Month: June 2016

Orthopedic Surgery: A Brief History

download (16)Orthopedic surgery is the area of medicine concerned with the musculoskeletal system. While the name may seem to imply only surgical procedures, doctors work to correct orthopedic issues using both surgical and non-surgical means. Physicians who specialize in this area treat trauma, sports injuries, infections, degenerative diseases, congenital disorders, and tumors.

Beginning With Children

Nicholas Andry coined the name orthopedic surgery in 1741. The word comes from the Greek “orthros,” which means “straight” or “correct,” and “paidion,” which means “child.” The term was first seen in his book, “The Art of Correcting and Preventing Deformities in Children,” which was designed to help parents understand their child’s malformation. Initially, the field was geared towards identifying and correcting spinal and bone deformities in children. Andry advocated the use of manipulation, splinting, and exercise as treatments.

Andry wasn’t alone in his quest to help children. One of the first orthopedic surgery institutes was opened in 1780 by Jean-Andre Venel. Physicians working there dedicated their talents to assisting children with skeletal deformities. At this institute, Venel and his staff created ways to treat spine curvature and even developed the first club shoe for children suffering from foot malformations.

Into the 1800s, the practice remained limited to helping children. New techniques to correct spinal problems were continually developed. Surgical procedures such as the percutaneous tenotomy became popular as a means to correct problems with the foot and leg.

Growing to Encompass Adults

It wasn’t until the early 1900s that physicians began investigating the possibilities of orthopedic surgery for teens and adults. The man credited with bringing orthopedics into the modern age is Hugh Owen Thomas. Thomas expanded the field through his interest in treating fractures. He created the Thomas Splint to stabilize broken bones and advocated bed rest in order to heal wounds and prevent infection.

In addition to the splint, Thomas created the Thomas Maneuver to help those with hip joint fractures. In order to treat the fractures, he would perform a test to detect the deformity by having his patients lie flat on a bed. Then, he would use his “wrench” method to reduce the fracture and reset the bone.

During the First World War, Thomas’s techniques became mainstream when his nephew, Robert Jones, used the Thomas Splint to reduce the mortality rate for compound fractures of the femur from 87 percent to just 8 percent.

Post World War One

After World War One, German doctor Gerhard Kuntcher started using intramedullary rods to help fix fractures in the tibia and femur. However, it wasn’t until the late 1970s that intramedullary fixation became possible without having to open the fracture. Prior to this time, it was common to use traction in order to repair the damage.

Since the 1970s, the field of orthopedic surgery continues to grow. Today, common techniques include joint replacements, bone grafts for severe fractures, and foot, ankle, shoulder, hand, and elbow procedures. Sports injuries also now fall under this category of medicine.

 

The Differences Between Chiropractors And Osteopaths

download (14)When the philosophies are your point of comparison, the differences between these two health practices are subtle. It only becomes obvious if you take a deeper look into their scope of practice and educational requirements. Both actually subscribe to the whole body concept of treatment. Osteopaths believe that lack of blood flow will lead to disease while chiropractors believe that nerve interference can result to diseases.

Osteopathy

This was founded in 1860s by a medical doctor and surgeon who served various military bases. In 1864, his 3 children died because of spinal meningitis so he began studying the relationship between the musculoskeletal system and disease.

It is further emphasized that this form of medical care has been founded on the philosophy that all body systems depend on one another to achieve good health. When it comes to the scope of practice of osteopathic physicians, they can already prescribe medicine and perform surgery whenever necessary. They strongly believe in the philosophy of treating the whole person as one rather than treating just the symptoms. Today, the number of professionals performing manipulation has decreased as more and more of them are required to train in hospitals in different disciplines. The good side though of this is that they can specialize in various types of medical practice.

Chiropractic Care

This was founded in 1895. A chiropractor is dedicated to paying careful attention to the function, biomechanics, and structure of the spine. They also take into account the spine’s effects on the musculoskeletal and neurological systems. These professionals strongly believe that the body will heal itself when the function and structure are corrected.

As for their scope of practice, they limit to treating low back pain, headaches, joint problems, sciatica, and other related issues. Apart from that, they can also treat spinal disc conditions, osteoarthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and other ligament and tendon issues like strains and sprains. Be reminded that they don’t administer medications but recommend herbal remedies and vitamins. Moreover, they don’t perform invasive treatments. Rather, they employ physical therapy, spinal manipulation, and nutrition.

If you are deciding on which health provider is best for you, there are several things to consider. These include the nature and severity of your health condition, and your personal preference. Bear in mind that problems associated with the spine may be best treated by a chiropractor. On the other hand, illnesses like bacterial and viral infections and systemic diseases requiring medications and aggressive treatments are best treated by an osteopath.

 

Common Symptoms and Signs of IBS

download (15)People suffering from irritable bowel syndrome generally experience symptoms that cause discomfort. When these issues occur, people often seek the assistance of a doctor. A physician can assess a patient’s condition to make an IBS diagnosis. After diagnosis, the next step involves treatment to relieve distress.

Common Symptoms

A physician will assess a patient’s symptoms to determine whether IBS is possible. Anyone who experiences issues such as bloating, excess gas, and pain in the lower abdomen might be feeling signs of a possible problem. In addition, marked changes in bowel movement patterns and mucus present in stools could also indicate a problem. The doctor will ask questions to learn about the level and timing of symptoms. Generally, someone is more likely to be experiencing irritable bowel syndrome if these issues have been a problem for at least six months. Another common way to assess symptoms is the frequency of abdominal pain. If this type of discomfort occurs at least three days out of each month, lasting for a minimum of three months, a problem could be present. The doctor will ask additional questions about this discomfort to further focus the diagnosis. IBS could be the cause of the distress if having a bowel movement relieves the pain or if the discomfort is connected to a change in bowel movement frequency. Discomfort linked with a change in consistency or appearance of stools is another potential factor.

Bowel Patterns

IBS usually involves a change in bowel habits over a period of time. Some people experience an increase in frequency, as happens with diarrhea. Other people become constipated, and frequency spaces out and becomes longer. Stool size or consistency can also change, varying between extremes; some people feel an urgent need to use the bathroom, while others strain uncomfortably to pass stool.

Unrelated Symptoms

Someone suffering from IBS may experience other unrelated signs of a problem. Some people feel depressed or anxious. Others notice urinary issues, including problems emptying the bladder completely. Heart palpitations may occur, in which it feels like the heart is skipping a beat or fluttering. Headaches and backaches are common complaints among patients. Some people also have trouble sleeping, or they notice a lack of sexual desire with the onset of irritable bowel issues. Finally, an unpleasant or unusual taste in the mouth is reported by some patients. People might notice fluctuations of these issues, with an increase in severity after eating or during times of anxiety.

Anyone who suspects this illness should consult with a physician for an assessment and possible diagnosis. The sooner a diagnosis occurs, the sooner treatment can begin to help a patient feel better.

 

7 Myths and Facts About Concussion Recovery

download (13)Concussions can be mild, misunderstood, and even misdiagnosed altogether. With the commonality we see today in concussions among athletes, there’s a lot of buzz among players and non-athletes alike that may or may not be true about concussions and concussion recovery. Here are seven myths, and their factual counterparts, about concussion recovery.

1. MYTH: If you didn’t pass out you don’t have a concussion.

FACT: One of the telling signs of a concussion and the grade of severity was loss of consciousness. However today there are people who have experienced a range of symptoms and signs that are just as important in identifying a concussion as passing out. Healthcare experts suggest injuries where the individual loses consciousness are actually not any more severe than those that don’t. However, the less dramatic symptoms can lead to misdiagnosing someone who actually may have a concussion.

2. MYTH: If your cat scan is clear, you’re in the clear.

FACT: Concussion damage actually occurs on the cellular level, according to Mark Lovell, Ph.D. Thus, a CAT scan will not pick up the changes that occur within the cells. It will, however, pick up any swelling or bleeding, so it’s a good idea not to skip out on it.

3. MYTH: Concussions can cause headaches years after.

FACT: This may not be the case for people who have experienced multiple concussions, but doctors believe there is no scientific evidence that people who have had a concussion are more disposed to concussions than other people. So if you’re experiencing a lot of headaches and you’ve had a concussion in the past, it may be caused by something else you might want to consider.

4. MYTH: When your symptoms dwindle, you’re safe to play sports.

FACT: Symptoms and signs during concussion recovery may be subtle or non-existent, so it’s important to note from experts that exercise and playing sports may actually cause symptoms to reappear and therefore interrupt the recovery process. It is recommended to not return to any sports or super physical activity until getting the green light from a healthcare professional.

5. MYTH: You have fully recovered if your only symptom is a headache.

FACT: There are often no visible signs from a concussion, and it may be dangerous to rely on self-symptom checking before going out again on the field or in the gym. Full concussion recovery should always be determined by a healthcare professional, even if most or all symptoms have subsided.

6. MYTH: A grade-three concussion is more serious that a grade-one.

FACT: Doctors and healthcare professionals used to grade concussions when diagnosing, but are now unable to do so accurately because symptoms are difficult to determine a diagnosis initially. It may take a while for symptoms to subside before an accurate diagnosis and severity may be determined.

7. MYTH: Helmets are a good safety precaution to prevent concussions.

FACT: Helmets are designed for fractures in the skull, not concussions. It may help with the risk of severity of a concussion, but experts believe it doesn’t help to prevent them, yet!