FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT DOCTORS & MEDICAL CONDITIONS

Please use the following information to learn more about common medical problems, conditions and the amazing treatments doctors can offer. If you have any questions, please consider one of "America's Best Physicians" for a consultation, examination and care.

Click on any topic to view answers

Types of Doctors-Specialists & What They Do

Types of Doctors-Specialists & What They Do

Allergist/ Immunologist - Diagnoses allergic and immunologic diseases such as asthma and AIDS; also chemical, pollen and food allergies.
Anesthesiologist - Treats chronic pain syndromes; administers anesthesia and sedation for surgery.
Cardiologist - Heart & blood vessel diseases
Dermatologist - Skin rashes, syndromes and diseases
Emergency Medicine - Emergency room physician
Endocrinologist - Diabetes and other gland disorders
Geriatrics - Specializes in problems with older people
Gastroenterologist - Stomach and intestinal problems
Hematologist/Oncologist - Blood disorders including tumors and cancers.
Infectious Disease Specialist - Unusual or difficult infections
Internal Medicine Physician - Usually your primary provider or general practitioner.
Neonatologist - Problems with newborn children.
Nephrologist - Kidney related diseases.
Neurologist - Brain and nervous system problems.
Neurosurgeon - Surgeon for brain and nervous system.
Obstetrician - Pregnancy and childbirth
Oncologist - Cancer specialist
Osteopathic Physician - Traditionally musculoskeletal and movement disorders, but may be any specialty.
Gynecologist - Problems of the female genital & reproductive system.
Occupational Medicine Physician - Work-related diseases or injuries.
Ophthalmologist - Eye problems, diseases and injuries.
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon - Surgery of the face, mouth, and jaws.
Orthopedic Surgeon - Broken bones and problems with the musculoskeletal system.
Otolaryngologist (ENT & Head and Neck Surgeon) - Diseases of the ear, nose, throat and head and neck surgery.
Pathologist - Checks biopsies for changes in body tissues and organs.
Pediatrician - Infants & children.
Plastic Surgeon - Corrects or improves appearance of body structures.
Podiatrist - Problems with feet.
Psychiatrist - Mental and emotional disorders.
Pulmonary Medicine - Lung disorders.
Radiologist - Uses X-rays, sound waves and other scans to diagnose disease.
Rheumatologist - Joint pain and conditions associated with inflammation, soreness and stiffness.
Urologist - Urinary tract diseases and the male reproductive system

Medical Specialty Boards - Contact Information

Medical Specialty Boards - Contact Information

To find out if your doctor is certified by their medical board, you can call the following numbers. You can also go to the "Approved Medical Specialty Board" (ABMS) website at www.abms.org. If your doctor has a D.O. degree, you may also contact the American Osteopathic Association at (800) 621-1773 or visit the website, www.osteopathic.org for information.

The "Approved Medical Specialty Board" seeks to uphold the highest quality health care by setting rigorous professional standards for the education, evaluation and certification of medical specialists. The following is a list of board organizations (listed alphabetically) for those with MD degrees:

 

American Board of Allergy and Immunology-(866) 264-5568
American Board of Anesthesiology (919) 881-2570
American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery (734) 282-9400
American Board of Dermatology (313) 874-1088
American Board of Emergency Medicine (517) 332-4800
American Board of Family Practice (888) 995-5700
American Board of Internal Medicine (800) 441-ABIM
American Board of Allergy and Immunology (866) 264-5568
American Board of Anesthesiology (919) 881-2570
American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery(734) 282-9400
American Board of Dermatology (313) 874-1088
American Board of Emergency Medicine (517) 332-4800
American Board of Family Practice (888) 995-5700
American Board of Internal Medicine (800) 441-ABIM
American Board of Medical Genetics (301) 634-7315
American Board of Neurological Surgery (713) 441-6015
American Board of Nuclear Medicine (314) 367-2225
American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (214) 871-1619
American Board of Ophthalmology (610) 664-1175
American Board of Orthopedic Surgery (919) 929-7103
American Board of Otolaryngology (713) 850-0399
American Board of Pathology (813) 286-2444
American Board of Pediatrics (919) 929-0461
American Board of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (507) 282-1776
American Board of Plastic Surgery (215) 587-9322
American Board of Preventive Medicine (312) 939-2276
American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (847) 945-7900
American Board of Radiology (520) 790-2900
American Board of Surgery (215) 568-4000
American Board of Thoracic Surgery (312 202-5900
American Board of Urology (434) 979-0059


Americas Most Serious Health Issues (In order of Prevalence)

Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular disease impacts both men and women and is the leading killer of Americans each year, more than all types of cancer combined. The most common types of cardiovascular disease are:

  • Coronary Heart Disease: Coronary heart disease occurs when the arteries become hard and thick, inhibiting blood flow to the heart. When the blood supply is completely blocked, heart cells die, and a heart attack can occur. Chest pain that occurs as a result of oxygen deprivation in the heart muscle is called angina. This discomfort commonly occurs before a heart attack.

 

  • Heart Failure: When the heart cannot effectively pump blood, heart failure occurs.
  • Stroke: A stroke happens when a blood vessel in the brain (or leading into the brain) becomes blocked by a clot or bursts. Oxygen deprivation may cause brain damage leading to a host of symptoms and difficulties.

 

The Impact of Cardiovascular Disease
One out of every 19 heart attacks and one out of every 8 strokes results in death. Cardiovascular disease may also lead to kidney disease. Among US adults of working age, stroke is a leading cause of death and permanent disability.

Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors

  • Not being physically active
  • Not eating nutritious foods
  • Carrying excess weight
  • Using tobacco products

High blood pressure, high levels of blood cholesterol and diabetes also contribute to cardiovascular disease.

Cardiac Emergencies:
Call your doctor or 911 if you experience the following.

  • Shortness of breath with weakness not relieved by rest.
  • Chest Pain or pressure. Also described as heaviness, aching or squeezing sensation in your chest- which may radiate or be felt in the arm, neck, jaw, back or shoulder.
  • Dizziness, extreme fatigue with nausea or sweating.
  • Irregular or fast heartbeats, palpitations or a "flip-flop" feeling in your chest. Or heart rate above 100 beats per minute.
  • Sudden weakness or inability to move arms or legs.
  • Sudden, severe headache. Fainting with loss of consciousness.

Other symptoms to be wary of:

  • Fullness or bloating in the stomach, nausea and loss of appetite.
  • Difficulty breathing during regular activities; extreme fatigue during normal daily activity.
  • Worsening cough or respiratory infection.
  • Need to sleep significantly more than usual, difficulty sleeping.
  • Decreased urination.
  • Restlessness, confusion, dizziness or lightheadedness.

Cancer

Cancer

Cancer occurs when the DNA in cells becomes damaged, and reproduce abnormal versions of themselves. When such cells grow into a mass, it is called a tumor. Tumors can grow slowly or at a rapid pace. Some tumors are benign, meaning that theyʼre not cancerous. A malignant tumor is cancerous, and the cancer cells can spread to other areas of the body.

Some cancers do not form tumors such as leukemia or cancers of the blood. The name of the type of cancer typically indicates the cell or part of the body where the abnormal cell growth first occurred.

Who does cancer impact?
Half of all men and a third of all women will receive a cancer diagnosis during their lifetime. Women are significantly impacted by breast and colorectal cancers; men, by skin cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer. More men and women die from lung cancer than from any other type. Cancer typically strikes middle-aged people, but it knows no age limits.

The Causes of Cancer
Family history can play a role, as can long-term exposure to carcinogens such as specific chemicals, tobacco, the sun, and radiation. Cancers caused by carcinogen exposure can take from 5 to 40 years to develop, called a latency period. This latency period can make it hard to isolate the cause of cancer in an individual.

Common Cancers in America:

  • Skin Cancer: There are 2 types of skin cancer. Non-melanoma types include basal cell and squamous cell skin cancer are more common and are usually curable. Melanoma is more serious and represents about 5% of all skin cancers.
  • Lung Cancer: Lung cancer accounts for almost 30% of all cancer deaths. If the disease is detected when it is still localized, that 5-year survival rate is about 55 percent. Cigarette smoking is the most significant risk factor for lung cancer.
  • Prostate Cancer: Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men after skin cancer and the second most common cause of death. An estimated 1 in 6 men in America will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. Digital rectal exams (DRE) and PSA screenings can help in early detection.
  • Breast Cancer: For women, breast cancer is the second most common malignancy and the second most common cause of cancer-related death.
  • Colorectal Cancer: Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in both men and women accounting for about 9% of all cancer deaths.
  • Kidney (Renal) Cancer: Tobacco, obesity and hypertension are significant risk factors for kidney cancer.
  • Urinary & Bladder Cancer: When all stages of bladder cancer are combined, the relative 5-year survival rate is as high as 80%. Blood in the urine is a frequent symptom of urinary bladder cancer. Surgery alone or with other treatments, is needed 90% of the time.
  • Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma: There are approximately 30 different kinds of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The most common sign is swollen lymph nodes.
  • Thyroid cancer: Three out of 4 cases of thyroid cancer occur in women, but it is the fastest-increasing cancer in both males and females. A lump in the neck is typically an early symptom.
  • Endometrial Cancer: Abnormal bleeding is often an early sign of endometrial cancer. Treatment may involve surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and/or hormone therapy.
  • Pancreatic cancer is also called exocrine cancer and often develops without early symptoms. Survival rates for all stages combined are 6 percent for five years.
  • Leukemia is a cancer of the blood and a fairly common cancer in the U.S.

Decreasing Cancer Risk
Stop smoking (or never start), participating in cancer screenings on a regular basis, eating healthy and using sunscreen are a few ways to lessen the risk of developing cancer. To learn more about the various types of cancer, causes, symptoms and treatment options, visit cancer.orgcancer.gov and other online cancer websites

Chronic Respiratory Disease

Chronic Respiratory Disease

The disease known as COPD (or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) may also be referred to as emphysema or chronic bronchitis. COPD damage airways and causes breathing difficulties and is the fourth leading cause of death in the US. COPD may impact as many as 24 million Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While the death rate for women with COPD has been higher for women than men, the number of new cases of COPD in people aged 25-54 has dropped. This drop may be the result of a decrease in smoking over time.

COPD Symptoms
COPD starts slowly and may not present symptoms for years. After the disease progresses, symptoms may include:

  • A persistent cough
  • Chest tightness
  • Wheezing
  • Production of mucus
  • Feeling short of breath when you do activities common to your routine
  • Inability to breathe deeply

People who experience these symptoms should talk to a doctor. A breathing test that measures air intake and output can help determine a diagnosis of COPD.

The Causes of COPD

  • Cigarette smoke from current smoking habits, past smoking, and second-hand smoke.
  • A genetic predisposition (which is rare)
  • Long-term exposure to pollutants in the air, such as chemicals, fumes, dust, fumes, and smoke.

COPD Treatment
While itʼs not possible to repair the lung damage caused by COPD, medications and other treatments can address symptoms and slow lung damage. Sufferers of severe COPD may require additional oxygen administered through a machine. If you have COPD, it is crucial to stop smoking and to refrain from being around second-hand smoke and other air pollutants. People who currently have or are at risk for developing COPD should get a yearly flu shot and discuss the benefits of the pneumonia vaccine with their doctors.

Stroke

Stroke

Strokes occur when the blood supply to your brain is reduced or interrupted, depriving your brain of oxygen and nutrients. This can cause brain cells to die. Strokes may be caused when a blood vessel leaks or bursts (hemorrhagic stroke) or when an artery is blocked. Blockage most often occurs as a result of atherosclerosis, when fatty deposits or plaque builds up in the arteries to the brain. A blood clot can also cause a blockage.
Transient ischemic attack (TIA)
When there is only a temporary reduction of blood flow to the brain it is called a "transient ischemic attack". These typically last less than five minutes but are warning signs that you have a narrowed artery or blockage to your brain putting you at risk for a full-blown stroke.

Stroke Symptoms

You can recognize when someone else may be having a stroke. Try to note when signs begin, as the length of time can help your doctor make treatment decisions. The longer a stroke goes untreated, the greater the potential for brain damage and disability.
Call 911 is you witness someone having trouble with:

  • Speech & Understanding. Confusion. Slurred words. Difficulty understanding speech.
  • Walking, loss of balance, sudden lack of coordination, a stumble or unexpected dizziness.
  • Paralysis or numbness of the face, arm or leg or drooping of the mouth, especially on one side of the body.
  • Severe headache that comes on suddenly with possible vomiting, dizziness or altered consciousness.
  • Sudden blurred or blackened vision in one or both eyes, or seeing double.

Complications After Stroke:

Strokes may cause temporary or permanent disability depending on how long the brain experiences a lack of blood flow, and which portions of the brain are affected. Complications include:

  • Paralysis of one side of the body, or loss of control of certain muscles, such as those on one side of the face or one leg or arm. May cause problems walking, eating or dressing. Physical therapy may allow improvement.
  • Slurred Speech, Difficulty Swallowing or Eating including difficulty understanding speech, reading or writing. Therapy with a speech and language pathologist may help.
  • Trouble thinking, making judgments, understanding concepts and reasoning.
  • Difficulty controlling Emotions & Depression.
  • Pain, Numbness or odd sensations in parts of the body affected. Known as "central pain syndrome" (CPS). Common issues include uncomfortable tingling sensations and sensitivity to temperature, especially extreme cold.
  • Loss of ability to care for oneself requiring a caretaker to help with grooming and daily everyday needs. Stroke victims may become withdrawn, less social or more impulsive.

Risk Factors for Stroke:

Many factors that raise your risk of a stroke also increase your chances of having a heart attack. These include:

  • High blood pressure over 120/80
  • Cigarette smoking & second-hand smoke.
  • High cholesterol above 200.
  • Diabetes.
  • Cardiovascular disease, including abnormal heart rhythm, heart failure, heart defects, and heart infection.
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Hormone therapy with estrogen including birth control pills.
  • Heavy or binge drinking. Use of methamphetamine or cocaine.
  • Personal or family history of stroke, heart attack or TIA.
  • African-Americans- higher risk of stroke.
  • Age over 55 especially for men.
  • Overweight or obese. Lack of physical activity.

Accidents

Accidents

Studies show that automobile accidents are responsible for more fatal injuries for both women and men than any other trauma. Falls and poisoning are also included on the list of fatal accidents. Habits that lessen the risk of being injured or killed in an automobile include wearing a safety belt whether driving or riding, and never drinking or texting while driving.

Reaction time dips considerably when you are overtired and a significant number of serious or fatal accidents occur as a result. Take breaks when driving long distances and pull over and rest, or stop driving, if you feel excessively tired.

Diabetes

Diabetes

Diabetes is at epidemic proportions and is currently the fastest growing chronic disease. It occurs when a personʼs body fails to produce the hormone insulin, or uses insulin inefficiently. Insulin helps provide energy to the body by helping move sugar molecules (from the things we eat and drink) into our cells. When one has insufficient insulin, sugar builds-up in the bloodstream. Excess blood glucose over extended periods of time can contribute to a variety of health issues, including

  • Inability to heal infections
  • Stroke & Heart disease
  • Blindness
  • Kidney disease
  • Amputations

Symptoms & Diagnosing Diabetes:
Common symptoms of diabetes include excessive thirst, frequent urination, extreme hunger, fatigue, irritability, unexplained weight loss, blurred vision and slow healing of bruises. Doctors use several tests to help diagnose diabetes such as:

  • FPG: Fasting Plasma Glucose test
  • OGTT: Oral Glucose Tolerance Test

If you suspect that you have diabetes, see your doctor. If youʼve been diagnosed with diabetes, follow the advice of your healthcare provider to manage symptoms and minimize damage.

Common Complications of Diabetes:
1. Diabetic ketoacidosis:
When there is insufficient insulin, the body cannot utilize sugar (glucose) for fuel; so it uses fat instead. The byproducts of fat breakdown are called ketones. Excessive amounts of ketones is called ketoacidosis. Acidosis can lead to severe illness or death, especially in the elderly, and in people who fall into a coma if treatment is delayed. In acidosis, blood glucose may rise over 300, as the liver tries to compensate.
Symptoms of ketoacidosis include:

  • Deep, rapid, difficult breathing
  • Fruity smell to the breath
  • Dry skin and mouth, Flushing of the face
  • Nausea, vomiting and stomach pain
  • Loss of consciousness, dulled senses,
  • Fatigue, headache, muscle aches or stiffness,
  • Shortness of breath, coma

Treatment: Go to the emergency room or 911 for:

  • Insulin
  • Fluid and electrolytes.
  • Determination if infection of other issue contributed to the problem.

Possible Complications:

2. Hypoglycemia:
Hypoglycemia occurs when the blood sugar (glucose) levels are too low.(Below 70). This occurs in diabetics most often when you take too much insulin or fail to eat properly after taking insulin.

  • Your body's sugar (glucose) is used up too quickly
  • Glucose is released into the bloodstream too slowly
  • Too much insulin is released into the bloodstream

Symptoms of low blood sugar include:

  • Double or blurred vision, fast or pounding heartbeat
  • Nervousness, irritability or acting aggressively. Unclear thinking
  • Shaking or trembling, sweating. tingling or numbness of the skin
  • Headache, fatigue or weakness
  • Hunger
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Unconsciousness. Cannot be woken up

Hypoglycemia can be a medical emergency and cause seizures and brain damage. Call 911 or get to the emergency room for immediate medical assistance

3. Diabetic Feet:
Over time, diabetes can cause damage to your nerves and blood vessels. Damage to the blood vessels interrupts proper blood and oxygen flow to cells so injuries cuts or sores fail to heal. Serious cases may even lead to amputation. Nerve damage can cause loss of feeling in feet as well. To help avoid foot problems, control your blood sugar levels. Excellent foot hygiene is also essential:

  • Check and wash feet every day to catch infections or sores early.
  • Always wear shoes and socks to protect feet.
  • Avoid cold to keep the blood flowing to your feet
  • Trim toenails regularly, smooth corns and calluses and keep skin soft and smooth. Consult a podiatrist to help you if needed.

4. Diabetic Retinopathy-Eye Problems:
Diabetic retinopathy occurs when the tiny blood vessels to your retina are damaged by diabetes. Those with diabetes should get complete eye exams every year. Early treatment may save your vision.
Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy can include

  • Blurry or double vision, rings, flashing lights, blank spots, dark or floating spots
  • Trouble seeing out of the corners of the eyes
  • Pain or pressure in one or both eyes

5. Diabetic Nephropathy- Kidney Problems
Over time, increased blood sugar can damage the kidneys. In fact, diabetes is the most common cause of kidney failure in the United States. Your kidneys serve as filters that clean your blood so that waste and fluids build-up in your blood instead of leaving your body. People with kidney failure will require dialysis or a kidney transplant.
An early sign of diabetic kidney disease is protein in the urine which can be detected with a urine test. Blood testing can also help determine how kidneys are working. Control blood sugar, blood pressure, maintain a low protein diet and take diabetic medication to help avoid kidney problems.

Pneumonia & Flu

Pneumonia & Flu

Each year, influenza proves fatal for many people. Pneumonia is one of the most common complications leading to death. People with compromised immune systems or the very young, elderly or sick suffer most from influenza. To decrease risk, talk to your doctor about yearly flu vaccines and whether the pneumonia vaccine is a good choice for you. Keep your hands clean by washing them as necessary to lessen the likelihood of transferring the flu virus to yourself and others.

Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's Disease

The most common form of dementia, Alzheimerʼs disease ranks as the fifth-leading cause of death in women. Itʼs the tenth leading killer of men. The symptoms associated with Alzheimerʼs disease can come on slowly. Alzheimerʼs disease changes the way a person behaves, causing disorientation. It negatively impacts thinking, memory, and judgment. It is a progressive disease that, in its later stages, severely compromises daily function.

Early-stage Alzheimerʼs can cause mild memory loss, eventually progressing to the point where sufferers are unable to converse with others or respond to stimuli from their surroundings. The survival rate for Alzheimerʼs disease can be from 4 to 20 years, depending on other factors associated with an individual. Typically, though, Alzheimerʼs sufferersʼ life expectancy averages 8 years after symptoms are evident to those who interact with the individual.

The exact causes of Alzheimerʼs Disease are not currently known, although links between Alzheimerʼs, heart disease, and head injuries are being investigated.

Dementia, though not considered a disease, negatively impacts attention span, problem-solving abilities, language, memory, physical functioning, and the ability to reason. The symptoms gradually worsen over time and may ultimately cause a person to be unable to recall the day of the week, recognize their surroundings, or identify people they know. Dementia can affect a person of any age, although it occurs more commonly in the older population.

Causes of Dementia
In addition to Alzheimerʼs disease, causes of dementia include Parkinsonʼs disease, Huntingtonʼs disease, Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome, and other forms of impairment.

Kidney Disease

Kidney Disease

Your kidneys perform several functions critical to survival. They cleanse the blood by removing waste products and extra fluid, maintain the balance of minerals and salt in your system and help regulate blood pressure. They also produce a substance necessary for bone health and an enzyme involved in red blood cell production. When kidneys fail, waste products and fluids may cause shortness of breath, vomiting, weakness, swelling in your ankles and eventually death. Kidney disease is the 9th cause of death for American men and women.
Acute Renal Failure:
Acute renal failure (ARF) is the loss of kidney function due to:

  • Damage to kidneys from shock or infection (sepsis).
  • Obstruction of urine flow, as with an enlarged prostate
  • Traumatic injury with blood loss
  • Damage from certain drugs or toxins
  • Pregnancy complications, such as eclampsia, pre-eclampsia, HELLP Syndrome
  • The sudden reduction of blood flow to the kidneys

Chronic Kidney Disease:
Kidney damage or reduced function over 3 months is termed "Chronic Kidney Disease" (CKD). This condition may not produce symptoms until significant and sometimes untreatable kidney damage has occurred. High Blood Pressure and Diabetes are the most common causes of CKD. Other causes include:

  • Multiple urinary tract infections in the kidneys (Pyelonephritis) causing scarring and kidney damage
  • Immune system or chronic viral conditions such as HIV-AIDS, Hepatitis (Band C) or Lupus.
  • Inflammation in the kidneys after such problems as strep infections. 
  • Medications, drugs, chemicals and toxins, with long-term exposure, such as overuse of ibuprofen naproxen and other over the counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and IV "street" drugs.
  • Polycystic kidney disease, an inherited kidney disorder.
  • Congenital defects, obstruction or malformations.

Septicemia

Septicemia

Commonly known as blood poisoning, septicemia is a bacterial infection that often stems from another infection, such as those impacting the lungs and urinary tract. It is number 10 on the list of causes of death for females. Tactics to avoid contracting septicemia include keeping hands clean by washing them, using tampons with the appropriate absorbency level, changing tampons as recommended, and seeing a doctor if any signs of infection are present in the body.

Liver Disease

Liver Disease

What the Liver Does
The liver performs many functions including:

  • Converts waste products from your body into urea which is excreted in the urine.
  • Stores extra glucose as glycogen and converts it back to glucose when needed for energy.
  • Produces blood clotting factors
  • Produces amino acids (proteins) including those needed to fight infection.
  • Produces bile which is needed for digestion. Manufactures chemicals needed for fat transport.
  • Processes and stores iron needed for red blood cell production
  • Detoxifies drugs and chemicals in the body.

Liver Disorders:

  • Symptoms of liver diseases include fatigue, weakness, weight loss, nausea, vomiting, and yellow discoloration of the skin (jaundice).

Cirrhosis is a term that describes permanent scarring of the liver when normal liver cells are replaced by scar tissue that cannot perform proper liver functions.
Alcohol Abuse: Alcohol is toxic to liver cells and can cause severe liver inflammation called alcoholic hepatitis. Excessive alcohol consumption is the most common cause of liver disease in the U.S.

Hepatitis:

Hepatitis is a viral infection. Hepatitis A is usually spread when small amounts of infected fecal matter are accidentally ingested. This causes an acute liver inflammation that usually resolves. The vaccine for hepatitis A can prevent this infection. The best way to prevent hepatitis A is with thorough hand washing, especially when preparing food.
Hepatitis B and C are spread by exposure to bodily fluids such as contaminated blood, sexual contact and contaminated needles by drug abusers. It can cause acute infection or lead to chronic illnesses such as cirrhosis and liver cancer. The Hepatitis B vaccine can prevent Hepatitis B  but there is no vaccine against Hepatitis C.

Other Infections:

Other microorganisms can cause liver infection or inflammation such as Mononucleosis Epstein Barr virus, cytomegalovirus, adenovirus and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.


Other Common Health Issues

Respiratory Diseases

Asthma

Asthma

Asthma is a chronic, life-long lung disease in which the airways become blocked and inhibit breathing. An asthma attack can come on quickly and can vary in intensity from mild to severe and life-threatening. Asthma episodes may be sporadic, with no symptoms present between attacks.

Asthma Causes & Symptoms
The airways of asthma sufferers become sensitive, causing them to react to certain triggers by swelling, producing mucus, and making the surrounding muscles tighten and compress the airways. When the airway narrows, breathing becomes difficult.

Asthma triggers include:

  • Tobacco smoke
  • Viral infections of the respiratory system
  • Pet dander
  • Dyes and certain chemicals
  • Formaldehyde
  • Exercise
  • Stress
  • Air pollutants (both indoor and outdoor), pollen, and mold
  • Cold air
  • Debris from cockroaches and dust mites
  • Exhaust from diesel engines
  • Wood dust

Lessening or eliminating exposure to these triggers can result in improved lung function for asthma suffers and reduce the need to use medications to control asthma.

Symptoms of an asthma attack include:

  • Breathing difficulty
  • Chest tightness
  • Being out of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Coughing

Asthma Sufferers
All ages and races of people can suffer from asthma. Itʼs estimated that over 17 million Americans, both children and adults, have this chronic disease. Asthma can disrupt the home, school, and work-life of its sufferers. In fact, asthma is responsible for more school absences than any other cause. Currently, no cure exists for asthma. With proper care, though, asthma can be controlled and even prevented.

If you have asthma:

  • See your doctor or healthcare provider on a regular basis and develop a plan to address your asthma. Parents of children with asthma should share their childʼs plan with school personnel.
  • Discover the triggers that prompt you to experience asthma attacks and then work to reduce or eliminate these triggers, if possible.
  • Discuss with your doctor medications for asthma; learn when/how to properly use them; know whether the medications are fast-acting or for long-term control of asthma; and be aware of potential side effects of the medications.
  • Ask your doctor about using a peak flow meter to assess your asthma severity.
  • Know when to get professional medical care to treat an asthma episode and know what to do if an emergency arises.

Asthma Medications
Doctors typically prescribe the two types of medications (in pill form, liquid, or thru an inhaler or pump) to treat asthma:

  • Medications that control/prevent asthma in the long term, but do not provide immediate cessation of symptoms.
  • Medications designed to quickly relieve asthma symptoms.

Cystic Fibrosis

Cystic Fibrosis

This common, inherited disease disrupts the function of the mucous, sweat, and saliva glands. As mucous becomes sticky, it can plug openings in the bodyʼs major organs, clog up the lungs, inhibit efficient food absorption, and permanently damage the liver. CF is caused by a gene mutation, with each parent contributing a defective gene. If only one parent carries the defective gene, CF will not occur.

CF Statistics

  • One out of every 3,200 Caucasian babies is born with CF, making it one of the most common inherited diseases.
  • One of every 15,000 African-American babies has CF.
  • The disease does not commonly occur in people of Asian or Native American descent.
  • An increase in CF is being seen among Hispanics.

Cystic Fibrosis Symptoms

  • Skin that tastes salty
  • Shortness of breath
  • Large stools that have a greasy consistency
  • Periods of persistent coughing that produce phlegm
  • Wheezing
  • A thin frame thatʼs not impacted by excessive food intake

Cystic Fibrosis Diagnosis & Treatment
A test that measures how much salt is contained in the sweat is the primary method of testing for CF. Thereʼs currently no cure for CF, but treatment advances have improved the quality and length of life for CF sufferers. Treatments for CF are varied and are geared toward:

  • Prevention of lung infections
  • Reduction of the amount and consistency of lung mucous
  • Improved airflow
  • Ensuring that proper nutrition is maintained

Lou Gehrigʼs Disease

Lou Gehrigís Disease

ALS stands for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Itʼs typically referred to as "Lou Gehrig's disease" after the New York Yankees baseball player who contracted it in 1939. This progressive disease typically impacts adults aged 40 to 70, and it is estimated that 30,000 Americans struggle with the ailment. ALS prevents the brain from sending messages to the muscle fibers that tell the muscles to move. It does this by scarring or hardening, and thus destroying, brain and spinal cord nerve cells responsible for muscle control.

Any muscle group can be affected by ALS. Depending on the muscles and nerves impacted, symptoms may include:

  • Difficulty moving the face and tongue, which can impact speaking, chewing, and swallowing
  • Trouble breathing
  • Uncontrolled crying or laughing
  • Hands or lower leg muscles that twitch or seem weakened

Initially, only one side of the body may exhibit the effects of ALS. In time, the entire body is often compromised and paralysis occurs. Even though the body is severely impacted, brain function generally remains intact.


Arthritis

Arthritis

Many people suffer from arthritis pain. It inhibits daily function and prevents sufferers from leading full lives. The word "arthritis" is used to describe many conditions that impact the joints and adjacent tissues, including gout, tendinitis, osteoarthritis, and carpal tunnel syndrome. Other joint-impacting conditions include:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Lupus
  • Bursitis
  • Rheumatic fever
  • Lyme arthritis

Arthritis Risk Factors
Arthritis impacts more women than men, and the risk of developing arthritis increases with age. Carrying excess weight has been linked with gout in men and osteoarthritis in men and women.
Repetitive motions performed during sports or certain occupations can increase the risk of developing arthritis.

When to See a Doctor
See a doctor if you experience joint pain, a stiff or achy joint noticed with the last 30 days; and/or discomfort, achiness, and stiffness in a joint experienced for 3 months or longer.

Eating Disorders

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders affect both females and males, although more females suffer than males. Estimates suggest 5-10 million females and 1 million males suffer in the US, though this may be underreported due to the stigma associated with these ailments. People of all ethnicities and sizes are impacted by eating disorders.

Types of Eating Disorders
Many types of eating disorders exist. The 4 most common ones include:

  • Anorexia Nervosa: Characterized by restricted food intake, a nagging desire to be thin, and a distorted image of the body.
  • Bulimia Nervosa: Characterized by a pattern of binge eating and purging.
  • Binge Eating: Characterized by compulsive overeating and a history of failing to control eating through dieting. Unlike bulimics, binge eaters do not purge following an episode of overeating.

Obesity: Today, more and more children are overweight or obese. It is the second preventable cause of death after tobacco use and may soon become the leading cause. It is estimated that the US spends $150 billion a year to address obesity and the problems it causes. Complications include heart disease, type 2 diabetes, asthma, and high blood pressure and cholesterol and even different types of cancer. Obesity can contribute to a shorter life span, disability, a lower quality of life, and psychological conditions, such as low self-esteem and depression.

Obesity Prevention
Factors to help prevent obesity include:

  • Behavioral changes
  • Ability to obtain nutritious foods that are also affordable
  • Physical activity

Treating Eating Disorders
If you suspect that you or someone you know has an eating disorder, a specialized clinician can perform an evaluation and recommend treatment options. Typical treatment includes therapy at the individual, group, or family level. Early diagnosis and treatment are important for success.

Oral Health

Oral Health

Studies show that poor oral health contributes to diminished overall health. Oral disease may affect birth weight, dental pain and infections, and digestive complications in the elderly, and affect nutrition in those suffering from chronic health problems.

The Costs of Poor Oral Health

  • Tooth decay is a leading chronic illness impacting children. Approximately 51 million school hours are lost each year due to illness related to dental problems.
  • Periodontal (gum disease) may be associated with increased risk of heart disease and respiratory problems
  • Oral and pharyngeal cancer can be caught early and treated during a regular checkup with your dentist, especially if you smoke or drink alcohol regularly.
  • Inability to eat a healthy diet with diminished overall health
  • Loss of work hours, tooth loss, pain and abscess - almost a third of adults age 65 and older are missing all of their teeth.
  • Diminished performance at school, poor social interaction and reduced success in life.

Oral Healthcare During Pregnancy
Changes in oral health can occur during pregnancy due to hormone changes, so it is important for pregnant women to see the dentist if they are pregnant or planning a family. Expectant mothers can improve their childrenʼs oral health by addressing their own dental problems before giving birth. For example, the bacteria that cause tooth decay can be transmitted from mothers to their babies.

Oral Healthcare During Infancy & Childhood
Most dental diseases can be prevented but children often suffer needlessly from dental disease. This is due, in part, to a lack of proper home care and inaccessible dental services. Many dentists, as well as the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, recommend a first dental visit by the time a child is one year of age or within 6 months after the first tooth emerges. After that, regular checkups are suggested.

Oral Healthcare During the Adult & Senior Years
Dental checkups are necessary for people with their own natural teeth as well as those with prosthetic teeth, such as dentures. Caretakers of elderly people need to make sure that proper attention is paid to daily dental care.

Gastrointestinal Disorders

Gastro-Intestinal Disorders

Crohn's Disease
Crohn's disease is a chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. Symptoms may include diarrhea, bloating, cramping, pain, fever, rectal bleeding., loss of appetite and weight loss. This disorder can also affect the joints, liver skin and eyes with fatigue.
Infection and deficiency of proteins, calories, or vitamins may also occur. Crohn's patients have an increased risk of colon cancer. Two-thirds or more patients with Crohn's disease will require surgery at some point when medications no longer control symptoms.

Ulcerative Colitis
Ulcerative colitis is a chronic disorder. Its initial symptom is a progressive loosening of the stool, which is often bloody. Associated symptoms include cramping and severe urgency to have a bowel movement. Diarrhea can begin slowly or suddenly. Loss of appetite and weight loss and fatigue are common. When bleeding is severe, anemia can occur. Skin lesions, joint pain, eye inflammation, and liver problems may also occur. Children with the disorder can fail to develop or grow normally. Symptoms of ulcerative colitis tend to come and go, and significant periods between flare-ups can occur.

Diverticular Disease
Diverticulosis occurs when small out-pouches or diverticula develop in the muscular wall in a weakened area of the bowel. This is a common problem occurring in about 10% of people over age 40; and in 50% of those over age 60. Diverticulosis rarely causes symptoms but complications can include infection or inflammation (diverticulitis), bleeding, and obstruction. Treatment includes, increased fluids, special diet and antibiotics. Surgery is needed in about half of patients with complications.

Colorectal Cancer:
Colon cancer is the second most common form of cancer in the U.S. However, with a variety of screening tests, it is possible to prevent, detect, and treat the disease well before symptoms appear. Almost all colorectal cancers begin as polyps which are pre-cancerous growths in the lining the colon and rectum. Colorectal cancers can be caught early or prevented by screening people at average risk for colorectal cancer beginning at age 50

Constipation
Constipation involves infrequent (less than 3x/week), incomplete or difficult passage of stools during bowel movements. It is commonly caused by inadequate fiber in the diet, or a interference of regular routine. If it results in someone forcing or straining, it can cause anal problems such as fissures and hemorrhoids, but is rarely a sign of serious medical conditions.
Treatment includes increasing the amount of fiber, exercising regularly, and moving your bowels when the urge occurs rather than resisting. Laxatives can be a temporary solution, but can actually aggravate symptoms in the long run.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
Irritable bowel syndrome is also called nervous stomach, spastic colon or irritable colon where the colon muscles contract too readily. Triggers may include emotional stress, certain foods or medications. Symptoms include abdominal pain, cramps, gas, bloating. People with IBS may have alternating constipation and diarrhea.
Treatment includes increasing fiber in the diet, monitoring and avoiding foods that trigger IBS, avoiding caffeine, and learning ways to manage stress. Medication may be prescribed by your doctor..

Hemorrhoids, Anal fissures and Perianal Abscess:
Hemorrhoids are swollen blood vessels around the anal opening caused by persistent diarrhea, pregnancy or other causes of continual excess pressure from straining during a bowel movement.
Anal fissures are splits or cracks in the lining of the anal opening caused most commonly very hard or watery stools. Such cracks expose underlying muscles to stool or air and lead to intense burning pain, bleeding, or spasm after bowel movements. Treatment may include pain medicine, fiber in the diet and special baths. In some cases surgery might be needed to end spasm in the sphincter muscle.
Perianal abscesses occur when anal glands become blocked and infected. When pus develops, treatment may involve draining of the abscess, usually with local anesthesia in the doctor's office.


Skin Conditions

Eczema

Eczema

Eczema is a term used for several conditions where skin is inflamed, dry, red, and itchy. It is not contagious. Flare-ups can be triggered by stress, climate, irritants such as soaps, or allergies. Eczema most often occurs in "bending" areas, such as inside the elbows or hands. Treatments include topical, oral medications and injections.

Herpes Zoster (Shingles)

Shingles (Herpes Zoster)

Shingles may begin with burning, tingling, or increased sensitivity of a certain area of the skin. It often starts with a rash that develops into painful blisters. In some cases, blisters last for about two weeks followed by recovery. However, in some cases pain, numbness or itching may linger for months or years. Shingles typically occurs on the buttocks or trunk, but can appear in other areas as well. Treatment involves steroids, antiviral drugs, antidepressants, and topical agents to provide relief.

Lip Cold Sores (Fever Blisters)

Cold Sores (Fever Blisters)

Cold sores are painful, fluid-filled blisters that form on the lips, mouth or nose and last about 10 days. They are caused by the herpes simplex virus and very contagious. Triggers include stress, fever, hormonal changes (i.e. menstruation) and excessive sun exposure. Antiviral medications or creams are often used. Contact your doctor if you note pus, fever, spreading redness or irritation of the eyes.

Moles

Moles

Moles are raised areas that can are usually black or brown and may occur on any part of the body. Moles may change over time and become raised, develop hair, or change color gradually. Most moles are not cancerous, but contact your doctor if a mole develops an irregular border, becomes an unusual or uneven color, itches or bleeds.

Psoriasis

Psoriasis

Psoriasis appears as thick, red plaques that are covered with silvery or white scales. It most often affects the elbows, knees, scalp, and lower back and is not contagious. Treatment includes topical medications, light therapy, and drugs that may be given orally, by infusion or by injection

Rosacea

Rosacea often begins as a tendency to flush easily with redness of the nose, cheeks, chin, forehead, or even eyes. If it worsens, patients may appear "ruddy" and blood vessels may become visible. Pus-filled pimples, thickened skin, or bumps may occur. Treatment includes medications, dermabrasion, laser therapy or electro-cautery.

Skin Acne

Acne pimples occur when skin pores are clogged from oil or dead skin cells and is often associated with bacteria and hormonal changes. Keep skin clean and avoid squeezing pimples as infections can spread or scars may occur.

Tinea Pedis (Athlete's Foot)

Athlete's Foot

Athlete's Foot is a fungal infection characterized by peeling and itching; occasionally progressing to blisters or sores. It is contagious and passed by direct contact, such as walking barefoot in locker rooms, near pools or sharing shoes with an infected individual. Keep feet and shoes clean and dry during treatment. Medication includes topical antifungal lotions and oral medicines for more difficult infections.

Urticaria - (Hives)

Hives (Urticaria)

Hives are welts that may be itchy, sting or burn. They may vary in size or merge together to form large areas. They may last as short as several minutes or continue for days. Infections like strep throat, drugs or medications, certain foods or additives, or temperature extremes can be associated with hives. Antihistamines may provide relief.

Warts

Warts

Common warts usually occur on the fingers or hands and are caused by the human papillomavirus. If you have a wart, avoid picking it, cover it with a bandage and keep it dry to help avoid spreading it to others. Warts typically are painless and heal on their own. If treatment is needed, topical medications, freezing, burning, chemicals, surgery or lasers may be employed.


Plastic Surgery Procedures

Botox

Botox

Botox for Cosmetic Use

Botox, which is a brand name, is an injectable substance used to decrease the appearance of wrinkles and lines on the forehead, around and between the eyes, near the lips, and around the mouth. It is derived from a toxin produced by the clostridium botulinum bacterium. Dysport and Xeomin are similar injectable medications. All prohibit muscle contraction by blocking nerve impulses. Eliminating muscle contraction results makes skin appear smoother, more relaxed and youthful. Botox does not work on lines and wrinkles caused by gravity or sun exposure.

People who should not receive Botox injections include women who are pregnant or breastfeeding and anyone diagnosed with a neurological disease.

Insurance does not typically cover Botox used for cosmetic purposes.

The Botox Procedure

  • No anesthesia is needed.
  • The procedure is quick.
  • Use of a fine needle minimizes discomfort.
  • Maximum effect is achieved in three to seven days.
  • Effects remain for up to six months before further injections are needed.
  • Over time, lines soften as muscles become accustomed to relaxing.


Botox Side Effects

  • Bruising that is temporary.
  • Headaches (a rare occurrence and an effect that typically goes away in one to two days).
  • Droopy eyelids that may persist for up to three weeks; abstain from lying down for an hour and rubbing the site of injection for 12 hours to lessen the risk of this occurring.

Breast Augmentation

Breast Augmentation

Surgery to make the breasts larger is called augmentation mammoplasty. Mastopexy, is the medical term for a breast lift. It may be done as a separate procedure or in conjunction with augmentation mammoplasty. A breast implant consists of an outer silicone shell containing saline solution or silicone gel.

Cosmetic breast enhancement surgery is not covered by insurance. Reconstructive surgery following breast cancer treatment is usually covered.

Reasons for Breast Augmentation and/or Breast Lift
Many women choose one or both of these surgical procedures in order to:

  • Increase breast size
  • Renew breast appearance and/or size following weight loss or pregnancy
    Note: Breast augmentation will not eliminate the effects on the breasts from future pregnancies, other causes of weight gain, or the natural aging process.
  • Alter breast shape
  • Improve proportion or symmetry
  • Reposition the nipples
  • Reconstruct breast tissue following mastectomy

Breast Surgery
Procedures to augment and lift breasts typically take one to two hours, usually under general anesthesia. They are performed on an outpatient basis, although an overnight hospital stay may be required if complications arise. 

The Breast Augmentation Process
The surgeon places the implant in the breast, either on top of the chest wall and underneath existing breast tissue or underneath the chest muscle, through an incision made in the armpit, underneath the breast in the crease, or along the edge of the nipple area. Stitches close the site of insertion following placement and adjustment.

If you opt for surgery to have breast implants placed, you can typically expect to undergo one or more additional surgeries over the long term.

The Breast Lift Process
Excess skin is removed to alleviate sagging and lift the breast, and the remaining skin is stitched together. Larger incisions are typically required for a breast lift than for a breast augmentation.

Following Surgery

  • An elastic bandage will be used to wrap the breasts, or a special bra may be worn.
  • Incisions will be covered with gauze.
  • A burning sensation may be felt in the nipples.
  • Stitches are typically removed in the 7- to 10-day timeframe.
  • Soreness can be expected for several days, and bruising and swelling for many weeks.
  • Normal, daily activities can be resumed a few days following surgery.
  • Heavy lifting and vigorous exercise must be abstained from as the doctor recommends.
  • Scarring will begin to fade several months following surgery.

Risks of Breast Implants

  • Scar tissue that forms around the implant and hardens to squeeze and misshape the breast, called capsular contracture
  • Nerve damage that causes loss of sensation in the nipples or other areas of the breast
  • More difficult detection of breast cancer using mammography
  • Asymmetry regarding breast shape and/or size
  • Hardening of the implant
  • Implant rupture, deflation, or leakage
  • Infection
  • Hematoma
  • Rippling
  • A shift in position of the implant
  • Excessive scarring

Facelift

facelift

As we age, skin sags and wrinkles. A face-lift, or Rhytidectomy, is a cosmetic surgical procedure to enhance the appearance of the face by eliminating or lessening the appearance of sagging skin and wrinkles. A plastic surgeon can tighten the skin and reposition it for a more esthetic appearance. A facelift does not halt the progression of aging, nor can it eliminate skin damage caused by sun exposure. However, a facelift can make a personʼs face appear more youthful. A personʼs satisfaction with a facelift hinges on realistic expectations, as well as the skill of the surgeon.

Facelifts are not covered by insurance.

The Facelift Procedure

  • Anesthesia is administered.
  • The surgeon creates incisions in the skin.
  • Muscles and tissues under the skin are made more taut, and some skin and fat may be removed.
  • The surgeon replaces the skin on the face and stitches in its place.

A facelift may be performed as an outpatient procedure, or it may require an overnight hospital stay. The actual surgery may take many hours to complete.

Following Facelift Surgery

  • Facial bandages and drains, if used, are typically removed a day or two following surgery.
  • Stitches are typically taken out in the 5- to 10-day range.
  • Swelling and bruising will occur.
  • You must not lie flat; instead, keep your head elevated.
  • Do not smoke or be around second-hand smoke for up to a month following surgery.
  • You will likely resume a normal routine in two to three weeks following surgery.
  • Expect your face to feel stiff, which is normal.
  • You may experience facial skin numbness for a period of months.
  • Menʼs facial hair patterns may shift due to skin repositioning.

Risks of Facelift Surgery

  • Anesthesia reactions
  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Loss of hair and/or tissue
  • Nerve damage
  • Scarring
  • Blood clots 

Liposuction

Liposuction

The surgical procedure to remove fat from certain areas of the body is called liposuction. Typically, liposuction is performed on the thighs, buttocks, hips, torso, and face. The focus of liposuction is usually on areas of fat that diet and exercise have not significantly reduced.

Candidates for liposuction should be in good health, maintain an average weight or be only slightly overweight, and should understand what liposuction can and cannot do. For example, it cannot remove cellulite. Additionally, candidates for liposuction should have skin that is elastic and firm. Liposuction performed on older individuals may not yield the desired results, although age is not considered a factor in determining whether a person is a candidate for liposuction.
Most insurance plans do not cover liposuction, as it is a cosmetic surgical procedure.

Talk to a Doctor

  • Consult a qualified surgeon to discuss expectations, risks, benefits, options, and costs.
  • Adhere to recommendations provided by the surgeon regarding the things you should or should not consume or do prior to surgery.
  • Advise the doctor if you suffer from any allergies.
  • Tell the doctor about any medications you may be taking.

Liposuction Techniques
The two types of liposuction are:

  • Liposuction in which fat is first liquefied with ultrasonic energy, called ultrasonic-assisted liposuction. 
  • Tumescent liposuction, in which a solution comprised of saline, a drug to contract blood vessels, and a mild painkiller is injected into fat prior to removal. Injecting this solution makes fat removal easier. It also lessens blood loss and discomfort.

Liposuction may be performed at a surgical center or in a doctorʼs office. The location of the procedure will depend on the type of liposuction being performed. Usually, liposuction patients go home the same day as their surgery. An overnight stay at a hospital may be required following removal of a large area of fat.

The Liposuction Process

  • Local or general anesthesia is delivered prior to surgery. The type of anesthesia given depends on the type of liposuction being performed and the amount of fat being removed.
  • A suction device will be placed into small cuts made in the skin, and fat will be suctioned out.
  • The length of the procedure depends on the amount of fat being removed.

Risk is associated with all surgical procedures. The risks of liposuction are discoloration of the skin and infection. However, occurrence of these conditions is rare. Risk increases during liposuction in which an inordinate amount of fat is removed or during very long procedures.

Liposuction Recovery
Recovering from liposuction is typically quick, especially following outpatient liposuction. While you will likely resume working a few days following surgery, it is not uncommon to experience discomfort, swelling, and some bruising where the liposuction occurred. This may last for a few weeks. Two weeks post-surgery; however, most liposuction patients are back to their typical routines. You may have to wear a compression garment for up to two months following your liposuction procedure.

Long-Term Results of Liposuction
You can still gain weight following liposuction. However, you will most likely not see fat accumulation in the area that was treated, as these cells were permanently removed. Exercising and eating right can help you maintain optimal results.

Rhinoplasty

Rhinoplasty

The nose is an important feature of the face. The appearance of the nose can be surgically altered with rhinoplasty, performed by a plastic surgeon or a doctor specializing in the ear, nose, and throat. Rhinoplasty can:

  • Decrease or increase the size of the nose
  • Alter the angle of the nose
  • Change the appearance of the tip of the nose
  • Remove defects, such as indentations or bumps on the nose
  • Make the nose more proportionate to other facial features

Additionally, rhinoplasty can be performed to improve breathing caused by problems with the structure of the nose.

It is advised not to perform rhinoplasty on females under the age of 16 and males under the age of 18, since the nose may not be fully developed until then. Performing surgery on a nose that has not completed development may result in complications or yield unexpected results.

Unless performed to remedy a problem with the way the nose functions or to resolve a problem sustained during injury or disease, rhinoplasty is typically not covered by insurance.

The Results of Rhinoplasty
As with any cosmetic surgery procedure, it is important to discuss the potential outcome with a qualified plastic surgeon so that you have realistic expectations about what rhinoplasty can and cannot do. Rhinoplasty results in permanent alteration of the nose.

The Rhinoplasty Process

  • General or local anesthesia is administered.
  • During the surgical procedure, the bones and cartilage of the nose are accessed through incisions, usually inside the nose.
  • The surgeon will perform the necessary alterations of the bone, cartilage, and or tissue, depending on the desired result to be achieved. Tissue can also be added, if necessary.
  • Tissue and skin are adjusted appropriately on the nose.
  • For purposes of healing, nasal packing may be placed inside the nose, and a splint may be used to cover the nose.

Rhinoplasty is typically as an outpatient surgical procedure. An overnight stay at a surgical center or hospital may sometimes be necessary.

Following Surgery

  • Two days following rhinoplasty, nasal packing will be removed.
  • One week following rhinoplasty, bandages and the splint will be removed.
  • You will likely experience bruising and puffiness in the area of the nose and eyes, as well as facial swelling that can last for up to two weeks.
  • The surgeon may recommend pain medications and cold compresses to alleviate symptoms.
  • Elevating the head and staying still may be necessary for a few days.
  • Vigorous activity can be reintroduced into your routine several weeks following surgery.

Rhinoplasty Risks

  • Bruising and swelling (these conditions are expected and temporary)
  • Septum injuries
  • Bleeding
  • Skin irritation from bandages
  • Infection
  • Death of skin tissue
  • Nasal blockage
  • Anesthesia complications
  • Results that do not coincide with your expectations

Tummy Tuck

Tummy Tuck

Abdominoplasty, commonly called a tummy tuck, is a surgical procedure that removes skin or fat tissue in the abdomen and tightens the vertical muscles in the abdomen in order to flatten the stomach. A tummy tuck is not the same thing as liposuction.

Tummy Tuck Candidates
This procedure can be performed on both women and men. Candidates should have good overall health. Formerly obese people who want to remove extra skin and fat may opt for a tummy tuck, as well as women who want to firm the abdominal area following multiple pregnancies.

You should not get a tummy tuck if you are a woman considering becoming pregnant or if you are embarking on a plan to lose weight.

Unless there is a medical reason to perform a tummy tuck, insurance companies typically do not cover this procedure, as it is deemed cosmetic.

Before Undergoing a Tummy Tuck

  • Select a surgeon and schedule a consultation.
  • Stop smoking; your doctor will recommend eliminating smoking for at least two weeks before your surgery to lessen the risk of complications and to promote healing.
  • Consume a healthy diet.
  • Advise your doctor if you take any supplements, prescription medications, or herbal remedies.
  • Prepare for surgery by purchasing items that you may need during recovery, such as ice packs and loose clothing.
  • Arrange for transportation following surgery and find someone to stay with you the first night that you are home following surgery.

The Tummy Tuck Procedure
Two types of tummy tucks are performed:

  • Mini abdominoplasty, typically performed to remove fat located below the navel.
  • Complete abdominoplasty, which is more extensive and involves relocating the navel.

Depending on the type of tummy tuck performed, surgery may take between one and five hours. An overnight stay at a hospital may be required. Expect to experience discomfort and swelling following surgery. Soreness, along with numbness, fatigue, and bruising, may remain for a period of up to several months. You will be bandaged with an elastic band that will stay on for a period of time after surgery. This bandage aids in the healing process.

Rigorous activity is prohibited or restricted following a tummy tuck for a period of up to six weeks. Many tummy tuck patients take time off work - up to a month - following surgery. Talk to your doctor about activity limitations during the healing process.

Tummy Tuck Risks

  • Infection
  • Blood clotting
  • Bleeding
  • Scarring
  • Slow healing
  • Skin loss

Long-Term Results of Tummy Tuck
A tummy tuck is a popular procedure, and patients are typically pleased with the results. To maintain the shape of your new abdomen, implement an exercise program and eat a healthy diet.


Common Eye Conditions

Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)

Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)

Amblyopia, often called "lazy eye" occurs when the central vision in one eye diminishes or does not develop as it should; so that the brain fails to recognize the image transmitted by the affected eye. Peripheral vision is not impacted, and the amblyopic eye is not considered void of sight. However, vision in the affected eye tends to worsen over time. Amblyopia cannot be corrected solely with glasses or contact lenses. The condition affects keen depth perception and limits an individualʼs ability to participate in activities that require such perception.

Causes of Amblyopia

Amblyopia is typically seen in children under 8 years of age and may impact up to 4% of children. It is rare for an adult to develop amblyopia. The primary cause of this condition is inadequate development of vision. Low birth weight and premature birth are risk factors, as well. Amblyopia can also result or be associated with:

  • Cataracts or another eye impediment
  • Eyes that are crossed
  • Both eyes not being used together
  • Having a great degree of farsightedness in one eye and a great degree of nearsightedness in the other

Amblyopia Symptoms

Typically, few symptoms are present with amblyopia, and the symptoms may not be easily noticed. A child may tend to look at things with one eye versus the other or bump into things on the side with the affected vision.

Diagnosing & Treating Amblyopia

A thorough examination by an ophthalmologist is needed to diagnose amblyopia. Most children are unaware they suffer from this condition. Therefore, children should attend eye exams at six months of age and three years of age in accordance with guidelines established by the American Optometric Association. Another check prior to a child entering school is recommended, as well.

Amblyopia will not resolve without treatment and will in fact worsen. The possibility of total recovery increases with early diagnosis and treatment. Intervention in pre-teen to adult years yields less beneficial results. Amblyopia treatment may include:

  • Prescription glasses
  • Vision therapy that helps both eyes work in tandem
  • Prisms
  • Wearing an eye patch on the unaffected eye some or all of the time
  • A combination of these treatments

Anterior Uveitis

Anterior Uveitis

The condition called anterior uveitis occurs when the eyeʼs middle layer, containing the iris and the ciliary body, becomes inflamed. Swelling of the retina, cataract formation, or glaucoma can result and cause significant damage to the vision, including vision loss.

Causes:

Generally, an underlying cause of anterior uveitis cannot be found. However, the following conditions may contribute to anterior uveitis:

  • Complications of another disease
  • Eye trauma
  • Health conditions such as mumps, rubella, and rheumatoid arthritis

Symptoms:

  • A small pupil
  • An eye that is sore, inflamed, and appears red
  • Blurred vision
  • Light sensitivity

Anterior uveitis symptoms can mimic those of other eye conditions, so it is important to see an ophthalmologist for a thorough exam and diagnosis.

Treatment:

Treatment for anterior uveitis can consist of anti-inflammatory medication coupled with prescription eye drops for several days to many weeks.

Astigmatism

Astigmatism

Astigmatism is a condition when vision is blurred because of an abnormally shaped cornea or lens. The result is that light cannot focus correctly on the retina, causing fuzzy near and far vision. Astigmatism is a common condition that is often seen in tandem with nearsightedness or farsightedness. Because these conditions impact an eyeʼs ability to refract (bend) light, they are called refractive errors.

No treatment is needed for small degrees of astigmatism, as vision may not be significantly impacted. Higher degrees of astigmatism usually require care, to renew visual acuity or to alleviate headaches or eye discomfort that may occur.

Causes of Astigmatism

Typically, astigmatism is inherited or exists at birth. It can increase or decrease as time passes. Other factors that influence astigmatism include eye surgery, eye injury, and an uncommon corneal condition called keratoconus.

Diagnosing & Treating Astigmatism

A thorough vision test allows an ophthalmologist to determine a diagnosis of astigmatism. Components of the exam may include:

  • A test of visual acuity (accuracy)
  • A measurement of refraction
  • Keratometry, which measure the cornea curvature
  • Corneal topography, which is an assessment of the shape of the cornea

Treatment for astigmatism may include:

  • Eyeglasses
  • Contacts
  • Laser eye surgery (photorefractive keratectomy [PRK], laser in situ keratomileusis [LASIK])
  • Non-invasive corneal modification, called orthokeratology (ortho-k)

Cataracts

Cataracts

The lens sits behind the iris of the eye and focuses light on the retina. A cataract forms when the proteins and water that make up the lens change and cause clouding. Cataracts can impede vision - depending on where they are located and how big they are - by inhibiting the ability of the lens to properly focus light on the retina. Generally, cataracts form very slowly and affect both eyes, with one eye sometimes experiencing more negative symptoms of cataract than the other.

Cataracts typically impact people 55-years of age and older; however, young children and even infants can develop cataracts.

Types of Cataracts

Cataracts can form in the outer, middle, or inner layers of the lens. The location of the cataract determines its type.

  • Posterior capsular cataracts form in the outer layer and typically develop quickly.
  • Cortical cataracts form in the middle layer of the lens and are wedge or spoke-shaped.
  • Nuclear cataracts form in the innermost layers of the lens and may cause the nucleus of the lens to become yellow or brown.

Cataract Symptoms

  • Vision that is blurred or appears hazy
  • Refractive changes
  • Dimming of the appearance of colors
  • Increased difficulty dealing with glare, especially during night driving
  • Diminished ability to see at night

Factors that May Contribute to Cataract Formation

  • Age
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Eye injury or eye surgery
  • Low levels of antioxidants in the diet
  • Unprotected exposure to UV light
  • Smoking

A mother who develops an infection, such as rubella, during pregnancy can have a baby born with cataracts. Cataracts may also be inherited.

Diagnosing & Treating Cataracts

A comprehensive eye exam is conducted to determine a diagnosis of cataracts. Aspects of the exam typically include:

  • A discussion of current vision difficulties and health history
  • Refraction
  • Measurement of visual acuity
  • Use of magnification to assess the condition of the lens and identify cataracts
  • Eye pressure measurement
  • Eye dilation to assess the condition of the retina
  • Glare sensitivity testing
  • Color vision testing
  • Other testing, as needed, to determine if a condition other than cataracts is affecting vision

Treatment for cataracts includes:

  • No treatment (if vision is not impacted or is only slight affected) followed by careful monitoring and regular exams
  • Increased light when reading
  • Eyeglass prescription change
  • Anti-glare coating on eyeglass lenses
  • Surgery

Cataract Surgery

Surgery may be performed to address cataracts that significantly impact vision and prevent a person from pursuing a normal routine. During cataract surgery, the lens of the eye is removed and an artificial lens put in its place. This new lens can replicate the focusing ability of a healthy eye. Considered one of the safest surgeries performed in the US, cataract surgery can be extremely effective, with 90% of recipients reporting improved vision. If a new lens cannot be placed in the eye, eyeglasses or contact lenses may remedy vision difficulties.

Types of cataract surgery include:

  • Extracapsular surgery, in which a large incision is made in the cornea to remove the lens core wholly.
  • Small incision cataract surgery, in which a tiny probe is inserted in the eye through a small incision on the side of the cornea in order to project ultrasound waves that fragment the lens; these fragments are then suctioned out.

Risks of cataract surgery including bleeding, infection, and retinal detachment.

Preventing Cataracts

While it may not be completely possible to prevent cataracts, there are ways to reduce risk:

  • Stop smoking or reduce the number of cigarettes you smoke
  • Wear glasses that block UV light exposure
  • Increase consumption of foods and/or supplements containing vitamins C and E, lutein/zeaxanthin, and zinc

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetes can negatively impact the retina’s circulatory system. Diabetic retinopathy occurs when blood vessels in the retina leak causing swelling in the eye and cloudy vision. The risk of developing diabetic retinopathy increases with the length of time a person suffers from diabetes. Diabetic retinopathy typically impacts both eyes and can result in blindness, if not addressed.


Types of Diabetic Retinopathy

  • Non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR): This is early-stage diabetic retinopathy in which weakened blood vessels develop bulges called micro-aneurysms. Fluid from these micro-aneurysms can leak into the retina and cause macular swelling.
  • Proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR):  This is a more advanced stage of diabetic retinopathy in which problems with circulation deprive the retina of oxygen. This causes new blood vessels to form that can leak into the vitreous of the eye. Clouded vision, along with retinal detachment and glaucoma can occur. Untreated PDR can result in significant loss of vision or blindness.


Symptoms:

  • Blurry vision
  • Central vision that seems to have an empty or dark spot
  • Poor night vision
  • The formation of floaters or spots when looking at objects


Who is at Risk:

  • People with high blood pressure and cholesterol levels
  • Women who are pregnant
  • People with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes
  • Prevalence is higher in African Americans and Hispanics



Treating Diabetic Retinopathy
The specific treatment for an individual with diabetic retinopathy depends on the progression of the condition. Treatments include:

  • Monitoring and control of blood sugar levels
  • Laser surgery
  • Injectable medicines that inhibit blood vessel formation or lessen swelling
  • Surgical removal and replacement of the vitreous
  • Surgery to repair retinal detachment
  • Special lenses and devices to accentuate remaining vision


If you have diabetes, the American Optometric Association recommends a yearly comprehensive exam that includes eye dilation to detect diabetic retinopathy. When identified and treated in the early stage, significant loss of vision can be deterred.

Additionally, people with diabetes should:

  • Avoid alcohol
  • Exercise on a regular basis
  • Keep blood pressure under control
  • Stop smoking
  • Maintain a healthy diet
  • Take their medication

Glaucoma

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is actually the name for a group of eye issues. It occurs when pressure builds up in the eye as a result of an inadequate drainage angle in the eye, although the exact cause of glaucoma is unknown. Glaucoma typically impacts people age 40 and over (although there is an infantile form of glaucoma) and is the second leading cause of blindness in the United States. It is the primary cause of blindness among Hispanics. Glaucoma causes degenerative optic nerve damage. Because the optic nerve is responsible for sending signals to the brain from the eye, damage to the nerve from glaucoma ultimately causes vision loss.

It is important to note that not all pressure changes in the eye cause glaucoma and that some people with normal eye pressure will be diagnosed with the condition. Glaucoma will occur when eye pressure increases beyond the degree a person’s optic nerve can withstand.

Glaucoma Risk Factors

  • Being over the age of 60 or an African American over the age of 40
  • Being of African American, Hispanic, Asian (for angle-closure glaucoma) or Japanese (for low-tension glaucoma) descent
  • Having certain medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, or diabetes
  • Having glaucoma in your family history
  • Sustaining an eye injury
  • Having an unusually sensitive optic nerve
  • Having one or more of the following eye conditions: thin cornea, eye tumors, retinal detachment, eye swelling, excessive nearsightedness
  • Experiencing diminished blood flow to the optic nerve, such as caused by atherosclerosis

Types of Glaucoma

  • Primary open-angle glaucoma is the most common form. It typically starts slowly, generally first impacting peripheral vision and then progressing to diminish central vision. Because it may not present symptoms at the onset, sufferers may be unaware that they have it until they experience major vision loss. Diminishment of vision in both eyes and, potentially, blindness may occur if this type of glaucoma is not treated.
  • Acute angle-closure glaucoma is a less common form of the disease. Caused by an increase in the pressure in the eye that usually occurs rapidly, acute angle-closure glaucoma must be treated as a medical emergency to prevent vision loss. Symptoms include eye redness, significant eye pain, upset stomach, vision that appears blurred, and the appearance of colored rings forming around lights.
  • Angle-closure glaucoma may occur as an acute or chronic condition. It develops acutely when aqueous fluid drainage is completely blocked, causing an increase in eye pressure.
  • Normal-tension glaucoma occurs when the optic nerve sustains damage even though eye pressure never extends beyond the normal range.
  • Secondary glaucoma is generally caused by an eye disease, eye injury, certain medications, an abnormality in the formation of the eye, or – less commonly – eye surgery.

Diagnosing & Treating Glaucoma
A thorough eye exam is needed to diagnose glaucoma. The doctor will look for alterations in the optic nerve, nerve tissue loss, and vision loss over a period of time.

Testing for glaucoma may include:

  • A patient health history
  • Measurement of eye pressure, called tonometry; or serial tonometry, which requires frequent pressure testing
  • Examination of the retina
  • Testing of visual acuity
  • Measurement of the thickness of the cornea, called pachymetry 
  • Perimetry, or visual field testing
  • Eye angle anatomy assessment, called gonioscopy

Glaucoma can be controlled and the risk of vision loss lessened by medication and other treatments; however, it cannot be prevented or cured. Annual eye dilation is recommended by the American Optometric Association to screen for glaucoma.

Glaucoma treatment may include:

  • Medications to lessen eye pressure
  • Laser surgery
  • Conventional surgery 
  • Drainage valve implants

Treatment for acute angle-closure glaucoma is considered an emergency and may consist of numerous medications along with laser surgery to relieve pressure.

Glaucoma Outlook
Because there is no cure for glaucoma, treatment must continue for the remainder of a patient’s life. The degenerative effects of the disease may be halted or slowed through continued treatment and constant monitoring of eye pressure by a doctor.

Keratoconus

Keratoconus

The vision disorder known as keratoconus typically affects people who are in their late teens to early 20s. It is caused when the cornea thins and becomes cone-shaped, distorting vision because light no longer focuses correctly on the cornea. The progression of keratoconus may last for up to 20 years and then slow. A person with keratoconus may experience different gradations of the condition in each eye.  Early-stage symptoms include:

  • Light and glare sensitivity
  • Blurred vision
  • Distortion of objects


As the condition progresses, the cornea may bulge, which causes a decrease in vision. Rarely, corneal swelling can contribute to a dramatic decrease in vision. This is caused by a crack forming in the cornea due to the strain of swelling. Ultimately, the crack, which may last for months, is replaced with scar tissue. Eye drops can be used if this occurs, but they will only provide relief from symptoms and will not halt the progression of keratoconus. Additional treatments for keratoconus include:

  • Prescription glass or soft contact lenses to addresses changes in vision due to astigmatism and nearsightedness
  • Rigid gas permeable contact lenses to correct more severe vision decreases
  • Corneal transplant to address severe keratoconus

Macular Degeneration

Macular Degeneration

Macular Degeneration, also called Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD), describes a condition in which the macula of the eye changes and causes loss of central vision. The macula resides in the inside back layer of the eye and is part of the retina. AMD typically impacts adults over the age of 50 and is this age group’s leading cause of significant vision loss. There are two types of AMD: wet and dry.

AMD tends to strike women earlier than it does men, and the Caucasian race suffers from AMD at a greater rate than other races. Reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that almost 2 million people suffer from AMD. An estimated 7.3 million people run the risk of incurring major loss of vision due to AMD.

Types of AMD

  • Dry (atrophic) macular degeneration: In this most common form of the condition, macular tissue thins and, eventually, ceases to function.
  • Wet (exudative) macular degeneration: This lesson common form of the condition can cause rapid vision loss when blood vessels that form under the macula leak, impacting the central vision.

AMD Symptoms

  • A lack of vision or a dark shape in the central vision
  • Slow loss of visual acuity
  • Diminishment of color vision
  • The shape of things appears distorted

Diagnosis & Treating AMD
At the onset, AMD may not present symptoms. However, if any symptoms are experienced, it is important to see an ophthalmologist for an eye exam and test to determine a diagnosis. Vision lost to AMD cannot be restored, but an ophthalmologist can help to make the most of remaining vision.

  • No cure exists for dry AMD, although changes to the diet may decrease the progression of the condition. It is currently thought that consuming dark green leafy vegetables and foods low in fat, along with nutritional supplements, may help.
  • There is also no cure for wet AMD. Early detection, however, coupled with laser therapy to seal blood vessels leaking into the macula, Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) that utilizes medicine placed directly into the bloodstream and activated with a laser, or a new therapy involving an ingestible medication in the back of the eye may slow vision loss.

Lessen the Risk of AMD

To lessen the risk of AMD and other eye diseases, it may be beneficial to consume foods high in zinc, lutein/zeaxanthin, and vitamins E and C.

Ocular Hypertension

Woman Getting an Eye Exam

Ocular hypertension occurs when the pressure in the eyes increases beyond the normal range. This eye condition does not typically cause symptoms. However it can increase the risk of developing glaucoma, a damaging eye condition also characterized by elevated eye pressure. Therefore, patients with Ocular hypertension should receive regular eye exams to monitor the condition and lessen the risk of eye damage. No cure exists for ocular hypertension.

Who is at Risk?
Although ocular hypertension can impact all age ranges, the following groups are more frequently impacted by this condition:

  • Individuals with a family history of the ocular hypertension or glaucoma
  • Over 40 years of age especially African Americans
  • People with diabetes
  • Those who are extremely nearsighted

Retinitis Pigmentosa

Retinitis Pigmentosa

An inherited eye disease, retinitis pigmentosa causes damage to the cones and rods in the retina. Cones contribute to central vision and ability to see colors. Rods are crucial to seeing at night and to peripheral vision. In retinitis pigmentosa, rods are impacted more than cones. While the progression of the disease is slow, ultimately loss of peripheral vision can occur. Many years may pass before the vision is significantly damaged.


Symptoms:
Symptoms of this condition usually arise in childhood and the early teen years and include blindness at night, as well as a progressive loss of peripheral vision that results in tunnel vision.


Treatment:
Studies show that nutritional supplements containing lutein and vitamin A may slow the disease. Vision aids may also help compensate for the loss of side vision that occurs with this disease by maximizing existing vision.

Strabismus

Strabismus

The common term for strabismus is crossed eyes. This condition occurs when the eyes are not able to process or implement the directions sent by the brain telling them to work in tandem to focus on an object. One or both eyes can turn up, down, inward, or outward. Strabismus can occur as a constant condition, or it may occur occasionally as a result of fatigue, illness, or other circumstances.

A condition caused pseudo strabismus can make it seem as if a baby’s eyes are crossed. However, this is not true strabismus, as it is usually the result of a wide nasal bridge or excess skin covering the inner eye making it appear as if the eyes are crossed. The cross-eyed effect disappears as the child’s facial features grow.

True strabismus is typically noticed in children by the time they reach 3 years of age. However, strabismus can occur later, as a child matures and even in adulthood. Children do not outgrow strabismus, and the condition will only worsen if left untreated. It is recommended that all children four months or older who exhibit signs of strabismus been seen by an eye doctor.

Causes of Strabismus

  • Inadequate eye muscle control
  • Problems with the signal transmission from nerves to the eye muscles
  • An issue in the control center of the brain responsible for movement of the eye
  • A family history of strabismus
  • Extreme farsightedness
  • Medical conditions, such as cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, and stroke
  • Eye or head injuries

Types of Strabismus
The types of strabismus are classified according to the following:

  • Hypertropia – the eye turns upward
  • Hypotropia – the eye turns downward
  • Esotropia – the eye turns inward
  • Exotropia – the eye turns outward
  • Alternating – the turning eye alternates between the left one and the right one
  • Constant – eye turning occurs all of the time
  • Intermittent – eye turning occurs occasionally
  • Unilateral – the same eye always turns

The two most common types of this eye condition are:

  • Accommodative esotropia is typically caused by untreated farsightedness. Signs of this type of strabismus include double vision, eyes that turn inward, the need to turn or angle the head to see an object, and need to close one eye when focusing on something close.
  • Intermittent exotropia generally occurs when the eyes cannot work together to focus on an object and, instead, focus beyond the range of the object. Symptoms can include difficulty reading, eye strain, headaches, and the need to close one eye when looking at something in bright sunlight or at a distance.

Diagnosing & Treating Strabismus
Proper diagnosis and treatment of strabismus is important to maintain good vision. If strabismus goes untreated, the brain begins to disregard images transmitted by the impacted eye. This can result in diminished vision and development of amblyopia, also called lazy eye.

Diagnosing strabismus entails a thorough examination of the eyes, especially how they move and how they focus on objects. Other aspects of the exam include:

  • An assessment of prior health history, medication use, and other factors that may contribute to eye symptoms
  • Testing of visual acuity
  • Refraction 
  • Eye health evaluation

Caught early, the prognosis for overcoming strabismus is excellent. Strabismus treatments include:

  • Prescriptions glasses
  • Prism lenses
  • Vision therapy at home or at an ophthalmologist’s office
  • Surgery on the eye muscles

Chiropractic Conditions

What is Chiropractic?

Chiropractic - What is it?

Chiropractic is a branch of health care dealing primarily with musculoskeletal system and nervous system disorders and their impact on overall health and wellness. People typically seek chiropractic care to address back pain, neck discomfort, headaches, and joint pain in the arms and legs.

Spinal Manipulation
Also referred to as chiropractic adjustment, manipulation of the spine is the most commonly performed chiropractic procedure. Spinal manipulation involves the application of gentle, controlled force to restore mobility to a joint thatʼs been injured.

Treating Inflammation & Pain:
Causes of joint damage include one-time activities such as incorrectly lifting a heavy item. It may also be caused by repetitive activities, such as operating with poor posture while sitting. In either case, injured tissues undergo physical and chemical changes that can cause inflammation, pain and diminished function.

Your chiropractor may manipulate the impacted joint and tissues to correct misalignment, alleviate inflammation and pain, renew joint function and improve range of motion to allow damaged tissues to heal.

Why Do Joint sometimes Pop during Chiropractic?

That popping sound you hear when you flex your knuckles or undergo chiropractic manipulation is normal. The sound occurs when a gas bubble is released between the joints as a result of a pressure change within the joint.

Advice for Exercises & Lifestyle:
Chiropractorʼs unique and extensive training also allows them to advise you about helpful exercises to restore function and comfort, improvements in diet or nutrition, lifestyle changes and other therapeutic techniques. Your chiropractor will advise you when therapy should be combined with other medical treatments to fully address your needs.

Chiropractor Training

Chiropractor Education & Training

A chiropractor undergoes an extremely rigorous education program that includes the same medical training as a primary care doctor along with a focus on diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal disorders. The musculoskeletal system consists of muscles, ligaments, and joints in the spine, arms, and legs, along with their related nerves.
   
Usually, a chiropractic college applicant is nearing completion of four years of pre-med education in an undergraduate program, having taken courses in biology, physics, chemistry, psychology, and more. Up to 5 additional years of education are required following acceptance into an accredited chiropractic college. Upon graduation, a chiropractor has received education and training in orthopedics, anatomy, neurology, physiology, lab procedures, clinical diagnosis, diagnostic imaging, exercise, nutrition, and more. Extensive time is spent honing precise manipulation and adjustment techniques. From start to finish, a chiropractor spends at least 4,200 in the classroom, lab, and in clinical training. The study of chiropractic is a fully accredited program recognized by the US Department of Education.

What to Ask?

What to Ask your Chiropractor
  • Do you see emergencies?
  • Do you treat my type of problem? Does it work? Can you help me?
  • Will it hurt?
  • Do you see children?
  • Are you accepting new patients?
  • Do you have testimonials from other patients I could see?
  • Is your office-friendly, comfortable and modern?
  • Do you accept my insurance? Do you have payment plans?

Insurance

Chiropractic & Insurance

Many major medical plans, as well as workersʼ compensation, Medicare and some select Medicaid plans, and Blue Cross Blue Shield for federal employees, cover chiropractic care. In addition, over 60 military bases provide active-duty armed forces members with chiropractic care. Veterans may receive chiropractic treatment at many major veteransʼ medical facilities.


Common Conditions Treated by Chiropractors

Back Pain

Back Pain

Four out of five people experience back pain at some point in their life. Common causes of back pain include strained muscles, disk issues, sprained ligaments, and irritated joints. Pain can also come from accidental falls, sports injuries, or even just the simplest of movements or twists. In addition, poor posture, psychological stress, arthritis, and obesity may produce or worsen discomfort. Back pain can also come from diseases such as blood clots, bone problems, or kidney stones or disease. 

See Your Chiropractor
If your back pain lasts more than a few days, consider seeing a chiropractor who can address mechanical problems that lead to a significant amount of back pain. Chiropractic spinal manipulation is an effective and safe pain treatment. Chiropractic care can reduce discomfort, lower the need for medication, help with physical therapy, and limit the need for bed rest. 

To Prevent Back Pain

  • Get exercise regularly. A sedentary lifestyle can worsen lower back pain. 
  • When lifting objects, bend your knees and squat to pick up items, keeping your back straight and keeping the item close to your body. Do not twist your body while lifting. 
  • To move heavy objects, push rather than pull, when feasible. 
  • Take frequent breaks when sitting for long periods. Stretch often. 
  • Avoid high-heeled shoes when possible.

What to Tell Your Chiropractor
It is important to let your chiropractor know if you experience any of the following symptoms: 

  • Numbness in the leg, foot, rectal area, or groin
  • Pain that travels down your leg and below your knee 
  • Loss of bowel control
  • Fever, nausea, vomiting, sweating, or a feeling of weakness
  • Pain or discomfort caused by an injury
  • Pain that lingers and doesnʼt go away in a timely manner
  • Severe pain that limits your mobility

Carpal Tunnel

Carpal Tunnel: Causes, Diagnosis & Treatment

The median nerve runs from the forearm down into the hand. When this nerve becomes compressed, or entrapped, in the wrist, pain, numbness, and/or weakness can occur in the hand or wrist. Discomfort may radiate up the forearm, as well. This condition is known as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, or CTS. Adults are more likely to experience it, and 30% more women get CTS than men. It usually occurs in the dominant hand first. The pain can be intense.

CTS causes include:

  • A small carpal tunnel in the wrist
  • A wrist injury that results in swelling
  • Structural issues in the wrist joint
  • An overactive pituitary gland
  • Inflammation from arthritis
  • Diabetes
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Pregnancy- or menopause-related fluid retention
  • Inadequate ergonomics at work
  • Repetitive use of hand tools that vibrate

CTS commonly affects assembly-line workers and is considered the most expensive work-related injury. It was once thought that people who worked at computers were more at risk of developing CTS, but this has proven not to be so.

Symptoms of CTS
Often, symptoms first appear while sufferers are sleeping, and a tingling feeling may develop during the day. Other symptoms include:

  • Burning, itching, and/or numbness in the palm, thumb, index finger, and middle fingers
  • Fingers may feel useless and swollen but not appear swollen
  • Atrophy of the muscles at the base of the thumb
  • Inability to determine whether a surface being touched is hot or cold
  • Diminished grip strength

Preventing CTS
The following tips may prevent the onset of CTS:

  • Stretch and perform other light exercises while at work
  • Take frequent breaks to rest your hands and arms
  • Consider wearing a splint that keeps wrists from bending
  • Keep hands warm and flexible with fingerless gloves
  • Always practice correct posture and position your wrists appropriately
  • Ask your employer to rotate your job function and/or make the workplace more ergonomic

Diagnosing CTS
If you think that you have CTS, seek early diagnosis and treatment. A diagnostic evaluation may include:

  • A physical examination of hands, arms, shoulders, and neck
  • Lab tests
  • X-rays
  • Carpal compression test
  • Nerve conduction tests
  • Pressure-provocative test

CTS Treatment
Treatments for CTS include:

  • Rest for the affected hand and wrist
  • Avoidance of activities that make symptoms worse
  • The use of a splint that prevents the wrist from bending or twisting
  • Application of cool packs to reduce swelling
  • Taking medication, as prescribed by your doctor, for pain and inflammation
  • Visiting a chiropractor for joint manipulation of the wrist and hand
  • Exercises that stretch and strengthen the affected area
  • Technique that mobilize the soft-tissues affected by CTS
  • Surgery when other treatments fail to alleviate CTS, followed by instruction on proper posture and movement from your doctor of chiropractic

Children & Backpacks

Children & Backpacks: Reduce Back Pain in Kids

Over 50% of children carrying heavy backpacks to school complain of back pain. The longer a child uses a heavy backpack, the more likely that he or she may get injured - with potential long-term damage to the spine.

More kids experiencing Back, Neck & Shoulder pain- Why?

  • A significant amount of weight carried in backpacks, which causes kids to bend forward to support the weight.
  • Backpacks slung over just one shoulder instead of carried properly.
  • Backpacks carried too low.
  • Loose straps.
  • An increased number of school districts have removed lockers, which means children must carry all their books all day.

How can you help?

  • Ensure that backpacks weigh the no more than 5-10% of a childʼs body weight.
  • Donʼt let a backpack hang more than four inches below a childʼs waist.
  • Buy an appropriately sized backpack, with wide, comfortably padded and adjustable shoulder straps.
  • Talk to your childʼs teacher if you feel the backpack is still too heavy.
  • If possible, have kids leave the heaviest books at school and only bring home lighter materials.
  • Be careful about switching to backpacks on rollers. Although they minimize the weight a child has to carry, they can lead to trips and falls.

See a Chiropractor
Doctors of chiropractic treat patients of all ages and use gentle techniques with children. A chiropractor can show your child exercises to develop strong muscles and provide tips on how to avoid pain caused by backpack misuse.  

Children's Issues

Children's Issues-Why See a Chiropractor

Because kids are usually very active, they often sustain injuries from falls, sporting activities, and just daily life! A chiropractor tailors treatment to each patient and uses gentle techniques to treat children who experience pain, stiffness, or soreness of the back or neck.

Chronic Pain & Depression

Chronic Pain & Depression- The Links

The pain from an acute injury serves as a signal to stop that activity. Chronic pain, which is discomfort that lingers for weeks to years, may not have a definite source, such as an injury or an area of bodily damage. Some common types of chronic pain include headache, arthritis, and low back pain.

Chronic pain sufferers are often told that their discomfort is imagined, not real. However, new evidence shows structural changes in the spinal cord nerves of people experiencing chronic pain, demonstrating that chronic pain is, indeed very real.

Long-term discomfort can result in social and psychological issues. People who experience protracted pain often state that they are unable to take care of their children, perform household chores, or participate in leisure activities. Careers may suffer, as well. Tension with family members and coworkers can occur as those people associated with a chronic pain sufferer take on additional responsibilities. This can result in depression, resentment, and anger on the part of the pain sufferer.

Depression & Chronic Pain: How are They Linked?
Up to 80% of chronic pain sufferers will experience depression. Itʼs the most common emotional side effect linked to chronic pain and may lead to increased disability on the part of the pain sufferer. Chronic pain coupled with depression can impact social, mental, and physical wellbeing, decreasing quality of life, and resulting in:

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Becoming easily aggravated
  • Inability to perform normal, daily activities
  • Lack of concentration
  • Failure to complete work duties

Chronic pain is characterized by:

  • Discomfort that continues 6 months or more past the occurrence of an injury
  • An oversensitivity to pain
  • The sensation of pain from something that doesnʼt typically cause pain
  • An increase in the pain felt from a typically painful stimuli

Major clinical depression is characterized as depression that occurs daily for a period of 2 weeks or longer. People suffering from major clinical depression may experience:

  • An overwhelming feeling of sadness, hopelessness, or irritability that may occur in tandem with bouts of crying
  • A change in weight and/or appetite
  • Restlessness
  • Fatigue
  • Sleeping more or less than normal
  • A sense of guilt or worthlessness
  • Impaired concentration and/or memory
  • Lack of interest in usually pleasurable activities

Treatment for Chronic Pain & Depression
In the past, bed rest was often prescribed to treat an injury. However, in some cases immobility can actually worsen the condition. To combat chronic pain, the cause must first be determined, if possible, and then addressed.

A chiropractor can help by encouraging a pain sufferer to:

  • Remain active. Do not necessarily discontinue an activity just because it causes discomfort.
  • Work with your doctor or chiropractor to determine activities to avoid.
  • Consider activities to strengthen the ability to cope with chronic pain, including hypnosis, relaxation techniques, biofeedback, cognitive therapy, imagery, distraction, and disassociation.
  • Get one or more family members involved in the recovery process.

Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia & Chiropractic Care

Fibromyalgia syndrome impacts between 3-6% of Americans. Women are more likely to suffer from fibromyalgia than men. Diagnosis is often difficult, and it may take years for a person to receive an accurate identification.

A person is said to have fibromyalgia if he or she experiences pervasive pain lasting 3 months or longer in all 4 regions of the body, or if the application of pressure results in discomfort in at least 11 spots around the head and shoulder region, chest, elbows, hips, and knees. Some experts will bestow a diagnosis of fibromyalgia if a person experiences fewer than 11 tender spots but has prevalent pain combined with many of the following symptoms:

  • Fatigue/sleep disorders
  • Stiffness upon waking
  • Amplified muscle pain following physical exertion
  • Dizziness or a feeling of lightheadedness
  • Persistent headaches or pain in the jaw
  • Cognitive diminishment/impairment of memory
  • Irritable bowels, Menstrual cramps
  • Numbness, tingling sensations, sensitive skin
  • Reactions to certain chemicals

Diagnosing Fibromyalgia
Because a diagnosis of fibromyalgia is often difficult to render, itʼs recommended that sufferers of the symptoms listed above seek opinions from more than one doctor or health care provider in order to rule out other conditions. Lab work may be necessary to determine if one or more of the following conditions is present. If so, your doctor will likely treat that problem initially.

  • Hypothyroidism
  • Anemia
  • Allergies
  • One or more nutritional deficiencies
  • Lyme or other rheumatic disease
  • A hormonal imbalance
  • Disorders that mimic the symptoms of fibromyalgia

If your pain is caused by a muscle or joint condition, chiropractic care may help relieve it more effectively than other therapies.

Treatment Alternatives
Classic fibromyalgia may be the diagnosis if no other cause can be found. The traditional approach to treatment, which may include prednisone, antidepressants, medicines to aid sleep, anti-inflammatories, and muscle relaxants, may relieve symptoms. Chiropractic care can offer significant relief for fibromyalgia patients and can help you with more natural approaches to treatment such as:

  • Massage, ultrasound, and/or electrical stimulation
  • Improving stress management skills and fatigue reduction techniques.
  • Recommending yoga, Pilates, or tai chi instead of more vigorous exercise
  • Acupuncture
  • Dietary changes such as vitamin and mineral supplements, adding omega-3 fatty acids to the diet with fewer saturated fats.
  • Decreasing red meat intake and increasing consumption of fish, flax, and walnut oils
  • Other techniques, such as reducing caffeine intake, limiting TV and computer time, and not watching shows with violent or disturbing content prior to bedtime

See your Chiropractor
Chiropractors have the knowledge, skill, and training to help you determine the best course of action to manage fibromyalgia. A personalized system of care involves you, your chiropractor, and other health care providers, as needed.

Headaches

Headaches: Chiropractic Care

Ninety percent of Americans are occasional or chronic headache sufferers. Headache pain can range from dull and throbbing to debilitating. Sometimes, headaches can cause nausea. Headache sufferers respond in many ways. Some take medication, others rest, and some just try to deal with the pain as they go about daily activities. Another option to alleviate headache discomfort, especially headaches that begin in the neck and tension headaches, is spinal manipulation.

What causes headaches?
 Headaches causes, often called triggers, can include:

  • Certain foods
  • Noise
  • Light
  • Stress
  • Insomnia
  • Vigorous exercise
  • Blood sugar level

Muscle tension in the neck is a primary cause of tension headaches. This tension can occur as a result of sitting in one position for a long period of time, such as when working in front of a computer.

Most headaches are classified as tension, cluster, or migraine headaches and are not caused by disease. Only about 5% of headaches are considered a symptom of a physical ailment.

Chiropractic Recommendations

  • Every half hour to hour, take a break from a sedentary activity and stretch your head and neck.
  • Try not to clench your teeth, as this type of activity can aggravate the temporomandibular joints in the jaw and culminate in a tension headache.
  • Consider low-impact exercise to alleviate headaches. Those experiencing dull, throbbing headaches should avoid vigorous exercise and opt for low-impact activities such as walking.
  • Avoid becoming dehydrated by drinking at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day.

Chiropractic Treatment
A doctor of chiropractic can perform the following activities to improve the function of the spine, alleviate stress placed on the spine and joints, and relieve tension in the neck and upper back:

  • Perform spinal manipulation or other chiropractic adjustments
  • Offer nutritional advice
  • Provide advice on posture, how to perform your job, techniques for relaxation, and exercises

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis- Your Chiropractor Can Help

Osteoarthritis, or OA for short, breaks down and ultimately erodes the cartilage of joints, causing swelling, pain, and reduction or loss of movement. Itʼs a degenerative disease that impacts over 20 million Americans and usually affects people age 65 and over. OA strikes more women than men.

In the past, it was assumed that OA was part of the natural aging process. However, people under the age of 65 are being diagnosed with OA, and itʼs now thought that excess weight, previous joint injuries, and lack of exercise can contribute to OA.

Signs of OA

  • Sporadic or constant pain in a joint
  • Joint tenderness or inflammation
  • Grinding thatʼs felt or heard as a joint moves
  • Stiffness in a joint after a period of inactivity


Diagnosing OA
A health care provider should be contacted if any of these symptoms occur in order to obtain an accurate diagnosis. Sometimes, symptoms such as the ones listed above can be caused by other conditions. A doctor can perform an exam, take a clinical history, order diagnostic tests such as X-rays, and perhaps take a sample of the fluid from a joint to isolate the cause of the discomfort and administer appropriate treatment.

Can Exercise Help OA?
Exercise can be an ideal treatment for OA. It can help prevent it, as well. Exercise encourages joint function and mobility by strengthening the muscles surrounding a joint. The weight control aspect of exercise may help, too. And exercise can elevate mood and outlook, which can affect symptom severity.

OA Exercise Tips

  • Walk, ride a stationary bike, lift light weights, climb stairs, find a water aerobics class, work out with exercise bands, or participate in another low-impact or non-weight-bearing exercise.
  • Include exercises that strengthen the muscle groups that impact joint function.
  • Always exercise carefully to avoid undue stress on lower leg joints; overweight people should start out exercising carefully to avoid this type of joint stress.
  • Listen to your body and rest as needed during exercise.

Chiropractor Care for OA
Chiropractors are skilled at identifying joint changes, as the results of joint degeneration can appear in the spine, hips, knees, and other joints. Chiropractic manipulation, massage, and therapy involving trigger points are natural treatments to improve how joints function and alleviate discomfort.

Your chiropractor can also provide tips on appropriate types of exercise, tell you whether the application of heat or cold is recommended, and suggest dietary supplements that may help your OA.

Posture

Posture: Important Tips

Why is good posture important?
Correct posture:

  • Maintains joints and bones in proper alignment so muscles function correctly.
  • Reduces abnormal wear of joints that can lead to pain or degenerative arthritis.
  • Minimizes stress on ligaments that hold spinal joints to reduce injuries.
  • Allows muscles to function efficiently to prevent muscle fatigue, strain, overuse disorders, and back pain.

What contributes to poor posture?
Common problems include decreased flexibility, weak postural muscles, abnormally tight muscles, unhealthy work posture, or incorrect standing and sitting habits. Obesity, stress, pregnancy, and high-heeled shoes may also contribute.

Tips to Sit Properly

  • Keep feet on the floor or footrest. Do not cross your legs.
  • Keep knees at or below your hips. Keep ankles in front of your knees.
  • Maintain a small gap between the back of your knees and the front of your seat.
  • Modify your chairʼs backrest to maintain support of low- and mid-back, or utilize a back support.
  • Keep forearms parallel to the ground, with shoulders relaxed.
  • Do not sit in the same position for long periods.

Tips on Lying Down

  • Do not sleep on your stomach. Sleeping on your side or back often helps back pain.
  • When sleeping on your side, place a pillow between your legs. When sleeping on your back, keep a pillow under your knees.

Tips on Standing

  • Keep your knees bent slightly with most of your weight on the balls of your feet.
  • Stand tall, shoulders pulled backward, stomach tucked in, and feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Let arms hang naturally down the sides.
  • Keep head level. Avoid pushing it forward, back, or to either side. Keep earlobes in line with your shoulders.
  • If you have to stand for a long period, shift weight from toes to heels, or one foot to the other.

See Your Chiropractor
Your chiropractor can help you regain proper posture and recommend exercises to strengthen your postural muscles and core. This can reduce your risk of injury and ensure your comfort and health.

Pregnancy

Pregnancy- Chiropractic Advice

Fifty percent of mothers develop back pain during their pregnancy; especially as the baby's head puts pressure on structures near the sciatic nerve. If you had back pain before, pregnancy may make your issues worse. Reasons for back pain during pregnancy include:

  • As the center of gravity moves forward to the front of the pelvis, the shift in weight can increase joint stress.
  • Pregnancy hormones that help to loosen pelvic ligaments can cause an imbalance in posture, which can result in accidents such as trips and falls.
  • The curvature of the upper and lower spine can increase as the baby grows, putting additional stress on the spinal disks.

For Your Wellbeing

  • Wear sensible shoes, such as flats. Avoid high or wedge heels that can worsen posture problems and lessen balance.
  • Bend from the knees, not the waist, when lifting a heavy object or a child. Never turn your head when lifting.
  • Listen to your body and take a nap or lie down with your feet elevated when feeling tired.
  • Take care of yourself, rest, and ask for help if needed.

Smart Moves

  • Try to exercise a minimum of 3x/week, and stretch gently before and after exercising. Check with your doctor before embarking on or continue an exercising program.
  • Stop exercising immediately if you experience heart palpitations, increased swelling, vaginal bleeding, dizziness, nausea, weakness, or blurring of vision.
  • Consider aerobic motions that do not require bouncing or jerking movements, such as walking, riding a stationary bike, or swimming.
  • Check with your doctor before jogging. This can be safe for women who were runners before pregnancy, but must be done carefully and with supervision during pregnancy.
  • Do not let your heart rate exceed 140 beats per minute during exercise.
  • Limit vigorous exercise to no more than 15 minutes at a time.
  • Check that there is secure footing to limit the risk of falls.

Healthy Eating

  • To fight morning sickness, keep crackers, yogurt, and other bland, high-carbohydrate, high-protein foods on hand.
  • Small meals and snacks eaten every four to five hours can help curb nausea and ward off hunger.
  • A daily supplement of at least 400 micrograms of folic acid is associated with a decrease in the risk of neural tube birth defects, such as spina bifida.
  • To ensure the safety of both mom and baby, always contact a doctor before taking any vitamin or herbal supplement.

Working & Sleeping

  • If using a computer, position the monitor where the top of the screen is at or below eye level. Using a small footrest can alleviate pressure on the legs and feet.
  • Take a break every half hour to take a quick walk.
  • Side sleeping with a pillow between the knees can relieve pressure on the lower back. Consider buying a full-size body pillow or wedge pillow.
  • Lying on the left side does not impede blood flow and assists the kidneys in flushing waste from the body.

See a Chiropractor

  • A chiropractor can provide advice on nutrition, exercise, and ergonomics.
  • Your chiropractor can identify an imbalance in the pelvis (or another place in the body) that could cause discomfort during pregnancy; or neuro-musculoskeletal problems following childbirth.
  • Chiropractic adjustments can relieve back pain caused by pregnancy. Chiropractic manipulation is safe for pregnant women and their babies and can provide an alternative to medication use to treat back pain.
  • After childbirth, chiropractic care can alleviate joint problems causing by improper lifting or reaching during pregnancy. Addressing ligament issues before the ligaments return to their pre-pregnancy state can prevent muscle tension, headaches, rib discomfort, and shoulder problems.

Sciatica

Sciatica & Chiropractic Care

The sciatic nerve - the longest, widest nerve in the body - runs down the lower back into the lower leg. This nerve controls the lower leg muscles and is responsible for sensations felt from the thighs to the bottom of the feet. The condition known as sciatica is characterized by constant pain along the sciatic nerve. Instead of a true diagnosis, sciatica is actually a combination of symptoms. Most commonly occurring in people age 30 to 50 years old, sciatica is often caused by normal wear and tear on the lower spine and not by an injury.

Sciatica Symptoms
The onset of sciatica pain can be gradual. Over time, it can intensify and may become worse after sudden movements, sneezing, coughing, bending, and other activities. Symptoms may vary according to the location at which the nerve is impacted and include:

  • Pain radiating from the lower back and down a leg (the most common symptom reported).
  • Mild tingling, low-grade achiness, or a burning feeling, most often occurring on one side or the other
  • Numbness or muscle weakness in a leg or foot
  • A prickly, pins-and-needles-type feeling in the toes or foot

Diagnosing Sciatica
A diagnosis begins with a full patient history. Description of the pain and information related to the pain, such as when it started and what makes it worse or better, will aid in diagnosing the condition. A physical and neurological exam, as well as activities that assess sensory and muscle strength, will also provide information.

If a predetermined duration of conservative treatment doesnʼt yield results, X-rays, an MRI, or a CT scan may be performed to rule out other conditions causing the pain.

Treating Sciatica
It may not be possible to prevent sciatica, but practicing good habits can improve the health of your back and spine.

  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Maintain an appropriate weight
  • Exercise on a regular basis
  • Practice good posture
  • Lift heavy objects using proper form and technique
  • Avoid lengthy durations of bed rest or inactivity
  • Stop smoking

Chiropractic Care
Your chiropractor can provide conservative, non-surgical, and drug-free options to treat sciatica and improve spinal function. The treatment options depend on each individual case and may include:

  • Adjustments of the spine
  • Ultrasound
  • Exercises
  • Ice/heat therapy
  • Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)

Spinal Stenosis

Spinal Stenosis

Spinal Stenosis: Causes & Symptoms
Commonly a chronic, degenerative condition, spinal stenosis occurs when the spinal canal narrows. Causes include:

  • A mechanical problem with the spine
  • Abnormalities in the spine as a result of aging
  • Thickened ligaments
  • Infection
  • A congenital abnormality
  • Dislocated or fractured vertebrae
  • A spinal cord tumor
  • An abscess

Some sufferers of spinal stenosis may not even know they have it. Itʼs only after an accident or a fall that the pain characteristic of spinal stenosis is felt. Symptoms of spinal stenosis include:

  • Limping
  • Pain in the low back
  • Lack of feeling in the legs
  • Pain caused by long periods of walking or standing that usually improves by sitting and leaning forward in a flexed position
  • Tingling or numbness in the legs
  • Sensations of heat or cold in the legs
  • Muscle spasms and weakness

Diagnosing & Treating Spinal Stenosis
To diagnose spinal stenosis, your doctor will ask you about past and current symptoms and perform a physical exam. An electrodiagnostic study can provide helpful information to correctly diagnose and treat spinal stenosis. Diagnostic imaging is useful in locating tumors causing spinal stenosis, and blood work can tell the doctor if the spinal stenosis is caused by an infection or abscess.

While the source of stenosis-related discomfort is based on the specific cause, treatment typically falls into three categories:

  • Medical treatment such as bed rest, pain relievers, the application of heat, and the use of muscle relaxants
  • Chiropractic treatment that involves exercise, manipulation, exercise, and self-care techniques
  • Surgery

Due to the chronic nature of stenosis, it canʼt be cured. However, the symptoms can be addressed and treated to alleviate discomfort, improve function, and increase quality of life.

Sports Injuries

Treating Sports Injuries

Exercise provides a great way to maintain or improve health, benefitting the heart, joints, and bones. Exercising can also help manage stress. With exercise, as with any activity, injuries may occur. Sometimes injuries happen as a result of not using safety equipment or exercising too vigorously. Novices to a certain sport or activity may also sustain injuries. If you donʼt currently exercise, itʼs important to see your chiropractor before beginning to discuss how to exercise safely and effectively.

The most frequently injured parts of the body include:

  • Ankles
  • Knees
  • Spine
  • Shoulders
  • Elbows

Common Injuries
Strains/Sprains: The muscles, ligaments, and tendons commonly sustain injury during exercise or sporting activities. The muscles attach to bones via the tendons; bones connect to each other with ligaments. A strain occurs when muscles or tendons tear, often as a result of being twisted or overextended. Sprains happen when ligaments are torn. A muscle, ligament, or tendon that suffers a complete tear may require surgery. Disc herniation or bulge occurs when an intervertebral disc, which is a ligament between the vertebrae in the spine, tears. Commons strains/sprains involve the ankle and the knee.

Stress Fractures: Also called fatigue fractures, stress fractures occur when a bone incurs excessive stress, such as when a runner over-trains for a race or a person new to running logs too many miles too early. Shin splints are a type of micro-fracture that occurs on the front of the shin bone.

Tendinosis/Tendinitis: Overuse of a joint or joints caused by overtraining and resulting in discomfort and dysfunction is categorized as overuse syndrome. Tendinosis, which is also referred to as tendinitis, is a common overuse injury characterized by inflammation. Other overuse syndrome conditions consist of rotator cuff injuries, tennis elbow, and golferʼs elbow.

Diagnosis & Treating Sports Injuries
A discussion of how the injury occurred, along with a physical exam, and possible X-rays, MRI, and/or ultrasound can isolate the source of the discomfort. With regard to treatment, a fracture may require a cast or other method of immobilization. Surgery is rarely required.

Most sports- or exercise-related injuries are treated as follows:

  • Rest: A period of rest/immobilization typically not longer than 48 hours, followed by normal activity is a typical protocol. Long-term rest/immobilization may actually be detrimental to healing. Follow your chiropractorʼs instructions to obtain optimal results.
  • Ice or heat: As needed and as recommended by your healthcare provider, ice or heat may aid in reducing pain and helping injured tissues heal.
  • Compression: Compression can help reduce inflammation.
  • Elevation: Elevating an injured body part provides another method to stop or reduce inflammation.
  • Joint Manipulation: A chiropractor can determine if manipulation of the joints would aid in the reduction of pain and facilitate a faster recovery.

Since some non-steroidal anti-inflammatory/pain medications may actually impede healing, use them only as needed and as recommended by a health care provider.

Preventing Sports- & Exercise-Related Injuries

  • Use appropriate technique
  • Implement a warm-up and a cool-down into your exercise routine
  • Use proper safety equipment
  • Drink plenty of water

Whiplash

Whiplash- Alleviating Damage

The term whiplash is used to describe injuries resulting from the neck being suddenly or forcefully jerked back and forth in a whiplike motion. Whiplash typically occurs as a result of an automobile accident, fall, sports-related injury, workplace occurrence, or other accident-related scenario.

Whiplash Damage

  • Sprain: A neck sprain occurs when the ligaments that support the vertebra tear. The facet capsules which cover the facet joints in the back of the spine are commonly injured during an occurrence that causes whiplash.
  • Strain: Whiplash can stretch muscles and tendons past their limits, causing a strain.
  • Herniation: Disc herniation can occur when the vertebral discs are torn. The nerve roots that reside between the vertebrae can also be stretched, causing inflammation.
  • Fracture: While extremely rare, whiplash can fracture and/or dislocate vertebra.

Whiplash Symptoms
Sometimes, whiplash symptoms donʼt appear right away. They may wait up to 48 hours to present themselves. Itʼs not understood why this occurs, although some say itʼs because of delayed muscle soreness.

People with whiplash most commonly complain of neck stiffness. Thatʼs because the incident causing the whiplash lifts the head from the upper spine, creating a strain or sprain below the skull and causing discomfort. Certain activities, such as turning the head, can worsen the pain.

Another symptom seen in over 66% of whiplash sufferers is a headache that occurs at the base of the skull. The headache pain may occur on one or both sides of the head, and the discomfort may run down through the shoulders and into the upper back and/or chest.

Other whiplash symptoms can include:

  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Upset stomach
  • Jaw pain
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Vertigo
  • Tinnitus
  • Lack of concentration

Most of these symptoms go away quickly. If they continue, tell your doctor. Rarely do symptoms continue, but there have been occurrences where they persisted for weeks and even years.

Treating Whiplash
Unless an injury requires staying immobile, remaining active is crucial to managing whiplash. Patients are encouraged to move, always exercising common sense when doing so. A doctor may even prescribe an exercise/stretching regimen. Patients are advised to follow their doctorʼs instructions in order to obtain optimal results.

Chiropractors use spinal manipulation, along with physical therapy, to treat whiplash. Electrical stimulation, the use of heat and/or ice, and ultrasound may also be used in conjunction with an exercise and stretching program to manage whiplash symptoms.

Preventing Whiplash
While thereʼs no sure way to prevent whiplash, safe practices while driving or riding in a car, such as wearing a seat belt and adjusting the headrest to the correct height, can lessen the chance of a severe injury in case of an accident.


Medical Anatomy - Illustrated Guide to the Body

Major Systems Illustrated

General Anatomy

General Anatomy

Circulatory System

Circulatory System

Digestive System

Digestive System

Endocrine System

Endocrine System

Kidney & Urinary System

Kidney & Urinary System

Lymphatic System

Lymphatic System

Muscular System & Skeletal System

Muscular System Skeletal System

Reproductive Systems

Anatomy of the Female Reproductive System Anatomy of the Male Reproductive System

Nervous System & Sympathetic System

Anatomy of the Sympathetic Nervous System Anatomy of the Sympathetic Nervous System

Respiratory System

Respiratory System Respiratory System

Major Organs Illustrated

Brain

Brain

Ear

Anatomy of the Ear

Eye

Anatomy of the Eye

Heart

Anatomy of the Heart

Larynx & Trachea

Anatomy of the Larynx & Trachea

Liver, Gallbladder, Pancreas and Bile Passage

Liver, Gallbladder, Pancreas and Bile Passage Liver, Gallbladder, Pancreas and Bile Passage

Lumbar Plexis

Lumbar Plexis

Lungs

Anatomy of the Lungs

Pancreas, Duodenum and Gall Bladder

Pancreas, Duodenum and Gall Bladder

Nose

Anatomy of the Nose

Skin

Anatomy of the Skin

Major Body Parts Illustrated

Arm

Anatomy of the Arm

Elbow

The Elbow Joint

Foot

Anatomy of the Leg & Foot

Hand

Anatomy of the Hand

Knee

Anatomy of the Knee

Shoulder

Anatomy of the Shoulder

Spine

Spine

Vertebrae

Anatomy of the Larynx & Trachea Anatomy of the Larynx & Trachea

Are these Logos on your Doctor's website?

Are these Logos on your Doctor's website?