Pain Archive


Recovering from an ankle sprain

Ankle sprains are common, but they require proper treatment to heal correctly. You should rest for one or two days and use ice to reduce swelling, then begin exercising to regain strength and range of motion.

Low back pain: Treatment and prevention

About three of every four men have endured a bout of low back pain, and many have had repeated episodes. The pain may begin gradually or suddenly; it may be mild or severe. In most cases, doctors cannot pinpoint the cause of the pain, and in most cases x-rays and blood tests are useless. In fact, even advanced imaging techniques such as MRIs and CTs are not recommended for typical patients.

Most people with low back pain can handle the problem themselves, sometimes with the aid of a phone call or visit to their doctor and the short-term use of simple medications. But there are exceptions; the list below details situations that call for prompt medical attention.

Big toe got you down? It may be hallux rigidus.

Hallux rigidus is stiffness in the big toe caused by arthritis in its joint. It can be treated with anti-inflammatory medication or sometimes a corticosteroid injection, but if these measures are unsuccessful, surgery may be necessary.



Questions to Discuss with Your Doctor: 

  • Do you have a history of chicken pox? 
  • Does your skin hurt, itch, or feel numb? 
  • Is the pain sharp, dull, or piercing? How long have you had it? 
  • Do you have a rash? If so, for how long? 
  • Is the rash in more than one place on your skin? 
  • Is the rash on one side of your body only? 
  • Has the rash at any time looked like small blisters? 
  • Do you still have pain even if the rash is gone? 
  • What triggers the pain (for example, a light touch)? 
  • Do your symptoms interfere with your ability to sleep or perform activities of daily living? 
  • Do you have any risk factors for infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)? 
  • Are you taking any medications? 

Your Doctor Might Examine the Following Body Structures or Functions: 

  • Careful skin exam 

Your Doctor Might Order the Following Lab Tests or Studies: 

  • Skin scraping to examine under the microscope, or for viral culture, immunofluorescence, or polymerase chain reaction testing

Emergencies and First Aid - Back Injuries

Unless the person is able to tell you to the contrary, assume that anyone with a back injury also has a neck injury.

Place a board, such as a door or table leaf, next to the person. The board should extend below the buttocks (ideally to the feet) and above the head. Keeping the head aligned with the rest of the body, gently logroll the person toward you. Move the board under the person and ease him or her onto it. If the person is vomiting, lay him or her on one side and continue to support the head.

Emergencies and First Aid -— Broken Bones

Broken Bones

Broken bones (fractures) are usually not life-threatening. A fracture may not be visible to you through the skin. Symptoms include intense pain, swelling, increased pain when trying to move the injured area, or bleeding. A broken bone always requires medical attention.

Immediate care
Call out for someone to get help, or call 911 yourself. Do not move or straighten the broken bone. Splinting is not necessary unless the person needs to be moved without assistance from ambulance personnel or unless the fracture has blocked blood supply to the limb. If the fracture site is deformed and the skin beyond the site of the fracture is cold, pale, and blue, pull gently lengthwise on the limb to straighten the fracture and then splint the limb.

Getting a leg up on sciatica

Sciatica's (pronounced sigh-AT-eh-ka) hallmarks are pain and numbness that radiates down the leg, often below the knee. In nine out of 10 cases, sciatica is caused by a displaced disk in the lower spine.

The best medicine is often patience — with some stoicism mixed in — because the pain often goes away, even if the problem disk does not. Researchers have found that the pain usually improves within a month.

Pain relief, opioids, and constipation

Constipation from pain medication – such as opioids – is a common problem

Prescription opioids provide pain relief, but constipation from pain medication is an all too common side effect.

As we age, pain and pain control become an important issue. Many of the conditions that cause pain disproportionately affect people starting at about age 65. In some surveys, half of respondents ages 60 and older have said that they suffer from chronic pain. About 70% of cancer deaths occur in people ages 65 and older, so cancer pain is frequently the older person's problem.

Emergencies and First Aid - How to Make a Sling

How to Make a Sling

1. To make a sling, cut a piece of cloth, such as a pillowcase, about 40 inches square. Then cut or fold the square diagonally to make a triangle. Slip one end of the bandage under the arm and over the shoulder. Bring the other end of the bandage over the other shoulder, cradling the arm.

2. Tie the ends of the bandage behind the neck. Fasten the edge of the bandage, near the elbow, with a safety pin.


Collar and Cuff Sling

Use a collar and cuff sling for a suspected fracture of the collarbone or elbow when a triangular sling is not available. Wrap a strip of sheet, a pants leg, or pantyhose around the wrist and tie the ends behind the neck.

Emergencies and First Aid - How to Splint a Fracture

How to Splint a Fracture


For a lower arm or wrist fracture (left), carefully place a folded newspaper, magazine, or heavy piece of clothing under the arm. Tie it in place with pieces of cloth. A lower leg or ankle fracture (right) can be splinted similarly, with a bulky garment or blanket wrapped and secured around the limb.

A person with a hip or pelvis fracture should not be moved. If the person must be moved, the legs should be strapped together (with a towel or blanket in between them) and the person gently placed on a board, as for a back injury.


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