Health Library

The Health Library is a collection of health and wellness resources created for learning and accessibility. Select a topic below for related health information or search for a topic in the search bar for more information on other medical conditions.

Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

  • Most people will have a minor back problem at one time or another. Our body movements usually do not cause problems, but it's not surprising that symptoms develop from everyday wear and tear, overuse, or injury. Back problems and injuries often occur during sports or recreational activities, work-related tasks, or home...

  • Learn how to use your walker correctly so you can stay stable and safe.

  • Learn how using crutches the right way will help you stay stable and safe while you heal.

  • Learn how to use your cane correctly so you can stay stable and safe.

  • Hear what others thought about as they decided whether to have herniated disc surgery.

  • Compare pros and cons, including risks and benefits, of having herniated disc surgery.

  • Learn how surgery can repair a herniated disc and how long it takes to recover.

  • Learn how home treatment of back and leg pain from a herniated disc can help you avoid surgery.

  • Learn how a negative pressure device helps heal your wound and what to expect when you take the device home.

  • Learn about the range of emotions you may experience after you've had a stroke.

  • Learn how stroke rehab works and how it can help you get stronger and feel better.

  • Getting better after a stroke takes patience and effort. See how others found inspiration to keep going.

  • Get help thinking about ways to stay positive and hopeful after a stroke.

  • As we get older, our skin gets more thin and dry, so it is easier to damage. The chance of skin damage is higher for people who can't move much and who spend most of their time in bed or in a wheelchair. The skin can develop rashes and sores, especially pressure injuries. These sores are caused by constant...

  • Guides you through the decision to have surgery for a herniated disc in the low back. Describes the types of surgery available, as well as nonsurgical treatment. Lists the benefits and risks of both types of treatment. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.

  • What is post-polio syndrome? Post-polio syndrome is an illness of the nervous system that can appear 15 to 50 years after you had polio. It affects your muscles and nerves, and it causes you to have weakness, fatigue, and muscle or joint pain. Although post-polio syndrome can make some day-to-day activities more...

  • Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a treatment to increase a person's blood oxygen level, which can prevent tissue death, promote healing, and help fight infection. This treatment involves a person being in an enclosed chamber while 100% oxygen is pumped in at high pressure. The purpose of oxygen therapy for the...

  • The bones (vertebrae) that form the spine in your back are cushioned by round, flat discs. When these discs are healthy, they act as shock absorbers for the spine and keep the spine flexible. If they become damaged, they may bulge abnormally or...

  • Discectomy is surgery to remove lumbar (low back) herniated disc material that is pressing on a nerve root or the spinal cord. It tends to be done as microdiscectomy, which uses a special microscope to view the disc and nerves. This larger view allows the surgeon to use a smaller cut (incision). And this causes less...

  • Stroke is the most common cause of disability resulting from damage to the nervous system. A stroke may affect: Movement. You may not be able to use your arms or walk. This is usually because of weakness or paralysis on one side of the body (hemiparesis). Speech and language. You may not...

  • Some people have speech and language problems after a stroke. These problems may involve any or all aspects of language use, such as speaking, reading, writing, and understanding the spoken word. Speech and language problems, such as aphasia,...

  • After a stroke, you may not feel temperature, touch, pain, or sharpness on your affected side. You may have: Feelings of heaviness, numbness, tingling, or prickling or greater sensitivity on the affected side. No sense of how your muscles and joints...

  • Depending on what part of the brain was affected by a stroke, the way a person acts may be different from how he or she acted before the stroke. A person who was very concerned about details before a stroke may become sloppy and care little about...

  • Emotional reactions after a stroke may be different from normal emotional reactions. The reaction may have little or no clear connection with what is happening around the person. Often reactions can be easily interrupted by diverting the person's...

  • When a stroke occurs on the right side of the brain, a person's ability to judge distance, size, position, rate of movement, form, and the way parts relate to the whole is affected (spatial-perceptual problems). People with these problems may have...

  • Some people who have had a stroke ignore or are not aware of one side of their body. This can happen when the stroke damages one side of the brain. Caregivers may notice signs that the person is ignoring, or neglecting, the affected side, such as:...

  • A stroke often causes memory problems. In stroke rehab, you might try ways to help improve memory. If your family member has problems with memory, you might get helpful tips from the stroke rehab team. These tips may include: Set a daily routine, if...

  • Rehabilitation after a stroke usually involves a number of health professionals. These may include the following people. Doctors and nurses Rehabilitation doctor. The rehabilitation doctor is in charge of your medical care after a stroke. This may be a physiatrist (a doctor who specializes in...

  • Covers surgical removal of herniated disc material that presses on a nerve root or the spinal cord. Discusses why it may be done such as for a bulging disc, to relieve pain, or help prevent serious nerve damage. Looks at how well it works and risks.

  • Discusses herniated disc, which is also called a slipped or ruptured disc. Covers symptoms like back pain, numbness, and weakness. Looks at sciatica and bulging disc. Discusses nonsurgical and surgical treatment options. Offers prevention tips.

  • The nerves that carry messages to and from your legs come from your low back. By checking your muscle strength, your reflexes, and your sensation (feeling), your doctor can tell whether there is pressure on a nerve root coming from your spinal column. He or she can often also tell which nerve root is involved. Muscle...

  • Mobility is an important aspect of a spinal cord injury (SCI). The ability to move lets you participate more fully in community life and do the things you would like to do. You are not "confined" to crutches or wheelchairs—they make you independent. Mobility devices can help you get to work, go shopping, and get around...

  • When you leave a rehabilitation (rehab) center for your home after a spinal cord injury (SCI), you need to have your home ready for your special needs. Following are some of the adaptations and adaptive equipment you may need. Talk with your rehab team about what you will need specifically and the best way to proceed...

  • Is this topic for you? This topic covers rehabilitation after a stroke. For information on stroke itself, see the topic Stroke. What is stroke rehabilitation? The best way to get better after a stroke is to start stroke rehabilitation ("rehab"). In stroke rehab, a team of health professionals works with you to regain...

  • After a stroke, the injury to the brain can cause muscles to contract or flex on their own when you try to use an arm or leg. The sensation can be painful. It has been described as a "wicked charley horse." Because the muscle cannot move in its full range of motion, the tendons and soft tissue surrounding the muscle can...

  • After a stroke, problems with your vision, speech, or ability to move can change your ability to drive safely. So you'll need to get approval to drive again. This may be hard to accept. You may feel that this is a big loss of independence. But this approval is for the safety of yourself and others. Talk with your...

  • A walking aid—a walker, crutches, or a cane—helps substitute for a decrease in strength, range of motion, joint stability, coordination, or endurance. It can also reduce the stress on a painful joint or limb. Using a walking aid can help you be more safe and independent in your daily activities. Almost everyone has...

  • A walking aid—a walker, crutches, or a cane—helps substitute for a decrease in strength, range of motion, joint stability, coordination, or endurance. It can also reduce the stress on a painful joint or limb. Using a walking aid can help you be more safe and independent in your daily activities. Almost everyone has...

  • A walking aid—a walker, crutches, or a cane—helps substitute for a decrease in strength, range of motion, joint stability, coordination, or endurance. It can also reduce the stress on a painful joint or limb. Using a walking aid can help you be more safe and independent in your daily activities. Almost everyone has...

  • Asks questions that help you find out if your low back problem might be helped by surgery. Results help you talk with your doctor about back pain or other symptoms like leg pain. Helps you talk with your doctor about surgery and other treatment options.

  • It is common to have trouble swallowing, also called dysphagia, after a stroke. You may not be able to feel food on one or both sides of your mouth. You may also have problems chewing or producing enough saliva. Or you may have other conditions that make eating difficult and increase your risk of choking or breathing in...

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