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Pain / Anesthetics

What are the benefits and risks of an epidural?

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An epidural is a pain relief technique which can be administered by a doctor during childbirth and other medical procedures. There are however benefits and dangers.

This article will look at the pros and cons of an epidural, as well as other possible options.

Benefits

A doctor may suggest an epidural to treat back pain.
A doctor may suggest an epidural to treat back pain.

An epidural is a barrier to the nerves. For a variety of reasons, a doctor can prescribe an epidural, including pain relief during labor, back pain such as sciatica, and chronic leg and arm pain associated with an irritated spinal nerve root.

During labor

An epidural, which reduces the pain between a woman’s belly button and upper legs, will begin to take effect after about 15 minutes, the American Society of Anesthesiologists says.

An epidural doesn’t take away all the pain, and a woman still has some pressure to feel.

Other advantages of an epidural during childbirth include:

  • it is typically safe
  • is it typically effective
  • it allows a woman to remain awake during a cesarean delivery
  • women still have control of their upper body

Back pain

An epidural injection for back pain may have some of the following benefits, including:

  • Effective pain reduction: According to a 2016 systematic review, people who had an epidural for sciatica noted a 50–83% improvement in pain.
  • Decrease surgical intervention: According to the same review, about 80% of people did not need surgery after receiving an epidural injection.
  • Decrease functional disability: An epidural may aid those with a functional disability, which is a long-term disability due to an injury, illness, or condition.

Risks 

Some side effects of an epidural may include:

Serious side effects are uncommon, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), but they can include spinal injury, breathing problems, a racing heart, and numbness or tingling.

An epidural can have different side effects during labour. Data about the impact of an epidural on labor duration differ. An epidural can prolong the first and second stages of labor if the doctor administers it too late, according to the Office on Women’s Health (OWH). Many doctors, however, decide on the appropriate time to give an epidural, differently.

Other side effects may include:

  • itching
  • weakness in the legs
  • increased risk of needing the help of forceps or a vacuum
  • skin infection
  • some people may get permanent nerve damage, but this is rare

According to ACOG, the opioids in an epidural can lead to some short-term side effects in the fetus. These include:

  • reduced muscle tone
  • a change in heart rate
  • drowsiness
  • breathing problems

These side effects are usually easy to overcome. If a person is worried about how an epidural might affect the fetus, they should talk with a doctor.

Epidural vs. natural birth

Approximately 60 percent of working women choose an epidural as a form of pain reliever. A woman needn’t have an epidural to give birth, though.

Whether a woman chooses to use an epidural while working is her choice, but women should keep a mind as open as possible. A doctor may need to recommend an epidural or other kind of pain relief sometimes. This could happen if a woman needs a delivery of a cesarean for example.

Alternatives for labor

If an individual chooses not to have an epidural, there may be other strategies for managing pain. Not all hospitals offer all of the services, however, so women can negotiate pain relief options with their health care providers when they present.

Medicinal pain relief

Medicinal pain relief alternatives may include:

Nitrous oxide

Some women prefer nitrous oxide to help them relax when giving birth and during labour. This involves inhaling the nitrous oxide 30 seconds before the start of a contraction. Though it is safe, some people can briefly feel dizzy and nauseous.

Opioids

A doctor may administer, or inject, opioids into the muscle through an IV. They do not affect a person’s ability to push, and thereafter an epidural remains an option. They don’t get rid of the pain absolutely, though, and are short-acting.

Side effects include sense of drowsiness, nausea, and can cause vomiting. The OWH states that there is a time limit for the use of opioids in work. Usually, if a woman is expected to deliver very early, a doctor should avoid the use of opioids, because opioids can delay the baby’s breathing and heart rate.

Pudendal block

An person may want to talk to a doctor about the use of a pudendal block.

A pudendal block is a numbing drug which is inserted into the pudendal nerve and vagina just before the head crowns of the fetus. The numbing medication may help ease pain associated with pushing out the infant.

Not all doctors, however, know how to do a pudendal block as the treatment has usually fallen out of favour.

Non-medicinal

A person who is looking for a completely natural delivery might consider home remedies for labor pain.

Some potential home remedies include:

  • hot compresses
  • cold compresses
  • labor ball
  • adjusting the position to find one that is comfortable
  • massaging the lower back or other areas
  • yoga
  • breathing exercises
  • meditation
  • TENS unit
  • aromatherapy
  • essential oils
  • doula
  • tub bath

Alternatives for other procedures

Some potential alternatives to an epidural for other procedures include:

  • opioids
  • cold or hot therapies
  • spinal anesthetic, which is a single injection of medication into the spine
  • general anesthetic

Summary

An epidural is a safe form of occupational pain relief and for chronic pain management. Although it does have other threats, these are either temporary or very rare.

A person needn’t have an epidural and there are alternatives.

Pregnant women will address what kind of delivery and pain relief they need during childbirth with their doctor or midwife. They should also take the opportunity to address any possible plans and concerns.

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Nutrition / Diet

How long does it take for kidney stones to pass?

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The kidneys are in charge of filtering the blood for urea and excess minerals. These substances are frequently excreted in the urine. Large concentrations of these minerals can, in some situations, build up in the kidneys, causing crystal-like stones.

Kidney stones can form in one or both kidneys. They may then flow thru the ureter, the tube that links the kidney to the bladder.

Small kidney stones usually pass thru without causing any problems and may not cause any symptoms. Larger stones can become lodged in the ureter and cause pain. They may cause issues such as infection and renal damage if they are not removed.

The speed with which a kidney stone passes can be influenced by a number of factors. More information on how long it takes to pass a kidney stone, how to speed up the process, and treatment options can be found in this article.

When to consult your doctor

doctor and patient

Smaller kidney stones may pass on their own, producing little pain. Large stones, on the other hand, can be uncomfortable and raise the risk of health problems.

Pain is a sign that a person needs to see a doctor. They’ll be able to tell if the stone has to be treated in any way to help it pass.

If people have any of the following symptoms, they should see a doctor:

  • blood in the urine
  • fever and chills
  • vomiting
  • severe and persistent pain in the back or side
  • cloudy or foul-smelling urine
  • a burning feeling when urinating

These symptoms could indicate a kidney infection, which needs to be treated right once to avoid more serious problems.

Duration

Size and placement are the two key elements that determine how quickly a stone passes.

Size

A kidney stone’s size influences how rapidly it passes through a person’s body. Smaller stones pass more quickly and with less pain.

The approximate timelines for passing kidney stones of various sizes are listed below:

  • Around 80% of kidney stones with a size of less than 4 mm will pass on their own in around 31 days.
  • Around 60% of kidney stones with a diameter of 4–6 mm will pass on their own after 45 days.
  • Around 20% of kidney stones that are larger than 6 mm will pass on their own after a year. When stones are this large, however, it is better to consider surgical removal as soon as possible.

Location
The position of the kidney stone also has an impact on whether or not it can be passed naturally. Some stones develop in the kidney, whereas others develop in the ureter.

Kidney stones that form near the kidney form in the upper section of the ureter. Those that form near the bladder are those that form in the lower section.

According to a 2014 assessment of research, 48 percent of stones that develop near the kidney pass without intervention. For stones that grow close to the bladder, the percentage climbs to 79 percent.

How to speed up the process

Drinking enough of water is the best technique to assist speed up the passing of a kidney stone. The extra fluid increases urine, which aids in the movement of the stone.

A person can also take actions to avoid the formation of new stones and the growth of existing ones. These steps are as follows:

  • limiting protein intake
  • reducing calcium intake
  • consuming less salt
  • eating more citrus fruits

Citrus fruits contain the chemical citrate, which can help prevent kidney stones from forming.

Dietitians and doctors can also recommend food programmes for kidney stone management.

Pain relief remedies

Kidney stones can be inconvenient and even painful to pass. In certain circumstances, over-the-counter drugs like ibuprofen may be sufficient to relieve pain.

If a person’s kidney stones are especially painful, they should speak with their doctor, who may be able to prescribe stronger pain relievers.

Treatment and surgery

Kidney stones can be treated without surgery in a number of ways. These are some of them:

  • Alpha-blockers: These drugs relax the ureter, alleviating painful spasms and helping the stone pass.
  • Calcium channel blockers: These drugs widen the ureter, helping the stone pass through.
  • Lithotripsy: This procedure uses sound waves to break the stone into smaller fragments that can pass more easily.

Surgery is rarely the first treatment option. Kidney stones greater than 6 mm, on the other hand, necessitate emergency surgery. Large stones can become lodged in the ureter, resulting in infections and kidney damage.

Ureteroscopy and percutaneous nephrolithotomy are the two main surgical options for kidney stone removal.

A general anaesthesia is required during ureteroscopy. Using tiny instruments introduced via the urethra, the surgeon removes or breaks up the stone during the surgery. A stent may then be placed into the urethra to keep it open. This makes it easier for any little stone shards to flow through.

The surgeon removes very large stones measuring 10 mm or more during percutaneous nephrolithotomy. A tiny incision in the back is used to remove the stone directly from the kidney. The surgery necessitates a general anaesthesia and a one to two-day stay in the hospital.

Recovery

The time it takes to recuperate from a kidney stone is determined by how quickly it goes. The pain should go away fast if the stone passes naturally or with minimal medication.

If lithotripsy is performed as an outpatient operation, the patient should be able to return home the same day. The amount of time it takes to recover depends in part on the type of anaesthetic used.

If surgery is necessary, most people are able to resume most of their routine activities within a day of the procedure. People who receive a stent, on the other hand, should avoid high-intensity activities until the stent is removed by a medical practitioner. About a week after surgery, something happens.

Pain medicines may be used throughout recuperation.

Conclusion

Kidney stones are often unpleasant, and passing them through the body’s system might take many weeks. If a person’s stones become very painful or if they suffer other concerning symptoms, they should consult a doctor.

Kidney stones can be treated using a variety of methods. The goal of drug therapy is to relieve pain and suffering while also allowing the stone to pass more freely.

Kidney stones that are too large to pass naturally, on the other hand, may need to be surgically removed. Within a day or two of surgery, most people are able to resume their daily activities.

Sources:

  • https://www.urologyhealth.org/careblog/a-patients-guide-to-laser-treatment-for-urinary-stones
  • https://intermountainhealthcare.org/ext/Dcmnt?ncid=520728251
  • https://urology.wustl.edu/patient-care/kidney-stones/kidney-stones-overview/
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/326775
  • https://www.mountsinai.org/health-library/selfcare-instructions/kidney-stones-self-care
  • https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/kidney-stones/symptoms-causes
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3897056/

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Back Pain

Back pain and kidney pain: Causes, symptoms, and more

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The kidneys filter the blood, removing waste and excess fluid. These organs are located below the rib cage on either side of the body. Because the kidneys are pressed up against the back muscles, distinguishing between kidney and back pain can be difficult.

People must consider the following factors when determining if their pain is caused by the back or the kidneys:

  • the source of the pain
  • the nature and degree of the pain
  • any symptoms that come with it

The basic characteristics and causes of kidney pain and back pain are discussed in this article. We also discuss when you should see a doctor.

When to consult your doctor

pain in the back

Rest, heat therapy, and over-the-counter pain medicines are frequently used to manage mild back pain at home. People should consult a doctor if they are experiencing pain as a result of a catastrophic injury.

It’s critical to consult a doctor if you have symptoms of kidney stones or a kidney infection.

Any of the following symptoms should also be addressed by a physician:

  • pain that is prolonged or intense and does not improve with rest
  • back pain that worsens with time
  • radiating pain, numbness, or tingling down the legs or into the arms
  • walking or standing is difficult
  • legs, ankles, and/or feet swelling
  • unexplained weight loss
  • sudden bladder or bowel problems
  • fever
  • a heartbeat that is erratic
  • shortness of breath

Kidney pain

The kidneys are responsible for filtering waste and poisons from the bloodstream, making them vulnerable to infection and injury. Excess calcium, oxalate, and phosphorus can build up in the kidneys and cause kidney stones, which can be unpleasant if they restrict the flow of urine.

Location

On either side of a person’s spine, kidney pain develops below the rib cage. It may also appear as if the pain originates from deep within the body.

Depending on whether a condition affects simply one kidney or both, people may suffer pain on one or both sides of the body.

Pain in the kidneys can spread to other parts of the body, including:

  • groin
  • thigh
  • the sides
  • abdomen

Type and severity of pain

Small kidney stones frequently move through the urine system without causing significant pain. Larger stones, on the other hand, can cause excruciating pain that develops as the stone progresses from the kidney to the ureters. The ureters connect the kidneys to the bladder and are a part of the urinary system.

A kidney infection might cause a persistent dull discomfort or soreness.

Symptoms that come with it

Symptoms of kidney disease include:

The following are signs of serious kidney damage or problems:

  • swelling of the legs, ankles, or feet
  • irregular heartbeat
  • muscle cramps
  • bad breath
  • confusion
  • metallic taste
  • shortness of breath

Causes of kidney pain

Kidney pain can result from a number of factors, including:

Back pain

Back pain is a pretty typical occurrence. Around 80% of adults will have lower back pain at some point in their lives, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Back pain can be caused by issues with the muscles, bones, or nerves in the back.

Back pain can vary in location, severity, and accompanying symptoms depending on the cause.

Location

Back pain can arise in any part of the spine. The majority of people, however, suffer from lower back pain.

Type and severity of pain

Muscle pain is characterised by a dull ache or soreness. Muscle pain, which can range from mild to severe and fluctuate in response to stretching, might be triggered or worsened by certain bodily motions.

Nerve pain can cause a burning or stabbing feeling that can spread to other people of the body.

Sciatica is a type of back pain caused by nerve irritation. Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve is pinched or compressed, resulting in a searing pain in the lower back that spreads to the buttocks.

Vertebral fractures or an abnormally formed spine can cause bone pain. This form of pain appears out of nowhere. Bone pain can range from mild to severe, and it normally gets worse as you move.

Symptoms that come with it

Back pain might also cause the following symptoms:

  • weakness in one or both legs
  • inability to empty the bladder
  • loss of control over urination
  • diarrhea or constipation
  • aches or stiffness along the spine
  • sharp, stabbing pain in the neck
  • finding it hard to stand up straight due to pain or muscle spasms
  • walking difficulties
  • numbness or tingling in the back that spreads to the limbs
  • Causes of back pain

Causes of back pain

Back pain is frequently caused by spraining a muscle or ligament in the back. Overstretching, lifting too much weight, or employing inappropriate lifting techniques can all cause back discomfort.

Back pain can also be caused by the following causes:

  • injuries to the back, such as fractures or falls
  • damaged, dislocated, or ruptured discs
  • abnormal curvature of the spine
  • tumors
  • poor posture
  • standing or sitting for an extended period
  • muscle spasms
  • muscle tension

Back pain can be caused by a variety of medical conditions, including:

Conclusion

Because the kidneys are located below the rib cage on either side of the spine and rest against the back muscles, it might be difficult to distinguish between back pain and kidney pain.

Kidney pain can be felt immediately below the rib cage on one or both sides of the back. UTIs, kidney stones, and blunt force damage to the kidneys are all causes of kidney pain.

Back pain can affect any part of the back, however the majority of people suffer from pain in the lower back. Heavy lifting, poor posture, and sitting or standing for lengthy people of time can all cause back pain. Back pain can also be caused by medical disorders such as arthritis, osteoporosis, and infections.

Knowing the difference between kidney pain and back pain can help you get a better diagnosis and treatment.

Sources:

  • https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/back-pain/advanced
  • https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/kidney-disease/chronic-kidney-disease-ckd/causes
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324969
  • https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/fractures-of-the-thoracic-and-lumbar-spine/
  • https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/kidney-stones/symptoms-causes

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Complementary Medicine / Alternative Medicine

9 powerful earache home treatments

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Earaches are often dismissed as a small annoyance, but they can be really painful. Some home cures can help while you wait for medical attention or antibiotics to take effect.

Ear pain can be excruciating, making it difficult to sleep, eat, or do much else other than think about it. An earache is particularly tough for many children to live with.

People with significant ear pain should always consult a doctor, especially if it is their first time. However, there are several home treatments that can be used to relieve less severe earaches or to reduce pain.

This article looks at nine excellent home remedies for people who are suffering from ear pain.

Causes of ear pain

ear pain

The most prevalent cause of ear pain is ear infections. Inflammation and pressure building in the ear when it becomes infected can cause excruciating pain.

Because infections from other parts of the body can impact the ear, people with ear infections frequently experience other symptoms such as sinus pressure or a sore throat. An ear infection can also be treated as a separate condition. The majority of ear infections are caused by bacteria rather than viruses.

An ear infection can only be diagnosed by a doctor. Antibiotics should not be taken without a prescription, nor should symptoms be mistaken for an ear infection.

Earaches, on the other hand, are not usually caused by an ear infection. Ear pain can be caused by a variety of factors.

These are some of them:

  • Referred pain: Infections or inflammation elsewhere in the body could cause this. A toothache, for example, might cause agonising pain in the ear.
  • Chronic conditions: TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorder is one of them.
    Infections of the skin: If they’re in or near your ear.
  • Allergic reactions: These could come from a variety of sources, including soap, shampoo, and jewellery.
  • Water: If it becomes stuck in the ear, it might cause pain.
  • Pressure: Changes in altitude might have an impact on ear pressure. This normally goes away on its own, with a popping sound.

Ear infections can spread to the jaw and other parts of the body if not addressed. They can also cause the ear and result in dangerously high fevers.

People should see a doctor if they have symptoms of an ear condition that do not go away on their own after a day or two. People should seek medical help right once if the pain is severe, accompanied by a high fever, or includes hearing loss.

9 earache home treatments

If an earache isn’t too bad, or if a person is waiting for medical treatment to work, they might want to try these home remedies to reduce the pain.

Here are nine great home remedies for people who are suffering from ear pain:

1. OTC (over-the-counter) drugs

NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications) can temporarily relieve earache pain. People who are suffering from ear pain should attempt the following remedies:

It’s important to remember that giving aspirin to newborns and young children is dangerous. This is due to the risk of Reye’s syndrome, a potentially fatal condition.

Before giving over-the-counter medications to a kid under the age of two, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advises parents to consult a doctor.

In newborns and young children, these medications can have substantial negative effects. It’s also worth noting that the recommended dosage for children is frequently lower than the recommended dosage for adults.

2. Heat

Heat from an electric heating pad or a hot pack can help to relieve ear inflammation and pain.

For 20 minutes, place a heat pad in the ear. People should use the heated pad to massage their neck and throat for the best benefits.

The heating pad should not be too hot to bear. Never fall asleep with a heating pad on your body, and never let a child use a hot pack without adult supervision.

3. Cold

An earache can be relieved with the use of a cold pack.

Wrap ice in paper towels or use a cold pack that has been frozen and then covered with a light cloth. For 20 minutes, apply this to the ear and the area immediately beneath the ear.

The cold should not be painful, and parents should not apply ice to their children’s skin.

Heat, rather than cold, provides relief for some people. Others find that alternating heat and cold packs (20 minutes hot, 20 minutes cold) provides the most effective pain relief.

4. Ear drops

Fluid and earwax can cause pressure in the ear, which can be relieved using ear drops.

Before using ear drops on a child, people should read the recommendations carefully and consult a doctor.

People should only use ear drops for a few days because they are not a substitute for prescription ear drops or antibiotics. People should see a doctor if their symptoms reoccur.

It’s important to note that ear drops should not be used on a youngster who has tubes in his or her ears or whose eardrum has ruptured.

5. Massage

Ear pain that radiates from the jaw or teeth, or that causes a tension headache, can be relieved with gentle massage.

The tender area, as well as any surrounding muscles, can be massaged. Massage the muscles of the jaw and neck, for example, if the area behind the ear hurts.

Massage may also aid in the relief of ear infection pain.

  • Apply downward pressure starting just behind the ears and moving down the neck.
  • Work your way forward to the front of the ears while continuing to apply downward pressure.

This form of massage may aid in the drainage of extra fluid from the ears, as well as preventing the pain from worsening.

6. Garlic

Garlic has long been used as a pain reliever in folk medicine. It may have antibacterial characteristics that can help fight infection, according to some research.

It should not be used as a substitute for antibiotics prescribed by a doctor. Instead, consider include garlic in your antibiotic regimen to hasten relief.

Try eating a garlic clove every day to prevent ear infections.

Garlic ear drops may also help to relieve pain and prevent infection from worsening. Cook two or three cloves till brown in two teaspoons mustard or sesame seed oil, then strain. After that, put a drop or two in each ear.

7. Onions

Onions, like garlic, can help fight infection and relieve pain. Onions, like garlic, are not a substitute for medical care.

Microwave an onion for a minute or two to soften it. After that, filter the liquid and put a few drops in each ear. Allowing the liquid to leak out of the ear after lying down for 10 minutes is a good idea. As needed, repeat the process.

8. Sucking

Sucking can assist relieve pressure in the Eustachian tubes by reducing pressure in the tubes.

Allowing and encouraging nursing babies to nurse as frequently as possible may make them feel better. Hard candy or cough drops can be sucked by both adults and children.

9. Breast milk

Antimicrobial characteristics are found in breast milk. According to certain studies, a mother’s breast milk alters depending on the bacteria that a newborn is exposed to.

This suggests that in babies, breast milk is the most effective. Adults, on the other hand, may benefit from breast milk, according to some authorities. To gain the maximum benefits from breast milk, infants and children should continue to nurse.

Topical administration of breast milk to nursing babies, children, and adults may also be beneficial. Breast milk is unlikely to cause any major negative effects, even if it doesn’t.

People can try putting a few drops of breast milk in each ear and repeating the procedure as needed.

Sources:

  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10594976
  • http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/ear-infection/tc/ear-infections-home-treatment
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4232055/
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318057
  • https://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm263989.htm
  • http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/09/21/earache-home-remedies.aspx
  • http://www.reyessyndrome.org/aspirin.html

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