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Practiced by Chinese healers for more than 5,000 years, acupuncture is a type of holistic medicine designed to facilitate the proper flow of Qi (ch'i), the life-giving energy that travels through the body's pathways (meridians). By helping Qi to move unimpeded through the meridians, acupuncture provides nourishment to all of the body's cells, muscles, organs, glands and tissues. During an acupuncture session, fine needles are inserted into the body at specific points along the meridians to break up blockages and restore a full, healthy flow of Qi.
At some point in their lives, the great majority of adults will suffer from significant low back pain, usually from an injury at work, at home or at play. Orthopedists, chiropractors, physical therapists, coaches and trainers all have helpful advice regarding back pain prevention. By following their directives, people can minimize the possibility of back injury, and keep themselves healthier in the process.
A bursal sac is filled with fluid that provides a cushion between muscles/tendons and bones to decrease friction and irritation. There are bursal sacs around most of the body's joints. When a bursal sac gets infected or inflamed, it can lead to a painful condition called "bursitis." Although often caused by repetitive movement or overuse of a joint during sports or intense physical activity, bursitis can also result from injury, or arthritis of a joint. The most common symptoms of bursitis are pain, stiffness, swelling and tenderness, usually in the joints of the elbow, shoulder, hip, knee or ankle. The heel and Achilles tendon can also be affected. Pain, which can develop gradually or be sudden and severe, may be accompanied by decreased mobility of the joint. If conservative treatment methods are unsuccessful in treating the pain and discomfort caused by bursitis, bursal sac injections can be an effective way of reducing inflammation and diminishing pain. Anti-inflammatory steroid medication is injected directly into the bursal sac; as inflammation decreases, pain and discomfort subside, often for a few weeks or months. In some cases, one injection may be sufficient to alleviate symptoms.
A cervical medial-branch block is an injection administered to diagnose and treat neck, upper-back, shoulder and facial pain, and headaches. The procedure is designed to both relieve symptoms and diagnose their source. By deadening pain signals in the medial-branch nerves (which transmit pain signals from the facet joints to the brain), it is possible to determine whether a particular facet joint (which connects two vertebra) is the source of the pain.
A cervical selective-nerve-root block is an epidural steroid injection used for treating shoulder, upper back, neck and arm pain. It is also used to determine whether pain is being caused by disc problems or nerve-root inflammation. Although MRI scans and other imaging tests are often helpful in locating the source of pain, they may not be able to identify torn or leaking discs.
Chiropractic care is an alternative healthcare approach that focuses primarily on disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Chiropractors use a hands-on approach to diagnose and treat problems that affect the nerves, muscles, bones and joints by mechanically adjusting the spinal column. Although spinal manipulation is the foundation of chiropractic care, chiropractors, who take a holistic approach to treatment, use many other types of therapy to relieve pain and restore mobility. Chiropractors in North America can receive a Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) degree, which typically requires four years of premedical undergraduate work, 4 years of chiropractic college, and 1 year of internship.