There are MANY reasons why back pain becomes an issue for women during their pregnancy. The first and most obvious reason is the displaced weight gain of 25-35 pounds (on average) resulting in pain in both the upper quarter (often from the increase in breast volume and weight) and lower quarter (from the growing baby). As the baby develops, an expectant mother’s center of gravity moves forward causing her to sway back, which can overload the lower region of the spine. The women most at risk for pregnancy-related back pain include those who are overweight prior to their pregnancy, those who perform physically strenuous work, and those with a history of back pain.
Danish researchers recently surveyed 45,371 ten- to fourteen-year-old children and found that spinal pain is a common complaint among this group, often co-occurring with stress and poor general well- being. The research team posits that addressing stress and well-being among teenagers could lower their overall risk for both back and neck pain during adolescence and possibly into adulthood. European Journal of Pediatrics, May 2017
In a 2010 study, researchers examined MRIs taken from 1,200 patients (600 whiplash and 600 non-whiplash neck pain patients) and noted that those who had sustained whiplash were more likely to have a brain injury than non-whiplash neck pain patients.
The specific type of brain injury found is a form of herniation called Chiari malformation, where the bottom part of the brain (the cerebellum) drops through the opening in the base of the skull called the foramen magnum. Their findings showed an alarming 23% of the whiplash cases studied had this anatomical abnormality.
The holiday season is filled with opportunities to spend time with family, friends, and food. Unfortunately, many of our favorite holiday dishes are not the healthiest. To help make smarter choices, the US Department of Agriculture suggests: opt for unsweetened applesauce or bananas instead of butter when baking; include all food groups in your holiday meals; choose whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy; skip gravies and sauces that can be loaded with salt and fat; sip on seltzer or water with fresh fruit slices; reduce sugar in recipes, or opt for yogurt and fruit instead of a pie or cake; emphasize conversation and fun, and focus less on food; include exercise in your festivities; and find healthy ways to use holiday leftovers in soups and omelets. United States Department of Agriculture, November 2016
13 cases of a potentially deadly, drug-resistant fungal infection have been reported in the US. According to the CDC, Candida auris fungal infection is becoming a health threat worldwide, and it appears to spread in hospitals and other healthcare facilities. Nearly three-quarters of the C. auris strains from US patients had some resistance to antifungal medications, making it difficult to treat. CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden adds, “We need to act now to better understand, contain and stop the spread of this drug-resistant fungus… This is an emerging threat, and we need to protect vulnerable patients and others.” Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, November 2016
Heat waves can be deadly to seniors, children, and people with chronic health problems.
Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City writes, “Those who have high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, as well as those who suffer with mental illness, may be at risk for heat-related emergencies, including heat cramps, heat syncope (fainting), heat exhaustion, as well as heat stroke.” Signs of heat-related illness include a high pulse rate, headache, dizziness, nausea, and shallow breathing. To beat the heat, drink plenty of water, find an air-conditioned location, or use a fan and a spray bottle filled with cool water to avoid overheating. Lenox Hill Hospital, June 2016
Dizziness, neck pain, and headaches are very common symptoms that may or may not occur at the same time. Though this interrelationship exists, this month’s article will focus primarily on dizziness, particularly related to dizziness that occurs after standing.