Frequently Asked Questions about Shoulder Mobility

If you are experiencing pain in your shoulders or upper back, you may have a decreasing shoulder mobility range. When your doctor diagnoses you with this, your mind may whirl with questions. Getting answers to the questions you have will help you to better understand your condition, how it will affect your life, and what can be done to improve it. Here are three frequently asked questions about shoulder mobility.

Why Should I Be Concerned about Shoulder Mobility?

When you are diagnosed with decreasing shoulder mobility, you may wonder what this means and why it should concern you. Your shoulder mobility is basically the range in which your shoulders can move and how much weight they can push, pull, and lift. When you go to lift items, you are using your shoulder mobility. If you lose shoulder mobility, you are losing strength in your shoulders. This can limit the amount of weight you can carry or lift. This may also limit the activities you partake in. You should be concerned about shoulder mobility because if you overexert yourself, your shoulders can get tight and cause you pain. This pain can extend down your back. So if you once could lift 100 pounds and your shoulder mobility has decreased, you may attempt to lift the same amount only to cause yourself pain.

How Is Shoulder Mobility Lost?

Now that you know what shoulder mobility is, you may be wondering how it is lost or decreases. Here are three common ways shoulder mobility is lost.

  • Injury

If you injure your shoulder, or any of the muscles or tendons around the shoulder, you may lose shoulder mobility. Sometimes this is a temporary loss until your injury recovers. Other times, you never fully heal and your mobility loss is permanent.

  • Age

As you age, your range of motion naturally decreases. This is because your joint surfaces lose some of their smoothness, which causes problems. There are ways to combat this, such as eating right and living a healthy lifestyle, but in general, age can be a cause of shoulder mobility loss.

  • Reduction in Use or Overuse

If you commonly work out your shoulder muscles and then you stop doing so, you will notice your shoulder mobility will lessen as you aren’t using those muscles any longer. You can also lose shoulder mobility if you overuse these areas, as you cause the joint surface to weaken and lose smoothness and cause the cartilage to wear down.

How Can Physical Therapy Help Me Regain Shoulder Mobility?

If you are beginning to experience a decline in your shoulder mobility, either due to an injury or aging, physical therapy can help you regain some of your shoulder mobility. A physical therapist will do an evaluation and see how much shoulder mobility you have. You may have more shoulder mobility with your shoulders extended above your head or when your shoulders are tucked forward. The therapist will also conduct a range of motion test, determining how far you can move and roll your shoulders before experiencing pain. Once they have an idea as to your shoulder mobility, they will put together a plan that will help you regain muscle and mobility through stretches and exercises. The exact exercises are tailored to your injuries, but some common physical therapy exercises that work the shoulder area include unilateral chest openers, triceps stretch, and arm swings. The physical therapist will work with you in their office, but will also send you home with exercises that should be completed daily at your own home. As your mobility returns or increases, changes will be made to your routine to constantly challenge your shoulders and bring back as much mobility as possible.

When a doctor diagnoses you with limited shoulder mobility, you may have many questions. Learning what shoulder mobility is, how it impacts your life, what causes it, and how it can be treated with physical therapy will better help you to understand the condition you have been diagnosed with. Speak with a representative from an establishment like DeSoto Memorial Hospital to learn more about physical therapy.

3 Ways To Help A Relative Through Chemotherapy

If one of your close relatives was recently diagnosed with cancer, there is a good chance that he or she may have to go through chemotherapy (chemo) for treatment of this horrible disease. Chemo is one of the most common treatment options used for many types of cancer, and it is recommended by most oncologists. While it can help stop the cancer from spreading, it can also have side-effects. If you want to help your relative through this tough time, you may want to consider doing the following things.

Be There Without Expectations

The number one way to support a friend or relative that is going through chemo is to be there for him or her without expecting anything in return. Chemo is a huge event in a person’s life and can leave a person weak, sick, and depressed. If you want to truly support your relative during this time, be there for him or her as much as possible. Keep in mind, though, that he or she will not be able to give much to you during this time.

When you call and get no answer, leave a message, but don’t expect him or her to return your call. If you stop by to visit and your relative is not in the mood to talk, realize that it is probably because he or she isn’t feeling well. You could sit with him or her or ask if there’s something needed, but don’t expect anything from him or her.

Go With To Chemo Treatments

Chemo is usually done at a hospital or doctor’s office, and each treatment may last several hours. During this time, your friend will receive the treatment while lying in a bed. If you want to be supportive of your relative, you can accompany him or her to the treatments. He or she will need someone to drive him or her there, so you may want to just plan on staying while the treatment is done.

While the treatment is being conducted, your relative may get bored and uncomfortable, but you can bring things along that might help. Here are some ideas of things to bring that may help him or her get through these treatments a little easier:

  • Movies – Most chemo centers have TVs and DVD players you can use during treatment. If you can, bring along some movies your relative would enjoy. This could keep him or her occupied for several hours during treatment.
  • Music – Headphones and a music player are also nice to have for people that enjoy listening to music.
  • Books – If your relative enjoys reading, bring some books or magazines along for him or her to read.

You could also ask your relative if there’s anything else you could bring to make this treatment time a little easier or more enjoyable.

Make Meals

The third important thing to consider doing for your relative is bringing meals. This is especially important if he or she lives alone or if your relative was the primary person in the home responsible for making meals.

Not only will this ensure that your relative is getting nutrition, but it could also be a huge burden lifted off his or her shoulders. As you plan your meals, keep in mind that a person going through chemo will need certain types of foods to eat. The types needed will help the person rebuild his or her strength and immune system. Here are some suggestions:

  • Whole grains – Whole grains contain vitamins, fiber, and minerals and are great for people going through chemo. This can include whole wheat bread, brown rice, quinoa, wheat germ, and barley.
  • Proteins – Proteins are great for boosting the immune system and can include lean red meat, eggs, tofu, and beans.
  • Fluids – You can also provide your relative with an assortment of different beverages to drink. These are important for keeping him or her hydrated. Some options include seltzer water, popsicles, sherbet, and fruit juices.

With the right support and love, your relative may be able to get through this time period a little easier. If you would like to learn more ways to help, talk to the oncologist that is treating your relative.

What Are Your Best Natural Back Pain Treatment Options?

If you suffer from periodic or chronic lower back pain, you may be tired of depending upon heating pads, over-the-counter medication, and even prescription narcotics or muscle relaxers to help you get through the day. Back pain can limit your ability to walk long distances or even sit for extended periods of time, limiting the amount and type of work you’re able to do. Fortunately, there are a number of non-surgical treatments that can help relieve your lower back pain with regular use. Read on to learn more about some of the options available to help relieve the spinal pain and limited range of motion you may be experiencing.

Chiropractic treatment

In some cases, your back pain and stiffness may be due to the buildup of scar tissue within or misalignment of the vertebrae in your lower back. A chiropractor will take X-rays of your spine to determine which vertebrae could be causing your issues, and what must be done to correct the alignment of your spine and reduce the amount of pain and stiffness you’re feeling. The chiropractor will then use one of several techniques to re-align your spine and break up any scar tissue that could be restricting the movement of your spine.

You may notice instant relief after your first chiropractic treatment, or you may need periodic appointments to help re-align your spine to its proper position. If you find yourself needing multiple chiropractor visits per week, you may want to investigate some physical therapy exercises to help your body learn how to naturally keep your spine in alignment.

Physical therapy

Often, back pain can be caused by your lower spine and pelvis slipping out of alignment — whether due to faulty footwear, too much standing or walking, or an improper stride while walking. Fortunately, there are some exercises that can help shape and strengthen the muscles surrounding your spine, keeping your vertebrae in line and extending the effects of your chiropractic treatment.

You’ll likely want to make an appointment with a physical therapist to go over the exercises you’ll need to do, and ensure that you’re performing them with proper form. If you’re not keeping your back, hips, and legs in the right position while going through these exercises, you could find yourself doing more harm than good. After you’re confident that you’re performing these stretches and exercises correctly, you may be able to forgo the physical therapy appointments and do these exercises on your own time, in the privacy of your own home. Most physical therapy regimens are prescribed for at least four weeks, so if you’re not noticing instant relief, give yourself some more time before throwing in the towel.

Acupuncture

Another back pain treatment option that has met with success (both by itself and in combination with chiropractic treatment or physical therapy) is acupuncture. This treatment involves the placement of multiple hair-thin needles in the skin above certain pressure points on your body. These pressure points operate “channels” through which blood and lymphatic fluid flow, and placing thin needles on these pressure points can help open the channels and increase blood flow to the affected areas.

Many acupuncture patients enjoy this treatment for the relaxation and pain relief it provides. Like chiropractic treatment, acupuncture can trigger instant pain relief in some cases, while in others it is a more long-term, slow-acting treatment. You may wish to combine acupuncture with physical therapy or chiropractic treatment (or both) to help you gain the most comprehensive level of drug-free pain relief while also increasing your health by strengthening the muscles and joints of your lower back. Click here for more information.

First Pregnancy? What Should You Know About Ultrasounds?

If you’re experiencing your first pregnancy, you may have already heard your baby’s heartbeat on a fetal monitor or Doppler device. You’re likely even more eager to see your child for the first time during a routine ultrasound, and to receive photo prints (or sonograms) of your child’s face, feet, and other features. This procedure offers a variety of benefits, but you may still have some questions or concerns. Read on to learn more about what to expect from your first ultrasounds as well as answers to some questions you may have had about this procedure.

What is an ultrasound?

An ultrasound is a type of diagnostic tool that uses high-frequency sound waves to create a detailed 3D image (similar to sonar used by submarines to navigate through dark ocean waters).  Although ultrasounds are used to diagnose and treat a variety of illnesses, including heart disease, peptic ulcers and other digestive problems, and kidney issues, they are most frequently associated with pregnancy and fetal monitoring.

When should you get an ultrasound?

Unless you have previous risk factors that could cause you to seek an ultrasound sooner, you’ll probably have an anatomy scan (to determine the sex of your baby, if you’d like to know) between weeks 18 and 20 of your pregnancy. This helps your doctor ensure that your baby is on-track with his or her growth rate, identify any potential problems, and allow you to see and learn more about your unborn child.

After you have your ultrasound, your doctor may meet with you to go over the sonograms and explain what they mean. Your doctor will use these photos to measure the approximate amount of amniotic fluid surrounding your baby, as well as examine the placenta and umbilical cord to ensure that both are healthy. If it looks like your baby is at risk of having his or her umbilical cord cut off the oxygen supply, your doctor may manipulate the position of your baby (while watching carefully on the ultrasound) until he or she is out of harm’s way.

Is it safe to have multiple ultrasounds during your pregnancy?

Over the past few decades, several groups have raised concerns about the safety of having multiple ultrasounds during pregnancy, including “mall ultrasounds,” which have continued to increase in popularity since the early 2000s. However, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that this procedure causes any harm at all. Unlike X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs (all of which are restricted during pregnancy), ultrasounds do not involve radiation or magnetic forces, but just harmless high-frequency sound waves. 

What are some situations in which you may need more frequent monitoring?

There are a few conditions that can be identified at the 20-week ultrasound and may require some follow-up ultrasounds or fetal non-stress tests (NSTs). It’s important to abide by your doctor’s recommended schedule for all ultrasounds and NSTs — if you have a high-risk pregnancy, missing a scheduled exam by even a day could be risky.

Premature aging of the placenta, which often leads to preterm birth and has been associated with stillbirth for babies over 40 weeks, can be quickly diagnosed at the 20-week ultrasound and monitored for the duration of your pregnancy. If your baby shows any signs of distress or the placenta becomes too degraded to effectively transmit oxygen, your doctors can help you quickly deliver to avoid any permanent harm. Without monitoring, you may have a much higher-risk pregnancy.

Another condition that may be identified at the 20-week ultrasound is abnormally low or high levels of amniotic fluid. Both conditions are relatively easy to treat (often, low amniotic fluid can be resolved simply by drinking more water and consuming water-based foods) but, if undiagnosed, could lead to serious complications later in pregnancy. Fortunately, both conditions are relatively rare, and with the combined skill of your physician and the ultrasound technician, should be quickly caught and successfully monitored to increase your odds of delivering a full-term, healthy baby.