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Radiation Therapy

A type of treatment that uses high-energy radiation (such as X-rays) to kill cancerous cells within the body. The radiation may be delivered by an external beam from a machine placed outside of the body or from inside the body where radioactive material is placed near the cancer cells.

Radiation therapy is used in order to damage the DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) of a cancer cell, which in turn will stop it from dividing and eventually die off. When the cells die, they are broken down and eliminated by the body’s natural processes.

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Radiculopathy

A medical condition characterized by a compressed nerve in the spine that can cause pain, numbness, tingling or weakness along the course of the nerve.

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Radiography

A test used for generating and recording static images of the internal parts of the body by using x-ray techniques. Once the images are captured (through the use of x-rays passed through the body) they can then be evaluated for any signs of disease, abnormalities or foreign objects within the body.

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Rib Fracture

An injury where there is a break in one or more of the rib bones. Often, a broken rib can be merely cracked, which may not be as potentially dangerous as a rib that is broken all the way through.

Causes
A broken rib is most commonly the cause of a direct blow to the area, where a rib can be crushed under pressure. Such direct contact can stem from falling, motor vehicle accidents and impact during sports. Another common cause of a rib fracture results from injury sustained in an automobile accident or motorcycle accident, where an individual is exposed to amounts of high exertion to the rib area.

Symptoms
Moderate to severe pain is associated with rib fractures, mainly when the injured person takes a deep breath or puts pressure on the affected area. If a rib has been severely broken (where there are potentially jagged breaks) the bone may cause internal injury and bleeding when coming in contact with organs and blood vessels.

Also, after incurring a rib fracture, a person may develop pneumonia (an infection of the lungs) if they do not breathe deeply enough and keep their lungs clear.

Treatment Procedures
A rib fracture is able to heal on its own, typically within one to two months after incurring the injury. During the healing process, injured persons must not exert themselves in physical activity (such as sports) and may be prescribed to wear a chest binder around their ribs.

If the rib fracture caused complications to other internal organs, the injured person may require hospitalization. To help relieve pain for severe rib fractures, spinal injections and catheters can be used to place anesthetic near the spinal cord and nerves.

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Rotator Cuff Injury

An injury to the rotator cuff, the muscles and tendons that are fused together to make up the shoulder joint. These muscles and tendons connect the upper arm bone with the shoulder blade as well as help to hold the ball of the upper arm bone firmly in the shoulder socket.

This type of injury can include a tear or strain to one of the joint muscles as well as tendonitis of the rotator cuff.

Causes
A rotator cuff injury can result from direct blows to the shoulder, falling abnormally on an outstretched arm and repetitive, overhead motion of the arm causing wear and tear on the muscles and tendons of the shoulder joint.

Symptoms
Symptoms of a rotator cuff injury include pain and stiffness in the shoulder, loss of range of motion in the shoulder and muscle weakness.

Treatment Procedures
Treatment procedures for a rotator cuff injury will depend on the extent of the injury and amount of immobility. If the injury is less severe, a nonsurgical approach is taken first. This includes prescribing the injured person anti-inflammatory and pain medications, injections to reduce pain and physical therapy to increase muscle movement and strength.

If the rotator cuff injury is more severe, surgical procedures can be taken. This can include such treatments as:

  • Acromioplasty – A surgical procedure on the bones that impinge on the rotator cuff.
  • Arthroscopy – A surgical procedure where a small instrument is inserted into the shoulder and removes bone spurs or degenerated portions of the rotator cuff tendons.
  • Mini-Open Repair with Arthroscopy – A surgical procedure that uses arthroscopy to repair large tears in the muscles and tendons.
  • Open Surgery – A surgical procedure used to repair the injured tendon in more severe cases. Surgery can include transferring tissue from one muscle to another if the tear is too large to be closed together. In the most severe cases, a joint replacement may be necessary.
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