Managing your health care

To PSA test or not to PSA test: That is the discussion

Steven J. Atlas, MD, MPH

The recommended guidelines for whether men should have the prostate cancer screening test have changed in recent years. A man considering the test should talk with his doctor and understand all the pros and cons involved.

Taking medicines like you’re supposed to: Why is it so hard?

Monique Tello, MD, MPH
Monique Tello, MD, MPH, Contributing Editor

Remembering to take medication regularly and consistently is a challenge. While various devices and strategies have been studied, sometimes the best approach is simply linking to another task that needs to be remembered.

Chronic pain: The “invisible” disability

Laura Kiesel
Laura Kiesel, Contributor

Conditions that cause chronic pain are not always easy to diagnose, and sometimes doctors can be dismissive of people with pain that does not have a readily identifiable cause.

Why vaccines are important for our country’s financial health, too

Claire McCarthy, MD
Claire McCarthy, MD, Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Vaccinating babies and toddlers prevents many illnesses, but it also helps the avoid high costs associated with treating those illnesses, helps reduce sick time taken by parents, and contributes to greater immunity in a population.

Treating pain after opioid addiction: A personal story

Peter Grinspoon, MD
Peter Grinspoon, MD, Contributing Editor

What happens when a person who was addicted to opiates is injured and needs pain medication? A doctor who is in recovery has firsthand experience.

If you have low back pain try these steps first

Monique Tello, MD, MPH
Monique Tello, MD, MPH, Contributing Editor

The American College of Physicians has released revised guidelines for the treatment of low back pain, and their recommendations for the most common types of pain do not include medications.These forms of low back pain usually get better over time and treatment should begin with therapies like heat and massage.

Why the AHCA would have been bad for children — and an unavoidable truth moving forward

Claire McCarthy, MD
Claire McCarthy, MD, Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Regardless of whether the government eventually creates a suitable replacement for the Affordable Care Act, providing adequate health insurance to as many children as possible is crucial to healthy development. Regular health care can help ensure that nothing gets missed — like a high lead level, serious allergy, a smoldering infection, autism — because left unrecognized, the effects can be lifelong, or even deadly.

Home remedies that may be worth a try

Beverly Merz
Beverly Merz, Executive Editor, Harvard Women's Health Watch

Sometimes a home remedy (one making use of inexpensive items already on hand or easy to obtain) can be as effective as a medical treatment, and far less costly. Because seemingly benign home remedies can have dangerous side effects you may want to check with your doctor to see if there are any risks involved.

Can you virtually improve your knee pain?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD
Robert H. Shmerling, MD, Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

A study of people with osteoarthritis of the knee found that at the end of the study period, those participants who received more personalized attention via the web (including physical therapy sessions and information about pain management) had less pain and better movement function.

How good is my doctor? Awards, acronyms, and anecdotes…Oh my

Paul G. Mathew, MD, FAAN, FAHS

It’s already hard enough to pick the right doctor for yourself without all these awards and designations to pull apart. Which ones actually mean something and which ones don’t? These awards and the acronyms following a doctor’s name might be easier to interpret than you think. Just make sure not to judge a book by its cover – or a doctor by his or her labels.