Bone & Muscle Health

Bone & Muscle Health Articles

Pelvic physical therapy: Another potential treatment option

The exact cause of pelvic pain for many women can be elusive, despite lots of tests and scans. In some cases, the symptoms are related to a problem that is often overlooked, says Dr. Eman Elkadry, an instructor in obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive biology at Harvard Medical School. Pelvic pain may stem from a pelvic floor muscle problem that can be helped by a specialized form of physical therapy known as pelvic physical therapy. "Although pelvic physical therapy may not work for everyone, it can be quite effective for certain individuals," says Dr. Hye-Chun Hur, director of the Division of Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery at Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and associate faculty editor of Harvard Women's Health Watch. She stresses that pelvic physical therapy is normally undertaken by a trained female practitioner. The pelvic floor is essentially a bowl-shaped set of muscles that supports your bladder, bowel, rectum, and uterus. Pelvic pain sometimes occurs when muscles of the pelvic floor are too tight, says Dr. Elkadry. This causes a condition called myofascial pain, or pain caused by muscle irritation. (Locked) More »

The best meds for back pain

An estimated 80% of people will seek medical attention for back pain at some point in their lives. Most of the time over-the-counter pain relievers does the trick. But they may not be effective enough. Some people require stronger prescription drugs while they seek treatments to address the source of their back pain. (Locked) More »

Tips to help you embrace abdominal workouts

Some people don’t enjoy doing abdominal exercises and may find it more palatable to sprinkle abdominal exercises throughout the day. Ideas include taking a quick break to march in place, do a modified push-up, or stand on one leg. The key is to make each ab exercise count by “activating” the muscles. That means drawing in the belly button toward the spine, holding the position for 10 seconds, then relaxing and repeating. More »

Turning your back on back surgery

Back pain remains one of the top reasons people seek medical care for pain, and for many older man, the source of their pain is spinal osteoarthritis. Finding relief is an ongoing struggle, but men should think hard before turning to surgery without first trying less invasive treatments. Surgery may help control the pain in some cases, so a person can function better, but it won’t cure the osteoarthritis. (Locked) More »

Managing statin muscle pain

Muscle aches and cramps—the most common side effects of statins—are more common in women than in men. Treating vitamin D deficiencies and low thyroid hormone levels, changing prescriptions, and making lifestyle changes may help. More »

Age-proof your knees

Image: © jacoblund/Thinkstock Knee pain is common in older age, often caused by osteoarthritis (the wearing away of knee cartilage). Fortunately, there are ways to fool Father Time and postpone knee problems or even prevent them entirely. "In many cases, you can delay or avoid the need for surgical intervention, such as a knee replacement," says Dr. Lars Richardson, an orthopedic surgeon with Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital. Your knees absorb a huge amount of pressure with every step — typically one-and-a-half times your body weight. That pressure, plus regular wear and tear, takes a toll over time. Muscles and ligaments get weaker. The knee's two shock absorbers — pads of cartilage called menisci — start to deteriorate. So does the articular cartilage protecting the ends of the leg bones where they meet at the knee. If you have a family history of osteoarthritis, if you're overweight, or if you've had some knee injuries, you may be more prone to this deterioration. (Locked) More »

In a slump? Fix your posture

Most changes in posture are a result of bad habits, such as sitting hunched over and not standing correctly. Over time, these habits can create muscle weakness and imbalances that can trigger spasms and place stress on the neck, low back, and shoulders. More »