Other Pain

Other Pain Articles

Polymyalgia rheumatica

Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) is a painful condition characterized by muscle pain, and inflammation of the membranes surrounding nearby joints and the sacs that cushion them. This sometimes disabling common condition responds beautifully to proper treatment but is associated with giant cell arteritis (GCA), a disease that is much less common but much more serious. Understanding the symptoms and treatments of both can restore comfort and preserve your vision. (Locked) More »

Ask the doctor: Headache and stroke

I have heard that one symptom of a stroke is "the worst headache you can imagine." I recently had a migraine that was so much more painful than previous ones that I worried it was a stroke. Is there any way to tell a migraine from a "stroke headache"? (Locked) More »

Talking of walking in three easy pieces

Studies examine various aspects of the health benefits of walking: gait speed, use of hiking poles, and type of footwear. Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have shown that walking may also serve as something of a prognosticator. Results of their research show that after about age 65, how fast we walk, or gait speed may predict how long we have to live. Results from several studies show that using hiking poles while walking at a fairly brisk pace does seem to increase cardiovascular workload. Some studies show that people have an increased physiological response but don't feel as though any more exertion is involved. One study of people who have pain in their legs while walking because of poor circulation found that they were able to walk farther with less pain if they used hiking poles. Pain from arthritic knees makes walking difficult for many people, and shoes with thick, cushiony soles are commonly believed to help. But some research is challenging that conventional wisdom with results that suggest that thinner, more flexible soles actually put less load on the knees. More »

A vaccine for shingles

Doctors know it as zoster, but up to a million Americans are stricken each year by the infection they call shingles. By either name, it's an unsightly, often painful process that can be prevented by a vaccine that was approved in 2006. The culprit is varicella-zoster virus (VZV), the same virus that causes chickenpox (varicella in children). The vast majority of children recover completely, but that's not the end of the story. Instead of being killed and eliminated from the body, VZV goes into hibernation, hiding out in the part of the nervous system known as the sensory nerve ganglia. In most people, the virus remains dormant and harmless for life, but in up to 15%, VZV becomes active and causes shingles. Most patients with shingles are older than 60, and some have weakened immune systems. The virus spreads along the sensory nerve to form a line of blisters on one side of the body. Most patients recover fully, but a few develop serious complications, and up to a third develop long-lasting pain (post-herpetic neuralgia). Antiviral medicines, which are often prescribed with steroids, can reduce the risk of pain. More »

What to do about tennis elbow

Tennis elbow is the common term for lateral epicondylitis, an inflammatory condition of the tendon that connects the extensor muscles of the lower arm to a bony prominence on the outside of the elbow called the lateral epicondyle. The condition causes pain at the point where the tendon attaches to the epicondyle. The pain may radiate to the forearm and wrist, and in severe cases, grip strength may lessen. It can become difficult to perform simple actions like lifting a cup, turning a key, or shaking hands. As many as half of all people who play racket sports have the condition, but most people who have tennis elbow didn't acquire it by playing tennis, squash, or racquetball. It can result from any activity that involves twisting or gripping motions in which the forearm muscles are repeatedly contracted against resistance, such as pruning bushes or pulling weeds, using a screwdriver, or playing a violin. Tennis elbow is an occupational hazard for professional gardeners, dentists, and carpenters. There are many treatments for tennis elbow but not much high-quality evidence about their effectiveness. More »