Pain

Everyone experiences pain at some time. It might be the result of an injury, operation, or pushing your body too hard. Headache, infection, arthritis, and other health problems cause pain. Unchecked, pain can rob you of the ability to sleep, work, and enjoy life. It can also lead to depression and anxiety.

We've come a long way from the days of "grin and bear it," or "no pain, no gain." Pain begets pain, so it's important to stop it early. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to pain relief. Standard medications can be a good option for many pain sufferers, but a wide range of effective nondrug therapies are also available.

Pain Articles

Back X-Rays (Spine X-Rays)

Doctors have used x-rays for over a century to see inside the body in order to diagnose a variety of problems, including cancer, fractures, and pneumonia. During this test, you usually stand in front of a photographic plate while a machine sends x-rays, a type of radiation, through your body. Originally, a photograph of internal structures was produced on film; nowadays, the image created by the x-rays goes directly into a computer. Dense structures, such as bone, appear white on the x-ray films because they absorb many of the x-ray beams and block them from reaching the plate. Hollow body parts, such as lungs, appear dark because x-rays pass through them. Doctors use back x-rays to examine the vertebrae in the spine for fractures, arthritis, or spine deformities such as scoliosis, as well as for signs of infection or cancer. X-rays can be taken separately for the three areas of the spine: the cervical spine (neck), thoracic spine (middle back), and lumbar spine (lower back). Occasionally, doctors x-ray the pelvis to help diagnose the cause of back pain. You have to remove all clothing, undergarments, and jewelry from your upper body. You may be asked to wear a hospital gown. (Locked) More »

Foot X-Ray

Doctors have used x-rays for over a century to see inside the body. X-rays can diagnose a variety of problems, including bone fractures, arthritis, cancer, and pneumonia. During this test, you usually stand in front of a photographic plate while a machine sends x-rays, a type of radiation, through a part of your body. Originally, a photograph of internal structures was produced on film; nowadays, the image created by the x-rays goes directly into a computer. Dense structures absorb many of the x-rays and block them from reaching the plate. Calcium in bones is dense, so it absorbs lots of x-rays, making the image of the bone appear white. Fat and other soft tissues are less dense, so they allow more radiation to pass through them and appear in shades of gray. Hollow body parts, such as the lungs, appear dark or black because lots of x-rays pass through them. A foot x-ray can be used to diagnose broken bones, dislocated joints, arthritis or joint deformities such as bunions. A foot x-ray can help diagnose the cause of unexplained symptoms like general foot pain, swelling, and tenderness. (Locked) More »

Myelography (Myelogram)

A myelogram is an x-ray test in which dye is injected directly into your spinal canal to help show places where the vertebrae in your back may be pinching the spinal cord. It is sometimes used to help diagnose back or leg pain problems, especially if surgery is being planned. Tell your doctor ahead of time if you have ever had an allergic reaction to lidocaine or the numbing medicine used at the dentist's office, or to x-ray dyes. You should also tell your doctor if you might be pregnant, since x-rays can harm the developing baby. Patients usually wear a hospital gown. Typically, you lie on your side with your knees curled up against your chest. In some cases, the doctor asks you to sit on the bed or a table instead, leaning forward against some pillows. (Locked) More »

Sutures

Sutures, commonly called stitches, are sterile surgical threads that are used to repair cuts (lacerations). They also are used to close incisions from surgery. Some wounds (from trauma or from surgery) are closed with metal staples instead of sutures. Sutures may be used to close surface wounds or deep wounds. To close a deep wound, a doctor may need to sew the two edges together layer by layer, placing and leaving some sutures under the skin surface. There are two types of sutures that are used for wound repair. (Locked) More »

Getting a grip on hand osteoarthritis

The risk of hand osteoarthritis increases with age and can cause joint pain and stiffness that affects a person’s ability to effectively grasp and hold objects. It’s not possible to reverse hand osteoarthritis, or even slow its progression in most cases. Strategies to help manage flare-ups, include over-the-counter medications, hot and cold compresses, braces and splints, and hand physical therapy. More »

When do I need an imaging test for my back pain?

Unless people have other symptoms in addition to low back pain, like a fever or leg weakness, an immediate x-ray, CT scan, or MRI rarely improves the outcome. A commonsense approach often works best, such as rest, hot and cold compresses, and over-the-counter pain relivers. (Locked) More »