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Orthopedics

Arthritis is one of the most common ailments seen in the country. This disease is difficult to control because it is caused primarily by increasing age and family history. However, one can reduce the risks of developing arthritis by exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. 
While a proper diagnosis can only be given by a trained physician, there are symptoms that you can look out for that may be due to arthritis:
1. Joint pain (especially in the fingers, feet and knees)
2. Joint swelling
3. Fatigue
4. Joint redness and warmth
5. Joint deformity
6. Loss of range of motion of joints
7. Involvement of multiple joints
8. Loss of joint function
9. Joint stiffness
10. Limping
11. The joints on both sides are affected
12. Fever
13. Anemia
If you notice any one or more of the above symptoms, consult your doctor immediately.  
Primary osteoarthritis is a degenerative disorder due to ageing process. In some cases arthritis is an auto-immune disorder that develops due to genetic & environmental factors. While it is still unclear what is the exact cause of arthritis but you have a higher risk of developing arthritis if a close relative has arthritis. 
Exercising is one of the best ways to manage arthritis as it helps in strengthening the muscles around the joint and prevents further progression.
Low-impact exercises such as swimming & bicycling are ideal for arthritis where there is less pressure on the joints.
If the joint is swollen or painful, rest an extra day and ice the swelling down.
Wear supportive footwear and gear that decreases the impact on hips, ankles and knees.
Avoid using steps or any inclined plane instead use levelled surface
The main objective is to be on a regular exercise schedule. Often patients end up doing exercise due to the pain. This leads to further decrease in the range of movements and stiffening, thereby worsening the condition 
As of now, there is no cure for arthritis. However, there are drugs and physical therapy regimen that helps with the pain and reduces the chances of further inflammation.
According to the severity of your condition, your doctor may prescribe the following:
1. Drugs that reduce the pain: Painkillers such as paracetamol & NSAID’s (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs). Steroids may be given in injectable or tablet forms for a short period of a time.
2. DMARD’s (Disease Modifying Anti Rheumatic Drugs) & biological response modifiers are used to suppress the inflammatory agents of arthritis.
3. Physical therapy is an important aspect in the treatment of arthritis. Hydrotherapy, physiotherapy and occupational therapy helps in regaining your range of motion and doing daily household work with arthritis. 
While the diagnosis of osteoporosis can be only made by a trained physician after a physical examination and medical investigations, there are symptoms that point towards osteoporosis.
Most people don’t know they have osteoporosis until their first bone fracture. However, patients complain of back pain, gradually loss of height, stooped posture and fractures of hip, spine or wrists may strongly suggest osteoporosis. 
One can strengthen their bones in the following manner:
1. A balanced diet: Eat fresh, locally produced fruits and vegetables and try to avoid processed foods, refined sugars & white flour. Multi vitamin tablets should be considered to boost up the nutritional status
2. Exercise: Exercising helps in strengthening the muscles around the joints and delays bone loss. The key is to be regular and slowly increase your activity level.
3. Get adequate Vitamin D: Start your day soaking in the sun or take Vitamin D to reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
4. Decrease your stress levels as cortisol (stress hormone) has a detrimental effect on bones. Try mediation or join a hobby to decrease your stress levels.
5. Try avoiding acidic food and fizzy drinks to protect bone loss. 
Osteoporosis is commonly seen in women post-menopause. Around 2 in 100 women have osteoporosis by the age of 50 which increases to 1 in 4 by the age of 80. However, there have been cases where osteoporosis occurred at any age. 
Those who have a family history have a higher risk of developing of osteoporosis than those who have no family history.
Yes, soft drinks have an impact on your bones. Firstly, the increased intake of soft drinks displaces milk or fruit juice from your diet. Secondly, phosphoric acid is a main component of soft drinks. Due to the increased intake of phosphorus, there is not enough calcium to maintain the balance which directly leads to lowering the bone density. Lastly, most soft drinks have caffeine in them which interferes with calcium absorption.
Adult men over the age of 50 need between 1000-2000mg & adult women need between 1200-2000mg. Calcium supplements help maintain the daily intake of calcium to prevent osteoporosis. 
You will only need surgery if you have an osteoporotic fracture (Common sites are hip, spine, & wrist) 
Spondylitis (inflammation of the vertebrae around the spine) has a strong genetic link. Most patients who have spondylitis carry the HLA-B27 gene. 

There are certain precautions one needs to takes when dealing with spondylitis
 DO follow up with your doctor regularly.
 DON’T avoid exercising. Regular exercising & a healthy body weight leads to a better quality of life
 DO inform your doctor of any side effects of any of the medications you take
 DON’T slouch or sit without support. While standing, make sure you a
 DO eat a healthy and alkaline-based diet to help reduce the inflammation.
 DON’T skip your medicines under any circumstances
 DO strengthening exercises for your neck/back on a regular basis
 DON’T lift heavy weights.  

7 Tips to Protect Your Spine from Spondylosis

Yes if policy is minimum 3 years old and the disease has already been declared in the policy.
On taking history of the patient, those with a spinal fracture have the following complaints:
1. Back pain: It is a sudden, continued high intense pain that increases on walking or standing and decreases on lying down.
2. Any kind of deformity or disability
3. Any loss of height.
On examination, there is tenderness at the site of the fracture. It is then confirmed by an X Ray.  
The first line of treatment is conservatives:
 Analgesics are given to help with the pain
 Calcium and Vitamin D supplements are given to increase the levels.
 Bed rest for a short period is recommended. Extended period of bed rest can lead to increased bone loss and loss of mobility.
 External back brace helps to reduce the pressure on the back
The pain should decrease within a few days or weeks. However, if the pain is still present after 3 months, surgery is considered. There are 2 main types of surgery that help in spinal fracture: Kyphoplasty & Vertebroplasty. 
If you have been diagnosed with a spinal fracture, there are certain precautions one must take.
 Follow your doctor’s advice. Even if there is symptomatic relief, get clearance from your doctor before resuming activities that may lead to stress on the back
 Bed rest should be strictly adhered. However, extended periods cause more harm than heal so slowly build up your ambulatory functions
 Don’t skip your painkillers
 Make sure you’re taking your calcium and Vitamin D supplements in adequate dosage regularly.
 Maintain a healthy diet. Try to avoid gaining weight during your bed rest which may increase the stress on your back.  
Your doctor will ask for post-surgery follow ups to check on your progress and to make sure your calcium and Vitamin D levels are within range.

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