Latest News and Articles

Avoiding shin splints can keep you running

Are you an active runner who experiences pain in their shins? If so, you may be experiencing “shin splints,” otherwise known as Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome. This is an overuse injury common in running and sports that involves significant running. Tenderness is usually experienced on the front of the shin (tibia) and is exacerbated pain upon activities that involve running.  The most common cause of shin splints is inflammation of the fascia in front of your shin bone. If shin splints persist for a long period of time, they may progress to a stress fracture.  If there is concern for a stress fracture, your doctor may order an X-ray to confirm the diagnosis.

Shin splints can be caused by overuse (too much running), poor running technique (heel-striking or over-pronating), poor equipment (worn-out running shoes), or running on an uneven surface (side-sloped roads, sand, snow).  The most reliable way of preventing shin splints is to avoid any of these causes.

If you get shin splints, they can be treated by general rest, ice, and reduction in running distance (often runners have to take a few days off and then gradually increase distance).   If they continue to be a problem, you may need to consider physical therapy to strengthen the muscles in the front part of your leg and improve your running technique (prevent heel-striking and pronating).  Running shoes with more cushioning may also be effective.  

 

Stem cells improve outcomes in rotator cuff repair surgery

A recent study was conducted on patients who underwent a rotator cuff repair. Unfortunately, it is well-known that approximately 25% of patients who undergo rotator cuff repairs re-tear their tendon after surgery.  In order to try to prevent re-tear, the researchers injected adult-derived autologous stem cells that were harvested from the patient’s iliac crest into the surgically repaired rotator cuff of 45 patients.  As a control, another 45 patients who underwent the procedure did not receive the stem cell injection. This study conducted by Dr. Hernigou revealed that the patients who had stem injection in their repaired tendon were less likely to have a re-tear. Rotator cuff tendons were evaluated post-op by Ultrasound at intervals of 3, 6 months and 1, 2 and 10 years. At 6 months all patients with stem cell injections had intact tendons whereas only 30 of the 45 patients who did not have the injection had them intact, a difference of 100% to 67%. At 10 years after surgery the stem cell injection group had 87% intact tendons versus only 40% of control group who did not receive stem cell injection.

 

Are adult-derived autologous stem cells the right choice for your pain?  Make an appointment to see your Austin pain management doctor at Capitol Pain Institute today to find out.

A better treatment for severe knee arthritis and pain?

Do you have severe knee pain?  Have you been told by your orthopedic surgeon that you need an eventual knee replacement? Well, if you are a young patient in their 30s-40s you and live a relatively active lifestyle you may benefit from a procedure called High Tibial Osteotomy (HTO). This procedure is known to do well with younger patient population who are active and known to have unicompartmental osteoarthritis. HTO procedure involves either removing a piece of wedge shaped bone from the tibia or making an incision into the tibia and replacing it with a bone graft. As opposed to Total Knee replacements this procedure benefits the patient by allowing them to continue remaining active and resume high impact activities. Also, unlike the total knee replacement there is no concern for revision of the hardware after every 10-12 years. A recent literature review comparing HTO versus unicompartment knee replacement for single compartment knee arthritis suggests similar success rates of success and complications.

Cardamom is a natural antioxidant

Cardamom is a spice that originated in India and Nepal and is purported to have several health benefits. Although still being studied, this exotic spice may have antioxidant, health promoting properties and be good for the digestive tract and cholesterol.  Antioxidants are chemicals that block the activity of free radicals. Free radicals are chemicals that are produced by our bodies and have the potential to cause damage to cells, including damage that may lead to cancer.

Additionally, Cardamom is a good source of potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, and manganese. Keep this spice in mind as more research is published regarding its health benefits.

 

 

Spinal Stenosis is a common cause of low back pain and sciatica

Often symptoms that arise from Lumbar spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal) and arterial occlusive disease can demonstrate similar traits posing a challenge to the diagnostic physician. Lumbar stenosis can generally be congenital or acquired in origin. Whereas lumbar stenosis can result in low back pain or radicular pain (sciatica) worse with standing and ambulation arterial occlusive disease can also affect the lower extremities and worsen with exertion. A flexed stationery bike may help to discern the cause of a patient’s pain.  If there is no clear pain generator in the back that can be garnered with the history and exam and there is suspicion for arterial vascular disease an arterial Doppler and ankle brachial index may be indicated (check BP at the ankle and arm).

Superfoods, phytonutrients, and antioxidants

Superfoods are foods known for their health benefits due to their “phytonutrient content,” or in other words, are packed with health-protecting qualities. It is most important to eat a balanced diet (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, dairy products), but next time you want to boost your diet, consider: goji berries, blueberries, acai berries, cocoa, and broccoli. These superfoods will not only help complete a well balanced diet but add antioxidants and many nutritional benefits to your daily regimen. Bon appetit!

Come visit an Austin pain management doctor at Capitol Pain Institute today to learn more about your diet and how it can affect your pain, energy levels, and general well-being

Treating Neuropathic Pain

A Queen’s University study published April 7th, 2015 reveals that combining morphine, an opioid-based pain reliever, and nortriptyline, an antidepressant, has been found to successfully relieve chronic neuropathic pain in 87% of patients, and significantly better than with either drug alone.

Cervical strain – a common cause of neck and shoulder pain

Cervical strain is a common cause of neck and head pain and may even spread to the shoulder and upper arms. At times, cervical strain or muscle may be improperly diagnosed as cervical nerve irritation (radiculopathy). It is important to consult with your doctor about the different causes of head and neck pain to properly diagnose your condition. Treatments range from medication management and physical therapy to interventions including epidural steroid injections, facet joint injections, or muscular trigger point injections. It is important to discuss with your doctor to determine proper diagnosis and which treatment may be the best.

Specialized Physical Therapy can prevent ACL Knee injuries

Clinical trials have demonstrated that preventative neuromuscular training (PNMT) can be effective in reducing anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries in the young females. Proximal control exercises (Quads, Hamstrings) and multi exercises genres increased the efficacy of PNMT intervention.

Approximately 350,000 individuals get ACL reconstruction (ACLR) surgery to repair or reconstruct the ruptured ACL and restore knee function annually. Although ACLR is the gold standard for treatment of the young active individual, approximately 23% of high school athletes who ACLR repair tear their contra-lateral or reconstructed ACL within 1 year within return to sports. Approximately 71% of individuals who had ACLR surgery develop moderate level of knee arthritis within 10-15 years.

Given this, the use of neuromuscular training should not only help to prevent ACL injury, but may also help delay or prevent the development of knee arthritis.

The video below shows some of the neuromuscular training exercises for strengthening the ACL.

 

Turmeric for arthritis pain

Turmeric, a yellow-colored spice found across the world, from American yellow mustard to spicy Indian curries, is one of nature’s most powerful anti-inflammatories.  In fact, Dr. James Duke, a world-renowned ethnobotanist (a scientist that studies the relationship of people and plants) found that turmeric does a better job treating chronic inflammation than many current pharmaceuticals and it has very few side effects.  Turmeric contains over 20 different compounds that fight inflammation with at least six acting as direct COX-2 inhibitors.  Since the COX-2 enzyme causes inflammation leading to swelling and pain, turmeric can reduce these symptoms by blocking the COX-2 enzyme.  Several studies have shown turmeric and curcumin (a component of turmeric) to be effective in treating pain from all forms of arthritis.  Turmeric may also help to prevent Alzheimer’s disease and certain forms of cancer.  Turmeric can also help with pain from fibromyalgia.

 

Turmeric is usually taken as a dietary supplement with a dose of 500mg twice per day.  For those of you that are a bit more adventurous, try brewing turmeric tea – watch the video below to learn how.  For more information of treating your arthritis, visit a board-certified Austin pain management doctor at Capitol Pain Institute.