Vim & Vigor - Fall 2017 - University of Virginia - 43

Q

Your home run led to your softball team's victory last weekend,
but you're still sore and stiff two
days later.
Is it: Muscle strain or a muscle tear?
PROBABLY MUSCLE STRAIN. Wei
says you can experience general stiffness and soreness for 24 to 48 hours
after overexertion. "It can range from
mild to excruciating if you've really
done a number on your muscles," he
says. He recommends over-the-counter
anti-inflammatories, ice and rest.
If the pain lasts longer than 72 hours,
you might want to contact your doctor
to see whether you've torn a muscle.
Muscle tears could require physical therapy, massage, chiropractic treatment,
cryotherapy or heat treatment.

Q

You're youngish-only 40!-
but when you wake up in the
morning, your back is stiff.
Once you get moving and take a
shower, it feels more flexible.
Is it: Arthritis or something
more serious?
PROBABLY ARTHRITIS. "Around age
40 is when you can begin to deal with
degenerative diseases like osteoarthritis in your lower back," Wei says. With
arthritis, the stiffness eases within 15 to
30 minutes on its own, or with ice, moist
heat or an occasional over-the-counter
pain reliever.
If it's getting worse in duration or
intensity, or if you're younger than 40,
especially if you're male, you might be
showing signs of a condition called ankylosing spondylitis, a type of arthritis that
targets the spine. In that case, see your
doctor. Medication and physical therapy
could help.

VIDEO

Stop Back Pain Before It Starts
Core-strengthening exercises can help prevent painful back injuries-
but only if you do them correctly. Watch videos and learn the proper
form for these and other exercises at cdc.gov/physicalactivity/
basics/videos.

Q

Cleaning up after dinner, you
pivoted and bent down to place
a spoon in the dishwasher. Pain
shot through your back and down
your leg. Over-the-counter pain relief
helped, but you're still feeling it.
Is it: Muscle strain or sciatica?
SCIATICA. Sciatica can strike after
a relatively simple motion, especially
if you're approaching middle age or
older. If the pain starts in your back
and travels down your leg, that's usually a sign of nerve pain, or sciatica. You
can treat it at home with rest, ice, and
over-the-counter pain relievers or antiinflammatories. If the pain doesn't dissipate in two to three days, or if it gets
worse, see your doctor. Any bladder or
bowel incontinence could mean that
your spinal cord is compressed, which
is an emergency and requires treatment
right away.

Q

You're running a fever, battling
chills and aching all over-especially
in your lower back.
Is it: Flu or a kidney condition?
COULD BE A KIDNEY STONE OR
KIDNEY INFECTION. You should
see your doctor, as it can be difficult
to separate flu symptoms from those

stemming from a kidney stone or
infection. "If the fever remains high
and pain in the back becomes more
intense, that is a warning sign," Wei
says. Kidney stones might need medication, treatment to break them up
or surgery. Kidney infections usually
require intravenous antibiotics.

Q

You're a woman who has
experienced menopause and
suddenly you feel excruciating
pain in your midback.
Is it: Osteoporosis or cancer?
MORE LIKELY OSTEOPOROSIS,
BUT GET HELP. Whether it's osteoporosis or cancer, you're probably
experiencing a compression fracture,
a vertebral break that occurs when the
bones are weak and fragile rather than
from trauma. A compression fracture is
a medical emergency. If it's osteoporosis, cement injections can help expand
the collapsed vertebrae, ease your pain
and help you maintain your posture and
avoid a hunched appearance. You may
also need a bone density scan and medication to help build your bone strength.
If it's not osteoporosis, it could be a
type of cancer called multiple myeloma,
which is more likely if you've had lung or
breast cancer. n

FALL 2017

43


http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/videos http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/videos

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vim & Vigor - Fall 2017 - University of Virginia

Contents
Vim & Vigor - Fall 2017 - University of Virginia - Cover1
Vim & Vigor - Fall 2017 - University of Virginia - Cover2
Vim & Vigor - Fall 2017 - University of Virginia - Contents
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Vim & Vigor - Fall 2017 - University of Virginia - Cover3
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