surgery under local anesthetic. Depending on the individual circumstances of the patient, considering their age, occupation, general health and the size and degree of the Inguinal Hernia, the surgical technique is chosen which is ‘tailored’ to the patient’s situation.

The Minimal Repair is a mesh free technique which is used for patients who have a big defect in the fascia of the Inguinal canal, while the muscle layers are still intact. Physical immobility is not required and the patient can begin physical work a few days after surgery.

The advantages of a local anesthetic are that the patient is able to get up on their feet straight after the operation and there is no need for an overnight stay in hospital. Patients can usually eat immediately after surgery, as they don’t experience the side effects of a general anesthetic like nausea and vomiting, headaches and urinary retention.

Because these side effects are eliminated and the surgical repair is so unobtrusive, the rehabilitation process can begin immediately. Patients are encouraged to return to everyday activities and work the day after surgery. The patient can resume gentle exercise such as jogging or cycling. Elite athletes can begin sprinting after three or four days. Within five or six days there are no physical restrictions.

Prevention – Core Strength and Core Stability exercises can improve muscle function across the trunk and pelvis. Core strength exercises on a mat and using a Swiss Ball or Resistance Bands are ideal, because the improved muscular strength and stability can help to counteract the large forces that are applied to the lower abdomen and pelvis. This can reduce the risk of developing a hernia.