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What is Causing My Spider Veins?

Some spider vein specialists are saying that over half of the American population has some kind of vein disease, but even so, no one wants to find out that they have spider veins. While spider veins aren’t dangerous, they are ugly and can show up anywhere on your body. Similar to varicose veins (but smaller), these blue, red, or purple veins which are will form spider web-like patterns just under the skin on the arms, stomach, back, face, neck, and buttocks are caused by the rupture or hemorrhage of a blood vessel or vein.

Spider Veins Caused by Telangiectasia

Spider veins resulting from telangiectasia usually appear on the hands or face. Unlike varicose veins, spider veins are not a symptom of valve failure. Hemorrhaged blood vessels just under the skin — rips and tears in the wall of a blood vessel — create spider veins.

Causes of Telangiectasia

Telangiectasia can be caused by a variety of factors, but some of the common causes are:

  • Overexposure to the sun or freezing temperatures for long periods of time
  • Trauma
  • Radiation exposure
  • Chemotherapy

Other Causes of Spider Veins
In addition to Telangiectasia, additional causes of spider veins include:

  • Minor Skin Damage
  • Autoimmune Disorders
  • Dermatologic Disorders
  • Exposure to Damaging Agents – such as the sun or chemicals
  • Underlying Vein Disease – spider veins can be an indicator that you have a more serious vein disease, this is why you should always consult a vein specialist if you have any vein disease symptoms.

Repair or Removal of Spider Veins
While spider veins are typically just a cosmetic issue, as they cause no pain or discomfort, many people choose to have them removed. There are a number of options spider vein specialists have for repairing or removing these unsightly veins, including the following:

  • Laser Surgery: A spider vein specialist will use a laser to send bursts of light into the vein to encourage the vein to fade and disappear. This treatment will occur over several visits.
  • Sclerotherapy: This is also a means of stopping the supply of blood to the swollen or hemorrhaged vessel close to the surface of the skin. A saline solution is injected with a very small needle to cause a collapse of the vessel’s wall lining, this will allow the blood to reroute to healthier veins.

1960 Family Practice has four locations throughout North Houston, including Cypress, Spring, and The Woodlands. If you are local and would like more information about treatment for spider veins, please contact us by calling (281) 586-3888, or filling out an appointment request form to request time with one of our doctors in the Greater Houston area.

For more information on varicose veins visit our blog about Varicose Veins Causes and Treatments.

5 Common Myths About Dieting

Around 45 million people in the U.S. alone attempt to diet each year. Unfortunately, it is estimated that as many as 95% of these dieters fail to reach or maintain their weight loss goals. If you find yourself among this 95%, discover five of the most common dieting myths before starting your next diet:

Myth #1: Dieting is All or Nothing.

Fact: Many believe that in order to diet, you must remove every guilty pleasure from your diet at once. While limiting fatty or sugary foods is ideal, not allowing yourself to indulge from time to time is one of the quickest ways to end your diet. Allowing for limited time to cheat is a proven way to extend the life of your diet.

 

Myth #2: Drinking Water Results in Weight Loss.

Fact: While it is recommended that you drink eight glasses of water per day, many are under the impression that increasing their intake of water will lead to weight loss. Ultimately, drinking water will keep you hydrated and may make you feel fuller, which are both important, however, water alone will not help you shed the pounds.

 

Myth #3: You Have to Lose Weight Slowly in Order to Keep it Off.

Fact: It has been stated time and again that slow and steady wins the weight loss race. While no one recommends crash or fad dieting, which is unhealthy, each person’s weight loss timeline will vary. If you are active and eating a healthy, balanced diet, you will be able to keep the weight off. Whether it took you six weeks of doctor-monitored weight loss efforts or two years after a surgical weight loss procedure to reach your goals, remaining committed to a healthy lifestyle is key.

Myth #4: You Can Eat as Many Healthy Foods as You Want and Still Lose Weight.

Fact: Fruits, vegetables, and other healthy snacks are nutritious options. Contrary to popular belief, however, you cannot eat as many of them as you wish and lose weight. Eating an excessive amount of any food can easily lead to weight gain.

Myth #5: Eliminating All Carbohydrates is the Key to Weight Loss.

Fact: There are different types of carbs and some of them, such as whole-grains, are needed to boost your energy level. There is no need to remove all carbs from your diet. Simple changes like switching from white bread to whole wheat can make a big difference.

Now that you are aware of these five common dieting myths, be sure to keep them in mind to maximize your weight loss efforts. And, if you think you need assistance in getting that excess weight off, you can visit one of our four locations throughout Houston to meet with a physician that specializes in weight loss. Pick a location in North Houston, Cypress, Spring, or The Woodlands that is most convenient to you, and then contact 1960 Family Practice to schedule your weight loss consultation today!

Varicose Veins: Causes and Treatment

Varicose veins develop as blue and purple curving lines under the skin, typically on the legs including the calves and shins, thighs and feet. While not a technical term, spider veins and have the appearance of broken glass or a non-uniform spider web and can appear anywhere on the body but are generally found on the arms, stomach, back, face, neck and buttocks. Varicose and spider veins affect between 50 – 55% of women and 40 – 45% of men.

Spider veins and varicose veins have different causes. Varicose veins are caused by valve failure in the veins, while spider veins are caused by the rupture or hemorrhage of a blood vessel or vein. While varicose veins can only appear on the legs, spider veins can appear almost anywhere on the body.

Causes of Varicose Veins

Spider veins and varicose veins each have different causes. Varicose veins, which will only appear on the legs, are caused by valve failure in the veins. The veins of the legs, in particular, have a great number of miniature valves that prevent gravity from pulling blood down toward the feet on its journey back to the heart. When the valves fail and blood does begin flowing backward toward the ground, the veins swell under the skin and appear on the surface.

Causes of Vein Valve Failure

There are three common causes of varicose veins: Age, trauma and genetics. These are normally the main reasons for vein valve failure, the most common being age. Over the years, the valves simply wear out. However, some people’s genetics worsen the risk for them to develop varicose veins. And, damage or trauma to the veins — from a car accident, for example — can also produce varicose veins.

Other Causes of Varicose Veins

In addition to the three most common causes for varicose vein disease, others include

  • Hormonal changes during puberty, pregnancy and menopause
  • Pregnancy and the extra weight and strain it puts on a woman’s legs
  • Obesity, because of the load, the legs are forced to carry
  • Sedentary jobs, because of lack of movement, put pressure on the valves to work harder

Treatment of Varicose Veins

There are a number of options the varicose vein specialists at 1960 Family Practice have for treating varicose veins, including the following:

  • Endothermal ablation: The purpose of the procedure, commonly referred to as laser therapy, is so a varicose vein doctor can close off the blood supply leading to the surface of the skin using high-frequency radio waves.
  • Sclerotherapy: This is also a means of stopping the supply of blood to the swollen or hemorrhaged vessel close to the surface of the skin. Your vein specialist will use a saline solution is used to cause a collapse of the vessel’s wall lining.
  • Surgery: The veins are removed, by a vein surgeon, from beneath the surface of the skin.
  • Compression stockings: A pain relief measure, compression stockings use pressure to encourage blood flow back the heart and discourage blood pooling in your legs. This helps to reduce swollen and painful legs.
  • Transilluminated powered phlebectomy: Largely noninvasive, this procedure removes varicose veins from under the surface of the skin using a suction tube following a minor incision.

If you would like more information about treatment for varicose veins or spider veins and you are located in the Greater Houston area, please contact us by calling (281) 586-3888, or filling out an appointment request to request a consultation with one of our varicose vein doctors in Houston, Spring, The Woodlands, or Cypress today.

3 Ways Your Clothing and Footwear Could Be Damaging Your Veins

There’s much to love about clothing and footwear. For example, they provide you with opportunities to showcase your personality, creativity and style. At the same time, some types of clothing and footwear can be damaging to your health, more specifically you could be causing damage to your veins. Below, you’ll find our vein specialist has shared some ways in which you could be harming your veins without knowing it.

1. You Wear High Heels

If you wear high heels often, your veins could be in trouble. The good news is that your health is probably not at risk, but the appearance of your legs could be. Spider veins and varicose veins may be common among high heel lovers because the shoes change your regular gait. Your toes bear more weight, causing your calf muscles to contract. Blood does not move through your legs as efficiently, and when it pools, varicose veins may result. And in some cases, varicose veins prove to be dangerous to a person’s health. Blood clots or ulcerated skin are potential outcomes.

If you love wearing high heels, you don’t necessarily need to quit. You may just want to reserve the heels for special occasions. Also visit a varicose vein specialist sooner rather than later, if you have any concerns.

2. You Pull on Skinny Jeans Most Days

Skinny jeans may look great (and feel great) on you. However, too-tight jeans may decrease blood circulation in your body; your pelvic area could be especially at risk. The danger to your veins is that sluggish circulation could cause blood to pool. As with high heels, wearing skinny jeans selectively can help combat this problem. This will cause vein damage that will result in leg pain.

3. Girdles Are Your Best Friend

Girdles are tight. Really tight. So approach them with caution if you want to avoid unsightly and damaged veins. Ditto with other kinds of shapewear, as well as control top pantyhose.

You’ve probably noticed a pattern by now: Tight fits aren’t great. With that in mind:

  • Ditch any super-tight pants that leave angry red indentations on your skin when you undress. You need bigger pants.
  • Give your belt more space to work with if it’s leaving these red marks, too.
  • Wear compression stockings if you want. Yes, they’re tight, but they actually promote blood circulation in your legs which will discourage vein disease.

Speaking of compression stockings, you may find a lot of information online that high heels and too-tight clothing causing varicose veins and spider veins is a myth. While there’s no smoking gun that definitely proves a connection between the clothing and varicose veins or spider veins, there is a lot of anecdotal evidence. Plus, if you wear high heels, girdles or skinny jeans repeatedly for years, they will take a toll on your body. That’s a lot of pooled blood. These garments are not good for your health in general, so you are doing your health a favor if you reduce how often you wear them.

Unfortunately, even if you skip the girdles, skinny jeans and high heels, you could still end up with unattractive veins. Most vein doctors will agree that common causes of spider veins and varicose veins include obesity, skin injuries, blood clots, birth control pills, frequently standing for long periods and genetics.

 

How Do You Prevent Spider Veins or Varicose Veins?

To possibly starve off spider or varicose veins, try to walk for at least 30 minutes daily, maintain a healthy weight and avoid prolonged standing.

If you suspect that you already have vein damage make an appointment with a vein specialist. They will review your vein treatment options that might include surgery, intense pulsed light therapy, sclerotherapy, radiofrequency occlusion and endovenous laser treatment. Each of these treatments can help reduce the appearance of these veins. If you are located in Houston, Cypress, Tomball, Spring, The Woodlands, or any of the surrounding areas, you can make an appointment with one of our vein doctors.

What You Need to Know About 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

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 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

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

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

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.