Abdominal Pain

Your abdomen extends from below your chest to your groin. Some people call it the stomach, but your abdomen contains many other important organs. Pain in the abdomen can come from any one of them. The pain may start somewhere else, such as your chest. Severe pain doesn’t always mean a serious problem. Nor does mild pain mean a problem is not serious.

Abdominal pain, or stomachache, affects many children. There are many possible causes of abdominal pain. It can be a sign of infection, constipation, or a serious medical condition. The pain may also be unrelated to a medical problem, and simply be your child’s way of expressing feelings of stress or anxiety (which does not mean that it doesn’t truly hurt!). Abdominal pain results in many doctor and ER visits, as well as many missed days of school.

Ankle Injuries and Disorders

Your ankle bone and the ends of your two lower leg bones make up the ankle joint. Your ligaments, which connect bones to one another, stabilize and support it. Your muscles and tendons move it.

The most common ankle problems are sprains and fractures. A sprain is an injury to the ligaments. It may take a few weeks to many months to heal completely. A fracture is a break in a bone. You can also injure other parts of the ankle such as tendons, which join muscles to bone, and cartilage, which cushions your joints. Ankle sprains and fractures are common sports injuries.

Ankylosing Spondylitis

Ankylosing spondylitis is a type of arthritis of the spine. It causes inflammation between your vertebrae, which are the bones that make up your spine, and in the joints between your spine and pelvis. In some people, it can affect other joints.

AS is more common and more severe in men. It often runs in families. The cause is unknown, but it is likely that both genes and factors in the environment play a role.

Early symptoms of AS include back pain and stiffness. These problems often start in late adolescence or early adulthood. Over time, AS can fuse your vertebrae together, limiting movement. Some people have symptoms that come and go. Others have severe, ongoing pain.

A diagnosis of AS is based on your medical history and a physical examination. You may also have imaging or blood tests.

AS has no cure, but medicines can relieve symptoms and may keep the disease from getting worse. Eating a healthy diet, not smoking, and exercising can also help. In rare cases, you may need surgery to straighten the spine.

Antidepressants

Antidepressants are medicines that treat depression. Your doctor can prescribe them for you. They work to balance some of the natural chemicals in our brains. It may take several weeks for them to help. There are several types of antidepressants. You and your doctor may have to try a few before finding what works best for you.

Antidepressants may cause mild side effects that usually do not last long. These may include headache, nausea, sleep problems, restlessness, and sexual problems. Tell your doctor if you have any side effects. You should also let your doctor know if you take any other medicines, vitamins, or herbal supplements.

It is important to keep taking your medicines, even if you feel better. Do not stop taking your medicines without talking to your doctor. You often need to stop antidepressants gradually.

Anxiety

Fear and anxiety are part of life. You may feel anxious before you take a test or walk down a dark street. This kind of anxiety is useful – it can make you more alert or careful. It usually ends soon after you are out of the situation that caused it. But for millions of people in the United States, the anxiety does not go away, and gets worse over time. They may have chest pains or nightmares. They may even be afraid to leave home. These people have anxiety disorders. Types include

  • Panic disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Phobias
  • Generalized anxiety disorder

Treatment can involve medicines, therapy or both.

Arm Injuries and Disorders

Of the 206 bones in your body, 3 of them are in your arm; the humerus, radius and ulna. Your arms are also made up of muscles, joints, tendons and other connective tissue. Injuries to any of these parts of the arm can occur during sports, a fall or an accident.

Types of arm injuries include

Tendinitis and bursitis
Sprains
Dislocations
Broken bones
Some nerve problems, arthritis, or cancers can affect the entire arm and cause pain, spasms, swelling and trouble moving. You may also have problems or injure specific parts of your arm, such as your hand, wrist, elbow or shoulder.

Arm pain

Arm pain can be caused by a wide variety of problems, ranging from joint injuries to compressed nerves. Depending on the cause, arm pain can start suddenly or develop over time. In many cases, arm pain actually originates from a problem in your neck or upper spine. Arm pain, particularly pain that radiates into your left arm, can even be a sign of a heart attack.

Self-care
Even serious arm injuries can be helped initially with home treatment. If you think that you have a broken arm or wrist, apply ice packs to the affected area and use a sling to help hold your arm still until you can get medical care.

If you have a compressed nerve or repetitive strain injury, be consistent about therapy; maintain good posture; and take frequent breaks at work and during repetitive activities, such as playing an instrument or practicing your golf swing.

Most other types of arm pain will get better on their own, especially if you start R.I.C.E. measures within 48 hours of your injury.

  • Rest. Take a break from your normal activities.
  • Ice. Place an ice pack or bag of frozen peas on the sore area for 15 to 20 minutes three times a day.
  • Compression. Use a compression bandage to reduce swelling.
  • Elevation. If possible, elevate your arm to help reduce swelling.

Arthritis

If you feel pain and stiffness in your body or have trouble moving around, you might have arthritis. Most kinds of arthritis cause pain and swelling in your joints. Joints are places where two bones meet, such as your elbow or knee. Over time, a swollen joint can become severely damaged. Some kinds of arthritis can also cause problems in your organs, such as your eyes or skin.

Types of arthritis include

  • Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. It’s often related to aging or to an injury.
  • Autoimmune arthritis happens when your body’s immune system attacks healthy cells in your body by mistake. Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common form of this kind of arthritis.
  • Juvenile arthritis is a type of arthritis that happens in children.
  • Infectious arthritis is an infection that has spread from another part of the body to the joint.
  • Psoriatic arthritis affects people with psoriasis.
  • Gout is a painful type of arthritis that happens when too much uric acid builds up in the body. It often starts in the big toe.

Asthma

Asthma is a chronic disease that affects your airways. Your airways are tubes that carry air in and out of your lungs. If you have asthma, the inside Illustration of asthmawalls of your airways become sore and swollen. That makes them very sensitive, and they may react strongly to things that you are allergic to or find irritating. When your airways react, they get narrower and your lungs get less air.

Symptoms of asthma include

  • Wheezing
  • Coughing, especially early in the morning or at night
  • Chest tightness
  • Shortness of breath

Not all people who have asthma have these symptoms. Having these symptoms doesn’t always mean that you have asthma. Your doctor will diagnose asthma based on lung function tests, your medical history, and a physical exam. You may also have allergy tests.

When your asthma symptoms become worse than usual, it’s called an asthma attack. Severe asthma attacks may require emergency care, and they can be fatal.

Asthma is treated with two kinds of medicines: quick-relief medicines to stop asthma symptoms and long-term control medicines to prevent symptoms.

Autoimmune Diseases

Your body’s immune system protects you from disease and infection. But if you have an autoimmune disease, your immune system attacks healthy cells in your body by mistake. Autoimmune diseases can affect many parts of the body.Illustration of the immune system

No one is sure what causes autoimmune diseases. They do tend to run in families. Women – particularly African-American, Hispanic-American, and Native-American women – have a higher risk for some autoimmune diseases.

There are more than 80 types of autoimmune diseases, and some have similar symptoms. This makes it hard for your health care provider to know if you really have one of these diseases, and if so, which one. Getting a diagnosis can be frustrating and stressful. Often, the first symptoms are fatigue, muscle aches and a low fever. The classic sign of an autoimmune disease is inflammation, which can cause redness, heat, pain and swelling.

The diseases may also have flare-ups, when they get worse, and remissions, when symptoms get better or disappear. Treatment depends on the disease, but in most cases one important goal is to reduce inflammation. Sometimes doctors prescribe corticosteroids or other drugs that reduce your immune response.

 

Back Injuries

Your back is made of bones, muscles, and other tissues extending from your neck to your pelvis. Back injuries can result from sports injuries, work around the house or in the garden, or a sudden jolt such as a car accident. The lower back is the most common site of back injuries and back pain. Common back injuries include

  • Sprains and strains
  • Herniated disks
  • Fractured vertebrae

These injuries can cause pain and limit your movement. Treatments vary but might include medicines, icing, bed rest, physical therapy, or surgery. You might be able to prevent some back injuries by maintaining a healthy weight, lifting objects with your legs, and using lower-back support when you sit.

Back Pain

Also called: Backache, Lumbago 

If you’ve ever groaned, “Oh, my aching back!”, you are not alone. Back pain is one of the most common medical problems, affecting 8 out of 10 people at some point during their lives. Back pain can range from a dull, constant ache to a sudden, sharp pain. Acute back pain comes on suddenly and usually lasts from a few days to a few weeks. Back pain is called chronic if it lasts for more than three months.

Most back pain goes away on its own, though it may take awhile. Taking over-the-counter pain relievers and resting can help. However, staying in bed for more than 1 or 2 days can make it worse.

If your back pain is severe or doesn’t improve after three days, you should call your health care provider. You should also get medical attention if you have back pain following an injury.

Treatment for back pain depends on what kind of pain you have, and what is causing it. It may include hot or cold packs, exercise, medicines, injections, complementary treatments, and sometimes surgery.

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