Posts Tagged ‘Stiffness’

Simple exercise for back pain and annoying nagging stiffness between the shoulder blades

June 20th, 2012 7 comments

February 25th, 2009 No comments
Antonio LeMaire asked:

The term “arthritis” refers generally to an inflammation of the joints and is typically associated with stiffness and joint pain. The different forms of arthritis vary in terms of cause, severity and potential pain relief treatments.

Management of arthritis pain depends not only upon the specific condition, but also upon your age, lifestyle, and unique response to different treatment methods.

Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis

The two most common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Together these conditions affect approximately 40 million people in the United States alone.

* Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition involving deterioration of the cartilage in the joints, resulting in joint pain or stiffness.

* Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory disease affecting the lining of the joints. While osteoarthritis is far more common, rheumatoid arthritis is often a much more severe form of the disease.

Before assessing your arthritis pain relief options, it is important to consult with a physician to determine whether you have arthritis, and if so, which type since treatment options differ.

Common Causes of Arthritis Pain

The joint pain associated with arthritis may be caused by a variety of factors. Most commonly, arthritis pain originates from:

* Inflammation of the tendons, ligaments or lining of the joints. This inflammation may be accompanied by swelling or redness, which results in joint pain.

* Joint tissue damage, which may be related to an injury or excess pressure on the joints.

* Fatigue, which is sometimes a result of arthritis and can make the joint pain seem more intense and the condition more difficult to cope with.

Arthritis Pain Treatment Options

There are a variety of ways to treat arthritis pain and other joint pain. It’s essential to be aware that people respond differently to different treatments. An individual’s response to pain and pain relief treatments is affected by the particular disease or condition he/she suffers from, the severity of the pain, and a range of psychological and emotional factors.

Short Term Pain Relief

One of the most important considerations when evaluating arthritis pain relief treatment options is to be clear about whether you are focusing on short or long term pain relief.

For short term relief from arthritis pain, many people use hot or cold therapy, depending on the type of pain and the specific condition. Cold therapy in the form of an ice pack can sometimes provide pain relief by reducing swelling, but may not be a good option for patients with poor circulation. Heat therapy, either moist or dry, acts as a muscle relaxant, and can also provide short term pain relief.

Certain drugs can also give quick, short term relief from the joint pain associated with arthritis. Depending on the amount of inflammation, doctors will often recommend a pain relief medication such as acetaminophen or a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) like aspirin or ibuprofen.

Another non-drug alternative that provides some patients with short term relief from arthritis pain is TENS, or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. A TENS unit delivers electrical pulses to nerves in the affected area. The pulses block pain messages that the nerves would normally deliver to the brain, thereby bringing pain relief to the patient.

TENS therapy may also raise the level of endorphins produced by the brain. Endorphins are substances that are produced naturally in the body and contribute to feelings of well-being and pain relief.

Long Term Pain Relief

Because both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are chronic conditions, sufferers often need to look for long term options to deal with their joint pain.

Drugs such as NSAIDs provide some level of pain relief. In the case of rheumatoid arthritis, disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) target the immune system and are helpful for some patients. Corticosteroids are hormones that are sometimes prescribed for treatment of the joint pain and inflammation that typically accompany arthritis.

For many people with arthritis pain, exercise and physical therapy can help reduce stiffness and joint pain. Depending on the severity of the condition, walking, swimming, and a variety of strengthening and/or aerobic activities may be helpful, not only in pain relief but also from the standpoint of improving patients’ self-confidence and psychological and emotional well-being.

Overweight people suffering from arthritis pain are frequently advised to lose weight, since additional weight places an added burden on the joints.

In a small minority of cases, medication and lifestyle changes do not provide the desired pain relief and doctors may recommend surgery. Surgical procedures can remove tissue within the joint, or else realign or replace the joint.


February 2nd, 2009 No comments
Peter sams asked:

Back pain is an all-too-familiar problem that can range from a dull, constant ache to a sudden, sharp pain that leaves you incapacitated. It can come on suddenly – from an accident, a fall, or lifting something too heavy – or it can develop slowly, perhaps as the result of age-related changes to the spine. Regardless of how it happens or how it feels, you know it when you have it. And chances are, if you don’t have it now, you will eventually.

Lower back pain, also known as lumbago, affects 7 out of 10 people at some time in their lives. Low back pain means a pain or ache anywhere on your back, in between the bottom of the ribs and the top of the legs.

The pain can come on suddenly, slowly or be the direct result of a fall or injury.

There are many causes of back pain.

• The most common cause is a strain of the back, which is a small tear of the back muscles or ligaments. This usually results from a sudden or awkward movement, or from lifting a heavy object. But often, a person can’t remember a particular incident that brought on the pain.

• Other common causes include poor muscle tone in the back, tension or spasm of the back muscles and problems with the joints that make up the back.

The symptoms for back pain are:

• Persistent aching or stiffness anywhere along your spine, from the base of the neck to the hips.

• Sharp, localized pain in the neck, upper back, or lower back — especially after lifting heavy objects or engaging in other strenuous activity.

• Chronic ache in the middle or lower back, especially after sitting or standing for extended periods.

Types of Back Pain

Acute pain

One common type of pain is acute pain, currently defined as pain lasting less than 3 to 6 months, or pain that is directly related to tissue damage. This is the kind of pain that is experienced from a paper cut or needle prick. Other examples of acute pain include:

• Touching a hot stove or iron. This pain will cause a fast, immediate, intense pain with an almost simultaneous withdrawal of the body part that is being burned. More of an aching pain might be experience a few seconds after the initial pain and withdrawal.

Chronic back pain

Typically persists longer than the expected healing time for the identified cause of the pain—such as low back surgery—or persists after the identified cause of the pain has been treated.


This is a long-term degeneration of the joints, which makes them less able to withstand stress. It’s a wear-and-tear problem that affects most of us as we get older and which can give rise to pain in some cases.

Exercises to minimize problems with back pain

You can minimize problems with back pain with exercises that make the muscles in your back, stomach, hips and thighs strong and flexible. Some people keep in good physical condition by being active in recreational activities like running, walking, bike riding, and swimming. In addition to these conditioning activities, there are specific exercises that are directed toward strengthening and stretching your back, stomach, hip and thigh muscles.


Is it normal for my shoulders to hurt and to have slight upper back pain after sitting for a long time?

January 6th, 2009 3 comments
trer asked:

At work I am usually sitting in my cubicle for 9 hours a day in front of a computer. Lately, I’ve been getting stiffness in my neck, shoulder pain as well as other upper back ailments. Is this normal?


How do you get rid of lower back pain?

December 30th, 2008 7 comments
Rachel F asked:

My boyfriend has been experiencing lower back pain and stiffness, is there some sort of cracking or massage that will relieve this.. ? Do you know the cause..?


December 29th, 2008 No comments
Peter sams asked:

Back Pain

Back pain in the lower back or low back pain Low back pain is not a specific disease. Rather, it is a symptom that may occur from a variety of different processes. Back pain is common and the largest single cause of sickness absence in the UK. Although it can be very painful, it is normally not serious. Low back pain means a pain, or ache, anywhere on your back, in between the bottom of the ribs and the top of the legs. Pain in the lower back is a symptom of stress or damage to your ligaments, muscles, tendons or discs. In some cases the back pain can spread to the buttocks and thighs. Simple low back pain means that the pain is not due to any underlying disease that can be found. In some cases the cause may be a sprain (an over-stretch) of a ligament or muscle. In other cases the cause may be a minor problem with a disc between two vertebrae, or a minor problem with a small ‘facet’ joint between two vertebrae.

Symptoms of Back Pain

Pain may come on suddenly or gradually. It may vary from mild to severe, and it can be constant or it may come and go. It is usually sharp and burning and is made worse by sneezing, coughing, or straining to pass stools. Some people describe it as a shooting pain. The pain usually affects only one leg.

Aches, spasm and stiffness-You may have painful muscle spasms in your back. (Muscle spasms are when your muscles tighten on their own). These are very common, as your back has a network of muscles and nerves that can easily be strained or torn.1 The pain may be a constant dull ache, or it may be sharp and burn when you move around. Your back may be tender when you touch it.

Pain can also be made worse by activities that cause you to forcefully contract the core muscles of your trunk such as a cough, sneeze, or a difficult bowel movement, or if you hold your breath during an activity.

Neuropathic pain is caused by damage to nerve tissue. It is often felt as a burning or stabbing pain. One example of neuropathic pain is a “pinched nerve.


Heat Application

Applications of heat packs help ease much of the discomfort associated with muscle spasm causing low back pain. Patients can use heating pad, hot water bottles, or even a hot bath to help ease the muscle discomfort that often causes low back pain.


Your doctor may prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or in some cases, a muscle relaxant, to relieve mild to moderate back pain that doesn’t get better with over-the-counter pain relievers. Narcotics, such as codeine or hydrocodone, may be used for a short period of time with close supervision by your doctor.


Few people ever need surgery for back pain. There are no effective surgical techniques for muscle- and soft-tissue-related back pain. Surgery is usually reserved for pain caused by a herniated disk. If you have unrelenting pain or progressive muscle weakness caused by nerve compression, you may benefit from surgery.