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    Topical Pain Relief-Hope in a Bottle or Real Help?

    Last updated 3 days ago

    When your joints are painful or your muscles ache, topical pain killers may offer temporary relief until you can be assessed by your orthopedist. Topical pain killers, or analgesics, are sprayed on or rubbed into the skin over painful muscles or joints. Here are the most common ingredients found in products available without a prescription.

    • Counterirritants. Ingredients such as menthol, methylsalicylate, and camphor are called counterirritants because they create a burning or cooling sensation that distracts your mind from the pain. 
    • Salicylates. These same ingredients that give aspirin its pain-relieving quality are found in some creams. When absorbed into the skin, they may help with pain, particularly in joints close to the skin, such as the fingers, knees, and elbows.
    • Capsaicin. The main ingredient of hot chili peppers, capsaicin is also one of the most effective ingredients for topical pain relief. When first applied, capsaicin creams cause a warm tingling or burning sensation. This gets better over time. You may need to apply these creams for a few days up to a couple of weeks before you notice relief from pain.      

    Here's what you need to know to get the greatest effect and minimize the risks of these products:

    • Read the package insert and follow directions carefully.
    • Never apply them to wounds or damaged skin.
    • Do not use them along with a heating pad, because it could cause burns.
    • Do not use under a tight bandage.
    • Wash your hands well after using them. Avoid touching your eyes with the product on your hands.

    If you are allergic to aspirin or are taking blood thinners, check with your doctor before using topical medications that contain salicylates. Pain that is unresolved within a week or, that prevents you from going about your daily routine needs the attention of a orthopedic physician.

    Get out of pain and active again with MK Orthopaedics.  Our experts treat all types of orthopaedic injuries and conditions. For more information go to www.mkortho.org or Call 815 207 8280 to schedule an appointment. 

    Is Your Job a Real Pain?

    Last updated 18 days ago

    If you’ve been to see an orthopaedic doctor about a repetitive stress injury, he or she may have asked you about your occupation. Many repetitive stress injuries are linked to job activities, such as computer and keyboard use. Carpal tunnel syndrome is one common injury among office workers. It involves pain, numbness, and tingling in the wrists, hands, and thumbs. The symptoms tend to grow worse over time if left untreated. It can also lead to weakened grip strength, which may cause you to drop objects frequently.

    Another common orthopaedic condition that you might sustain on the job is tendinitis, which involves small tears in the tendons. Myofascial damage can develop when the muscles are overworked. Workers might also suffer from cervical radiculopathy, which is a condition in which the intervertebral discs in the neck become compressed. This is particularly common among workers who frequently rest a phone between their shoulder and ear while working.

    The workers’ compensation specialists at MK Orthopaedics will be happy to assist patients who have suffered orthopaedic injuries while on the job. You can schedule an appointment at our orthopaedic clinic by calling (815) 741-6900.

    Are Your Hips To Blame for Your Back Pain?

    Last updated 25 days ago

    It’s often difficult to pinpoint the exact source of pain. Pain may radiate to other areas, such as from the hips to the back and vice versa. If you’ve been experiencing low back pain, in addition to pain in the buttocks, hip, groin, or leg, your orthopaedic doctor may diagnose you with sacroiliac joint dysfunction. The sacroiliac joint is located at the point where the pelvis meets the spine. The pain may arise from a problem with the nerves or ligaments surrounding this area.

    There are many possible causes of sacroiliac joint pain, including osteoarthritis. Athletes may develop stress fractures in this area, while those with ankylosing spondylitis may develop inflammation of the sacroiliac joint. Another possible cause is severe physical trauma, such as trauma sustained in car crash. Infections and even pregnancy can also be the culprit of the pain. To address this condition, your orthopaedic doctor may recommend physical therapy, steroid injections, and muscle relaxants.

    The orthopaedic doctors at MK Orthopaedics offer a comprehensive suite of healthcare services, including diagnostics, physical therapy, and orthopaedic surgery. You can reach our office by calling (815) 741-6900.

    Are You a Candidate for Open Back Surgery?

    Last updated 1 month ago

    There are several types of orthopaedic surgeries that could be performed on the spine, including laminectomies and spinal fusions.  Patients and orthopaedic surgeons prefer to use a minimally invasive approach as the condition merits. Minimally invasive orthopaedic surgery offers smaller incisions, a shorter recovery time, and generally, fewer complications. However, sometimes open back surgery is required. For example, the surgeon may require open surgery for better access to the area. Talk to your orthopaedic surgeon about whether you may be a good candidate for open back surgery.

    Orthopaedic surgery such as a spinal fusion or laminectomy may be right for you if you’ve been diagnosed with certain back problems. For example, spinal fusion may be needed to stabilize the spine if you’ve had a tumor, injury, or infection. It may also be used to treat a herniated disc, spinal stenosis, spinal deformities, or rheumatoid arthritis. A laminectomy is a type of spinal surgery that can also be used to treat a herniated disc, spinal stenosis, or sciatica.

    Symptoms Interfere with Daily Life

    Back pain can be debilitating or cause a moderate interference with daily life.  There are non-operative as well as operative solutions out there. Don’t live in pain. Talk to your orthopaedic surgeon about the degree to which your symptoms prohibit you from enjoying your usual activities. If you experience severe or chronic symptoms, or you feel that the pain is disabling, surgery or conservative treatment may be right for you so that you can live more fully and actively.

    Conservative Treatment

    Open back surgery is not usually the first treatment an orthopaedic doctor would recommend. Typically, candidates for surgery have already tried more conservative treatments, such as medications, steroid injections, physical therapy, and occupational therapy. Sometimes, lifestyle changes can help, such as losing weight, making a habit of special exercises, changing ergonomics or quitting smoking. However, if you’ve already tried these nonsurgical treatments and still experience symptoms, it may be time to consider surgery.

    If you’re considering orthopaedic surgery for your back pain, talk to the specialists at MK Orthopaedics. Our orthopaedic surgeons will review your test results, symptoms, and medical history to determine if orthopaedic surgery may be appropriate for you. For an appointment, call our office at (815) 741-6900.

    Avoid Winter Injuries

    Last updated 1 month ago

    Wintry weather provides an excellent opportunity to enjoy sports such as snowboarding, skiing, ice skating or taking the kids sledding. Unfortunately, orthopaedic injuries from winter sports are all too common. Orthopaedic injuries can also arise from slipping and falling on icy surfaces, and because of unsafe snow shoveling practices. This winter, take a few moments to remind yourself of winter safety precautions before heading outdoors to enjoy the snow.

    Orthopaedic doctors strongly recommend that winter sports athletes take the time to warm up properly before hitting the slopes or ice rink. Always wear the appropriate protective gear, such as helmets, goggles, padding, and gloves. If you’re a novice, it’s a good idea to take some lessons from a qualified instructor or take it slow.

    Preventing Slip and Fall Injuries

    Orthopaedic doctors are often busy treating fractures, sprains, and strains during the winter months, which are frequently caused by slipping on icy sidewalks and driveways. Before heading outdoors, consider wearing over-the-shoe ice cleats to provide better traction. Walk on cleared and treated surfaces whenever possible, and use handrails if available. If you must cross an icy area, take small steps and go at a slow pace. Salt in your diet may be harmful, however, on your driveway is quite helpful. Make sure you have it before the snow falls. Inside falls can occur from puddles caused by boots. Keep rags or old towels near the exit and entry to wipe away the risk.

    Shovel Snow Safely

    Snow shoveling is an exhausting activity. It can also be tough on your back. Orthopaedic doctors often see patients that suffer from pain following shoveling snow.  As a reminder, always wear rubber-soled footwear and take frequent breaks. As well, it’s always best to push the snow rather than lifting and carrying it to dump. When it’s time to add snow to a pile, lift with your legs. If necessary, turn with your whole body; never twist your spine to throw snow.

    If you suffer an orthopaedic injury visit the specialists at MK Orthopaedics. Our orthopaedic doctors team is dedicated to helping you get back on your feet as quickly as possible. Orthopaedic patients throughout the Joliet area can get in touch with us by calling (815) 741-6900 or visit our website for more information. 

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