Home Remedies for Joint Pain Relief That Truly Work

Home Remedies For Joint Pain Relief That Truly Work

Joints form connections between bones to help our body parts move. They’re made up of connective tissue and cartilage, and when they become injured or inflamed… ouch! If you are experiencing serious or ongoing pain in your joints, it’s important to see your doctor for a medical opinion and, if necessary, a medical treatment plan. But when it comes to relieving minor joint pain, there’s no need to wait.

From hands and feet to knees, arms and elbows–try these home remedies for joint pain relief. They truly work!

Epsom Salt Soaks

This home remedy has been around for years, but do epsom salts really work? There aren’t any scientific studies to back it up, but anyone who’s tried soaking in a warm, epsom salt bath can speak to how relaxing it can be. Try this type of bath for temporary joint pain relief – and, if necessary, check with your doctor to discuss how long or how often you should soak.

Hot/Cold Compresses

Not only does heat reduce stiffness in painful joints, it can help relax muscles and increase range of motion by stimulating blood flow. On the other hand, cold packs will numb the pain and reduce joint inflammation. Try alternating both – with 15 minutes of heat followed by 15 minutes of cold to ease joint pain even more. Note: Do not use heat if the affected area is red, hot and irritated. Do not use cold compresses if you have circulatory problems.

Turmeric + Omega-3

Several studies have found that turmeric (a yellow spice found in curries and mustard) reduces pain and swelling in arthritis patients. You can also try loading up on inflammation-fighting foods rich in omega-3, such as salmon, trout, olive oil and walnuts. As always, check with your doctor before adding dietary supplements or making a major lifestyle changes. Want more healthy food advice? Check this out: 8 Joint-Friendly Foods to Strengthen Your Mobility.

Topical Creams

Think those over-the-counter creams are just for aching muscles? Think again. Anti-inflammatory topical pain creams like Penetrex or Blue-Emu can help relieve some arthritis pain, too.

Paraffin Wax Baths

Heated paraffin wax can be a great way to soothe arthritis aches and pains in your hands, feet and even elbows. There are many paraffin wax bath products on the market. Ask your doctor which is best for you, and always read the directions carefully prior to use.

Regular Exercise

Technically, it’s not a home remedy. But exercise is one of the best things you can do to stay pain-free and healthy! Joint pain can be a sign from your body that it’s time to get active. Talk to your doctor about appropriate activities that can help build muscle and relieve pressure on painful joints – including stretching, swimming or water aerobics, walking, biking and more.

Severe and chronic joint pain, especially when caused by degenerative conditions like arthritis, needs proper diagnosis and treatment. While the above suggestions may help decrease some inflammation and pain, nothing takes the place of a qualified medical opinion. Make an appointment to see one of our specialists today.

Uploaded ToTop 5 Reasons to Try Cooled Radiofrequency Treatment for Chronic Hip & Knee Pain

Top 5 Reasons to Try Cooled Radiofrequency Treatment for Chronic Hip & Knee Pain

Chronic hip and knee pain can really slow you down. Dr. James Brunz is fellowship-trained in pain management and dedicated to staying at the forefront of pain management technology. His arsenal now includes COOLIEF Cooled Radiofrequency (RF) Treatment—a non-surgical procedure that builds upon his years of expertise using Radiofrequency Ablation for patients with arthritis of the spine.

We sat down with Dr. Brunz to discuss the top 5 reasons Cooled Radiofrequency Treatment can help chronic hip and knee pain.

“Cooled radiofrequency treatment can be an excellent option for people who have had a knee or hip replacement but continue to have chronic pain, or for those unable to have replacement surgery because of a health condition,” said Dr. Brunz.

  1. Effective Pain Relief: COOLIEF Cooled RF is a minimally invasive, outpatient procedure that can safely treat chronic pain. This advanced procedure uses cooled radiofrequency energy to safely target the sensory nerves causing pain. You should begin to feel pain relief within one to two weeks. In some patients, the relief can be relatively long-lasting. In others, additional treatments may be required.
  2. Minimally Invasive: COOLIEF Cooled RF involves no incision, only a small puncture at the insertion site. You may experience some discomfort at the radiofrequency site for a short period, but this discomfort can be treated with common over-the-counter medication.
  3. No Narcotics: COOLIEF circulates water through the device while heating nervous tissue to create a treatment area that is larger than conventional RF treatments. This combination targets the pain-causing nerves without excessive heating, leading to pain relief.
  4. Quick Recovery Time: Every patient is different, but you can expect to return to work and normal everyday activities within several days. Dr. Brunz will recommend a specific amount of rest based on your unique needs and procedure requirements.
  5. No Overnight Hospital Stay: Procedure time varies, but it’s all done in an outpatient setting. COOLIEF requires no general anesthesia, and you should be able to return home shortly after the treatment. A responsible adult is required to be present in order to drive you home.

Ready to learn more? Schedule an appointment with Dr. Brunz to see if this treatment could be right for you.

3 Alternative Non-Surgical Treatments for Head & Neck Pain

5 Alternative Non-Surgical Treatments for Head & Neck Pain

Head and neck pain can occur for a variety of reasons. Some pain will go away with time, or through a change in lifestyle or behavior. But if you’re dealing with head and neck pain that lasts more than a few days and doesn’t improve with over-the-counter pain medicine, it’s time to make an appointment with one of our pain management specialists for diagnosis and treatment.    

Depending on the cause of your head and neck pain, these five non-surgical treatments might be effective for you. 

1. Physical Therapy

From muscle tenderness, tension and tightness to poor posture – certain types of headaches and neck pain can be relieved through physical therapy treatments. A trained physical therapist can design an exercise plan that strengthens your neck muscles and takes pressure off your spine. They might also apply heat or cold pads during a therapy session to either increase blood flow and range of motion (heat) or decrease blood flow and inflammation (cold). Still other physical therapy treatments could include therapeutic massage, chiropractic treatment and/or neck-strengthening exercises you can do at home.

2. Trigger Point Injections

Trigger points are areas in muscle that are very irritable, and, when pressed, produce a twitch within the affected muscle. A trigger point may produce not only pain in the affected muscle, but in a distant area, including locations in the head and neck, called referred pain. Trigger points may develop because of trauma, injury, inflammation, or other factors. A trigger point injection is a procedure where a medication, usually a local anesthetic, is injected into the painful muscle to provide relief. The pain relief should be experienced not only in the affected muscle, but in the area of referred pain as well.

3. Anti-Inflammatory Steroid Injections

If your pain is being cause by inflammation around the nerves in your neck, a cervical epidural steroid injection can help by “coating” the nerves in the area. Patients experiencing a herniated disc, a degenerated disc, osteoarthritis or inflammation that reduces the space around the nerves can benefit from this type of treatment. The goal of the injection is to reduce inflammation and associated nerve pain – and the injection itself is given with the patient laying face down under local anesthetic.

4. Botox injections

Think BOTOX® is just for wrinkles? Think again. It can be effective for the treatment of adults with cervical dystonia—a condition that causes the muscles in your neck to tighten or spasm without your control. BOTOX injections can reduce the severity of abnormal head position and neck pain. If you have chronic migraines (≥ 15 days per month) with headache lasting 4 hours a day or longer, this treatment could also be right for you.

 5. Radiofrequency Ablation (Rhizotomy)

Yes, it sounds complicated. But in reality, Radiofrequency Ablation (or RFA) is a non-surgical, outpatient therapy procedure that’s used to help patients with chronic head and neck pain related to spinal arthritis.  As with any non-surgical treatment, this procedure is only recommended after thorough examination and diagnosis. During the RFA procedure, heat is delivered to targeted nerve tissues, preventing pain signals from reaching the brain.

If you or a loved one are experiencing chronic head or neck pain, don’t wait. Learn more about our pain management program and all the options available to you at Orthopedic Institute.

Hip Replacement Success Stories

Most people wouldn’t describe getting a hip replacement as a “walk in the park.” Weeks of rehab and struggling to get around can cause many people to put off getting a necessary surgery. However, Lee Goldammer and Tony Bosch had excellent experiences with OI when they decided to pursue anterior hip replacements.

Lee Goldammer

How did you first learn about OI?

My wife worked for OI years ago, and that’s how I got there. I had Dr. Zoellner do my first hip replacement—my niece recommended him.

What was your first experience with OI?

My initial experience was my first hip surgery. They cut most along the side, and I underwent therapy for about a month. Although rehab took a few weeks, I still got along well. That’s just the way it was back then.

How did you decide to get the anterior hip replacement completed?

I heard about this new type of surgery and how Dr. Rothrock would perform the surgery. I knew I would be in the hospital two to three days, and Dr. Rothrock said the amount of therapy I wanted to take on was up to me.

I remember my hip hurt so badly that I couldn’t raise my leg, so I went ahead with the surgery. Afterward, I pulled my leg up immediately, and there wasn’t any pain.

What was therapy like for this surgery?

There was no therapy after that – the doctor simply gave me a few things to do. I used a walker for two or three days, and then I went to a cane. I was easily going up and down steps in about two weeks.

What would you say to someone who is considering this surgery?

I recommend it right away—I recommend it to everybody. I’ve talked to four or five people, and I tell them it’s a piece of cake. There was much less rehab than after my first surgery.

You can be on your way in no time. Everyone has a tendency to put it off. I know it’s hard to do, because no one likes surgery, but they always say they wish they had done it a long time before.

Tony Bosch

How did you first learn about OI?

My wife had some surgery done with Dr. Looby. She had a sciatic nerve problem. I had seen Dr. Looby before—I didn’t know who he was at time – but I went to the fitness center and I saw him, but didn’t realize he was my wife’s doctor until later.

What was your first experience with OI?

After my wife’s surgery, Dr. Looby came into the consultation room and we got to visiting. So I knew him when my hip started hurting. Next thing you know I have this hip causing me trouble. Dr. Looby said Dr. Adler was really good with hips. So I went in for an appointment, had the X-rays, and Dr. Adler told me my hip was full of arthritis. I asked him if we could do it soon, and he was able to make it happen for me the very next day.

I never missed one day of work after the surgery. I went to work after the surgery, set my walker off to the side, and I never used the walker, a cane or anything. The hardest part was training my head not to limp! Someone saw me afterwards and asked, “Didn’t you just have hip surgery? You’re limping pretty bad.” But my hip didn’t hurt at all. I was limping just because I was used to limping for so long because of my hip pain. So I took about a week for me to learn to stop limping.

What was your experience with the doctors like?

Dr. Adler is just one fabulous human being. Orthopedic Institute is very lucky to have him, Dr. Adler and Dr. Mitch Johnson. We are blessed to have this kind of medical facility, Orthopedic Institute, in Sioux Falls.

What was therapy like for this surgery?

I didn’t need any therapy. I mean, I had a total hip replacement. No therapy. Zero! You just knew when it started hurting that you needed to take a break.

What would you say to someone who is considering this surgery?

I wouldn’t look any further. Dr. Adler is the best there is as far as I am concerned. He’s not only a great surgeon but a great human being. He has patient charisma, he’s the whole package.

How to Tell When Your Child's Elbow Injury Is Serious

How To Tell When Your Child’s Elbow Injury Is Serious

Kids have a way of getting into all kinds of mishaps. Whether it’s a fall from the monkey bars or trampoline, a collision playing sports or simply wrestling with the dog – elbow injuries are common with children. They can involve three bones: the humerus (upper arm), the radius and the ulna (forearm). Unfortunately,  injuries that occur near the elbow may often require surgery.

Here’s how to tell if your child’s elbow injury is serious.

Home treatment with RICE (rest, ice, compression and elevation) plus over-the-counter pain medication can relieve minor aches and pains for a strained or “bumped” elbow. 

However, serious elbow injuries will present much differently. If you child complains of elbow pain after a fall and/or experiences any of these symptoms, it’s time to see an orthopedic physician immediately.  

  • Visible deformity in the area 
  • Pain in the elbow and forearm 
  • Tenderness, swelling or bruising  
  • Discoloration of the elbow or hand (signs that circulation is affected) 
  • Limited range of motion/ In children, change of normal use (won’t use the hand or arm to play with toys or bring food to mouth) 
  • Numbness, a “tight” sensation or cool sensation of the forearm, hand or fingers (signs of nerve injury)

During the visit, expect your doctor to order X-rays to evaluate if a fracture has occurred. Because a child’s bones are still forming, your doctor may request X-rays of both arms for comparison. Soft tissue injuries such as ligament strains, sprains or tears can also occur particularly in “hanging” injuries commonly seen in playground accidents. No matter the injury, skilled evaluation can assist you in helping your child to heal as quickly as possible.

Childhood elbow injuries are all-too common and nearly always occur as a result of a fall. In other words, there’s no time to waste. Learn more about our convenient walk-in clinics.

3 Common Causes of Thumb Pain

3 Common Causes of Thumb Pain

Years of working hard and participating in your favorite hobbies can potentially take a toll on your body, especially your fingers. Think about how much strain you likely place on your hands over your lifetime. It’s no surprise, then, that many people start to feel aches and pains in their thumbs.

Are you starting to feel pain or stiffness in your thumbs? Read into these three common causes of thumb pain. 

1. Trigger Thumb

Trigger thumb occurs when your thumb remains stuck in a bent position, as if squeezing a trigger. This occurs when tendons become irritated and swollen and can’t move easily. Sometimes a bump may form on the tendon, adding to movement difficulty. Farmers, musicians or people in industrial occupations commonly experience trigger thumb due to the heavy reliance and strain on their fingers.

Signs of trigger thumb include:

  • Snapping/popping sensation when moving the thumb
  • Swelling or bump in the palm
  • Inability to fully flex the thumb
  • Locking in the bent position, requiring help from the other hand to straighten
  • Pain and stiffness when bending
  • Soreness at the base of the thumb

2. De Quervain’s Tendinosis

When tendons at the base of the thumb become swollen or constricted, they may cause pain along the thumb side of the wrist.  De Quervain’s tendinosis may occur from overuse, but it’s also associated with pregnancy and rheumatoid disease.

Signs of De Quervain’s tendinosis include:

  • Primarily pain felt over the thumb side of the wrist, along with swelling
  • A snapping sensation when moving the thumb
  • Difficulty moving the thumb and wrist

3. Thumb Arthritis

There are several types of arthritis, but the type most often affecting the joint at the thumb’s base is osteoarthritis, a.k.a. “wear-and-tear” arthritis. This is found more often in women than men and tends to occur after 40 years of age. The most prominent symptom is pain at the base of the thumb when you grasp an object or apply force with your thumb.

Signs of thumb arthritis include:

  • Enlarged appearance at the joint of your thumb
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Decreased grasping or pinching strength
  • Swelling or stiffness at your thumb’s base

Experiencing thumb pain?

We want to help. Contact us today at (605) 331-5890 or set up an appointment.

6 Tips for Reversing Your Shoulder Pain

6 Tips for Reversing Your Shoulder Pain

Shoulder pain—for many of us it’s just a fact of life. But when it’s keeping you from enjoying your daily activities, it may be time to try some useful remedies.

Try out some of these options for reversing shoulder pain.

Stretch

If you have soreness in your shoulder that you suspect was brought on from exercise or physical activity, an inflammation or swelling may have occurred. One way to reduce mild, exercise-related shoulder pain is through stretches. These may include chest expansions by meeting your hands behind your back or across-the-chest stretches, bringing your arm across your chest and pulling your elbow toward it with your spare hand. These are exercises that should be recommended by someone who specializes in functional assessment, such as a physical therapist or athletic trainer.

Sleep Differently

One common cause of shoulder pain, particularly when it’s experienced first thing in the morning, is sleeping habits. A potential way to reduce this pain is to try out a new sleeping position. If you favor one side over the other, it might be an indication of where your pain is coming from. Use pillows or remove pillows to determine the best amount of cushion to avoid pain if you favor sleeping on your back or stomach. According to our experts, it’s best to sleep on your back with your hands below chest height. AVOID SLEEPING ON YOUR STOMACH. This can cause even more shoulder pain when you wake up.

Diversify Your Exercises

Another frequent reason for shoulder pain is found in athletes or otherwise physically fit people—especially when they tend to exercise or engage in sports with highly repetitive shoulder movements. The best way to combat this is to keep your regimen diverse. Select a variety of exercises that don’t put undue strain on your shoulders as compared to the workout your other joints are receiving.

Try Massage

Massage therapy can very often be beneficial for shoulder pain, because it can release muscle tension and increase range of motion in the joint – which in turn can improve function and help reduce pain. Best of all, you can give yourself a neck and shoulder massage almost anywhere and at anytime for temporary relief. If you still feel stiff and sore, talk to your doctor about other therapy options.

Apply Heat or Cold

Just like when you’re nursing an injury, applying heat or cold can go a long way toward reversing your shoulder pain. Use heat to soothe stiff joints and relax muscles after a strain or when recovering from an injury. Ice packs are typically used to numb sharp pain and reduce inflammation immediately following an injury. Whichever option you need, remember to protect your skin – and only apply the hot or cold therapy as directed.

Obtain Physical Therapy

There’s perhaps no better way to reverse your shoulder pain, particularly when it’s ongoing or chronic, than being seen by a physical therapist or orthopedic physician. It’s the best way to determine if your condition is diagnosable and how best to treat it.  Contacting Orthopedic Institute for an appointment is a good place to start.

4 Everyday Tips for Fighting Off Foot & Ankle Pain

4 Everyday Tips for Fighting Off Foot & Ankle Pain

 Are your “dogs” barking? You’re not alone! Every day, we take thousands of steps. So it’s no surprise that foot and ankle pain can occasionally be part  of our days, too – especially as we age. See your doctor for serious pain that interferes with daily life. But when it comes to occasional foot pain or discomfort, there are a few simple steps you can take for quick relief. 

Here are 4 tips to give foot and ankle pain the boot. 

1. Wear the Right Shoes

One of the best things you can do to relieve foot and ankle pain today – and prevent it from happening tomorrow – is to wear properly fitted, well-cushioned shoes. Have your feet measured at a shoe store at least once a year to make sure you’re wearing the correct size and width, and replace older shoes that no longer fit. This doesn’t mean you can’t be stylish, it just means you need to know what to look for when buying new footwear.

2. Support Your Arches

Arch support isn’t just for people with flat feet – it’s important for all of us! If you’ve been experiencing foot and ankle pain, especially from wearing flat-soled shoes, try adding Powerstep inserts to your shoes. Our pedorthist, Reid Herrboldt, swears by them. They can be tough to find, but good news … we carry multiple sizes! Stop by OI to pick up a pair. Or better yet, make an appointment with Reid for a professional fitting. Your legs and feet will feel better, because proper arch support helps reduce weakness and soreness all day long.    

3. Stretch Often

Muscles can become stiff and painful whether you’re standing and walking all day, or simply sitting at a desk or table. Every hour or so, remind yourself to stretch, relax and lengthen the muscles in your feet and ankles. Start by pointing your toes down to stretch the top of the foot and ankle. Then, roll your feet in circles (clockwise and counter-clockwise) to loosen up your ankle. Finally, point your toes straight up to stretch the back of your calf. Our physicians and therapists like these six stretches from Prevention Magazine.

4. Baby Your Feet

You can help your feet recover from carrying you around all day with simple foot care techniques. Do the bottoms of your feet hurt? Try rolling them from heel to toe over a frozen water bottle, tennis ball or baseball. The gentle massage stretches muscles and helps your feet recover from the day. Pain on the top of your foot can be an indication of arthritis. Most people with plantar fascitis have very tight calf muscles. You can use the six stretches noted above for relief.

If your foot and ankle pain persists, it’s time to see a specialist at Orthopedic Institute.

4 Ways a Certified Hand Therapist Can Benefit Your Life

4 Ways a Hand Therapist Can Benefit Your Life

A crucial part of recovery from a physical ailment lies in occupational therapy.  Thankfully, highly specialized therapists exist to guide people through the treatment and recovery process. One such expert is a hand therapist, whose specialty is worth exploring.

A certified hand therapist can use his or her practice to bring the many benefits of occupational therapy to your life.

How They Treat

Certified hand therapists have no shortage of expertise—to achieve their certification they must have worked in the field for a minimum of five years, had 4,000 + hours in the area of practice and passed a difficult exam that traditionally has only a 40 percent pass rate. Across the globe, there are only 5,300 certified hand therapists—and two of those are in Sioux Falls at Orthopedic Institute (OI). Hand therapists work alongside occupational therapists, physical therapists and orthopedic surgeons to help bring new vigor not only to hands but also wrists, elbows and shoulders affected by any of the following:

  • Rheumatoid and osteo arthritis
  • Congenital deformities
  • Traumatic amputations or injuries
  • Wounds and infections
  • Joint replacement
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Stroke-related contractures
  • Postoperative rehabilitation
  • Chronic pain/ Work-related injuries

Restored Function

One of the most satisfying parts of hand therapy is the feeling of restored function. The whole arm is vital to  pivotal tasks. Experiencing pain or loss of function would be hard on anyone.  Many of the listed conditions take a toll on people in one way or another. More often than not, conditions such as arthritis diminish the enjoyment people receive from beloved hobbies or fulfilling jobs. Due to the complex nature of the hand, they can require surgery and weeks to months of therapy, but the end result can greatly impact a person’s life for the better.

Renewed Confidence

With restored function also comes renewed confidence. When people lose the ability to partake in the hobbies they love or experience pain performing basic tasks, it increases feelings of vulnerability and dependence on others. When a hand therapist expertly walks people through the process of restoring function to their hands and upper limbs, it also gives them back the strength to live as they did before the onset of a painful injury or condition.

Gained Knowledge

Getting through the rehabilitation process with a therapist is learning experience for both parties. As the therapist comes to understand the patient, the patient also learns about his or her injury and the healing process. This experience helps patients understand the importance of hand therapy and the effort needed by everyone involved. Learning about the injury, how it affects the body and what has to happen for healing to occur will better prepare people for the process, should another injury arise.

Reduced Stress

Pain in your shoulders, wrists, elbows and hands doesn’t just cause inconvenience, but it can also lead to stress, decreased coping abilities, and trouble sleeping. A hand therapist understands this as much as any other occupational therapist and will carefully work with you to relieve pain and/or assist with appropriate modification techniques. Once the building blocks of hand therapy and healing are underway, the ability to function should significantly improve.

Pain Management in Seniors: What You Should Know

Pain Management in Seniors: What You Should Know

From chronic conditions that cause ongoing pain, such as arthritis, to post-surgical rehabilitation, pain management is key to a senior’s health regimen. While there are a variety of approaches to pain management in seniors, here are a few avenues to keep in mind.

See for yourself what our team here at Orthopedic Institute (OI) suggests.

Acupuncture and alternatives

Acpuncture—which OI’s own Dr. Chang happens to specialize in—can go a long way toward treating chronic pain and ongoing headaches. Through stimulating your neurological “energy pathways,” acupuncture has been shown to reduce instances of migraines and tension headaches in patients. It can also have positive effects for arthritis-related knee, back and other joint pain. Check out what other alternative treatments OI is on board with.

Physical therapy

In order to manage your pain without the need for invasive surgery, the physical therapy team at OI has been stacked with quality professionals who can provide optimum care for whatever chronic pain conditions you’re experiencing. The range of options for physical therapy for common conditions affecting seniors may include post-surgery rehabilitation, therapeutic exercise, bracing and other non-traditional options like aquatic therapy and golf medicine. Check out what makes golf medicine such an effective physical therapy tool.

Radiofrequency ablation

One option that orthopedic physicians will often suggest when it comes to pain resulting from neck and back arthritis is radiofrequency ablation. In a nutshell, it entails utilizing heat on predetermined nerve tissue in order to keep your brain from receiving pain indicators. It’s an effective way to reduce the symptoms of arthritis—namely the general pain that results from it—with long-term effects. While it doesn’t outright cure arthritic joints, it has been shown to provide pain relief for as long as a full year. Check out what else makes radiofrequency ablation a great pain management option.

Spinal cord stimulation

Pain management can also become surgical in some severe cases. OI’s Dr. Brunz specializes in a procedure called neuromodulation, which entails implantation of spinal cord stimulators that assist in keeping pain signals from reaching your brain. It’s particularly effective in cases of severe pain, and these impulses are often replaced by a gentler “flutter” sensation. Check out more details on how this process works.