แสงสีบำบัด

Red light speeds up the healing of burns. Patients given daily treatment recovered two days faster than those not given light therapy

Red light speeds up the healing of burns. Patients given daily treatment recovered two days faster than those not given light therapy

การใช้แสงไฟที่มีสีสัน เป็นอีกทางเลือกในการบำบัดอาการป่วย ปัจจุบันแพทย์ได้ใช้สีของแสงบำบัดอาการป่วย ตั้งแต่อาการหน้าแดง Rosacea ไปจึงถึง อาการปวดหลัง

นักวิจัยค้นพบว่า ความยาวคลื่นของแสงที่ต่างกันมีผลต่อสุขภาพต่างกันด้วย

ยกตัวอย่างเช่น คลื่นแสงสีแดง มีผลเจาะลึกเข้าไปในเนื้อเยื่อและสามารถช่วยสมานแผล

Insomnia? Back pain? Try a blast of coloured light

By ROGER DOBSON

PUBLISHED: 02:40 GMT, 8 January 2013

Using coloured light to treat illness sounds very ‘alternative’ — but doctors are now offering colour therapy for conditions ranging from rosacea to back pain.

Researchers have discovered that different wavelengths of light (i.e. different colours) can provide different health benefits.

Red light, for example, can penetrate deep into tissue and can help with wound healing.

‘In the past, light treatments were not so discriminating, which was a problem, as  some wavelengths are associated with  the development of skin cancer,’ says  Dr Bav Shergill, of the British Association  of Dermatologists.

‘Now we have light that has specific wavelengths, which is making this non-invasive treatment even more attractive.’

There are a number of ways coloured light therapy can be given — via lasers, lamps, and LEDs (light-emitting diodes).

Here, we reveal how a rainbow of light is being harnessed to treat common health problems.

BLUE 

TREATS: Back pain, stomach ulcers,  gum disease, acne

Researchers at Heidelberg University in Germany are using blue light therapy to treat back pain in a trial of a patch-like device containing LEDs.

The theory is that the blue light stimulates the production of nitric oxide, a natural compound with pain killing and anti-inflammatory effects.

Blue light is increasingly used as an antibacterial treatment.

At Massachusetts General Hospital, doctors have found that shining blue light into the stomachs of patients with Helicobacter pylori (a bacterium linked to ulcers) reduces the bacterium by up to 99 per cent.

It is thought blue light kills the bacterium cells without harming healthy tissue.

Meanwhile, a Japanese study found blue light was significantly more effective than other colours at zapping bacteria involved in gum disease.
Blue light therapy is also effective for acne.

Research at the University of Missouri suggests improvement can be seen within a week, and after two months, more than 90 per cent of patients had visible improvements.

‘It can be used to treat patients who are unable to tolerate conventional acne treatments,’ says Dr Shergill.

RED

TREATS: Sun damage, burns, hair loss

Dermatologists in Jerusalem are using red light to treat actinic keratosis (or solar keratosis).

This is a pre-malignant skin condition where thick, scaly or crusty patches develop on the skin — the risk of it increases with age.

In one study at Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical School, all 15 patients treated with light improved after one session.

It is thought red light may tackle inflammation caused by the abnormal tissue, or activates the immune system to attack the abnormal cells.

Red light speeds up the healing of burns, too, according to a study at Shanghai Jiaotong University.

Patients given daily treatment recovered two days faster than those not given light therapy. (Patients were treated for 30 minutes at a time.)

The light appears to increase blood circulation, boosting the supply of oxygen and nutrients needed to heal tissue.

It is also thought to stimulate the production of collagen, a key component of wound healing.

Red light is also being tested for treating hair loss in women.

ORANGE

TREATS: Sleep and balance problems

Exposure to different coloured lights may help older people with balance problems and insomnia.

As part of a study at Stanford University in the U.S., older people will be exposed to orange light for 30 minutes a night.

One theory is that orange light has an effect on the balance mechanism in the inner ear.

YELLOW

TREATS: Spider veins,  birthmarks, rosacea, sunburn

Haemoglobin, which gives blood its red colour, soaks up yellow light, which then destroys spider veins.

With port wine stains and birthmarks, the yellow light is absorbed by haemoglobin within the birthmark.

‘This treatment has improved patients’ lives immeasurably,’ says Dr Shergill. Yellow light also reduces the appearance of redness, swelling and inflammation, and may help rosacea and sunburn.

GREEN

TREATS: Enlarged prostate, wound healing, depression, insomnia

Green laser light is being used as an alternative to the scalpel in surgery for benign prostate disease (or BPH).

It vaporises and removes enlarged prostate tissue. The laser light is administered by a fibre optic inserted into the urethra.

According to a report from the University of California at Los Angeles, it produces results that are equal to those with surgery, but without the severe side-effects and risks.

‘Green laser lights can be very useful in patients on blood thinners, as it is not necessary to stop taking these drugs in order to have the operation,’ says Anthony Koupparis, consultant urological surgeon at Southmead Hospital, Bristol.

Green lasers have also been shown to melt body fat, and are being tested in a trial for body contouring, or reshaping, after weight loss.

Meanwhile, scientists at Osaka University in Japan have discovered LEDs that emit green light can speed up wound healing in tests on animals.

It is thought the light boosts production of compounds involved in wound healing.

Green lasers could help with seasonal depression and insomnia, too.

One theory is malfunctions in the body’s natural clock contribute to both conditions, as it coordinates the release of hormones such as melatonin, crucial for deep sleep, and serotonin, a feel-good chemical.

In a trial at the University of California, a light worn at night bathes the face in green light. Scientists  believe this will reset the body clock.

VIOLET

TREATS: Itching, alopecia,  eczema, vitiligo psoriasis

Ultraviolet light therapy is an effective treatment for many skin conditions, including psoriasis and eczema, possibly by slowing down cell growth and inflammation.

Controlled use of UV light has also been shown to help reduce the size of the white patches of vitiligo, a skin pigment disorder.

In a trial at Nottingham University, doctors are comparing the effects of hand-held UVB and placebo devices on

SOURCE: dailymail.co.uk

Advertisements

การฉีดสเตียรอยด์ใช้ไม่ได้ผลกับอาการปวดหลังและปวดขา

Sciatica causes shooting pains in the lower back or more commonly down one leg

นักวิจัยชาวออสเตรเลียพบว่าการฉีดสเตียรอยด์ corticosteroid injections เข้ากระดูกสันหลังไม่มีผลระยะสั้นและระยะยาวเลยกับการรักษาอาการปวดหลังปวดตะโพก และให้ความแตกต่างเล็กน้อยในผู้ป่วยที่มีอาการปวดขา

Steroid injections DON’T work for back and leg pain

  • Steroid injections had no long-term effect on sciatica pain, according to a review of clinical trials
  • Researchers say conventional painkillers should be used instead and surgery as a last resort

By DAILY MAIL REPORTER

PUBLISHED: 13:49 GMT, 13 November 2012

Having steroid injections to ease back pain could be a waste of time, after researchers found they do little to alleviate sciatica.

The condition, which is a common form of leg and back pain, is caused when the sciatic nerve becomes compressed. This is most usually caused by a slipped disc.

Steroid injections are one of the treatment options on offer in the UK and U.S if painkillers and exercise fail to work.

Now Australian researchers have found that corticosteroid injections into the spine had no long or short-term effect on sciatica back pain.

They also had such a small short-term effect on leg pain that it made little difference to the patient.

‘I think it’s pretty clear that this treatment is not good to do,’ said Chris Maher, of The George Institute for Global Health in Sydney, Australia, who worked on the study.

Yet the use of epidural steroid injections to treat back pain of all sorts among Medicare patients nearly doubled from 741,000 in 2000 to about 1,438,000 in 2004, according to the researchers.

In the U.S., the cost of one shot can be several hundred dollars. It is also an option on the NHS in the UK.

For sciatica, which is thought to be caused by nerve damage, past studies have already questioned the effectiveness of spinal steroid shots.

Dr Maher and his colleagues set out to see whether past studies supported the use of epidural corticosteroid injections to help manage sciatica.

The team analysed the results from 23 clinical trials on thousands of patients. Each patient’s pain was ranked on a scale from zero to 100 – with higher scores representing worse pain.

For the back pain component of sciatica, the researchers found that the injections didn’t seem to make a difference over short or long periods of time.

When it came to leg pain, there was no difference a year or so after the injection, but there was a statistically significant six-point drop in pain scores over the short term – up to three months afterwards.

But that, according to Maher, is not enough to mean anything to a doctor or patient.

‘You can appreciate that six points on a hundred-point scale is a tiny difference, and in our view that is probably not clinically important,’ he said.

‘We really think the question is closed,’ he added.

‘So in terms of our research agenda, we’re moving on to other treatments for sciatica.’

However, not everyone agrees that steroid injections should be excluded from the hierarchy of treatments for sciatica.

‘In general, I think we’ve learned over the years that the epidural injections are turning out to be less and less successful… but there are times when they should be considered,’ said Dr Kirkham B. Wood, from Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital.

He believes an injection should be considered, for example, in someone with sciatica resulting from a relatively recent herniated disc, ‘who time and medication has not helped.’

Wood does believe, however, that the injections are overused, and said there was a time when the injections were the go-to treatment for simple back pain.

‘I think the pendulum is certainly swinging away from their broad use,’ he said.

The fungal meningitis outbreak in the U.S., caused by a tainted supply of the steroid methylprednisolone will also likely dampen enthusiasm for the jabs, researchers acknowledged.

‘If this was a treatment that worked, then you’d have to weigh the benefits and the harm,’ Maher said.

Maher and his team, who published their results in the Annals of Internal Medicine on Monday, hope doctors will pick up on their findings but said it could take a while.

SOURCE : dailymail.co.uk

ให้เล่นโยคะตอนพักงานกลางวันคลายเครียดและทุเลาปวดหลัง

หากว่ารู้สึกเครียดเพราะการงาน ควรจะหาโอกาสฝึกโยคะช่วงพักกลางวันดูบ้าง พอจะช่วยได้ เพราะมีการศึกษาที่อังกฤษพบว่า การเล่นโยคะในที่ทำงาน ช่วยคลายเครียดและทุเลาอาการปวดหลังลงได้

นักวิจัยมหาวิทยาลัยแบนเกอร์ ที่แคว้นนอร์ธ เซลส์ ได้ศึกษากับกลุ่มข้าราชการหญิงชายเมืองน้ำชา วัยระหว่าง 25-64 ปี ที่พากันบ่นว่าเครียดและปวดหลังรบกวน โดยชวนพวกเขาหันมาเล่นโยคะ นาน 2 เดือน

เมื่อครบกำหนด กลุ่มที่เล่นโยคะมีเหลือเพียง 4 คนเท่านั้นที่ยังบ่นว่าปวดหลังอยู่ ในขณะที่พวกที่ไม่เล่นยังปวดหลังอยู่มากถึง 13 คน นอกจากนั้น พวกนักโยคะยังแจ้งว่าอาการปวดหลัง และความรู้สึกเศร้าซึมก็ลดน้อยลง

อย่างไรก็ตาม นักวิจัยยังรู้สึกว่าผู้ที่เข้าร่วมการศึกษาส่วนใหญ่เป็นผู้หญิง จึงยังไม่อาจบอกได้ว่า หากเป็นผู้ชายจะได้ผลแบบเดียวกันหรือไม่.

ที่มา: ไทยรัฐ 15 ตุลาคม 2555

.

Related Article

.

Yoga at work may relieve stress and back pain

Published October 09, 2012

MyHealthNewsDaily

If you’re stressed at work, a little yoga on your lunch break might just help.
A new study from the United Kingdom suggests yoga done at work can reduce stress levels and lower back pain.

The study involved 74 British government workers ages 25 to 64 who said they experienced stress and back pain that was somewhat bothersome. Participants were randomly assigned to practice either eight weeks of yoga, or no yoga.

People in the yoga group took part in a 50-minute yoga class once a week, either at lunchtime or after work. They could also practice yoga at home twice a week for 20 minutes using a DVD.

All participants completed questionnaires designed to assess back pain, stress levels and overall well-being.

At the beginning of the study, 10 people in the yoga group and eight in the control group said they had back pain. At the end of the study, just four participants in the yoga group reported back pain, compared to 13 in the control group.

In addition, participants in the yoga group had reported lower levels of stress and less sadness at the study’s end, compared with those in the control group.

The findings agree with previous research showing that yoga can reduce stress levels and back pain.

The researchers, from the Bangor University in North Wales, noted that the majority of participants were women, so the findings may not apply to men. Also, the benefits in the yoga group may have been influenced by the placebo effect — the idea that a treatment is beneficial simply because patients believe it will work.

Future studies should examine whether yoga at work can reduce the number of sick days workers take, the researchers said.

“Integrating yoga into the workplace, at lunchtime or after work, may provide a time-effective, convenient and practical method for reducing the costly effects of stress and back pain,” the researchers wrote in the Sept. 25 issue of the journal Occupational Medicine.

SOURCE: foxnews.com

ติงทำงานด้วยสมาร์ทโฟนทำเจ็บป่วย

สมาคมกายภาพบำบัดในอังกฤษออกรายงานชิ้นใหม่ เตือนว่ามนุษย์เงินเดือนทั้งหลายกำลังกลายเป็น “ทาสหน้าจอ” หลังพบว่าพนักงานบริษัทจำนวนมากยังคงทำงานหลังเวลางาน โดยใช้สมาร์ทโฟน หรืออุปกรณ์คอมพิวเตอร์พกพาต่างๆ
งานวิจัยพบว่า ผู้คนได้ทำงานเพิ่มขึ้นเป็นเวลาเฉลี่ย 2 ชั่วโมงทุกวันระหว่างเดินทางไป-กลับ และเมื่อถึงบ้านแล้ว

เหตุที่คนจำนวนมากกลายเป็น “ทาสหน้าจอ” เป็นเพราะแรงกดดันในที่ทำงาน แม้บางคนบอกว่าการเอางานกลับไปทำที่บ้านในตอนค่ำช่วยลดความเครียดได้
ผลการศึกษาเจ้าหน้าที่สำนักงานกว่า 2,000 คนพบว่า ในเวลากลางวันคนส่วนใหญ่ใช้เวลาอยู่หน้าจอคอมพิวเตอร์นานเกิน 6 ชั่วโมง จากนั้นระหว่างเดินทางกลับบ้านก็ยังทำงานต่อด้วยสมาร์ทโฟนหรืออุปกรณ์อื่นๆ

ทางสมาคมบอกว่า การโหมงานหนักทำให้เกิดปัญหาสุขภาพได้ และการใช้ท่วงท่าไม่ถูกต้องขณะใช้สมาร์ทโฟนก็ทำให้เกิดอาการปวดหลังหรือปวดคอได้
รายงานแนะว่า นายจ้างควรชักชวนให้พนักงานหยุดพักเป็นระยะ และเข้าร่วมกิจกรรมต่างๆ ในระหว่างวัน

ดร.เฮเลนา จอห์นสัน ประธานสมาคม บอกว่า ผลการสำรวจนี้สร้างความวิตกแก่บรรดานักกายภาพบำบัด ซึ่งได้เห็นอยู่ทุกวันว่าการนั่งใช้อุปกรณ์คอมพิวเตอร์ไม่ถูกหลักสรีรศาสตร์ และการละเลยหลักการทำงานที่ดี ได้ทำให้ผู้คนต้องเจ็บป่วยไม่สบาย

“ถ้าเอางานไปทำที่บ้านบ้างเป็นบางครั้งในระยะสั้นๆ ก็ไม่เป็นไร แต่ถ้าทำเป็นกิจวัตรประจำวันในยามค่ำก็อาจทำให้เกิดอาการปวดหลังหรือปวดคอได้ รวมทั้งอาการเจ็บป่วยที่เกี่ยวกับความเครียด”

“อาการเหล่านี้จะเกิดขึ้นเมื่อใช้อุปกรณ์พกพา และไม่ระวังเรื่องท่วงท่าในการทำงาน” ดร.จอห์นสันบอก “ถ้ารู้สึกเครียด จงพูดคุยกับนายจ้าง”.

 

ที่มา: ไทยโพสต์ 28 มิถุนายน 2555

 

Related Link:

.

Smartphone users ‘risking health’ with overuse of devices

18 June 2012

People are risking their health by working on smartphones, tablets and laptops after they have left the office, according to the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy.

It says people have become “screen slaves” and are often working while commuting or after they get home.

The society said poor posture in these environments could lead to back and neck pain.

Unions said people needed to learn to switch off their devices.

An online survey, of 2,010 office workers by the Society found that nearly two-thirds of those questioned continued working outside office hours.

The organisation said people were topping up their working day with more than two hours of extra screentime, on average, every day.

The data suggested that having too much work and easing pressure during the day were the two main reasons for the extra workload.

‘Posture’

Brendan BarberTrades Union Congress

The chairwoman of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, Dr Helena Johnson, said the findings were of “huge concern”.

She said: “While doing a bit of extra work at home may seem like a good short-term fix, if it becomes a regular part of your evening routine then it can lead to problems such as back and neck pain, as well as stress-related illness.

“This is especially the case if you’re using hand-held devices and not thinking about your posture. Talk to your employer if you are feeling under pressure.”

The general secretary of the Trades Union Congress, Brendan Barber, said: “Excessive work levels are not good for anyone. Overworked employees are not only unlikely to be performing well at work, the stress an unmanageable workload causes is also likely to be making them ill.

“By the time someone is so overloaded they constantly feel the need to put in extra hours every night of the week at home, things have clearly got out of hand.

“Individuals who find themselves unable to leave their work in the office should talk to their managers and learn to switch off their smartphones.”

Data from: bbc.co.uk

How young couch potatoes are giving themselves bad backs with hours in front of the box

How young couch potatoes are giving themselves bad backs with hours in front of the box

  • A third of 16 to 24-year-olds suffer from back pain, research finds
  • Thirty-eight per cent of over-65s have back problems

By ROB PREECE

PUBLISHED: 05:16 GMT, 25 July 2012 | UPDATED: 08:44 GMT, 25 July 2012

Young adults are paying the price for spending hours slumped in front of the television as one in three suffer from back pain, research has suggested.

Research company Mintel found that the proportion of 16 to 24-year-olds suffering from pain was similar to that of pensioners.

The study found that 34 per cent of 16 to 24-year-olds suffer from back ache compared with 38 per cent of over-65s.

Two fifths of Britons across all age groups suffer from back pain, the research found.

Michelle Strutton, from Mintel, said: ‘The high incidence of back pain in Britain’s youngsters is pretty alarming.
‘Too much time sitting, weakens muscle tone and this can lead to back pain.

‘Many of Britain’s youngsters lead a sedentary lifestyle and lack of sport may well be contributing to back pain as well as poor posture.

Harmful: Researchers said Britain¿s youth were spending hours at a time slumped in front of TV and computer screens

‘Britain’s youth are spending hours at a time slumped in front of TV and computer screens, which is doing nothing to strengthen their backs.

The study also found that women are more likely to complain of headaches than men, with 62 per cent of women saying they suffer from headaches compared with 49 per cent of men.
The Mintel research was published three months after another study linked back pain to happiness at work.

A team of scientists led by Professor Markus Melloh, an orthopaedic surgeon based in Perth, Australia, claimed that many sufferers may simply be unhappy at work.

Back pain is becoming one of society’s main issues and accounts for a high proportion of reasons for taking sick leave.’
Mintel said the research identified the nations top five ailments which are colds and flu, headaches, sore throats, coughs and back pain.

Problem: Two fifths of Britons across all age groups suffer from back pain, the research found

They said sufferers may be able to ‘think themselves better’, as those with a positive attitude to work are less likely to have lower back problems.

They relied on research which showed that only 33 per cent of people with niggling non-specific backache developed persistent pain that severely affected their career and social lives.
Although some workers required extended sick leave, only a few had suffered a physical change such as a slipped disc.
Anatomical tests of the other patients involved in the study showed no physical reasons for ongoing daily problems with pain.
Read more: dailymail.co.uk

Good news… you don’t have to put up with that bad back

Good news… you don’t have to put up with that bad back

By ANGELA EPSTEIN
UPDATED: 22:01 GMT, 17 December 2011

Britain is a nation with a bad back. Recent research revealed that 80 per cent of Britons have one or more bouts in their lifetimes, and the condition is the single most common reason we see a doctor.

In most cases, treatment will be as simple as taking a paracetamol and trying to get on with the day. But in some instances, there could a more serious cause.

Dr Catherine Mathews, consultant  rheumatologist at The BMI Blackheath Hospital in London, says: ‘In very rare instances, back pain can be symptomatic of something sinister, such as cancer or tuberculosis. If you suffer with back pain, your first stop should always be your GP.

‘If back pain is unrelenting and there whether you rest, are active or lying down, or it disturbs your sleep, you need to get  it investigated.’

The good news is that many instances of back pain are easily treatable and need not lead to long-term misery. Here, with the help of leading experts, we find out what your back could be trying to tell you .  .  .

MY BACK HURTS WHEN I HAVE TO STAND FOR A LONG TIME 

IT COULD BE OSTEOARTHRITIS OF THE SPINE

This is a degenerative disease that affects the cartilage which coats the bones at the end of joints. Sometimes, the wear and tear of osteoarthritis also puts pressure on the nerves extending from the spinal column, causing weakness and pain in the arms or legs.

Osteoarthritis of the spine usually doesn’t happen until about the age of 45.

‘As well as causing a dull ache on standing, many sufferers feel it when they set out on a walk,’ says Professor Alan Silman, of Arthritis Research UK. ‘It may ease off after ten minutes or so. Many sufferers also find pain disappears by mid-morning but then creeps up again from mid-afternoon if they have been sitting at their desk for a long time.’

TREATMENT

‘Losing weight will help as this will ease pressure on the back,’ says Prof Silman. ‘Any exercise that stretches the back  muscles and the muscles of the abdominal wall will help. Try lying on your back with your knees pulled alternatively into your chest. Do this ten times.’

Sitting in one place for a prolonged period also puts pressure on the back.

Physiotherapist Sammy Margo says: ‘When you sit at your desk, make sure your bottom is at the back of your chair. Using a TENS machine [transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation] such the Lloyds Pharmacy Back Pain Reliever, may also help. This works by passing harmless electrical signals into the lower back from its pads, blocking the body’s pain signals. Try to do about 20 to 30 minutes of aerobic exercise every day, such as swimming, walking or cycling to maintain flexibility.’

STABBING PAIN OR SPASM IN THE SIDE OF THE BACK

IT COULD BE A PULLED MUSCLE

This happens when the back muscles are strained or even torn, usually as a result of a single incident. Sufferers often remember the instant the pain started and relate it to a particular situation.

‘The pain is normally on one side as it will relate to a specific area, rather than emanating from the spine,’ says Margo. If the pain does come from the spine, it could have been caused by nerve irritation to the joints or ligament.

TREATMENT

You may need to rest for a day if the pain is really bad, but start moving as soon as you can, otherwise the muscles can become immobilised and the problem gets worse.

‘Use ice, an ice spray or gel for about seven minutes on the affected area, three to four times a day. Do this for the first 36 hours to reduce inflammation, then switch to heat treatment which will help relax the muscles,’ says Margo.

IT’S NOT JUST MY BACK, BUT MY LEGS THAT HURT

IT COULD BE SCIATICA

Leg pain, numbness or weakness that starts in the low back and travels down the sciatic nerve in the leg is known as sciatica. The pain is likely to be constant in one side of the buttock or leg and is made worse by sitting.

Sciatica is commonly caused by a slipped disc, when the spinal discs that act as cushions between the bones of the spine move and press on the nerves. If you have a slipped disc, it may hurt when you cough.

TREATMENT

‘Most slipped discs resolve themselves spontaneously as the disc heals itself,’ says Dr Karl Gaffney, consultant rheumatologist at The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. ‘It’s important to try gentle exercise such as swimming which won’t put pressure on the back but which will keep you mobile.’

Margo suggests: ‘You can alleviate leg pain at night by sleeping with a pillow between your knees. Hot packs applied to the back such as Thermacare Heat Wraps may help as these provide heat and support to the area.

‘For women, wearing tight knickers or leggings can offer support. If the condition goes on for six weeks or more, your specialist may suggest injections of steroids into the spine to reduce inflammation.’

MY BACK PAIN IS SO UNBEARABLE IT’S MAKING ME FEEL SICK

IT COULD BE KIDNEY STONES

These are tiny grains of waste products that crystallise and collect around the inside of the kidney, causing nausea and back pain. ‘The pain is always on one side and is severe if not overwhelming,’ says Dr Mathews. ‘You can identify your kidneys by putting your hands on the top of your hip bones with your thumb behind your back.’

TREATMENT

Pain from small kidney stones may last only a few hours and is likely to stop when the stone is passed into the urine. Stones that don’t pass can be treated by extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) X-rays. Ultrasound is used to pinpoint the stone, then a machine sends shock waves of energy to break it into smaller pieces so it can be passed.

Aches: Certain symptoms may be other serious medical conditions such as kidney or gall stones

MY BACK AND NECK FEEL STIFF, PARTICULARLY IN THE MORNING

IT COULD BE ANKYLOSING SPONDYLITIS (AS)

This is a form of arthritis in which the spinal joints and ligaments and the joints at the base of the spine become inflamed.

‘This condition affects more men than women and usually happens in our 20s and 30s. It is also characterised by pain above the buttocks which can sometimes be on one side and sometimes on the other,’ says Dr Gaffney. ‘The pain usually gets better as the day wears on.’

The condition is also associated with  people who suffer from psoriasis, and colitis (inflammation of the colon).

TREATMENT

Stay active to improve your posture and range of spinal movement, as well as preventing your spine from becoming stiff and painful.

‘Try rotation exercises such as swivelling your hips or twisting your waist,’ says Margo. ‘And practise walking with your hands behind your back as this will make you stand tall.

‘Good posture is really important because it means that even if you stiffen up, you will be doing so in the most supportive position.’

Dr Gaffney says: ‘There is also a new class of drugs called biologics for those with severe pain which work by switching off the infection. However, this is usually a treatment of last resort as there are potentially quite severe side effects.’
Data from: dailymail.co.uk

The ‘growing pains’ that could cripple you for life

The ‘growing pains’ that could cripple you for life
By ISLA WHITCROFT
UPDATED: 00:14 GMT, 30 November 2010

Paul Curry’s teenage years were blighted by what doctors insisted were growing pains. Not just the odd sharp stab or ache that many youngsters suffer, but attacks that were so severe he was often bedridden for days.
‘The pain was dull, gnawing deep inside both hips,’ says Paul, 28, from Durham. ‘It was excruciating.

‘The first time it happened I was 13 and mad about sport, particularly rugby. I assumed — as did my parents — it was growing pains or a sporting injury and so would go away.’

At risk: Young males are most likely to suffer from Ankylosing Spondylitis(AS), a progressive rheumatic disease that causes inflammation around joints

Unfortunately, over the next few years not only did the pain worsen, but the attacks became more frequent and lasted longer.

‘Sometimes I could cope by taking painkillers, but other times I’d be in bed for days, screaming with pain,’ says Paul.

Over the next few years, his parents took him to see his GP several times. He diagnosed growing pains and said it was ‘something Paul would grow out of’.

A consultant orthopaedic ­surgeon, to whom Paul was referred privately at the age of 16, then pronounced he was suffering from Sherman’s disease, a mild condition that causes a slight curvature of the upper spine.

‘He said that by the time I was 21 I’d have grown out of it. In the meantime, I was to keep taking painkillers,’ he says.

Sadly, Paul, from Durham, didn’t have Sherman’s disease, but Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS), a progressive rheumatic disease that causes inflammation around bone joints and ligaments.

Left untreated, this causes bone erosion, which stimulates the immune system into a healing process. This, in turn, produces an overgrowth of bone, which leads to the fusion of bones such as the spine and hips and eventually immobility. The damage is irreversible.

Some 400,000 Britons are affected by AS, with symptoms usually appearing between the ages of 25 and 34 — though ­teenagers and older people can be affected.

Unfortunately, like Paul, many sufferers are mis-diagnosed — with devastating consequences.

Today, at 28, Paul is racked with constant pain. The discs in the lower half of his spine have fused, as have his hip and pelvic joints.

Three vertebrae at the top of his neck are also affected and this once super-fit teenager counts himself lucky if he walks without using a stick.
At night, his joints stiffen and spasm and he is dependent on a daily dose of morphine.

Late diagnosis: Paul Curry’s crippling condition was not spotted until his 20s

Not surprisingly, in the past, the condition has left Paul feeling depressed.

‘I still get distressed about what might have been had I been properly diagnosed early on,’ says Paul who, after getting a degree in business management, had to move back in with his parents because he is often confined to bed for days at a time.

Despite spending thousands of pounds on specialists over the years, Paul wasn’t diagnosed until he was 26, when an astute physiotherapist recognised his symptoms and advised him to see a rheumatologist.

‘She examined me and said she was almost certain I had AS,’ says Paul.

‘Blood tests and an MRI scan confirmed this. It was a scary diagnosis, but an utter relief that at last I knew what I was dealing with.’

Shockingly, the average delay in diagnosing the condition is ten years, according to a survey for the National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society (NASS).

‘There is a lack of awareness of the condition and how to distinguish the symptoms from other causes such as back pain,’ says Dr Andrew Keat, consultant rheumatologist at Northwick Park Hospital, Harrow, Middlesex, and a specialist in AS.

‘Unfortunately, the very people who suffer most from the ­condition — young males — are also the ones who tend to be the most active,’ he says.

‘Therefore, it’s easy to write off their symptoms as being a sporting injury or even just growing pains.’

The main distinguishing ­symptom is inflammatory joint pain, which comes on slowly and usually occurs in the lower back or hips. Crucially, it improves with exercise and worsens with inactivity, meaning it’s often severe at night.

‘These symptoms should be a red light to your GP that ­inflammation is occurring,’ says Dr Keat. ‘If anti-inflammatories don’t help after a few weeks, the symptoms need further investigation by a rheumatologist.’
There is no one simple test, says Dr Keat.

‘We look at family history, symptoms, make a physical examination and take blood tests for signs of inflammation. X-rays rarely show the condition so an MRI scan is essential,’ he says.

Ironically, once the condition is diagnosed, treatment is ­usually effective — with anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen and exercise, as movement discourages the fusion process.

Exercise can make a significant difference, as Liz Ledger proves. Now 28, she had severe hip pains from the age of 17; these were also blamed on growing pains.

‘I lost count of how many health professionals I saw,’ says Liz, a sales and marketing ­manager from Bristol.

However, she worked out that the pain receded when she ­exercised and over the years she has devised a routine that kept it manageable.

But by her mid-20s the pain was increasingly severe. Finally, in October 2007, she suffered a flare-up that left her bed-bound.

‘I dragged myself to the GP and insisted that I wasn’t ­leaving without a referral to a rheumatologist.’

An MRI scan and blood test confirmed AS; her first four ­vertebrae had fused and there were signs of fusion in the hips and pelvic joints.

Her condition is being managed by anti-inflammatories and pain-killers. She does cycle classes, body conditioning and gentle running six days a week.
‘It’s a commitment, but it means the difference between mobility and immobility,’ she says.

‘AS can be a devastating ­condition, but one positive thing is that the sufferer can actually help themselves,’ says Jane Skerrett of the NASS.

‘The earlier a patient gets on to a suitable exercise regimen the better.’
The charity has launched an exercise guide, developed by a rheumatologist and physiotherapists, that contains a full ­fitness programme as well as advice.

Despite his pain, Paul makes sure he always does gentle stretching and walking. And ­having recently married, he remains optimistic and is keen to start a family.

Liz, who was diagnosed earlier in the disease cycle, is also upbeat. ‘I recently completed a half-marathon,’ she says.

‘Now I’m back at work and have a social life. Exercise has given me control of this disease.’

Data from: dailymail.co.uk