Uterine Fibroids Explained

Uterine fibroids are benign growths that occur within the uterus usually during the midpoint of a woman’s childbearing years. While they may cause some initial concern, they are not cancerous and do not always require medical intervention except in serious cases. Many women are not aware of a fibroid until it is discovered in a routine gynecological exam. Uterine fibroids can be confined to the inner lining of the uterus or may bulge outward into the surrounding body cavity. Some smaller fibroids may present problems for a woman trying to have a child and may require surgical removal before a successful pregnancy can happen. Excessively large fibroids are relatively rare, although they can cause more severe discomfort and possible health compilations if left untreated. A woman experiencing at least one symptom of a fibroid for a noticeable length of time should discuss it with her gynecologist.

The most common symptom of a possible uterine fibroid is heavy menstruation in a woman who has previously had shorter, more manageable cycles for a number of years. Menstruation can be heavy during for a few years after first beginning in the early teens, but suddenly heavy and long periods in an older premenopausal woman may indicate the possibility of a uterine fibroid. Heavy menstrual bleeding does not automatically indicate a fibroid; it may also be a result of normal hormone fluctuations or even diet changes in some women. Menstruation that is abnormally painful or lasts longer than seven or eight days should be reported to a gynecologist.

Larger uterine fibroids that project outwards can often press on other organs and cause additional symptoms. Persistent pelvic pain with difficulty passing urine or moving bowels may indicate a fibroid placing pressure on the bladder or rectum. Some of these uterine fibroids may also press against the lower sections of the spinal cord. These often cause back pain that does not go away with normal home remedies such as over-the-counter pain medicine or the use of a heating pad.

Uterine fibroids vary widely in size and growth rate. Some are so small and confined to the inner uterine tissue that they are difficult to detect. Others can grow large enough to stretch and significantly expand the uterus. Fibroids begin with single-cell replication in the smooth uterine muscle and may grow slowly over several years depending on individual cases. This replication’s exact cause is unknown, but medical professionals conclude that a few different health factors may contribute to uterine fibroids.

Hormones are thought to have a definite role in the growth of fibroids. Estrogen and progesterone feed uterine fibroids, and researchers have found an abnormally high number of these hormone receptors in biopsies of larger fibroids that required surgical excision. Minute genetic mutations within the uterine muscle cells are also possible causes of this abnormal cell replication. A woman with a family history of uterine fibroids usually has a higher chance of developing a fibroid as well. Some evidence suggests that women who have never had children may have a higher risk of uterine fibroids, but different medical researchers debate this factor.

Treatments for large and pain-inducing fibroids consist of several options such as hormone therapy and surgery. Injections of drugs known as gonadotropin releasing hormone agonists (GRHAs) are effective at reducing the size of excessively large fibroids. One notable side effect is that these medications cut off the flows of estrogen and progesterone to the fibroids, essentially “starving” the growths. Doctors intending to surgically remove large fibroids often prescribe a course of GRHA treatment beforehand to make the fibroids less difficult to remove and reduce the associated risks of surgery such as blood loss. GRHAs induce some temporary menopausal symptoms including depression and hot flashes, although these usually pass following the end of the GRHA treatment.

Surgery for serious cases of uterine fibroids can include excision of only the fibroids or of the uterus itself in the most severe cases. Other procedures may be required to remove the uterine lining in cases of both large fibroids and of severe menstrual bleeding that alternate methods are unable to control. Operations for fibroid removal include can include, a myomectomy, an endometrial ablation, or a hysterectomy in cases of multiple large fibroids that are too severe for other surgical options.

A myomectomy is the best possible option for a woman with fibroids who wants to be able to bear children in the future. Surgeons often perform this procedure through laparoscopy whenever possible because it carries a lower risk of complications from open abdominal surgery. Healing time from this kind of laparoscopic surgery is typically shorter as well. A woman is determined to be a good candidate for a myomectomy depending on the number, size, and locations of the existing fibroids.

An endometrial ablation is an out-patient procedure usually reserved for uterine fibroids that are confined to the inner cavity of the uterus and do not bulge outward. This treatment option involves cutting away the uterine lining along with the fibroids with the use of a surgical laser or a traditional surgeon’s cutting instrument. This procedure has one of the fastest recovery times, and complications are rare. A woman who has opted for endometrial ablation is unable to become pregnant after the procedure, so this treatment is normally reserved for fibroid patients who are close to menopause or who definitely do not want children at a future date.

A hysterectomy is a major operation that entails removal of the entire uterus along with the fibroids. Doctors usually recommend this option as a last resort in cases of uterine fibroids that are abnormally large and that are causing severe pain. Some of these rare fibroids can grow larger than grapefruits and present some of the most serious prognoses. Most surgeons recommend a vaginal hysterectomy if the size of the fibroids permits, but often the only option involves cutting into the abdomen and removing the expanded uterus in sections. The ovaries are normally left in younger women who have not yet undergone menopause. A hysterectomy carries a longer recovery time and is also the only definite cure for severe uterine fibroids.

Before choosing any uterine fibroids treatment, you should talk to your doctor so you fully understand the benefits and risks of minimally invasive versus each surgical treatment option. Still concerned or have more questions, please contact us by calling (281) 586-3888 or fill out an appointment request to request a consultation with one of our doctors in Houston, Spring, The Woodlands, or Cypress today.

Why Your Children Should Be Vaccinated

If you’re a parent, you’re probably quite familiar with the anti-vaccination movement. In fact, your parenting groups and social media pages are probably filled with proponents of this movement, ranting and raving about how vaccines cause autism and are unnatural and unhealthy for children.

Even intelligent people can fall victims to this horrible ideology. After all, the leaders of this movement can be quite aggressive and at times quite convincing. They frequently cite sources that seem credible at first glance.

While they might have compelling spokespeople, the anti-vaccination movement has absolutely no credible science on its side. To help remind you of what you probably already know deep down, here’s why your children should be vaccinated.

There’s No Data That Supports The Claims Of The Anti-Vaccination Movement

Autism exists. There’s no denying that thousands of children every year are diagnosed with autism. Many parents within the anti-vaccination movement whose children were diagnosed with autism wanted someone or something to blame and landed on vaccines.

That’s the long and short of this movement, to be frank. Until this movement emerged roughly a decade ago, almost all children in developed Western countries were receiving vaccines. Vaccines became a scapegoat for parents whose children were diagnosed with autism.

It’s important to understand that there has never been any medical or scientific study that has found a credible connection between autism and vaccines. If vaccines caused autism, we’d have far more autistic youths than we do.

The Potential Harm of The Anti-Vaccination Movement Is Catastrophic

When a measles outbreak shook California, it became clear that the origin of the outbreak was unvaccinated children. These weren’t children from low-income communities whose parents didn’t have the knowledge or resources to vaccinate their kids. Rather, these were extremely affluent communities where parents had been indoctrinated into the anti-vaccination movement.

Anti-vaccination advocates claim that the risk poised by vaccines outweighs the risks posed by diseases like measles. This is incredibly dangerous thinking that could lead to the demise of countless children. There’s no evidence that vaccines cause autism or any other illnesses, but there’s a whole host of evidence that the anti-vaccination movement has already done significant damage to a myriad of children.

The bottom line is that you need to get your children vaccinated at a reputable hospital. Don’t rely on the opinions of Hollywood actresses and Facebook keyboard activists. Instead, rely on the knowledge and wisdom of doctors, nurses and medical researchers. Still concerned or have more questions, please contact us by calling (281) 586-3888 or fill out an appointment request to request a consultation with one of our doctors in Houston, Spring, The Woodlands, or Cypress today.

What You Need to Know About High Cholesterol

High-Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a word that is often associated with disease and death, but it isn’t always bad. One type of cholesterol is actually good for you and helps to keep you healthy. The other type only usually becomes problematic if levels remain high. Keep reading to find out more about the different types of cholesterol, what causes high cholesterol, and how you can reduce it.

What Is Cholesterol, and Why Do You Need it?

Cholesterol is a type of fat made by the liver. This substance is needed to make hormones, Vitamin-D and bile. It is also needed for cells to function optimally. While you need cholesterol for your body to work properly, too much of it can damage arteries, causing them to narrow and harden.

HDL and LDL Cholesterol

High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is commonly referred to as “good cholesterol” because it transports cholesterol away from the cells to the liver. There, it is either broken down or exits the body as a waste product.
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) transports cholesterol to cells that require it, but when cells get too much of it, it can build up on the artery walls. This type of cholesterol is called ”bad cholesterol.”

What Causes High Cholesterol?

The liver makes cholesterol from saturated fat, which is found in foods such as cheese, cream, butter and fatty meat. Eating foods that contain saturated fats increases the amount of LDL cholesterol in your blood.
Smoking can also cause high cholesterol because cigarettes contain a chemical called acrolein, which stops HDL from carrying cholesterol from fatty deposits to the liver so it can be broken down. Instead, the deposits attach to the arterial wall, leading to narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis).
Additionally, diabetes and high blood pressure can cause elevated LDL levels. Diabetes is a disease that often reduces good cholesterol levels and raises bad ones. This condition is known as diabetic dyslipidemia because the lipids are not functioning as they should, and it increases the risk of developing coronary heart disease and stroke.

When Should Your Cholesterol Levels Be Tested?

Your physician may recommend that your blood cholesterol levels be tested if you:

Have a family history of cardiovascular disease
Have been diagnosed with coronary heart disease, peripheral arterial disease or stroke
Have high blood pressure, diabetes or another health condition that causes high cholesterol levels
Have a close relative who has a condition linked to high cholesterol
Are overweight

How Can You Lower Your Cholesterol Levels?

The first step to lowering your cholesterol levels is to eat a healthy, balanced diet. This means reducing the amount of saturated and trans fats that you consume. You can swap cakes and pastries for fruit, and exchange fatty meats for fish and chicken. Some people find it hard to change their diet. If this is the case for you, you can start by reducing the amount of unhealthy fats you’re consuming. Then, make one small change a week until you’ve reached your goal.
Lifestyle is another consideration. If you smoke, take active measures to stop, as this should help you achieve healthier cholesterol levels. If you don’t think you can completely quit at once, try to smoke fewer cigarettes until you can give them up for good.
Exercise is another great way to reduce cholesterol — people who maintain a healthy weight tend to have more of the good cholesterol and less of the bad.
Are you concerned about your cholesterol levels? Please contact us by calling (281) 586-3888 or filling out an appointment request to schedule an appointment with a doctor in Houston today.

Benefits of Transdermal Immunotherapy (TDIT) for Pediatric Allergies

Allergies-and-Transdermal-Immunotherapy

For parents of children with moderate to severe allergies, adhering to a regimen of shots and oral medications can be a struggle. From busy schedules that make it difficult to keep track of medications, to a child who is averse to needles (or swallowing pills), managing seasonal allergies and chronic sinusitis can be a stressful process for both children and their parents.

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America there are seven main allergy categories:

  • Pollen
  • Mold
  • Pet
  • Latex
  • Drug
  • Food
  • Latex

Transdermal medications can provide relief from allergy symptoms, without needles or oral medications.

What Is Transdermal Immunotherapy (TDIT)?

TDIT is a topical, non-invasive treatment that can relieve allergy symptoms for up to three years. Because they consist of a cream application absorbed through the skin, transdermal medications are easy to administer, without the discomfort and inconvenience commonly associated with injections, pills and tablets.

Depending on the patient’s allergy test results, a small dosage that gradually increases over time will be prescribed. Transdermal immunotherapy cream replaces allergy shots, while transdermal antihistamine cream replaces oral medications.

The benefits of transdermal immunotherapy include:

Non-invasive and pain-free
Easy to apply with a simple topical cream
Can provide relief for specific allergens and multiple diagnoses
Eliminates the need for multiple medications by combining several allergens in one treatment
May entirely replace or reduce the need for more invasive and time-consuming treatments like oral antihistamines (which can incur side effects in some cases), nasal sprays, allergy shots and other prescription medications
Can reduce general stress and discomfort sometimes associated with other allergy and sinusitis treatments
Because the TDIT is administered in small doses that gradually increase over a three-year period, the body has time to comfortably adjust to the introduction of allergens. After the initial treatment phase and symptom relief is achieved, the body will enter a maintenance phase. Transdermal immunotherapy includes an additional two-year monitoring phase by a physician to ensure that the treatment has been successful.

Who Is Eligible for Transdermal Immunotherapy?

TDIT is available for children six years of age and up. An allergy test can determine the specific allergens responsible for the symptoms. Because there are many potential triggers for an allergic reaction, a blood or skin test is performed in order to determine the best form of treatment.

The typical signs and symptoms of sinusitis include:

Nasal congestion/discharge
Headaches
Facial pain and swelling
Fatigue
Fever
Bad breath
Seasonal allergies can also cause sneezing, coughing, eye and throat irritation, and earaches. Some allergy sufferers can also experience nausea, diarrhea and skin rashes, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI). The ACAAI estimates that over 50 million Americans suffer from some form of allergies each year, making it the sixth most common form of chronic illness, at an annual expense of over $18 billion in associated costs.

Allergy symptoms can affect everything from academic performance and school attendance to participation in extracurricular activities, sports and social engagements for children. Transdermal immunotherapy may offer relief from the symptoms and potential side effects of other allergy treatments that can impact well-being and quality of life.

Seasonal Allergy and Sinusitis Diagnosis and Treatment in Houston

To learn more about TDIT and whether it is right for your child, contact 1960 Family Practice by calling (281) 586-3888 to schedule a consultation today.

Gout is On The Rise. Does Heredity Put You At Risk?

Gout-is-on-the-Rise

Gout used to be called the “disease of kings.” Charlemagne had it, formerly athletic Henry VIII lost his mobility and even Leonardo da Vinci and Benjamin Franklin suffered from this agonizing form of inflammatory arthritis.

But now, cases have doubled in the last 10 years, with people as young as their 20s or 30s developing it, where formerly gout was usually diagnosed in men over 40.

Gout happens when excess uric acid in the blood forms needle-like crystals in the joints, usually the toe joints. This is as painful as it sounds. Gout can become chronic if the uric acid keeps forming crystals and causing permanent joint damage.

Some people may have only one attack which lasts about 10 days, while others develop chronic attacks – in fact, about 60 percent of sufferers will have another attack within a year. 84 percent will have another attack within three years.

What’s Causing a Rise in Gout Cases?

There a variety of factors scientists and doctors believe have led to the rise in gout cases. In the U.S. and U.K., we’re eating more red meat. Fructose is added to more processed foods. And there’s been a big rise in beer consumption and binge-drinking. (Oddly enough, wine and spirits don’t seem to affect gout as much.) Medications like beta-blockers and diuretics are used more often.

The Genetic Factor

In the U.S., about eight million people a year develop gout. Men are more susceptible than women, but after age 60, women tend to catch up. Heredity definitely plays a part in gout. If someone in your family has it, you could be up to 80 percent more at risk. A U.K. study showed that 40 percent of gout patients had a family history of the disease. So it’s to your advantage to develop good dietary habits to decrease your risk.

Symptoms

Gout can affect any joint, but usually starts in the big toe. The first symptoms present when the toe becomes swollen, shiny, red and warm. It might not hurt – yet. But within a few days, or even hours, that changes. Many people simply wake up in such pain that they can’t even bear the weight of bed covers. Putting on your shoes is painful. Driving may become impossible. Any weight at all on your foot is agonizing.

The first thing you can do is take NSAID pain relievers such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin IB, Advil, Nuprin), naproxen (Aleve) or ketoprofen (Actron, Orudis KT). These aren’t cures or long-term treatments, but they can help the initial pain.

Diagnosis

The earlier your diagnosis, the better, so call your doctor immediately. Say that you suspect you have gout, because he or she may want to refer you to a podiatrist who can recognize gout immediately and start treatment.

Treatment and Management

The first treatment is usually an injection of corticosteroids directly into the affected joint. This might sound painful, but in a few minutes, you’ll feel much better as the pain calms down. The second stage of treatment is usually Colchicine, a pill that you’ll take every day for a limited time. The third stage is another pill, usually Allopurinol. This helps your body eliminate uric acid, and is usually the preferred long-term treatment.

Regular blood tests can also be used to monitor uric acid levels.

How You Can Lower Your Risk

Gout comes on suddenly, but uric acid takes time to form crystals. It’s usually excreted through the kidneys, but some people run into roadblocks getting rid of it, either due to medical conditions, heredity (which you can’t help) or lifestyle (which you can change).

Some medications for heart disease, high cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis or psoriasis can interfere with the elimination of uric acid. Gastric bypass surgery also puts you at risk. If you take these medications, ask your doctor if any of these meds can be changed or adjusted.

Keep alcohol to no more than two drinks or two beers a day. Avoid red meat, shellfish and foods/drinks with fructose.

To learn more about gout, visit http://www.arthritis.org

Think you may have gout? Please contact us by calling (281) 586-3888 or filling out an appointment request to schedule an appointment with a doctor in Houston today.

Understanding the Difference Between Acute and Chronic Sinusitis

Acute-vs-Chronic-Sinusitis

Millions of people suffer from various forms of sinusitis, which, by definition, is inflammation of the tissues that line the nasal and surrounding cavities in the skull. This condition sometimes accompanies other illnesses and ailments. Sufferers should take time to understand the difference between acute and chronic sinusitis and the causes behind each, since there are a variety of symptoms, diagnostic techniques and treatment options for both types of sinusitis.

1. Acute versus Chronic Sinusitis

Acute sinusitis normally lasts no more than 4 weeks, while chronic sinusitis will last for 8 to 12 weeks or longer and can potentially linger for several years. Acute sinusitis is normally easier to diagnose and treat. Trying to pinpoint the causes of chronic sinusitis and prescribe an effective treatment plan can be more difficult.

Sinusitis is often the result of a cold, which is caused by a viral infection; some cases of sinusitis, however, are due to a bacterial infection or the result of allergies or asthmatic conditions. Finally, chronic sinusitis can be caused by the growth of nasal polyps or even structural problems in the nasal cavity.

2. Symptoms of Acute and Chronic Sinusitis

While the causes of acute and chronic sinusitis can be quite different, the symptoms are often the same. According to the Mayo Clinic, there may be several symptoms you will experience when suffering from both acute and chronic sinusitis:
Nasal obstruction
Drainage of a thick discolored discharge from the nose
Facial pain or pressure
Fatigue
Bad breath
Ear pressure
Headaches
Unusual tastes and smells
Acute sinusitis is often accompanied by a fever. A cough that is worse at night or in the morning is sometimes associated with chronic sinusitis.

3. Diagnosing Each Type of Sinusitis

Medical professionals use several diagnostic techniques to differentiate acute and chronic sinusitis; often, a physical examination of the facial area and a patient’s explanation of symptoms is enough to diagnose the condition. The Cleveland Clinic states that the presence of purulent secretions, or pus, is one of the primary factors for diagnosis.

Sometimes, more extensive testing such as imaging tests (X-rays or CT scans) may be used. These methods might be used if symptoms have not improved and chronic sinusitis is suspected. Nasal cultures may also be taken. Nasal endoscopy is a technique that involves inserting a thin instrument into the nostrils to look for blockages in the nasal cavities. If allergies are suspected an allergy specialist may perform a variety of tests to determine if any allergic triggers are causing the chronic sinus infections.

4. Available Treatment Options

Even though symptoms for both types of sinusitis are similar, the cause must be determined to most effectively treat the condition. The American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology states that about 70 percent of those suffering from acute sinusitis will recover without prescribed medication. Treatment options an individual can use at home include the use of a humidifier, adequate hydration, warm compresses and over-the-counter medications.

Antibiotics such as amoxicillin are often recommended as a first-line treatment for some cases of acute sinusitis. However, other antibiotics may be used if an individual doesn’t show improvement within 72 hours. A few alternatives include moxifloxacin and gatifloxacin. Several treatment options may be used for a chronic sinusitis diagnosis, depending on the initial cause:
Corticosteroid sprays
Antifungal medications
Allergy medications or allergy shots
Endoscopic sinus surgery
Transdermal Immunotherapy (TDIT)
Remember to seek medical attention if you are experiencing prolonged symptoms of sinusitis or your sinusitis has worsened. A specialized evaluation from a medical professional is necessary to receive an accurate diagnosis, and the best treatment options will be implemented so you can find relief from your symptoms.
Are you experiencing sinus troubles? Please contact us by calling (281) 586-3888 or filling out an appointment request to schedule an appointment with a doctor in Houston today.

Symptoms of a Bulging Disc

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There are two problems that are often associated with a bulging disc, aside from the potential for pain and chronic discomfort. The first problem is that you probably cannot feel it with your fingers, though sometimes the muscles around it knot up and become tender. The second issue is that even when the pain disappears, the disc may still be bulging.

A bulging disc occurs when the disc between two vertebrae shifts “outside the space it normally occupies between your vertebrae, but it doesn’t rupture.” Bulging discs are a common symptom in old age — though bulging discs can also occur as a result of a spinal injury — and a person can have a bulging disc without knowing it. It is not uncommon for someone to have a bulging disc with no pain or discomfort in association with it.
However, if the disc’s shift causes a narrowing of the spinal canal, there can be considerable pain and discomfort as the disc presses against the spinal cord. This narrowing of the spinal canal is referred to as spinal stenosis.

Ancillary Conditions of a Bulging Disc

Spinal stenosis — Again, spinal or foraminal stenosis occurs when a disc slips to a degree where it narrows the spinal canal and puts pressure on the spinal cord, often causing considerable pain.
Pinched nerve — Though not necessarily a symptom of a bulging disc, a pinched nerve can be caused by tissues, such as bones, cartilage, muscles or tendons around a nerve, a bulging disc can pinch nerves.
Radiculopathy — Often associated with a pinched nerve, radiculopathy is a condition in which pressure on a nerve or damage to a nerve creates numbness. The most acute symptom is, however, loss of function.
Sciatica — The irritation, inflammation or compression of the sciatic nerve in the lower back (among other catalysts), sciatica can be created by a bulging disc. Severe pain in the lower back, legs and feet is just one symptom of sciatica.
Foraminal stenosis — Rather than a narrowing of the spinal canal, as is the case with spinal stenosis, foraminal stenosis is a narrowing of the space between the vertebrae where the nerves exit the spine. Foraminal stenosis is a common condition associated with a severe bulging disc.

Back and Spinal Conditions with Symptoms Similar to a Bulging Disc

Herniated disc — Unlike a bulging disc, a herniated disc does not necessarily move or shift positions. Instead, the outer wall of the disc ruptures. While not always the case with a bulging disc, pain and discomfort are almost always associated with a herniated disc.
Facet joint syndrome — Though a different condition than bulging discs, facet joint syndrome and a bulging disc may produce similar symptoms. Facet joints are the joints found between your vertebrae that make twisting, turning, pronation and supination possible. When these small joints begin to degenerate, the condition is called facet joint syndrome.

Management of Back Pain

Prior to considering back surgery, there are a variety of noninvasive treatments that can greatly reduce any pain or discomfort associated with a bulging disc. Exercise and physical therapy are the two safest and least invasive treatments for the management of pain generated by a bulging disc, and both have the potential for the long-term alleviation pain and discomfort.
Are you worried you may have a bulging disc? Please contact us by calling (281) 586-3888 or filling out an appointment request to schedule an appointment with a doctor in Houston today.

Tips For Managing Recurring Back Pain

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When back pain hits, the only thing you can think about is relief. Back pain makes walking, bending and doing just about anything difficult. Relief is available even if your back pain is the result of an injury, a degenerative disease or years of not properly caring for your back. You can manage your back pain, and all you need to do is discuss your options with your doctor until you find the solution that works.

Massage Therapy

The most common reason people do not utilize massage therapy as part of their pain management routine is because they do not understand it. Massage therapy is the manipulation of muscles and joints to relieve pain and allow for greater mobility. While massage therapy can be done for pleasure, it is generally done for rehabilitation and pain management.
You should only go to a certified massage therapist who comes highly recommended by your doctor. The massage therapist will target specific areas that can be worked over to loosen tight muscles and help to relieve tension. Massage therapy is not a pain solution, but it definitely should be part of your pain management routine.

Exercise From A Physical Therapist

When a spinal disc is herniated or bulges, it pushes against the nerves in your spinal column to create recurring pain. A certified physical therapist can put you in a program of exercises that includes traction to try and move the protruded disc away from your spinal column. Then your therapist will give you exercises to strengthen your back and hold the discs in place.
A good exercise program from a certified physical therapist will work on the muscles in your lower back that help to protect your spine. As these muscles get stronger, they can do more to protect your spinal column from your protruding disc, and they can also help to move the disc back into place.

Losing Weight

Excess weight causes stress on your entire body, and especially your back. The downward pull of extra pounds can have a devastating effect on your lower back that often does not go away until the pounds are lost.
As you get older, your body changes. Your back muscles weaken with age and a sedentary lifestyle, and the discs in your spine also deteriorate to offer less support. The more weight your body has to carry, the more pain you will feel. Losing weight will bring pain relief for the long-term, and weight loss will have other positive health effects as well.

Spa Treatments

Your pain management regimen does not need to be all work and no play. A day at the spa once in a while can do wonders for a bad back. The whirlpool bath, massage therapy and relaxation offered by a spa can help to reduce pain throughout your entire body.
It is important to note that you should not consider weekly spa treatments to be any sort of pain management plan. But a whirlpool bath and some professional relaxation once a month can release tension and help to manage your back pain.
Living with chronic back pain can create a feeling of helplessness mixed with frustration. You feel like you are unable to accomplish anything, and it sometimes feels like life is passing you by. The good news is that pain can be managed and even the most serious instances of pain can be brought under control.
Pain management starts with an evaluation from an expert. Talk to your primary doctor about getting your pain issues looked at by expert orthopedic surgeons and let them help you put together a plan for pain management that will work.
From childhood vaccinations to managing recurring back pain, the physicians of 1960 Family Practice offer a comprehensive list of diagnostic and clinical services for the entire family. For more information, please contact us by calling (281) 586-3888 or filling out an appointment request to schedule an appointment with a doctor in Houston today.

Beyond the Flu: Prevention and Treatment for Common Childhood Ailments

Beyond-the-Flu

Children are especially susceptible to common health ailments like ear infections, seasonal allergies, sports injuries and stomach bugs. Although illnesses like chicken pox or the occasional cut or broken bone from a fall or accident are a normal part of childhood, a few precautionary steps combined with knowing when to seek medical treatment can help parents keep children healthy and active throughout the year.

Most Common Childhood Illnesses and Diseases

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), some of the most common illnesses and conditions to affect children aged 4–11 include:

ADHD
Asthma
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASDs)
Chicken pox
Upper respiratory infections/common cold/flu
Diabetes
Ear infection
Hearing loss/impairment
Learning disabilities
Measles
Mumps
Obesity
Vision problems

When to See a Pediatrician

Conditions like the flu, seasonal allergies or a common cold can usually be managed with over-the-counter medications and rest. Others will require medical treatment, prescription medications (like antibiotics) or even lifestyle modifications.

The range and severity of symptoms for many childhood ailments can vary from child to child. According to guidelines from The Mayo Clinic, parents of infants and young children should monitor symptoms and schedule an appointment with a pediatrician for persistent symptoms that do not resolve with over-the-counter medications and self-care, including:

Fever
Rash
Unexplained appetite loss
Abdominal pain/tenderness
Vomiting
Diarrhea
Constipation
Ongoing cough with phlegm or mucus/discharge
Sore throat
Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
Earaches
Trouble understanding speech or following conversations
Visual impairment/difficulty reading or focusing on schoolwork

Some symptoms can be signs of a serious condition. Seek emergency treatment if your child or infant exhibits symptoms such as:

Uncontrollable bleeding
Seizures
Difficulty breathing
Signs of poisoning
Head injury
Severe cuts or broken bones
Smoke inhalation
Unexplained cognitive changes or sudden erratic behavior

Steps to Promote and Maintain Your Child’s Health and Wellbeing

The American Academy of Pediatrics advises parents to be proactive with childhood health and wellness, by scheduling regular check-ups and health screenings with a pediatrician.

Health and wellness screenings for infants, toddlers and young children offer advantages like disease and illness prevention, monitoring for healthy development and growth milestones, nutrition assessments and counseling, and immunization schedules.

In addition to regular health screenings, there are a few simple, everyday steps that parents and children can take to decrease the risk of common colds, sports injuries and excessive weight gain.

Wash hands frequently, and use tissues when coughing and sneezing
Wear protective gear and appropriate footwear (helmets, gloves, goggles, shin guards, insoles and arch supports) when playing contact sports or engaging in physical activities
Maintain a healthy weight with an age-appropriate exercise and nutrition plan
Get enough sleep
The start of a new school year is the perfect time to schedule a wellness exam to check a child’s vision and hearing, make sure that all immunizations are up to date, perform diabetes testing and nutritional counseling if necessary, and to discuss any individual issues or concerns regarding the child’s overall health and development.

Find a Pediatrician in Houston

From childhood vaccinations to disease prevention, screening and treatment, the pediatricians and physicians at 1960 Family Practice offer a comprehensive list of diagnostic and clinical services for the entire family. For more information, contact us by calling (281) 586-3888, or filling out an appointment request to request an appointment with a doctor in Houston today.

5 Tips for Helping Your Child Sleep Better

Pediatric-Sleep-Disorders

While some children rarely experience difficulties with sleep, many others struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep throughout the night. There are several steps parents can take to ensure that their child falls asleep faster and sleeps better.

2. Establish Routines

Children, like adults, feel comfortable following established routines. The University of Michigan Health System suggests creating patterns throughout the day. This includes not just regular evening routines, but setting a specific time to get up each morning and making sure to eat all meals at the same time during the day. It’s important to keep daily schedules simple so they can be used even when you’re not at home. A soothing routine for most children will include time spent listening to a story or cuddling with a trusted adult before it’s time to drift off to sleep. It’s important, however, for children to actually fall asleep on their own without relying on an adult to be in the room.

2. Avoid Large Meals Before Bedtime

Eating large meals right before bedtime may interfere with a child’s ability to fall asleep quickly and stay asleep throughout the night. Some parents may mistakenly believe that a full tummy will help their child fall asleep easier. The truth is, a big meal will increase metabolism and make it difficult to stay asleep for the entire night. If your child needs to eat within a few hours of bedtime, there are foods that can promote sleep as well as those that may hinder the sleeping process. Avoid sugary foods, and especially anything with caffeine, such as chocolate or soda. The Baby Sleep Site states that foods rich in tryptophan can produce brain chemicals that aid in sleep. A few foods high in tryptophan include turkey, eggs and whole wheat bread.

3. Create a Soothing Environment

When decorating your child’s room. certain color combinations will provide a more soothing atmosphere than others. It’s often recommended to paint a room with neutral colors such as beige and light brown. Blues and greens are considered cooler colors and are often associated with calm and relaxation. Make sure to avoid warm colors when decorating a child’s bedroom. These include red, orange and bright yellow. A soothing environment also means allowing children to sleep with their favorite stuffed animals, dolls and blankets.

4. Unplug Electrical Devices

Electronic devices, and especially a television, should not be in your child’s bedroom. Video and computer games should be played in an area other than the room in which a child sleeps. The devices that are kept in a child’s room should be completely unplugged at bedtime. According to Today’s Parent, televisions, cell phones and even baby monitors can emit electrical fields that potentially interfere with sleep. This may occur even when they are turned off. It’s also important to make sure that televisions, stereos and other loud things that adults may be listening to in the house can’t be heard in a child’s room after bedtime.

5. Treat Any Sleep Problems

Sometimes all of your efforts as a parent aren’t enough to help your child sleep better. There are several types of sleeping disorders that a child may be struggling with. WebMD describes two general categories of sleep disorders that can affect children. Dyssomnias can include insufficient sleep syndrome, limit-setting sleep disorder, obstructive sleep apnea and snoring. Parasomnias will include nightmares, night terrors and sleep walking. Daytime drowsiness, taking longer than 30 to 60 minutes to fall asleep, and teeth grinding may all be symptoms of a sleep disorder.

While every child’s difficulty with sleep can be different, following these basic guidelines will likely help improve your child’s quality of sleep. If there is a problem that requires medical intervention, it’s important to find a qualified physician who has experience and training in the field of pediatric sleep disorders.

If you suspect your child has a sleep disorder, please contact us at (281) 586-3888, or fill out an appointment request and we will call you to schedule an appointment at a time convenient for you. You may also visit our walk-in clinic for same-day care without an appointment.