Treatments for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

A man holding his wrist in front of his laptop due to pain from carpal tunnel syndrome.Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common condition affecting the hand; it causes symptoms such as tingling, numbness, and weakness, all of which can interfere significantly with work activities, chores at home, and other aspects of your day-to-day functions.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by pressure on the median nerve (which runs through the forearm to the hand through the wrist). A wide range of risk factors can cause this pressure to occur, including:

  • Injuries to the wrist
  • Nerve-damaging or inflammatory conditions
  • Obesity
  • Fluid retention
  • Work that involves repetitive flexing of the wrist

If you have developed (or are starting to develop) carpal tunnel syndrome, effective treatments are available to help you reduce discomfort and remain functional throughout your daily activities. Some of these treatments include:

Making adjustments to your work environment: If workplace factors are contributing to your carpal tunnel syndrome, certain adjustments may help to reduce the impact of symptoms and prevent the condition from worsening. It is recommended that you maintain good posture, keep your wrists relaxed and straight as often as you can, and take frequent, brief breaks to rest and stretch your hands. It may also help to change certain tools you use, such as your computer mouse, which may be contributing to the problem.

Wrist splints: You may find it helpful to start wearing a splint while sleeping. A splint holds your wrist still, reducing symptoms during the night. Using a splint at night may also improve your symptoms to a lesser extent throughout the following day.

Corticosteroids: Your doctor may inject a corticosteroid into your wrist to provide relief from your symptoms. Corticosteroids reduce inflammation in the wrist, which relieves pressure on the median nerve.

Surgery: If your symptoms are severe or unresponsive to other treatments, your doctor may recommend surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome, which involves cutting the ligament that’s placing pressure on the median nerve.

Non-surgical treatments may be more effective if the condition is caught early. You can receive a diagnosis and treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome with an orthopedist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center. To schedule an appointment, please call (718) 206-6923.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

What is Cervical Spondylosis?

Cervical spondylosis, also known as cervical osteoarthritis or arthritis of the neck, is wear and tear that occurs in the cervical spine (the part of the spine that runs through the neck) and can lead to problems such as pain and stiffness in the neck, muscle spasms, headaches, and dizziness. People with cervical spondylosis may also experience a clicking, popping, or grinding sound while moving their neck. However, many people with this condition may not experience any symptoms at all.

Wear and tear on the cervical spine can cause several changes to occur over time. Some of these include wearing down (also known as degeneration) of cervical disks, herniation (or bulging out) of spinal disks, osteoarthritis (the wearing down of cartilage), and bone spurs (bone growths that develop due to cartilage rubbing against bone tissue).

Changes in the spine due to wear and tear often begin in a person’s 30s and become increasingly common as people age. Aside from age, other factors that can make these changes more likely or severe include:

  • Smoking
  • Family history of cervical spondylosis
  • Frequent neck strain, which may occur in people who keep their neck in an improper position for long periods of time
  • Prior neck injuries
  • Frequent heavy lifting
  • Frequent exposure to vibration, which may occur in people who drive frequently for work

Your doctor will typically diagnose you with cervical spondylosis based on a physical exam and/or imaging tests that provide more detailed information about your cervical spine. The physical exam will usually check your neck flexibility, muscle strength, reflexes, gait (the way you walk), and knots of muscle in your neck and shoulders. Imaging tests may include an x-ray or CT scan (showing the bones of your neck), an MRI (showing the soft tissues of your neck), or a myelogram or electromyogram (showing any effects of cervical spondylosis on your nerves).

You can receive diagnostic testing or treatment for cervical spondylosis with an orthopedic specialist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center. To schedule an appointment, please call (718) 206-6923. You can also schedule an appointment at our Woodside office by calling (929) 429-3222, or our Fresh Meadows office by calling (718) 408-6977.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

What is Sciatica?

Sciatica is nerve pain that can occur throughout the lower back, buttocks, hips, and down the legs. This pain may be mild or severe and cause a variety of sensations, including anything from sharp or shooting pain to a burning or electric feeling. It can also occur constantly or intermittently and worsen based on posture, movement, and time spent sitting or standing.

The primary cause of sciatica is injury or irritation to the sciatic nerve, the largest nerve in the body. This nerve is most commonly injured due to a herniated or slipped disk. However, injury to the sciatic nerve can occur in a few different ways, including:

  • Degenerative disk disease
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Pressure from tumors
  • Piriformis syndrome
  • Cauda equina syndrome

Several risk factors, such as aging, obesity, prior injuries to the lower back or spine, pregnancy, or a job that requires significant physical exertion such as heavy lifting, may increase your likelihood of experiencing sciatica. However, these risks may be reduced through adjustments to your lifestyle and activities, such as:

Improving your posture: Improper form while exercising or lifting heavy weights, as well as poor posture while sitting, standing, or moving can increase your risk of sciatica.

Following a regular diet and exercise routine: A healthy, balanced diet and a workout routine that incorporates aerobic and strength exercises can help you manage sciatica risk factors such as obesity and diabetes. Exercises that build core strength can be especially helpful, as a stronger core provides more support for your lower back.

Avoiding tobacco: Tobacco products such as cigarettes contain nicotine, which causes spinal tissue, vertebral disk, and bone damage over time that can impact the sciatic nerve.

You can find effective treatment for most cases of sciatica from specialists such as chiropractors and physical therapists. However, for severe cases, you may need to work with a neurologist to diagnose the most likely cause and find the right treatment approach. You can find a doctor to treat sciatica at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Ambulatory Care Center. To schedule an appointment, please call (718) 206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

What is Dupuytren’s Contracture?

Dupuytren’s contracture is a condition that affects approximately five percent of people throughout the United States. It causes nodules to develop in the layer of tissue under the skin of your palm over the course of years. This condition can affect both of your hands, though in most cases, one hand is affected more severely than the other.

In the beginning stages of Dupuytren’s contracture, the skin on the palm of your hand thickens. Later, this skin may appear puckered or dimpled and develop a firm lump that is tender when touched.

As nodules form over time, tough cords of tissue develop beneath the skin, rendering your fingers unable to completely straighten, resulting in a forced and constant bending of the fingers as they’re pulled toward your palm. This can make a large number of routine activities that require the use of your hands more difficult.

There is no clear cause for Dupuytren’s contracture, though certain factors may indicate that you are more likely to develop it. It is a hereditary disease, and men of Northern European descent are affected most frequently. It also typically only begins after the age of 50.

Certain lifestyle factors, such as tobacco and alcohol usage, are also associated with an increased risk of developing Dupuytren’s contracture, as well as people with diabetes and seizure disorders.

There is no cure for Dupuytren’s contracture, but surgical and non-surgical treatments are available. Anti-inflammatory steroid injections into the nodules that form beneath the skin may slow the progression of the condition, and in advanced cases, surgery can remove the cords that form in the hands to restore mobility.

Two types of surgical procedures are available for Dupuytren’s contracture: fasciotomy and subtotal palmar fasciectomy. During a fasciotomy, the cords in your hand are divided, not removed; during a subtotal palmar fasciectomy, these cords are removed, along with as much abnormal tissue as possible.

You can receive treatment for Dupuytren’s contracture from Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Department of Orthopedic Surgery. To schedule an appointment, please call (718) 206-6923.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

The Facts About Tendonitis

Tendonitis is an inflammation or irritation of the thick cord (tendon) that attaches you bone to muscle.

This condition occurs when an area is repeatedly injured by impact. There are various activities that can cause tendonitis.  Some of the more common causes include:

  • Gardening
  • Manual Labor
  • Golfing and Tennis
  • Skiing
  • Throwing

Often times, the injury is due to a lack of conditioning, such as stretching, before exercise or playing sports.

Some other reasons for Tendonitis may be medical.  It can be brought on by the strain of rheumatoid arthritis, gout, psoriatic arthritis and thyroid disorders.

Tendonitis usually occurs anywhere in the body where a tendon connects to a muscle such as the shoulder, hip, knee, elbow, Achilles tendon or at the base of the thumb.

The good news is, you can prevent tendonitis from happening.  If you are starting an exercise regimen, you should gradually build up to a comfortable level.  This will help your body strength grow with your exercise level.

If you are experiencing pain in your tendons or joints and would like to make an appointment to see a doctor at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-7001 for an appointment.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Rotator Cuff Injury

The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles and tendons that keep your arm in the shoulder socket.  Damage or injury caused to the rotator cuff can result in limited mobility or permanent loss of motion of the shoulder joint.

Rotator cuff injuries are very common; in fact, it is estimated that close to 2 million people living in the United States seek treatment for rotator cuff problems every year.

Injuries occur most often in people who repeatedly perform overhead motions in their daily activities.  However, an injury can also be sustained due to an accident or the degeneration of tendons. These factors put some at risk of injury more than others.  Those who have an increased risk of injury include:

  • Individuals who play certain sports that involve the use of repetitive arm motions such as baseball or tennis
  • Individuals employed in occupations that require the use of constant overhead motion such as a house painting
  • Individuals over the age of 40

Injury to the rotator cuff can range from microscopic tears to large irreparable tears.  According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, symptoms can vary depending on the severity of these tears and may include:

  • Pain at rest and at night, particularly if lying on the affected shoulder
  • Pain when lifting and lowering your arm or with specific movements
  • Weakness when lifting or rotating your arm
  • Crepitus or crackling sensation when moving your shoulder in certain positions

If you are experiencing these symptoms, it is recommended that you schedule an appointment to see a doctor as soon as possible.  Prolonging a doctor’s visit can result in more damage.

Your doctor may conduct a physical examination and (or) imaging tests such as x-rays or an MRI to determine if you have received an injury. Treatment for a rotator cuff injury may include rest, physical therapy or surgery.

To schedule an appointment with a doctor at Jamaica Hospital Medical, please call 718-206-6923

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Break Free from Osteoporosis by Learning How to Prevent and Manage the Disease.

Osteoporosis is a disease that weakens the bones, making them more susceptible to breaking. Approximately 10 million Americans have osteoporosis and another 44 million have an increased risk, due to poor bone density. In fact, one in two women and one in four men will break a bone due to osteoporosis in their lifetime.

There are a number of factors that can increase the likelihood that you’ll develop osteoporosis – some are controllable, but others are not. Some of the factors are:

• Gender – Women are much more likely to develop osteoporosis than men.
• Age – The older you get, the greater your risk of osteoporosis.
• Race – You’re at the greatest risk of osteoporosis if you’re white or of Asian descent.
• Family history – Having a parent or sibling with osteoporosis puts you at greater risk.
• Body frame size – Men and women who have small body frames tend to have a higher risk because they may have less bone mass to draw from as they age.
• Hormone levels – Osteoporosis is more common in people who have too much or too little of certain hormones in their bodies.
• Dietary factors – Those with a lower calcium intake or have a history of eating disorders are at an increased risk
• Medications – Long-term use of oral or injectable steroids can interfere with the bone rebuilding process
• Lifestyle – Excessive alcohol consumption and tobacco use can contribute to the weakening of bones.

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF), the keys to combatting osteoporosis are diet, exercise, and lifestyle. Recommendations include:

  • Get plenty of calcium and vitamin D in your diet
  • Quit smoking and limit alcohol consumption
  • Participate in weight-bearing and muscle strengthening exercises on a regular basis

A bone density test can be performed to measure the proportion of mineral in your bones. During this painless test, you lie on a padded table as a scanner passes over your body. In most cases, only a few bones are checked — usually in the hip, wrist and spine.

Hormone therapy or medications can be administered to treat osteoporosis, but there are side effects. Please consult your doctor. If you do not have a doctor, Jamaica Hospital has qualified physicians at our Ambulatory Care Center. To make an appointment, please call 718-206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Visiting the Mall Can Improve Your Health!

We all know that regular physical activity is important to our overall health, especially for seniors.

Did you know walking is a great way for older adults to remain active?

Seniors who commit to taking a brisk walk each day may be at a lower risk of:

  • Heart Disease
  • Stroke
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Breast and colon cancers
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia

With the onset of colder months upon us, how can older adults continue their walking routine and remain active?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that in the colder months, you can utilize indoor malls for your brisk walk.  Malls can be pedestrian friendly, they are climate-controlled, are well lit, have benches for resting, fountains for hydrating, restrooms, as well as security guards and cameras for safety.

For more information on mall walking programs and for other walking resources visit the CDC’s Mall Walking: A program Resource Guide at – https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/downloads/mallwalking-guide.pdf

So get yourself a comfortable pair of walking shoes, hit the mall and improve your health!

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Plantar Fasciitis

Have you ever experienced heel pain when you take those first few steps in the morning? The cause of this discomfort may be due to a tightening of the band of tissue known as the plantar fascia that runs along the bottom of the foot, from the heel to the toes.

When this ligament becomes strained, irritated, inflamed or swollen and causes pain when walking, the condition is known as plantar fasciitis.

Risk factors and causes of plantar fasciitis:

•High foot arches
•Flat feet
•Standing or walking on a hard surface for long periods of time
•Being overweight or obese
•Poor fitting shoes
•Tight Achilles tendons or calf muscles
•Tiny tears in the plantar fascia caused by repetitive straining
A proper diagnosis of plantar fasciitis is made by a physical examination of the foot and obtaining a comprehensive medical history of the patient. An x-ray or an MRI may be needed to see if there is a bone fracture that is causing the problem, also to determine if there is a bone spur present on the bottom of the heel.

Treatment of plantar fasciitis can involve taking an anti-inflammatory medication, physical therapy, stretching exercises, shoe inserts known as orthotics, steroid injections, and ultrasound. In severe cases, a surgical procedure may be necessary to provide relief.

If you would like to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist at Jamaica Hospital to evaluate any foot conditions that may be causing discomfort, please call 718-206-6712.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

What is Scoliosis ?

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Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the backbone (spine ). In the majority of cases,  the cause of this curvature is unknown. In general, girls have a higher risk of developing scoliosis than boys do.However,  there are cases where the curvature is due to a person having muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy. Other causes of scoliosis include birth defects, heredity, and spinal injuries. Not all abnormal spinal curvatures are considered scoliosis. A non-structural deformity can be due to one leg being longer than the other.

Many cases of scoliosis are considered to be mild and other than the spine having an abnormal sideways curvature, there is little impact on the body’s ability to function properly. In serious, the curvature of the spine may be so severe that it affects the chest cavity and causes problems with lung function.  It may also affect the heart’s ability to function properly.

Symptoms of scoliosis:
• Hips that are uneven
• Uneven shoulders
• Uneven waist
• Back pain
• One shoulder blade that protrudes more than the other

In severe cases the ribs on one side of the body may protrude more than the other side
In order to diagnose scoliosis a physician will perform a physical exam that includes visualizing the patient’s posture, taking a family history, performing a neurological exam to check for muscle weakness, numbness, and abnormal reflexes. A series of x-rays will also be taken to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment of scoliosis is determined by the severity of the abnormal spinal curvature, the age of the patient, the location of the curvature, and whether or not the curvature is “C” shaped or a “double S “. In many cases no treatment will be required, only careful monitoring to see if the condition worsens over time. In cases that are moderate a brace may be prescribed to prevent the worsening of the condition. Severe cases of scoliosis may require surgical intervention. This procedure involves fusion of two or more vertebrae and the use of either rods, plates and screws to hold the spine in place.

If you think that your child may have an abnormal curvature of the spine, speak with your pediatrician about an evaluation. To schedule an appointment with a pediatrician at Jamaica Hospital, please call 718-206-7001.

 

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.