Does anyone in your life have an artificial limb? If not, have you ever met anyone with prosthetics?
In the United States alone, doctors perform between 300 and 500 amputations every day. There’s a good chance that you’ve met numerous people with artificial limbs without even noticing it.
However, modern artificial limbs work so well and look so convincing that most people don’t even notice them. Thanks to the recent developments in prosthetics technology, people with disabilities can walk, run, and even swim as well as they did before losing a limb.
Today, we are going to see how state-of-the-art prosthetics work, what types of them are there, and see how you know when you need to consult a prosthetist.
The Different Types of ProstheticsA prosthesis is an artificial device that replaces an impaired or a missing part of the human body. The replacement limb is there to substitute a part of the body a patient may have lost in war, in an accident, or that wasn’t there from birth.
Some prosthetic limbs are highly functional and replace the lost body part almost entirely. Others, however, are there for cosmetic purposes only and serve no higher functions. Artificial hands are usually made for cosmetic reasons.
Generally speaking, there are four groups of prosthetic limbs. They are divided into two categories.
1. The LimbThe look of the prosthetic limb is dictated by the job it needs to do. The aforementioned cosmetic prosthetic limbs are there for appearance, which means they don’t need to be mobile too much.
Prosthetic legs, on the other hand, are there to substitute a major structural part of your body. They need to bear someone’s weight and allow them to walk normally. Both prosthetic legs and arms are made out of lightweight and durable materials like carbon fiber.
2. The SocketSince the amputee will wear the prosthetic throughout the day, it needs to be as comfortable as possible. The connecting part of the artificial limb is more commonly known as the socket. The prosthetic makers mold the socket carefully around the cast taken from the amputee’s residual limb.
The socket needs to fit the residual limb precisely if the manufacturer wants the wearer to be completely comfortable. The socket may require some tweaks after a few years since most residual limbs go through some changes.
3. The AttachmentA prosthetic arm or leg needs to be secured to the residual limb by a strong attachment system. The attachment can come in a form of the suction socket, elastic, rubber sleeve, or a strap and harness system.
The system is also important to one’s comfort, however, it plays another major role. It ensures that the patient can properly control the mechanical limb. The socket can be part of the attachment system too. A leg socket, for instance, may have a large plastic case, in which the amputee inserts their leg.
4. The ControlsA healthy limb is pulled by muscles and tendons, and managed by the brain. A simple prosthetic limb is operated by a system of cables that runs through it. These cables do the same job as the muscles do in a healthy limb.
Hollow artificial legs work mainly through gravity and it’s up to the person wearing them to learn how to operate them properly. There are also sophisticated prosthetics, which are powered by batteries and operated by remote control.
How Do You Know When You Need Prosthetics?There are a few things you need to discuss with your doctor and consult a prosthetician about before getting a prosthetic leg:
Back in 2013, healthcare charges for people that underwent a limb removal procedure reached $8.7 billion. Considering that the number of amputations has remained relatively the same, it’s safe to say that healthcare spending remained similar.
Final ThoughtsLosing a limb is hard both on your wallet and on your psyche. Going through this experience is certainly life-changing.
However, it isn’t life-ending.
When something like that happens, it’s only the beginning of a new phase of life. With perseverance, a person that lost a limb regain independence and live a normal life in a matter of months.
Get in touch with our San Francisco prosthetic orthotic service
Make sure you consult a prosthetist certified by the American Academy of orthotics and Prosthetists.
Whether you know it or not, back pain is a huge problem in America. According to the numbers provided by the American Chiropractic Association, more than 31 million people in the United States experience back problems at any given moment.
But how many of them experience serious back problems during their life?
Most people that complain about chronic back problems never suffer any serious consequences from it. Yet, a certain amount of people that have back problems are suffering from scoliosis. IN such cases, back braces for scoliosis for adults may be necessary.
What Are the Main Symptoms of Scoliosis?
Scoliosis happens when your spine curves sideways in one or more places. It mainly occurs in young children and teenagers but lots of adults also suffer from scoliosis. In adults, the curve may have existed in their youth and only later progressed or it resulted from a degenerative spinal change or injury.
More often than not, back problems can be attributed to minor problems such as bad posture, muscular strains, or growing pains. In those cases, stretching exercises and pain medications can lessen the pain.
However, when the patient is suffering from scoliosis, the pain stays even after the treatment is done. If the pain you’re experiencing has lasted for a couple of months, the doctor should take your case more seriously. What is the biggest sign of scoliosis?
A person is diagnosed with scoliosis when their spine has a curvature greater than 10 degrees. Before the doctor even gets to check the degree of your curvature, he will check for these symptoms:
According to the Scoliosis Research Society, three main ways to diagnose scoliosis are:
A 10-degree curve is considered scoliosis, however, this curve is considered pretty mild. If the curve has reached 25 degrees, the doctor will prescribe a treatment and if needed, subject the patient to surgery. Often, scoliosis bracing will be required.
How Can You Treat Scoliosis?
Once the doctor establishes that the patient is suffering from scoliosis, they need to work together to determine the best way to treat the condition.
The treatment depends on several factors:
Treating children for scoliosis is more common than treating adults, however, it’s also more complicated. When treating a child, the doctor has to take into consideration how much more they are going to grow. Other things to be considered are limited body functions and breathing problems.
1. Observing the Patient
9 out of 10 of scoliosis cases are considered mild. These cases don’t require any serious treatment. Most often, the doctor gives the patient stretching and posture exercises and observes them for the next few months. Only when the patient doesn’t show any signs of improvement, the doctor takes further action.
2. Using a Back Brace
When a child’s spinal curve measured between 20 and 40 degrees, the doctor will recommend scoliosis bracing. The brace will stop the curve from getting worse, but it won’t correct it. The goal of wearing scoliosis bracing is to stop the curve so the patient doesn’t need surgery in the future.
3. Performing a Surgery
If the curve hoes beyond 50 degrees, the doctor will recommend an operation. During the procedure, the small spinal bones are curved and fused. As the back heals, the spine will become straight again. The operation requires a bone graft and can last anywhere between 4 and 8 hours.
How to Treat Adults with Degenerative Scoliosis
Can you develop scoliosis later in life? Yes, it’s called novo scoliosis, but it very rare. Common symptoms amongst adults suffering from scoliosis are:
How do you treat scoliosis in adults? Is the treatment any different than the one children and young adults go through? There are some similarities but scoliosis in adults doesn’t require any surgical procedures.
Some of the treatments include:
If this fails to help, and the patient continues to feel pain, the doctor may prescribe steroid injections. The steroids are injected into the patient’s facet joints where the vertebrae meet across the spine. These injections will lessen the pain by decreasing inflammation.
Are There Any Alternatives?
Chiropractic and supplemental treatments can help scoliosis patients with pain relief. Electrical therapy can be helpful too. However, none of these treatments will solve the problem entirely.
We can help you with an adult scoliosis brace. But in serious cases, surgery is the only solution.
It’s helpful if the patient is physically active, both before and after the procedure. Walking, jogging, and running will keep the bones healthy and the spine straight, especially as you grow older.
Call us to discuss scoliosis bracing.
Your spine is made up of bones called vertebrae, which are piled on top of each other. The vertebrae are there to protect a bundle of nerve fibers called the spinal cord. The spinal cord runs through an opening in the center of each vertebra.
Looking at from the side, the spine usually has three different curves:
When viewed from behind, your spine should appear to be perfectly straight both up and down. Scoliosis is a medical condition where your spine develops an abnormal side-to-side curve.
The Prevalence of Scoliosis
In the US, scoliosis affects between 6 and 9 million people, which accounts for 2% to 3% of the country’s population. Furthermore, according to NSF research, between 500,000 and 600,000 people seek scoliosis treatment each year.
In some cases, scoliosis may be present at birth. It can also develop in infancy. But the condition mainly occurs between the ages of 10 and 15. Although it occurs in both males and females, research indicates that girls are 8X more likely to develop scoliosis during their lifetime than boys.
What Generally Causes Scoliosis
Scoliosis is classified by its cause and most cases fall into of the following groups:
1. Idiopathic Scoliosis
Recent research shows that roughly 80% of scoliosis cases are idiopathic. That means they don’t have an identifiable cause. Adolescent scoliosis is by far the most common one. Although sometimes it’s detected early, most adolescent scoliosis diagnoses occur in the patient’s adolescence.
2. Congenital Scoliosis
This type of scoliosis occurs from embryological deformity of at least one vertebrae. Furthermore, it can cause spine abnormalities because one area of the patient spinal columns elongates slower than other parts. The location of the spinal abnormality determines the rate at which the condition progresses. It occurs in roughly 1 in 10,000 babies and it’s much less common than adolescent scoliosis
3. Neuromuscular Scoliosis
Neuromuscular scoliosis is the rarest of the three. Less than 2,500 neuromuscular scoliosis cases are reported per year. Neuromuscular scoliosis includes cases associated with chronic diseases such as muscular dystrophy, spina bifida, and cerebral palsy. This form of scoliosis professes quicker than the other two forms and in most cases, requires immediate medical attention.
The Most Common Scoliosis Risk Factors
Some of the biggest risk factors for developing scoliosis during a lifetime include:
Early Signs and Symptoms of Scoliosis
Most people diagnosed with scoliosis found out they have the condition in early childhood. The deformity is often discovered during a medical examination after birth due to a visible back abnormality.
One of the reasons why scoliosis is so hard to detect during late teens and adulthood is because the condition causes no pain. If the abnormality isn’t detected during the first few months, it can go undetected for years. Most children first notice that there’s something wrong with their back when their clothes don’t fit properly. Parents also discover scoliosis when they take their children to the beach and notice the curvature in the swimming suit.
Some of the more obvious scoliosis signs and symptoms include:
The best scoliosis detection method is Adam’s forward bend test. The test requires you to bend forward and have someone see whether your ribs on the right side are sticking out. If the ribs are sticking out in a strange way, it’s time to visit the doctor.
During the examination, a specialist will perform a posture analysis. This will determine if there are any serious scoliosis signs and if there’s any need for medical intervention.
How to Treat Scoliosis
When it comes to treating scoliosis, different cases require different treatments. The doctor determines whether scoliosis will become more severe over time. Usually, one of the following actions is suggested:
For a mild case of scoliosis, doctors usually recommend exercise, physical therapy, and medical observation to ensure that the curve isn’t getting worse. Doing yoga exercises can increase the patient’s flexibility and decrease the pain levels they are experiencing.
Treating a moderate case of scoliosis involves wearing a scoliosis brace to stop the spine from curving any further. Doctors usually recommend bracing or casting to people with congenital scoliosis. Sometimes, however, they are used to regulate compensatory curves, even if the vertebrae are of normal shape.
Surgical treatment is recommended only if the patient has curves that have drastically worsen over a short period of time. Doctors perform the surgery in an effort to allow the patient’s chest and spine to grow as normally as possible. There are several scoliosis-related surgeries, including spinal fusion, hemivertebra removal, and growing-rod insertion.
Scoliosis is a serious condition that can affect the patient physically, emotionally, and psychologically. Although rare cases are life-threatening, a lot of cases require surgery. Every year, more than 20,000 children and adolescents have scoliosis-related surgery.
If someone you know or you’re related to is showing any scoliosis symptoms, advise them to contact us as soon as possible. We may be able to help them with scoliosis braces for adults.
Contact us to discuss scoliosis bracing for adults