Q1: I am a 49-year-old female and I have had a lot of pain in my knees for a year or so. It worsens with walking, stair climbing, and if I stand for a long time. I have tried massages with oil which is effective for some time but the condition remains the same.

A: The symptoms that you have explained hint towards knee osteoarthritis which is a common concern at this age. The wear and tear in the joint causes reduced joint space, cushioning/shock absorption, and bony spur formation, which makes it quite difficult to perform daily life activities, especially weight-bearing and repeated joint movement.

An X-ray can be taken. It is a progressive condition but we can work on the management of pain and avoid wasting and weakening the muscles through exercises and techniques.

Please take precautions, and avoid oil massages and vigorous rubbing as it does no good and leads to tightness of muscles. Instead use a hot pack / hot water bottle or make a sandbag for heat. Avoid low sitting and do not keep your feet hanging while sitting. Include rest breaks when standing/walking for a long time, and do not place a pillow under your knees to ease yourself (it causes tightness of calf muscle). Walk briskly.

Q2: I am a 36-year-old male, I am a computer worker and have been experiencing severe pain in my right leg for a week. It is very sharp and I am unable to walk or sit.

A: It seems that you have a condition known as sciatica. It is caused by the compression of the sciatic nerve and the pain radiates down to the leg. It can also be Piriformis Syndrome due to the tight piriformis muscle which is separated by sciatica through tests by a physical therapist.

As you have mentioned your job, involves prolonged sitting which not only becomes a source of compression but can also lead to muscle tightness and postural abnormalities, there can also be ergonomic issues. Sciatica is maximally treatable; we utilize our manual techniques, muscle relaxation, modalities, and exercises for the condition.

It is better to take some preventions, avoid prolonged sitting and include rest breaks while working. Get up and take a few steps in your space, stretch, make sure you maintain a good posture while sitting. Keep your low back supported, and use a comfortable chair. Use a firm mattress while sleeping. Avoid heavy lifting. You can use a hot pack / hot water bottle for heat.

Q3: I am a 46-year-old female and I have had severe pain in my neck and left arm for two weeks, I feel tingling and numbness too. I am a tailor and cannot work with this issue.

A: The condition is called cervical radiculopathy, in which a nerve from the spine of the neck region gets compressed and the symptoms including pain, tingling, and numbness across the distribution of the nerve are experienced. The diagnosis is confirmed by tests by a physical therapist. An X-ray can be taken. There may be narrowing (stenosis) or bony spur formation in the spine due to wear and tear (age-related) which may be compressing the nerve.

The condition is dealt with by proper manual techniques, traction, muscle relaxation, and neck and shoulder exercises.

You have mentioned that your job, please make sure that you have your setup at a good height and you do not have to crouch. In normal daily life activities work at eye level, and ergonomic issues lead to postural abnormalities and muscle tightness. Use a normal-sized pillow to support your neck while asleep, the mattress in use should firm. You can use a hot pack / hot water bottle/sandbag for heat. Do not use oil for massage, avoid sleeping on the involved side and keep the arm under your head. Take rest breaks while working.

Q4: I am a 32-year-old housewife. I have had low back pain for a while now, and I cannot even stand it for a long time. I am taking painkillers.

A: Low back pain is a condition that may occur as a result of factors that are not paid proper attention to. The pain may be arising from other structures which may be assessed by a PT. Being a homemaker means tons of responsibilities and it leads to ignorance of oneself, but it can be deleterious. There can also be muscle spasm/tightness due to hectic routine. The condition is dealt with by manual techniques, muscle relaxation, modalities, and exercises by a PT.

Take some preventive measures, avoid prolonged standing. Take rest breaks and sit down. Keep a sound posture while doing chores. Avoid repeated and prolonged bending and squatting. Avoid low sitting, avoid heavy lifting. Use a firm mattress to sleep, keep your back straight and supported when sitting, avoid slouching. You can use a hot pack / hot water bottle/sandbag for heat. Avoid oil massages.