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Weakness of the arms or legs is an indicator of a problem with the nervous system. The problem could be a case of functional weakness, or it could indicate an underlying issue, such as nerve damage or illness. Weakness may appear suddenly or develop gradually depending on its cause. An assessment of limb weakness is necessary to evaluate symptoms and make an accurate diagnosis.

Did you know?

There are certain signs and symptoms that, when accompanying limb weakness, require immediate emergency attention. If you are experiencing any type of muscle weakness accompanied by breathing difficulty or a sudden inability to perform basic tasks, such as chewing, talking, or walking – visit your nearest emergency room. You should also get emergency services if you are suddenly unable to raise your head from a lying down position.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I get an evaluation if I am experiencing the symptoms of limb weakness?

If you suffer from weakness that affects one or more of your arms or legs, see a doctor or therapist for an evaluation as soon as possible. Although limb weakness is not always a serious condition, the only way of knowing for sure is by undergoing an evaluation.

What should I expect during a limb weakness evaluation?

During a limb weakness evaluation, you will be asked about the type of weakness you are experiencing. For example, are you feeling sensations of heaviness and fatigue in your muscles? Or perhaps you are having difficulty performing certain motor functions or placing weight on an affected limb. Your doctor will also want to know when the onset of your weakness was and if it has worsened over time. Be sure to tell your doctor if you have a family history of limb weakness or if you have other symptoms associated with it. Based on your answers, your doctor may recommend various tests, such as a physical exam that evaluates the function of affected limbs when put into certain actions. Laboratory tests may be used to check for conditions like anemia. Your doctor may also suggest electrodiagnostic testing to analyze the function of your nerves and muscles in motion and at rest.

What types of treatments are available to me after being evaluated?

There are many types of treatments available to patients with limb weakness though they vary based on diagnosis. For example, if you are suffering from functional limb weakness, the condition may go away or improve on its own without intervention. Other causes, such as fibromyalgia and neuromuscular diseases, require more extensive treatments.
Muscle and joint pain are very common among American adults, with approximately 100 million people suffering from chronic pain of some kind in the U.S. Musculoskeletal pain can occur as the result of many causes, the most common of which are injuries, birth deformities, and underlying illnesses like arthritis. Pain occurs when some component of the musculoskeletal system, such as the joints or muscles, becomes inflamed or damaged. But before doctors can treat symptoms, they must first identify the source of pain. Many patients undergo a musculoskeletal pain assessment exam to determine which course of treatment best fits their needs.

Did you know…

that musculoskeletal pain can affect any area of the body? There are muscles, joints, and connective tissues throughout the neck, torso, and extremities. Any injury or degenerative disease can cause chronic discomfort. Some of the most common types of musculoskeletal pain include that of the neck, lower back, upper back, shoulders, knees, hips, elbows, wrists and arms.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a musculoskeletal pain assessment or treatment?

You should see your doctor or therapist for a musculoskeletal pain assessment if you suffer from any type of chronic and undiagnosed pain. An exam can accurately detect the presence of scar tissues, joint degeneration, fractures, torn ligaments, and other complications responsible for pain. Based on the results of your assessment, your doctor or therapist can develop a treatment plan designed to alleviate symptoms and facilitate healing when possible.

What should I expect during musculoskeletal pain assessment and treatment?

Musculoskeletal pain assessments usually being with a brief medical history and interview about chronic symptoms. Your doctor or therapist will proceed with a physical examination and additional tests based on the location, intensity and frequency of your pain. For example, if a fracture is suspected, an x-ray may be necessary. If the pain seems to stem from musculoskeletal tissues, MRI imaging may be required to make an accurate diagnosis. Treatment is always customized according to each patient’s needs. Often, musculoskeletal treatments involve a combination of therapies, like physical therapy, joint injections, and pain medications.

Is there anything I can do to help facilitate treatment?

Yes. Be honest with your doctor or therapist about your medical history and any injuries you may have sustained. Do not wait for the pain to worsen before getting help, as early diagnosis and treatment can lead to a better outcome. Finally, follow your doctor or therapists instructions for care, which vary from patient to patient. This may include getting more rest, avoiding strenuous activities, or even engaging in moderate stretching and exercise.
Prolotherapy – formerly known as sclerotherapy – is a treatment used to facilitate the healing and regeneration of tissue in various parts of the body, such as damaged joints. Injections of mild irritants – usually sugar and water – are administered into the joint. As irritation occurs, the body recognizes it as an injury. Over time, new tissue growth occurs within the joint as a part of the body’s natural healing reaction. Doctors and therapists often recommend prolotherapy to people with injuries or chronically painful conditions like arthritis and fibromyalgia. Prolotherapy is also useful for the treatment of TMJ disorders, herniated discs, whiplash and carpal tunnel syndrome.

Did you know…

that the concepts of healing behind prolotherapy date back to the Roman time period? Injured gladiators were treated with hot needles inserted into affected joints. Today’s modern version of prolotherapy began in the 1950’s when a general surgeon began using sugar-water injections to treat damaged joints and hernias. Today, sugar solutions are still the most common type of prolotherapy injection, though modern injections also contain lidocaine to improve patient comfort.

Frequently Asked Questions

Am I a candidate for prolotherapy?

You may be a candidate for prolotherapy if you have chronic muscle or joint pain. New studies on its efficacy are still being carried out, but many patients report significant improvements in symptoms after just a few injections. Talk with your doctor about prolotherapy and whether it’s right for you. Prolotherapy is not recommended if you are taking anti-coagulants, have a local abscess, or are suffering from an acute infection like cellulitis.

What should I expect during prolotherapy?

Prolotherapy injections are administered while patients are awake and sometimes sedated. The injections contain a mild irritant that is injected directly into the joint. Your doctor may use the x-ray technology to guide the injection into the targeted area – especially when injections are being administered to areas of the spine. Most injections take only minutes to complete, with patients going home the same day.

How often will I need prolotherapy injections?

Though every patient is different, most undergo prolotherapy injections every few weeks for a period of several months. Some patients experience a reduction in pain by as much as 50 percent after just 3 injections. If you are experiencing rapid results, your doctor may recommend fewer injections. If your progress is slower, prolotherapy may be combined with other treatments, such as physical therapy.
Physical therapy is a valuable tool to doctors and orthopedists who are helping their patients rehabilitate injuries or recover from major surgery. It is a non-invasive method that can be used as a stand-alone therapy or in combination with other treatments. Physical therapy is a term used to describe a collection of therapeutic methods, such as exercise therapy, massage therapy, hot and cold therapy and electrical stimulation therapy. It is designed to challenge the body’s musculoskeletal system, pushing it beyond the boundaries caused by disease, deformity or injury.

Did you know…

that physical therapy is thousands of years old? Although there is no way of knowing exactly when it was first used, scientists do know that both Hippocrates and Hector advocated for its use as early as 460 B.C. But it wasn’t until the late 1800s and early 1900s that formal schools of physiotherapy began to emerge, along with professional societies of physical therapists. By the 1950s, physical therapy began to spread outside of hospital settings and into outpatient centers and doctor’s offices where it continues today.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will I need physical therapy?

There are many people who could benefit from physical therapy. Examples include athletes with overuse injuries, patients with arthritis, joint replacement surgery patients, and anyone who is limited by chronic musculoskeletal pain, stiffness, or motion range restrictions. Patients may also benefit from physical therapy if they are suffering from traumas to the body’s connective tissues, such as torn ligaments or tendinitis. To find out if physical therapy is right for you, contact your orthopedist to schedule a consultation.

What should I expect during a physical therapy session?

Your orthopedist will prescribe physical therapy that will challenge you without over-working you. The long-term goal for many orthopedic patients is improved joint mobilization and less pain. You can expect your physical therapy sessions to gradually increase in difficulty, constantly challenging you to make progress toward your goals. Some patients require physical therapy for just a few weeks, whereas others need it for several years. Your exact experience will vary according to your needs.

Is there anything I can do to help improve the outcome of my treatment?

It is not unusual for orthopedists to prescribe in-office physical therapy accompanied by at-home stretches or exercises. Depending on your specific circumstances, you may be advised to adopt a more active lifestyle or perhaps avoid certain physical activity until you make a full recovery. The most important thing you can do to facilitate a better treatment outcome is to follow your orthopedist’s instructions exactly as advised.
Electrodiagnostic testing involves two separate tests – electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction studies. The first is used to evaluate the function of the muscles and electrical activity within them when at rest and in use. Nerve conduction studies are used to evaluate the function of the nerves and how well they transmit electrical signals. The results can tell your doctor if symptoms are caused by damage to muscles, nerves, or potentially some other unrelated problem.

Did you know?

Electrodiagnostic testing can diagnose and help determine the severity of a number of conditions. Examples include nerve damage, peripheral neuropathy and myopathy. Electrodiagnostic testing is also a helpful tool for diagnosing focal neuropathies, such as carpal tunnel syndrome.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to undergo electrodiagnostic testing?

You may be a candidate for electrodiagnostic testing if you suffer from tingling, numbness, weakness or pain that radiates from your spine or neck. Using electrodiagnostic testing, your doctor or therapist can evaluate the cause of symptoms and make a diagnosis. This helps eliminate confusion over weather muscle weakness is a result of pain or physical damage.

What should I expect during electrodiagnostic testing?

During an EMG, a very fine, sterile needle will be inserted through the skin and into the muscle being examined. You may experience some discomfort, but it should not exceed that of an injection. You’ll be asked to gently flex the muscle while data is collected. The nerve conduction study is less invasive, using topical electrodes rather than needles. Electrical pulses will be sent between electrodes to determine how quickly the energy is transferred through the nerves. It usually takes about an hour to perform electrodiagnostic testing, which may consist of EMGs, nerve conduction studies, or both.

Will I need to follow any special instructions after undergoing electrodiagnostic testing?

In most cases, you will receive the preliminary results of electrodiagnostic testing the same day as the tests. Depending on those results, your doctor may be able to pinpoint the cause of your symptoms. Sometimes, the results of EMGs and nerve conduction studies are not definitive. However, they may provide a starting point from which your doctor can determine if further testing is necessary.

Dry needling helps alleviate local and referred trigger point pain. A trigger point is a hyper-irritable spot in the muscle that can be locally painful and/or refer to different regions of the body.

The treatment involves inserting a thin needle into trigger points within tight muscles, without injecting any substance. Penetration of a normal muscle is painless due to the small size of needles used; however, a shortened, supersensitive muscle will ‘grasp’ the needle which will result in what can be described as a cramping sensation. The result is a reflex relaxation and/or lengthening response. This reflex is a positive indicator that the dry needling is effectively reducing the tension caused by the trigger point. A dull soreness following the dry needling is typical for 1-2 days.

Dry needling is similar to acupuncture, but not the same. Acupuncture is based on meridian lines of the body and is derived from Eastern medicine. Needles are inserted superficially and left in for an extended period of time. Even though we believe acupuncture is effective, we do not provide it in our office. In dry needling, the needle is inserted into a trigger point, manipulated, and then removed. Dry needling is a quick and very effective technique in reducing tight and painful muscles. Tight muscles across a joint will increase joint pressure, cause malalignment, and pain in the joint and/or refer elsewhere. Dry needling can decrease pain, reduce muscle tension, improve strength and range of motion.

Physical Therapy is a conservative, non-invasive treatment used to relieve pain and treat underlying conditions of the neuromuscular system. Although it is highly effective on its own, the therapy works synergistically with massage therapy to deliver faster, more effective results. Massage prior to a chiropractic treatment helps loosen stiff muscles and make them more susceptible to manual adjustments. Many chiropractors not only recommend massage to patients – they offer it right in their offices.

Massage Therapy

Did you know…

that massage therapy has been used for thousands of years to relieve muscle stiffness and back pain related to stress and injury? Today, it is used around the world for those same reasons. In fact, there are more than 100 types of massage used in countries all around the world. Each offers its own benefits, but nearly all serve the same purposes – to relieve stress, improve range of motion, release built-up muscle toxins, and provide relief of pain and muscle stiffness.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I get a massage?

Not everyone is a candidate for massage, so see your primary care physician before getting treatment. According to the National Institute for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine, massage administered by a trained and licensed professional carries very low risk of complications.

What should I expect during my massage?

Your massage experience will depend primarily on the type of massage you get. If you see a professional masseuse, you can elect traditional massage for superficial muscle relaxation or deep tissue massage to target the muscles deep beneath the skin. Massages are usually available for durations of up to 90 minutes, although you can reap the benefits of massage in just 30 minutes or less.

Will I need to follow any special instructions following my massage?

Yes. Massage therapy helps loosen muscles by relieving toxins that are stored in them. These toxins need to be flushed out of your system in the hours following your massage, so it is recommended that you drink plenty of water once you complete your treatment.
Many people think of a podiatrist when it comes to foot care, but chiropractors treat pain and disorders of the feet and ankles as well. In fact, chiropractors are especially helpful in relieving pain stemming from conditions like plantar fasciitis and metatarsalgia. If you visit a chiropractor with chronic foot pain, you can be assured that you will be offered conservative and non-invasive treatment options that have been proven effective in relieving pain, as well as the underlying conditions responsible for discomfort.

Foot Care

Did you know…

that 25 percent of all the bones in your body are located in your feet? In fact, your feet not only have 26 bones, but they also have 19 muscles, 33 joints and 107 different ligaments! Considering the average person walks approximately 10,000 steps each day, it’s no wonder these bones can fall out of alignment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I see a chiropractor for foot care?

You should see a chiropractor for foot care pertaining the muscles, joints, bones, and connective tissues of the feet. Chiropractors do not specialize in other disorders of the feet, such as infections or ingrown toenails. To find out more about chiropractic foot care and whether it’s right for you, schedule a consultation with your chiropractor today.

What should I expect at my appointment?

You can expect drug-free and surgery-free treatment options designed to reduce chronic foot pain. Your chiropractor may order an x-ray of your foot to determine whether your symptoms are related to a biomechanical problem. If they are, your foot will likely be adjusted in the office, potentially resulting in immediate symptom relief, less stiffness, and increased mobility.

Is there anything I can do between appointments to facilitate better foot health?

Yes. Wearing the appropriate footwear to support your feet is important for overall foot health. If your problem is ankle-related, a brace may provide the support you need to avoid injury and live pain-free.
More and more people are foregoing back surgery to give spinal decompression a try. Back decompression is a gentle and non-invasive alternative to more aggressive treatments used to treat chronic pain. It works by applying gentle pressure to your back in an effort to expand space between compressed discs in your spine. When performed successfully, spinal decompression can provide effective relief for herniated discs, sciatica, pinched nerves and even degenerative disc disorders.

Back Decompression

Did you know…

spinal decompression treatments take less than one hour to complete? Many patients find the time relaxing – especially when additional supplemental therapies like electrical stimulation or hot/cold therapy are used prior to or following treatment. If you decide spinal decompression is right for you, expect to visit your chiropractor as much as four times a week to reap maximum benefits.

Frequently Asked Questions

Am I a candidate for spinal decompression?

Back decompression is not for everyone, and you may not be a candidate for treatment if you have metal rods in your back or are prone to fractures. However, it is a much more conservative treatment option than surgery is. If you are considering back surgery, contact your chiropractor first to find out if you could benefit from spinal decompression therapy.

What should I expect during spinal decompression treatment?

During your back decompression treatment, you will lie flat on your back while a decompression machine gently tugs at your back. The effect is similar to the feeling you get in your back when you hang upside down. The tugging encourages your vertebrae to separate, relieving pressure on discs and nerves.

Do I need to follow any special instructions following my treatment?

Back decompression typically requires multiple visits to achieve noticeable results. To maximize your chances of success with decompression, abide by the treatment schedule prescribed by your chiropractor.
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