Posts Tagged ‘Spinal Column’

February 6th, 2009 No comments
Anna Hart asked:

Is ongoing chest pain a sign of heart failure? Chest pains of any type can be frightening. You may think you are having a heart attack. The thought that it might be heart attack can increase chest pains. You should see a doctor immediately to be sure.

Supposing, though, that you have seen a doctor about your ongoing chest pain. You were not having a heart attack. Your doctor sent you home, but the chest pains continue to come and go.

Is ongoing chest pain a sign of heart failure that the doctor might miss?

Possible Reasons for Ongoing Chest Pains

Chest pains are often, but not always heart related. The nerves flowing from the spinal column can echo pain, making us think one part of the body hurts when the problem is actually in another part. Once we are convinced that chest pains relate to the heart, it can be difficult to find the true source of the problem. Physicians are frequently faced with this dilemma. The chest pain is not “all in your head”. It is real pain. It may not relate to the heart, however, no matter how much your head tells you it does.

We do not have space here to list every cause of chest pain, but we can give examples. Assuming you have already undergone physical examination for your chest pains, consider the following. You will want to discuss your chest pain with a qualified, licensed physician.

* Anxiety: Chest pains often are caused by anxiety. Your body responds to stressors by preparing for fight or flight. However, you do neither. Instead, you continue the anxious state of preparation. Your body continues to pour forth chemicals to help you fight or flee. This process can trigger ongoing chest pain. If this is true in your case, the ongoing chest pain is not a sign of heart failure. It is your body’s warning that you need to reduce anxiety.

* Angina pectoris: Chest pains may indicate blocked arteries. Do you get the chest pains when you engage in physical activities, try to handle emotional stress, or endure extreme temperatures? Do the chest pains feel like pressure under the breastbone? If so, ask your doctor to check for angina.

* Costochondritis: This cause of chest pains is really an inflammation of the joints in your chest. Inflammation where ribs and breastbone connect may cause chest pain along the edges of your breastbone. Your pain may get worse when you cough or take a deep breath. An anti-inflammatory medicine or heat may relieve the pain. This problem usually goes away on its own. Ask your doctor about it.

* Periconditis: Chest pains may also be caused by another type of inflammation – inflammation of the heart lining.

* Musculoskeletal: Ongoing chest pain may be a matter of muscle strain. Perhaps you twisted or lifted in such a way as to pull a chest muscle. This type of ongoing chest pain hurts when you touch the chest.

* Gall Bladder: A gall bladder attack can cause excruciating chest pain. This can stop and start many times. It is related to eating, however, and not to the heart.

* Acid reflux: A common cause of ongoing chest pain is acid reflux, GERD, or heartburn. This feels like the heart is in pain. It can come and go frequently. Ask your doctor if your ongoing chest pain may be related to your digestive system.

Make the Connection

Is your ongoing chest pain a sign of heart failure? It might be – if you have other symptoms of heart failure. Do you have trouble breathing? Do you become uncomfortable when lying flat because you feel short of breath? Are your legs and arms swollen with excess fluid? Have you gained weight from water retention? Do you feel like you have indigestion, and you would rather not eat because of it?

With your ongoing chest pain, do you feel tired, weak, and not able to do the physical things you usually do? Are you restless and confused? Does it seem that your attention span has grown shorter and your memory is failing?

These are some, but not all, of the symptoms that accompany chest pain if you are experiencing heart failure.

Helpful Tip

Your doctor will probably be able to make a tentative diagnosis of heart failure if you have swelling and are short of breath. He or she will listen to your chest, tap the chest, and even take a chest X-ray. If your doctor suspects heart failure, other tests will be ordered.

Many therapies can help ease your heart’s workload. If your chest pains are caused by heart failure, your physician can help.

CAUTION: The information presented here is for general educational purposes only. It is not a substitute for medical advice. You should not rely on this information to make health decisions. Consult your family doctor about your personal condition.


January 12th, 2009 No comments
P.Bhargav Kashyap asked:

Oh! Pain in the Neck?!

Neck pain, at times, can become pain in the neck’ quite literally. People who have experienced neck pain alone know how painful the neck pain can turnout to be.

Neck is one of the most flexible regions of the spine, which consists of vertebrae, seven shock absorbing discs, muscles, and vertebral ligaments to hold them in place. The uppermost cervical disc connects the top of the spinal column to the base of the skull. The spinal cord, which sends nerve impulses to every part of the body, runs through a canal in the cervical vertebrae and continues all the way down the spine.

What Causes neck pain?

Most people experience neck pain at some point in their lives. Neck pain can be acute, lasting for few hours or a few weeks, or it can be chronic. Neck pain that lasts several weeks or longer is considered chronic neck pain.

Neck pain can be caused by an activity or injury or by a medical condition. Your head and neck region is vulnerable to many different stresses. Bad posture can cause misalignment of your neck, head, and spine. Car accidents can cause whiplash. Age and wear and tear can cause arthritis. Even activities such as chewing gum and reading in bed and cause pain. How do we avoid these potential problems? And if we can’t avoid them, how can we recover as quickly as possible.

Non-specific neck pain

Many people develop a stiff and painful neck for no obvious reason. It may happen after a minor twisting injury, for example while gardening. Since the underlying cause for this type of neck pain is not fully understood hence it is called ‘non-specific neck pain’ Having non-specific neck pain does not mean that your neck is damaged. Often it happens in people whose necks would appear completely normal under an x-ray. It is the most common type of neck pain and disappears after a few days.

Activities that cause neck pain

Neck pain mostly is caused by activities that result in repeated or prolonged movements of the neck’s muscles, ligaments, tendons, bones, or joints. This can result in a strain(an overstretched or overused muscle), a sprain (injury to a ligament), a spasm of the neck muscles, or inflammation of the neck joints.

           1. Holding your head in a forward or odd position for long periods of time

               while working, reading, watching TV, or talking on the telephone.

           2. Sleeping on a pillow that is too high or too flat or doesn’t adequately 

               support your head, or sleeping on your stomach with your neck twisted

               or bent.

           3. Spending long periods of time resting your forehead on your upright fist

               or arm.

           4. Work that uses the upper body and arms, such as painting a ceiling or 

               other overhead work.

Injuries that cause neck pain

The Spine consists of interlocking bones(vertebrae) and discs that separate the vertebrae. The portion of the spine that runs through the neck is known as the cervical spine. Muscles and ligaments in the neck hold the cervical spine together. Injury to any of these structures may result in neck pain.

Minor injuries may occur from tripping or from excessive motion of the cervical spine. Severe neck injuries may occur from whiplash in an accident, falls from significant heights, direct blows to the face or the back or top of the head, sports-related injuries , a penetrating injury such as a stab wound, or pressure applied to the outside of the neck, such as strangulation.

Pain from an injury may be sudden and severe. Bruising and swelling may develop soon after the injury. Sudden (acute) injuries can result in strain and pain in the neck, dislocation of the spin, or a ruptured disc.

Medical conditions that cause neck pain 

                  1. Neck pain may be caused by or related to medical conditions such as:

                  2. Cervical Spinal Stenosis

                  3. Cervical Spondylosis

                  4. Illnesses, such as meningitis, which cause inflammation around the

                      tissues of the brain and spinal cord.

                  5.Chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, or

                     ankylosing spondylitis

Torticollis (wryneck): Torticollis is

caused by severe muscle tightness or a shortened muscle on

one side of the neck, causing the head to be tilted to one side.

Referred pain: Referred pain occurs when

a problem in one place in the body causes pain in another

place. For example, a problem with your jaw or your heart can

cause neck pain.

Infection or a tumor in the neck area.

Signs and Symptoms

Neck pain takes many forms. Signs and symptoms of neck pain may include:

           1. Pain in your neck that may be sharp or dull

           2. Stiffness in your neck

           3. Difficulty going about your daily tasks because of pain or stiffness in

               your neck

           4. Shoulder pain in addition to neck pain, in some cases

           5. Back pain in addition to neck pain, in some cases

Help yourself to prevent neck pain

Take frequent breaks: Don’t sit in one place for a long time, such as your car or at your desk.

Arrange some of the items in your office that cause inconvenience. This will force you to get up, stretch or walk around.

Maintain good neck posture:

Adjust the seat of your computer or desk chair so that your hips are slightly higher than your knees. Your head and neck will naturally follow in the correct position. While traveling in a car, airplane or train, place a small pillow or rolled towel between your neck and a head rest to keep the normal curve in your neck.

Avoid too many pillows:

Avoid sleeping with too many pillows or falling asleep in front of the television with your head on the arm of a couch.

Exercise: Treat your body to a consistent regimen of stretching and strengthening to balance your muscle groups. This protects your neck as well as helping your whole body. Walking at any pace is excellent exercise for your neck. The rotation of the spine provides a great natural workout for the neck muscles.

Eat smart and Drink water:

Good nutrition and staying well hydrated are not only important to stay healthy, but vital in the healing process.

For more Health Tips:


December 29th, 2008 No comments
Ben Thompson asked:

Chronic back pain is pain that generally lasts longer than 3 months. Like any long lasting pain, it can interfere with normal daily functioning and create emotional and psychological, as well as, physical problems. There can be a fine line distinction between recurring and chronic pain, when the incidences of pain come close together over a long period of time. No matter how the pain is defined, it’s important to deal with all of the contributors to chronic back pain.

Medical science has slowly been coming to the conclusion that controlling pain for some people is as much as about controlling the pain center responses in the brain as it is to fixing the physical cause of the pain. In other words, you may have a physical reason for the chronic back pain, but the pain can be much worse due to psychological factors such as stress or worry. You can also increase your back pain by reducing your physical activity in response to the pain, resulting in an increasing deteriorating physical condition.

There are many approaches that can be taken to deal with chronic back pain. A doctor can prescribe medicine that blocks the pain response in the brain. Surgery is sometimes suggested, though it’s seldom the first choice. Often, the best way to deal with back pain is by increasing physical activity on a planned schedule.

All too often, people with back pain quit doing certain activities because of the pain. As a result, the muscles in the back weaken and are not exercised regularly. This can create even more pain as the spinal column fails to get adequate muscular support. Many people believe the only way to deal with chronic back pain is to take medicine, but that should be only one option you consider. Chronic back pain can often be temporarily lessoned with simple measure like ice or hot packs and massage. But when these fail, there are other alternatives.

* Trigger point injections of an anesthetic into the muscle area causing the most pain

* Minor surgery to implant electrodes along the spine to block pain signals from the brain (called spinal column stimulation)

* Spinal epidural which deadens the area on the spine where the pain is emanating

* Major surgery which such as a spinal fusion

Most of time some form of medication will be tried before deciding to have surgery. Surgery is the last resort, because it’s the most invasive. Also, since the source of a lot of back pain can’t be pinpointed, surgery becomes more exploratory than curing. Medications used to deal with chronic back pain include painkillers, anti-inflammatory medication, muscle relaxants and sedatives or anti-depressants. Since the feeling of pain starts in the brain, some drugs intended to calm a person mentally can sometimes result in less pain due to the changes they bring to brain chemicals.

As you can see, there are many alternatives to deal with chronic back pain. They range from temporary relief enabling you to handle a bout of long term recurring pain to invasive solutions.